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Ford Recalls Vehicles at Risk for Fire
By Nedra Pickler   Associated Press
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WASHINGTON — Ford Motor Co. is recalling more than half a million Mercury Villagers and F-series trucks that could leak fuel and possibly catch on fire.

The two separate campaigns are among several Ford recalls from November and December that were unveiled Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In all cases, vehicle owners will be notified by mail and can get free repairs at their dealers.

Ford is recalling 435,426 Villager minivans from the 1993 to 1998 model years. The vans have a fuel tank vent hose that can crack and leak fuel under some circumstances.

The pickup truck recall affects 1993 models of the F150, F250, F350 and F450 that have fuel tank pressure regulators that can wear out and lead to a leak. There are 275,000 of the vehicles on the road.

Ford spokesman Mike Vaughn said there were no injuries, deaths, accidents or fires reported because of the problems.

Ford also issued another recall of the 1997 and 1998 Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer. It affects 264,620 SUVs with an accelerator that can stick or hesitate.

Vaughn said 22 accidents and two injuries were reported because of the problem.

The Explorer and Mountaineer have been the subject of several recalls in recent months.

—1999 and 2000 model years were recalled in December because they could reach a top speed at or above the 112 mph rating of their tires.

—1995-97 Explorers and 1997 Mountaineers were recalled to fix a problem with suspension components.

—All Explorers with certain ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tires made by Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. were recalled last summer because of tire failures linked to 174 deaths.

"We constantly monitor the performance of our vehicles in the field and when we see a problem, we take action," Vaughn said.

Thursday's list also included recalls of:

—2000 and 2001 Explorer Sport and Sport Track and the 2001 Ranger with hoods that could fly up while the SUV is on the road. Vaughn said there had not been any reports of the problem, but the automaker is concerned that it could happen and is recalling 149,849 of the SUVs.

—89,173 Lincoln LS vehicles from the 2000-2001 model years with ball joints that are not adequately tightened. That could cause a joint fracture and the driver could lose control of the vehicle. Vaughn said no crashes had been reported.

Jaguar, which used the same platform to manufacture it's 2000-2001 S-Type, is recalling 38,681 vehicles for the same problem, according to NHTSA.

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