U.S. safety regulators are investigating 310,000 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable cars built by Ford Motor Company over a problem that could cause the throttle to be stuck open. The cars were built for the model years 2000 to 2003 and equipped with 3.0-liter V6 Duratec engines, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency received 50 complaints of possible stuck throttles that could have been caused by fractured speed control cable collars. The problem may lead to an engine component getting stuck when the throttle is closing, leaving the throttle 26 percent open. In a statement, Ford said it was cooperating with NHTSA.
The Taurus probe was prompted by 50 complaints from owners about unintended acceleration involving the 3-liter, 4-valve Duratec V-6 engine, but not the 2-valve version, which uses a different design. There were no reports of accidents. NHTSA said it suspected a fractured speed-control cable collar could result “in throttles stuck at approximately 26 percent open.” One owner noted that the car continued to accelerate after he took his foot off of the gas pedal. He wrote that “On topping the hill we were traveling over 70 miles per hour.” The speed was alleviated by shifting into neutral and stopping on level ground. “On restart the engine immediately revved to over 6,000 rpm and a transaxle warning icon appeared,” the owner added. He said a mechanic knew “what the problem was immediately. Broken plastic tabs had allowed the cruise control cable sheath to slip out of the throttle connector,” and the mechanic concluded the throttle was held open.
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