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NHTSA 05-98
February 8, 1999 Contact: Tim Hurd

Tel. No. (202) 366-9550


Ford Motor Company

Models: Ford Crown Victoria Years: 1990-1999

Lincoln Town Car Years: 1990-1999

Number Involved: 175,000

Dates of Manufacture: March 1996 - December 1998

Defect: On certain police, fleet, natural gas, and limousine vehicles, the one-piece bearing within the lower control arm ball joint can weaken slowly during use and eventually crack. This could result in separation of the ball and cap of the joint, allowing the control arm to drop to the ground. If this occurs while the vehicle is moving, reduced steering control could occur, increasing the risk of a crash.

Remedy: Dealers will replace the lower control arm ball joints. Owner notification began Jan. 18, 1999. Owners who do not receive the free remedy within a reasonable time should contact Ford at 1-800-392-3673. [NHTSA Recall No. 98V322/Ford Recall No. 98S37]

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.