Ford Pinto Gas Tank Problem
Its fuel tank design attracted both media and government scrutiny after several deadly fires related to the tanks rupturing occurred in rear end collisions.
Ford pinto gas tank problem. Or a fiery death. Ford neglected to add reinforcements to protect the easily ruptured fuel tank endangering drivers while earning the pinto a reputation for catching fire that persists today. The safety issues surrounding the pinto and the subsequent response by ford have been cited widely as a. In pre production planning engineers seriously considered using in the pinto the same kind of gas tank ford uses in the capri.
None of these protective devices was. The capri tank rides over the rear axle and differential housing. So why wasn t the capri tank used in the pinto. It has been so successful in over 50 crash tests that ford used it in its experimental safety vehicle which withstood rear end impacts of 60 mph.
The families sued ford motor company and in 1978 the jury awarded them over 125 million in damages though it was later reduced to 3 5 million by the judge. Upon impact the pinto s fuel tank ruptured leaking fuel which then ignited. In 1970 ford crash tested the pinto itself and the result was the same. The pinto caught fire burning gray to death and leaving grimshaw with severe injuries.
A subsequent analysis of the overall safety of the pinto suggested it was comparable to other 1970s subcompact cars. Ford pinto fuel tank on june 9 1978 ford motor company agreed to recall 1 5 million ford pinto and 30 000 mercury bobcat sedan and hatchback models for fuel tank design defects which made the vehicles susceptible to fire in the of a moderate speed rear end collision. The only pintos to pass the test had been modified in some way for example with a rubber bladder in the gas tank or a piece of steel between the tank and the rear bumper. Not only did the position make it vulnerable to direct impact damage which when you think of how combustible gasoline actually is makes the design position just bonkers but the pinto was specifically designed to be light so the rear end was prone to crumpling upon.
The action was the result of investigations by the national highway traffic safety administration s office of defect. The ford pinto fuel tank was located in front of the rear bumper behind the rear axle. The precedent of the california supreme court at the time not only tolerated manufacturers trading off safety for cost but apparently encouraged manufacturers to consider such trade offs. Ruptured gas tanks and dangerous leaks.
What happens when you get rear ended in a ford pinto. Ford engineers considered numerous solutions to the fuel tank problem including lining the fuel tank with a nylon bladder at a cost of 5 25 to 8 00 per vehicle adding structural protection in the rear of the car at a cost of 4 20 per vehicle and placing a plastic baffle between the fuel tank and the differential housing at a cost of 1 00 per vehicle.
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