NHTSA Not On Board With Panther Love
May 1st, 2013 8:41 AM Share
While we normally avoid recall related stories here at TTAC, our beloved (well, not by me, really) Panthers get so little love elsewhere, we figure we may as well bring this to your attention.
NHTSA is looking into a possible defect in 2005-2008 Ford Police Interceptors, and I’m willing to bet somebody reading this site drives that exact vehicle. As per Automotive News (via Reuters)
NHTSA said it is conducting an engineering analysis into model year 2005-2008 Ford Motor Co. Crown Victoria police models for a potential steering issue. A connection between the upper and lower shafts of the steering column may have failed, causing separation of the shafts, NHTSA said.
Published May 1st, 2013 8:30 AM
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I hate these goddamned things. I was on the Northern State racing when I pulled right up to the back of one of these damn things in the middle of the road. I immediately thought he was State Police. Turned out to be some 70+ year old man driving at 50mph, so I pulled around him to the left and returned to 85mph cruising. Every time I see one of these things I think he's an unmarked state car. The state sucks so much that they have Charger 5.7L on the road with one side painted regularly and the other side says "POLICE". So when you drive past one, all the sudden they thrown on their lights. I've had these pigs in my rearview so much I keep my license and registration together at this point. No tickets lately though because I'm a lovable guy!
A bad batch of rag joints?
I always love it when they have safety recalls for something that you'd normally think would have been engineered correctly since at least the 1970's. Things like failing ball joints in Dodge Ram pickup trucks, or the Ford cruise control fires. My favorite one was the 2000 Ford Focus that had rear wheel bearing failure issues that could cause the rear wheel to detach from the car. My second favorite one was the steering column locking issues on the C5 Corvette that would cause the steering column to stay locked up completely when you tried to start the car. At one time I owned a 1992 Olds Achieva. One day I went to the gas station to get gas, filled up the car, jumped back in, and turned the key in the ignition. Something went *SNAP* in the steering column, and the key just flopped back and forth in the ignition switch like the guts of it became dissasembled. I never had that happened before in a car, and that's including all the GM cars from the 1960's, 70's, and 80's that my family owned previously. When this car finally died I was looking at car review websites for something to replace it with. I happened to glance at the "trouble spots" repair history for a 2002 model year Cavalier, and one of the things listed was "ignition switch failure". That's right, TEN YEARS AFTER they made my 1992 Olds they were STILL making cars with failure prone ignition switches. Somebody in the engineering department at GM should have been kicked in the nuts. I can almost forgive them for boneheaded ideas like Dexcool and plastic intake manifold failures, because that was all new unproven technology at the time, but steering shafts, lock switches, ball joints, and wheel bearings aren't new unproven technologies. It's just lousy engineering.
Checker cabs and all matter of domestic big 3 vehicles have been used for taxi and police duty for decades and this is the first time I have ever heard of a steering shaft or column failure of any kind let alone enough to attract interest of safety nazis because it's become frequent. Seeing as other vehicles have been used for the same purpose without this sort of failure, I don't think the abuse of the part plays a hand in this, rather then part's substandard design. EDIT: It's not even a substandard design, but rather a substandard spec of the part once it is designed. This is what's happened in the past, be it the Corvair or Pinto or whatever. The designer designs the part to suite, then the engineers and beancounters butt heads over what can be removed and the vehicle still be serviceable. The original part, as designed and specified, did NOT fail like this. It's only when you get beancounters and the engineers that work with them answering the question "can we lighten this up" or "Does this part really need to be this big/small/large/thick/etc?" Can we use plastic?