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Unloved AU Falcon causes Ford more trouble

On the list: The Forte is among Falcon cars affected by a recall.

Voluntary recall over steering fear affects more than 230,000 Falcons

Ford logo18 Jun 2004

FORD’S unloved AU Falcon is still causing the company headaches, even though it was replaced by the BA Falcon almost two years ago.

Concerns about a potential steering fault have prompted the company to issue a voluntary recall for more than 230,000 AU Falcons and various derivatives.

This is the biggest recall in the 44-year history of local Falcon production, covering 233,791 AUI and AUII Falcon models built between June 1998 and May 22, 2001.

Vehicle models affected include Forte, Futura, XR, Fairmont, Fairlane, LTD, FTE and Ute models built during this period, including 219,429 vehicles in Australia, 13,362 vehicles exported to New Zealand and 1000 vehicles exported to South Africa.

The AU series Falcon, sold between September 1998 and September 2002, was a sales and image disaster for Ford, forcing the company into a $500 million spend on the ‘mid-life’ BA Falcon to get its large car sales back on track.

Ford Australia will be contacting customers via mail and advertising in daily newspapers. A dealer check will take around 30 minutes.

Ford did not say how expensive the recall would be, but it will certainly run into millions of dollars in labour costs, which dealers will be reimbursed for.

In extreme cases, the stud may detach and result in deterioration or loss of steering control

The recall comes only weeks after Holden announced a recall for its locally-built Holden Commodore, Australia’s best selling car. That was because of a potential power steering hose failure and involved 135,000 VY series and related models.

Ford believes that over-tightening of the steering rack mounting stud on the affected Falcons during service could lead to a condition that allows the stud to loosen. In extreme cases, the stud may detach and result in deterioration or loss of steering control.

No accidents or injuries have been reported as a result of this condition, Ford said in a statement.

While the Department of Transport and Regional Services has reported only two cases of loose studs and one case of a missing stud, Ford's warranty data highlights a further 28 vehicles, from the 233,791 manufactured, which may have experienced this concern.

Vehicles built during the period outlined used a Loctite threadlocking compound, which could be degraded if the stud is over-tightened during service. A change in manufacturing process ensures that vehicles built after May 22, 2001, are not affected.

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