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NHTSA 05-98
Monday, December 29 1997 Contact: Tim Hurd

Tel. No. (202) 366-9550


Ford Motor Company


Ford Contour Years: 1996-1997

Number Involved: 1,800
Dates of Manufacture: April - December 1996
NHTSA Recall No.: 97V203 Ford Campaign No. 97S73/97S98
Vehicle Description: Bi-fuel vehicles modified to run on either gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG).
Description of Defect: The natural gas fuel tanks have a solenoid shut-off valve that stops fuel flow from the fuel tank in the event of certain moderate to severe collisions. If the vehicle is in a collision and the natural gas fuel line is damaged, the system could leak natural gas.
Consequence of Defect: Fuel leakage in the presence of an ignition source can result in a fire.
Corrective Action: Ford has requested owners of these vehicles to have the CNG fuel system disabled under a previous recall campaign and to use only gasoline fuel until a permanent corrective action is developed. Owners are being alerted to this solenoid valve concern at this time. The timing of corrective actions is being delayed to allow both conditions to be remedied at one time. In the meantime, there is no risk as long as the natural gas system has been disabled and the vehicle is operated only on gasoline.
Owner Notification: Owners will be notified when service kits are available.
Note: Owners who take their vehicles to an authorized dealer on an agreed upon service date and do not receive the free remedy within a reasonable time should contact Ford at 1-800-392-3673.

NHTSA said it is publicizing the recalls to alert consumers about safety problems and encourages them to take action. Under federal law, safety problems must be remedied without cost to consumers. Currently, 70 percent of the owners of vehicles with safety problems have the recall work performed.

NHTSA said manufacturers are required to mail a recall notice to all purchasers, owners and dealers when a safety defect or noncompliance with federal safety standards is found. The agency urges owners to wait until they receive notification from the manufacturer before contacting their dealers to schedule the repair work. Not all vehicles of a particular make and model may be subject to the recall.