• Mar 16th 2012 at 2:00PM
  • 55
The Ford recall includes nearly 2 million Taurus and Me... The Ford recall includes nearly 2 million Taurus and Mercury Sable models (Ford).
While more than 395,000 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sables face government scrutiny for sudden acceleration problems, a problem that has stymied automakers and even NASA engineers, an anonymous gear-head may have already identified and fixed the problem.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has certainly taken notice, notifying Ford this week that it was investigating the 2005 and 2006 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sables for sudden acceleration, as well as collecting information on 1.5 million Ford and Mercury models from 2001-2004.

According to one of the complaints filed with the NHTSA, which omits the person's name, replacing a troublesome cruise control cable stopped the car from continued high revving and uncontrollably speeding up.

The complaint, filed on Jan. 6, 2012, reads more like a Chilton's chapter than a harrowing life or death tale:

"My daughter called me frantic when the car started accelerating by itself when driving about 35 mph. She managed to slow down the vehicle with the brakes and went to a near parking lot. She put the car in park and the engine was at about 4,000 rpm and then she turned off the car. When I arrived 20 minutes later, I started the car and the engine was indeed at 4,000 rpm while in park. I tap twice on the gas pedal and the engine went back to normal range (below 1,000). I decided to drive it home. During the drive about 6 miles, the car repeated the incident. I went to the side of the road and tap on the gas pedal and again unstuck the pedal. Next day, I found that the cruise control cable was disconnected at the throttle cam. I reconnected but when I asked my kid to rev up the engine, it came out again and blocked the throttle cam from returning all the way and stuck at high rpm. The cable got replaced and issue is solved."

It may be solved for that 2005 Ford Taurus, but NHTSA announced Sunday it was opening an investigation into the sudden acceleration of every 2005 and 2006 Ford Taurus and its sibling the Mercury Sable after receiving complaints about sudden acceleration.

NHTSA has a reputation for taking all reported problems seriously, but especially accusations and possibilities of "sudden acceleration," an issue that has impacted a lot of car companies, notably Toyota, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and General Motors, with little concrete cause discovered by government investigators and the automakers themselves.

Most recently, Toyota faced an enormous recall of more than 14 million vehicles in 2009 and 2010 in which it replaced slipping floor-mats that were prone to jamming behind the accelerator pedal, as well as a defective batch of accelerator pedal parts. There was a subsequent investigation by the government that included NASA engineers and the National Academy of Science, which investigated potential flaws in the electronic throttle control. Those investigations could find no conclusive evidence of such a flaw. Nevertheless, Toyota was fined more than $16 million by NHTSA for not reporting fatal accidents in a timely manner.

Attorneys and investigators, though, are still trying to prove a flaw in Toyota's electronics. Read a Huffington Post investigation here, as well as Toyota's response here.

Other complaints pose solutions for Ford recall

Other complaints on the 2005-2006 Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable (this recall has nothing to do with today's new Tauruses or any other model year) offer similar advice:

"It appears there is something wrong with the cruise control cable, as it was twisted and as soon as it was untwisted, the cruise control begins to work correctly and the vehicle stops accelerating on its own. However, it does it again within a few days. ... It is very dangerous and could easily get someone injured or worse," said another complainant of the Sept. 25, 2010 incident.

Some noted that dealers or mechanics did extensive work such as replacing the entire throttle assembly, cleaning injectors as well as replacing the cruise control cable. At the time of the work, one noted, Ford would not cover the repairs because there had been no recall.

Maybe Ford will reconsider those costs.

"The agency is actively investigating a potential issue with a stuck throttle resulting from cruise control cable detachment involving certain Ford vehicles," said Lynda Tran, a NHTSA spokeswoman, in an email. "While NHTSA is not aware of any alleged crashes, injuries, or deaths, the agency is carefully evaluating all available data and will share any findings upon conclusion of its investigation."

NHTSA's Jeffery Quandt, chief of the Vehicle Control Division, Office of Defects Investigation, sent a letter to Ford Motor Co. officials on Tuesday informing the carmaker that it opened an investigation into the sudden acceleration of the 2005 and 2006 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable after collecting 30 different complaints of cruise control cables coming loose at the throttle body and then getting tangled with the assembly and not allowing the car to return to idle. The letter added that it also wanted additional information on 2001-2004 peer vehicles.

