Fed Probe Targets Ford, GM Vans for Rust Problems

Huw Evans
by Huw Evans
2004 Ford Freestar
2004 Ford Freestar

Earlier this week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), revealed documents concerning a safety investigation probe by federal regulators into a severe rear wheel rusting issue afflicting 2004 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans, driven in states where the roads are salted during the winter months.

So far, NHTSA’s Office of Defects has received approximately seven complaints concerning severe corrosion, a few in which rust has actually compromised the integrity of the anchor mounts that hold the third row seats in place, causing them to fail.

In response to the probe, Ford Motor Company has already said it will fully cooperate with the Feds on the issue, according to statement by company spokesman Dan Pierce. Approximately 63,000 Ford and Mercury minivans are believed to be affected by the problem.

Besides this, NHTSA is also currently investigating another potential van rust problem, concerning GM’s full-size Chevy Express, citing some 17,165 vans from the 2003 model year. In this case, the problem concerns corrosion of the fuel filler pipe on examples driven in snow belt states, a combination of salt, debris and moisture can cause the filler neck to rust and separate, creating a potential fire hazard.

As is the case with the Ford minivans, GM has said it is fully cooperating with NHTSA on the rusty fuel filler neck issue concerning the affected Chevy Express models.

[Source: Automotive News]

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