Ford Explorer Rollover Lawyer
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Ford Explorer Rollovers

Ford Explorer Rollovers
Ford Explorer Rollovers
Ford Explorer Rollovers

1997 Ford Explorer Rollover - 1994 Ford Explorer Rollover - 2001 Ford Explorer Rollover

Ford Explorer History - A Rollover Waiting to Happen
When Ford first introduced the Explorer, it soon became a marketing dream — the perfect vehicle for a baby-boom generation that wanted it all. You could use it as your family car, and it had the rugged, adventurous image of a truck. The problem however was, it was still a big, tall truck & it rolled over more easily than a passenger car would.

The roots of that problem lie in Ford's original design decision to build the new sport utility on the skeleton (frame) of a pickup truck instead of all in one piece, like a car. Ford was under pressure to compete with General Motors new SUV to be called the Blazer and to tap into the emerging new market opened up by Jeep and the Jeep CJ craze. The rollover problem had not become a priority until a controversy erupted in the late 1980's over the rollover record of the Bronco II, which was also based on a Ranger pickup truck underbody. Ford however did not learn from its past mistakes. Using the Ranger's underbody for the Explorer too, this gave Ford the image it wanted, with the budget it needed. But while the Explorer looked roomy, its design actually limited the weight it could safely carry. By extending the passenger compartment and installing a second row of seats, Ford made the Explorer more than 600 pounds heavier than the Ranger, but did not upgrade the suspension and tires to carry the bigger load. That meant a typically equipped Explorer could carry 1,025 pounds, even less than the 1,100 pounds for a Taurus. Many Explorers are built to carry as little as 900 pounds —a 150-pound person in each of five seats and 150 pounds of cargo.

Ford Firestone Tire Problems

Ford also chose the same size tires it had long chosen for the Ford Ranger. Those tires had the lowest possible rating for withstanding high temperatures. And when Ford lowered the recommended tire pressure in 1989 to increase stability and soften the ride, it also further reduced the tires' ability to carry weight without overheating. Tire pressure has of course become an issue in the Firestone controversy, with Firestone arguing that the lower recommended pressure — 26 pounds per square inch, compared with 35 for the Ranger — had contributed to the tires' failure, especially where Explorers were being driven at high speeds in during the hot summer months. When the Explorer was introduced, Ford was concerned enough about its stability that it advised owners to maintain a relatively low tire pressure of 26 pounds per square inch, because softer tires help an out-of-control vehicle to slide rather than tip over. Yet the redesign in the '95 model year made the Explorer's center of gravity slightly higher and the stability index--a rough measure of rollover propensity--slightly worse, records show.

Ford Explorer Problems - Ford Scraps Twin I-Beam Suspension System

When Explorer production began in early 1990, Ford was already at work on a redesigned version for the '95 model year. Among the biggest changes: scrapping the twin I-beam in favor of a short-long-arm front suspension, or SLA. The switch was intended to accommodate two other key changes: use of rack-and-pinion steering and dual air bags, Ford officials say. But the new suspension also made it possible to lower the center of gravity by lowering the position of the engine, a memo said. But that memo, dated March 26, 1990, said Ford had decided not to exploit the opportunity. The decision "to retain the . . . engine position minimizes the effect on other vehicle systems . . . but does not take advantage of the fact that the engine could be lowered with a SLA-type suspension," the memo said. "This decision was driven by early implementation and program cost."

Ford Explorer's Suspension - Creates a High Center of Gravity

With the new suspension system Ford installed in 1995 and later model Explorers, the auto maker could have lowered the center of gravity of the top-heavy vehicles by lowering the engine height, according to memos by Ford engineers. But the company decided to retain the original engine position, at least partly to hold down redesign costs and preserve profit margins of nearly 40% on the popular Explorer, the documents show. A Ford spokesman acknowledged a small rise in the Explorer's center of gravity with the '95 redesign, but said the difference is inconsequential.

Ford Explorer Roof Failures

According to a 1991 memo, the Explorer was contributing a profit that year of $559 million. Profit margin on the vehicles was 38.8%, the document said. The 1991 memo estimated the increased costs of the '95 redesign at $1,267 per vehicle, despite cost-reduction programs. According to another document, one of the economies involved using thinner metal panels to construct the Explorer's roof.

Experts say most vehicle roofs are extremely weak, thanks to a federal roof crush standard that has not been changed for three decades, and was widely regarded as ineffective at the time it was adopted. Safety advocates say the issue is important because a major cause of deaths and paralyzing injuries in rollover crashes is the roof collapsing onto occupants.

Ford Explorer Rollover Litigation

The Willis Law Firm has collected TENS of MILLIONS of DOLLARS for victims and their families involved in rollover accidents nationwide including the Ford Explorer & other SUV rollovers, tire tread separations, tire explosions, roof collapses, seat back failures, seatbelt releases, lap belt defects and other serious product liability cases. If you or a family member have been seriously injured in a Ford Explorer Rollover, then call us immediately to see what can be done to protect your legal rights. We have a full team of investigators, rollover engineering experts, seatbelt experts and many other experts needed to take on Ford Motor Company in a a complex products liability action concerning the defective design of the Ford Explorer and why it rolls and kills !! Call us if we can be of assistance to you.

If You Would Like To Know More What Can Be Done to Protect Your Rights

Then Call Us For a Free Confidential Consultation


1-800-883-9858 or 1-800-468-4878

Ford Explorer Rollover Lawyer


Mr. Willis is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Mr. Willis is a licensed attorney in New York and Texas. Principle office is Houston, Texas

WILLIS LAW FIRM - 5252 Westchester St. - Suite #275 - Houston, Texas - TOLL FREE 800-883-9858

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