Daniel Pierce, a Ford spokesman, said Thursday, "We are aware of the NHTSA investigation and, as always, will cooperate fully with the agency."

Since the investigation is just beginning, Ford did not have any other information at available at this time, he added.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Drove my mother-in-laws 2004 Taurus (19,500 miles) today and after starting slowly from a stop sign in a shopping center parking lot the car kept accelerating after I let up on the accelerator. So I immediately hit the bakes and turned off the ignition and stopped the car. Put it in park and restarted it. Engine started revving way past the idle rpm. Turned it off again; hit the accelerator twice; then restarted it again and everything was back to normal. No more problems on the 4 mile trip back to her home. But I am very worried because if this happens when my 80 year old mother in law is driving (specially in traffic) this could be a disaster. Ford will hear about it on Monday.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I drive a 1997 Taurus, and it had this same acceleration issue when cruise control is turned on. Once it is turned off, the problem goes away. When Toyota had the acceleration issue, I suggested the problem I had with my Ford as similar to their problem on their website.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Toyota has a fly by wire and not the dual cable setup. I had a few that the cable would not stay and I put an extra 1/2 twist into the cable so it seats in deeper rather than trying to twist out.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hmmmm...wait, wait...let's jump all over Toyota. However, let's sweep this under the rug shall we. "Move along, move along....nothing to see here folks." Now, let's go to the nearest Ford dealership and check one out.......
      • 3 Years Ago
      Theres more than one way to catch a mouse .
      • 3 Years Ago
      My Dad's Ford Tempo had that problem also and they could never find the problem.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a Honda Pick-up truck. If you are going to tow a trailer you will also need a Ford Pick-up to back it up. Seems Honda forgot to include the wiring to disengauge the surge brakes when you put it in reverse. Might as well just buy the Ford in the first place.
      • 3 Years Ago
      thats shitty everybody takes toyotas as a big deal but not fords
      • 3 Years Ago
      The above problem is happening to my 2005 Ford Taurus RIGHT NOW. Ford is getting a call 1st thing Monday morning and possibly the NHTSA. I will let them inspect the vehicle.
        • 2 Years Ago
        my sons sitting at the shop right now with same issue. it has been there since dec 27th but because they havent had it accelerate on them(I have no clue how much they drive it) they cant do anything to fix it. Hvae sent them this link and two others to this issue in hopes they find issue. it has happened to son on 4 occasions now. only difference is his when put into park the rpms went to over 6000. will let you know if we find out anything
      • 3 Years Ago
      And that stumped NASA scientists? no wonder we dont have a spsce program anymore
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is not a new problem with fords in just that year range or particular vehicle as I had the same exact problem with an older ford motor home we used to have. Approximately a 1995-98 I don't recall at the moment as we got rid of it and I don't know where paperwork is at the moment if we still have any left somewhere. I had to remove the cruise control cable entirely as it always kept doing it.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I had the same problem with a '89 Ford F-250 pickup. I came up to a toll booth and let off the cruise control but the engine stayed at the equivalent RPM for 65 mph. I literally stood on the brakes and I'm sure that the toll booth attendant had to change her underwear but I got it hauled down. When I let off the brakes the truck took off again but I pulled over and hit the accelerator a couple of times and things went to normal. Never happened again but it sure was a scary ride. The Ford dealer was unimpressed.
      • 3 Years Ago
      In this instance sudden acceleration is a misnomer.....It seems that the throttle get stuck after acceleration. The motor does not suddenly accelerate, it does not de-accelerate. A stuck throttle/gas pedel NOT SUDDEN ACCELERATION.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Like I have been saying since 1961, The big three should have listened and accepted Professor Demming's advice. Why can Japanese people and Korean people make efficient, reliable quality cars and Americans who work for the big three consistently don't? Answer, consistent can do attitude, discipline and pride in craftmanship with non biased unions. Fact is the best skilled American autoworkers work in Japanese plants in the USA. Many were former employees of Ford, GM, and Chrysler. The japanese auto makers make products the BUYER WANTS. The Big 3 TELL the BUYER WHAT THEY NEED.
        • 3 Years Ago
        You have no idea what you are talking about. Demming was a SPC wizard. He was a great man in his time and yes, the auto companies should have listened to him then, however, All the auto manufactors have progressed way beyond SPC. Get out of 1961 and join the rest of us Americans making exceptional auto's and other products, have been for years. Sounds like you may have a little jealosy in your statement.
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