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Ford Recalls For 1998-2002 Ford Explorer, Explorer Sport, Explorer Sport Trac , and Mercury Mountaineer SUV and 2003 Crown Victoria Models

DETROIT August 8,2003; Reuters reported that Ford Motor Co. said it was recalling nearly 1.7 million sport utility vehicles in order to fix seats that could recline unexpectedly.

Ford said the recall affects 1.68 million 1998 through 2001 model year Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer models, and 2001-2002 Explorer Sport and Sport Trac models. The vehicles have high-back seats and Ford said it was possible for a bolt on the driver's seat to fracture, causing the seat to recline.

Of the 1.68 million SUVs recalled, about 500,000 of the 1999 through 2001 model year Ford Explorer, Explorer Sport and Mercury Mountaineer models, and 2001 Explorer Sport Trac vehicles equipped with a 4.0 liter, V-6 engine and cruise control were being recalled for a problem with the cruise control. Ford said some customers had complained that the cruise control would not shut off due to a failing cable.

Ford said no accidents or injuries were attributed to either problem. Both will be repaired free of charge.

The company also announced a recall of 35,700 Crown Victoria police cars and taxi cabs to inspect wheels that could fracture. The recall involves 2003 model year Crown Victoria police and taxi models equipped with steel wheels.

Ford said in a statement the wheels may develop cracks "due to heavy-duty applications and unique tires and suspension."

A wheel crack could result in rapid loss of air in the tire. Ford said it was not aware of any injuries related to the problem.

Ford dealers will inspect the wheels and replace any with cracks. Ford also said it would offer an extended warranty on the wheels.