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Ford Minivan Moms Beware

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Philadelphia, PAA TV news item in Philadelphia recently featured a family of six standing beside their defective Ford Windstar minivan up on the hoist in a local garage. A mechanic was inspecting the vehicle because its rear axle had cracked into two, exposing rust corroded interior axel tube.

The owners say they heard a strange noise, and suddenly the rear end of van dropped to the ground. Fortunately, the owner was pulling into his garage at home and only going a few miles an hour.

At least 243 other Ford Windstar owners (model years 1999-2005) have reported similar incidents to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). So far, injuries or deaths have been connected to the crack axle reports, but NHTSA is looking into the problem.

"A rear axle is never something you would expect to wear out or have replaced"
"Some of complaints with the NHTSA did involve accidents," says attorney Damien Zillas. "And although no injuries or deaths have been reported, that doesn't mean there haven't been any, and that is something we are investigating." Zillas's firm Golumb & Honik recently filed a class action suit against the Ford Motor Company representing putatively some 1.5 million owners of Ford Windstar vehicles across the US.

"What you have is essentially a defective rear axle that rusts from the inside out," says Zillas. "Certain things in a car just don't break, or they shouldn't, unless they are defective."

As Zillas explains it, the Windstar's rear axle has an opening one end allowing water and salt to collect inside the cylinder. "There is no way for the water to drain out. The water just sits there, the axle slowly corrodes and eventually snaps," says Zillas.

"It seems like it takes about 100,000 to 150,000 miles for this defect to manifest. But a rear axle is never something you would expect to wear out or have replaced."

The complaint, filed against Ford Motor Company, alleges it is guilty of breach of both implied and express warranty.

Ford is aware of the complaints and has said it is looking into it.

Damien Zillas is a graduate of the University at Albany and Temple University's School of Law. Zillas has represented clients in medical negligence, catastrophic injury, toxt torts and consumer class action suits.

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