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Concerns Over Ford Cars

May 05, 2017

Defects, design issues and denials. No question the reputation of the car industry has suffered an almighty bingle.

Despite the tsunami of voluntary recalls, some manufacturers prefer to hold out or argue their mechanical malfunctions, are exceptions rather than inevitable.

Aberfoyle Park's David and Julie Snell said they are lucky to be alive after the front suspension of their 2004 Ford Territory simply caved in on them.

"Just about to pull out onto the main road and the front wheel just folded up underneath the guard," David said.

"The ball joint had let go of its mounting point and it was just dragging along the road, if it had been on the 80km/h stretch coming home, someone could have been killed."

But was the ball joint failure a one-off or evidence of a basic design fault?

David and Julie were determined to find out.

Julie said Ford was willing to investigate the problem but once they established the car was no longer under warranty, claimed their obligations were at an end.

"[They said] 'you're going to have to pay for it which is going to be $1700'," Julis said.

Another unhappy Ford owner is Warren Watson from the Gold Coast.

He too was left over $1000 out of pocket after Ford refused to accept responsibility over the dubious ball joint.

"The front suspension collapsed in the driveway and I looked underneath and there's oil and everything everywhere, the ball-joint had sheared away, broke away," Warren said.

"I just am very disappointed at the way Ford have handled this."

Despite numerous websites running red hot with similar complaints for models between 2004 and 2005, Ford has remained unmoved.

However, Anthony Djurovitch is one man taking on the big guns at Ford, after they claimed the same fault in his daughter's car was the result of normal wear and tear.

"If it's true there have been some 80,000 of these vehicles sold in Australia," Anthony said.

"From what I've gathered and other people have that there's so many of these that are failing in the ball joints and knowing that the cost of the ball joints is somewhere between $1900 to $3500."

Adelaide safety engineer Les Felix has been investigating the suspension problem and said he is alarmed by what he has seen under the microscope.

"It is quite evident from the damage on the sample that we had that there was a clear design issue there that's clearly also from later versions was changed completely," Les said.

Les recently received industry advice from a major suspension company informing him that the ball joint problems are well known.

"The wheel is simply going to come outside the vehicle's parameters and all steering and all controls lost," Les said.

Models built after 2006 have a different design altogether but that does not help the unsuspecting buyers of the earlier 2004 and 2005 models.

In a statement today, Ford communications told Today Tonight that it is aware of only a small number of customers who have experienced the problem.

Les said he is not convinced customers were made aware of the repairs taking place and those out of warranty face considerable cost.

"Without the customer knowing they would actually change and replace an arm that may be going in for a minor service and they would put two new suspension arms or a new suspension arm if they found it falling apart or ready to collapse."

Ford is undertaking a detailed engineering investigation to determine the root cause but still is still falling short of that final solution, a recall.