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Ford Says Replacement Parts Used in Recall of Trucks, SUVs Won't Be Available Until February


WASHINGTON December 20, 2005; Ken Thomas writing for the AP reported that Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday that replacement parts used in its recall of 3.8 million pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles would not be available until February because of production delays.

In September, the automaker recalled 1994-2002 model-year vehicles amid complaints of engine fires linked to the cruise control switch system. The recall, the fifth-largest in U.S. history, covered the F-150 pickup, Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator and Ford Bronco.

Ford's investigation found that brake fluid could leak through the cruise control's deactivation switch into the system's electrical components, potentially causing corrosion. The corrosion could cause a buildup of electrical current which could cause overheating and a fire.

Dealers were told to install a fused wiring harness to act as a circuit breaker in the system. The harness would cut off electrical current to the switch if the current increases.

Ford told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in early September that the replacement parts were expected to be available in mid-October. But Ford spokeswoman Kristen Kinley said the supplier and the company ran into delays producing the wiring harnesses.

"We're expecting we'll be able to notify customers the first week of February that they'll be able to have the new part put in their vehicles," Kinley said.

As an interim step, Kinley said owners could have their speed control system disconnected until the part becomes available.

The Ford F-series truck has been the best-selling full-size pickup for nearly three decades.

The NHTSA has received hundreds of complaints of engine fires linked to the cruise control system, and there have been allegations of at least three deaths cited in news reports or lawsuits.