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Sprague Fleming - Cam Failure

new 12/04/02, updated 12/16/02

Hi Tim,

Little did I know a year and a half ago when my 1996 SHO engine failed that it was due to cam failure.

I live in Lubbock, Texas but was in Denver Co. traveling at 75 mph (the posted speed) when the car shuddered and lost power and the 'check engine' light glowed. No tapping or any other kind of warning. A auto mechanic friend traveling with me was adamant that I not stop because he thought the car might not start again. We managed to get back to Colorado Springs before stopping the engine. Oil was dripping and a spark plug had been knocked completely out of the head on the grill side of the engine (completely destroying the coil).

I had the car towed to a Ford dealer in Colorado Springs for repairs. God is good and I traded it to another Ford dealer (same chain as the dealer in Colorado Springs) on a 2001 Mustang GT 'Bullitt'. Trade value received was a thousand dollars below Kelly Blue Book. Oh, the SHO had less than forty thousand miles on it. It had around fifteen thousand miles on it when I purchased it. I adding roughly twenty thousand miles to it in the year that I owned it.

All in all I came out of it in pretty good shape because I bought the SHO for less than wholesale seeing as how it had been in the shop for more than three months and the previous owner raised enough stink with Ford that Ford made some kind of deal with her on a Lincoln LS. The problem then was thought to be cam related.

Had it not been for the data on your web site there is a good chance that I never would have known the the reason for the engine failure.

Not only that but I have to get the cams welded on the 97 SHO I gave to my mother who lives in Florida.

Thanks for bringing this problem to our attention.

Sprague Fleming, Lubbock, Texas.

PS I owned three SHOs at the same time. 91, 96 and 97. Fun cars! Too bad Ford won't fix a known problem with them. Still have the 91 and 97.

Sorry for the delay in getting this information to you. I finally remembered to do it when I was at the place where the information was. 

For those that had engine failure: Answer all the questions the best you can.
1. VIN#s                                                                            1FALP54NOTA255067

2. Date of malfunction                                                         24 June, 2001
3. Where did the malfunction take place (highway, city streets, driveway, parking lot, etc.)  
4. Odometer reading at time of malfunction                           39544

5. How fast were you traveling?                                            75 MPH

6. Were you accelerating or staying at a constant speed?      constant speed 

7. Estimated date of purchase, new or used?                        28 January 2000

8. Estimated Odometer reading at time of purchase               

9. Full Name, address, and a good phone# to reach you at during the day and night.

Sprague Fleming JR
5738 62nd Street
Lubbock, TX 79324
1 806 742 6000 ext. 240 (day)
1 806 794 6135 (night)  

 10. Brief description of the time of events leading towards the malfunction. (what did you hear and see before, during, and after the malfunction)

At 2 AM Sunday morning we were leaving Denver airport via interstate. Our speed was 75 MPH on cruise control. No noise or any other warning. The car shook for a second, lost power and started to smoke. I continued on to Colorado Springs ( approx 45 miles). At the motel we examined  the engine bay and found oil dripping from the bottom of the engine and one of the on-plug coils destroyed by a spark plug which had been knocked completely out of the head. 

 I had the car towed to Phil Long Ford in Colorado Springs but traded the SHO at the Phil Long Ford dealer in Littleton, CO before the dealer in Colorado Springs looked at the SHO.

11. Customer service phone # you called and the name of the person you talked to. (if you can remember)  None

12. Did you feel satisfied with the answers customer service provided? Explain. Did not call
13. Which dealership did you take your vehicle in for service? (name, address, phone#)  

Phil Long Ford
7887 W Tufts Ave
1 303 932 3673

14. cause of failure determined by the dealer?
15. What was the cause of failure determined by you?                     Cam failure

16. How much was your statement? (I hope you kept your receipt)

17. What can FOMOCO do to make you a satisfied Ford owner? 

 1).       Acknowledge that there is a problem in the V8 SHO valve train

 2).       Recall 96 thru 99 SHO cars and pay for knowledgeable and competent people to fix the cam gears. 

 3).       Reimburse those who have paid to have the cams welded/pinned 

 While the 96 is history, I still have to fly to Florida and get my 97 (my mom drives it) to FPS in Atlanta for welding its cams. I am praying that it holds together until the second weekend of January 2003.


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