U.S. studies complaints of fractured Ford Windstar axles

U.S. studies complaints of fractured Ford Windstar axles Neil Roland Automotive News -- May 18, 2010 - 12:01 am ET
WASHINGTON - U.S. regulators have opened a formal investigation of 900,000
Ford Windstar minivans following 234 complaints of rear axles fracturing in 1999-2003 models.
While a snapped axle can result in loss of vehicle control, there have been reports of only two minor crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its Web site.
A Ford spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
The vast majority of the complaints originated from "salt-belt" states, probably because the rear axle beam collects road salt slurry and corrodes until it breaks, the agency said. About a quarter of the complaints said that axle broke at speeds of at least 40 mph.
One driver reported he heard "a clanging noise" coming from his 2000 Windstar at that speed, according to a copy of his complaint to NHTSA.
"The next day while driving the rear end of the vehicle started to shimmy," the report said. "He pulled over to the side of the road after he saw smoke."
Another driver, from Toledo, Ohio, said the rear axle of his 2000 Windstar broke while in a heavy traffic area, which "could have resulted in a serious accident," he said.
The driver had the vehicle towed and the axle replaced at a cost of $913. Ford refused to help cover the expense for lack of a warranty, the complaint said.
"Ford mechanics have informed me that this is clearly a defect which the manufacturer should be responsible for," he wrote.
NHTSA's preliminary evaluation is the first in a series of steps that can result in a recall, with repairs paid for by the manufacturer.
You can reach Neil Roland at snipped-for-privacy@crain.com.
Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100518/OEM/100519857/
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A Toyota spokesman said, "That shows we are not the only manufacturer whose customers do not maintain their vehicles properly." ;)

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It should be a simple matter then to produce the factory recommended procedure and interval for maintaining the rear axle on a Ford Windstar.
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Toyota says would advise owner to; "Once a year, check for rusting components on your vehicle and repair of replace as needed." LOL
wrote:

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On Thu, 27 May 2010 09:55:09 -0400, "Mike Hunter"

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Why would Toyota be specifying the maintenance on a Ford Windstar?
You don't make a very good cheerleader for the domestics, apparently you can't even keep the brands straight.
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