Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to start off with a brief history of the car.

2000 Ford Taurus SE
(I know my username says LE, long story)
3.0l V6, Auto Trans.
Front Disc Brakes, Rear drums

My girlfriend bought the car in October of 2009, and drove it daily until January 2010 when she was hit by a woman who didn't yield at an intersection. The car was deemed a total(Cosmetic damage, valued above the car), and was inspected/repaired and branded as a salvaged vehicle.
The other driver was deemed at fault, and her insurance paid for the damages and medical bills. Note that the airbags did not go off in this accident.

The repairs consisted of a new headlight, and the driver's door panel was bent into proper position so that it would open/close properly. The brakes and lights were inspected by a local company(Winton, California)

The Taurus was driven primarily as transportation for work until July 2010 when the second accident occurred. I was driving on a busy 2 way 4 lane street(2/2) In the far right lane. The cars ahead of me were braking, and I applied the brakes accordingly. The car failed to slow, so I applied more pressure(anticipating a hard stop), and then I stood on the brakes as we collided with the car in front of us. The witnesses at the scene judged our speed to be 30-32 MPH, the approximate flow of traffic at the time of the accident.
The simplest description I can think of is to say it was like the engine wasn't running at all. Pump your brakes when your car is parked, and that is as close as I can describe to my experience in July.

I sprained my ankle in that accident, that was my only physical injury.
Note that the airbags both deployed in the second accident, about 20-30 seconds after the collision.

I'm no stranger to tools, but I have no experience with brakes beyond replacing the pads and cleaning the calipers on every car I've owned. Is there a common failure for these cars that would cause sudden and complete brake failure? I have read many reports of rotors warping, drums locking in place, and heat related failures. I've seen a couple of instances where people replaced their brake master, after having low speed brake failure scares. I'm digging through the forums tonight, and I'm reading up on brake systems as well.

I would like to add that I am in no way attempting to worm money out of Ford, or the company that did the diagnostics/repairs on the car in California. I received a ticket for Reckless driving, based on a Witness statement of alleged multiple lane changes some 5-7 miles away from the scene of the accident, that the responding officers deemed enough evidence to support the idea that I was recklessly driving. A single witness came forward against me, and the driver of the car I rear ended made a statement that he heard a high pitched screeching sound immediately before being hit. I know too little about brakes to judge how a screech might corroborate the symptoms of my brakes that day however.

The ticket is not what I am posting about however, I just wanted to make it clear that I am not trying to sue anybody for damages. I'm attempting to protect my clean criminal record.

Thank you very much for reading this, and I hope somebody out there can help me.

Another thing I've wondered, would anybody be willing to run a vehicle history report for the car? I'm not asking you to pay for it, but if you happen to have an unlimited account for any of the major websites I would be eternally grateful for a report!! :) If you are willing/able to do this, please send me a PM for the VIN number. Thank you!
 

·
Devoted Member
Joined
·
2,426 Posts
Sounds like you're looking to sue somebody....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
You don't mention anything about the brake fluid level. Only times I've had something like that happen is when a brake line rusts through, there's no pressure, and all the brake fluid leaks out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
If it should happen again to you or anybody else, and you have enough time to react, you could hit the emergency brake or (hate saying this on a Taurus forum with the transmissions we have) throw it in Park or Reverse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,353 Posts
^+1 on the broken brake line (usually under the drivers door). You should still have some very weak braking action though?
 

·
Cake monster
Joined
·
1,584 Posts
I'm going to start off with a brief history of the car.

2000 Ford Taurus SE
(I know my username says LE, long story)
3.0l V6, Auto Trans.
Front Disc Brakes, Rear drums

My girlfriend bought the car in October of 2009, and drove it daily until January 2010 when she was hit by a woman who didn't yield at an intersection. The car was deemed a total(Cosmetic damage, valued above the car), and was inspected/repaired and branded as a salvaged vehicle.
The other driver was deemed at fault, and her insurance paid for the damages and medical bills. Note that the airbags did not go off in this accident.

The repairs consisted of a new headlight, and the driver's door panel was bent into proper position so that it would open/close properly. The brakes and lights were inspected by a local company(Winton, California)

The Taurus was driven primarily as transportation for work until July 2010 when the second accident occurred. I was driving on a busy 2 way 4 lane street(2/2) In the far right lane. The cars ahead of me were braking, and I applied the brakes accordingly. The car failed to slow, so I applied more pressure(anticipating a hard stop), and then I stood on the brakes as we collided with the car in front of us. The witnesses at the scene judged our speed to be 30-32 MPH, the approximate flow of traffic at the time of the accident.
The simplest description I can think of is to say it was like the engine wasn't running at all. Pump your brakes when your car is parked, and that is as close as I can describe to my experience in July.

I sprained my ankle in that accident, that was my only physical injury.
Note that the airbags both deployed in the second accident, about 20-30 seconds after the collision.

I'm no stranger to tools, but I have no experience with brakes beyond replacing the pads and cleaning the calipers on every car I've owned. Is there a common failure for these cars that would cause sudden and complete brake failure? I have read many reports of rotors warping, drums locking in place, and heat related failures. I've seen a couple of instances where people replaced their brake master, after having low speed brake failure scares. I'm digging through the forums tonight, and I'm reading up on brake systems as well.

I would like to add that I am in no way attempting to worm money out of Ford, or the company that did the diagnostics/repairs on the car in California. I received a ticket for Reckless driving, based on a Witness statement of alleged multiple lane changes some 5-7 miles away from the scene of the accident, that the responding officers deemed enough evidence to support the idea that I was recklessly driving. A single witness came forward against me, and the driver of the car I rear ended made a statement that he heard a high pitched screeching sound immediately before being hit. I know too little about brakes to judge how a screech might corroborate the symptoms of my brakes that day however.

The ticket is not what I am posting about however, I just wanted to make it clear that I am not trying to sue anybody for damages. I'm attempting to protect my clean criminal record.

Thank you very much for reading this, and I hope somebody out there can help me.

Another thing I've wondered, would anybody be willing to run a vehicle history report for the car? I'm not asking you to pay for it, but if you happen to have an unlimited account for any of the major websites I would be eternally grateful for a report!! :) If you are willing/able to do this, please send me a PM for the VIN number. Thank you!
First of all.

If you want to get out of the wreckless driving, I'm thinking you'll have to prove that your brakes failed. I would see if you can have a licensed mechanic inspect the car and give his opinion as to why the car didn't stop. If he said that the car clearly had a brake failure, then you might have something to stand on. If you're being charged, GET A LAWYER NOW.

Basically, the brakes aren't generally defective. I'll say that right now. I'm not sure how they failed, as you didn't give a lot of indications as to what it did. Did the peddle go flat to the floorwhen you pressed it? Did it become hard to press? It seems possible that the squealing was from having no pads left, maybe you just didn't have the stopping power. Maybe the squealing was you locking your brakes and sliding into him?

If you want to fight the charges, get a lawyer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,454 Posts
Brake systems aren't that complicated, it could be broken vac line, broken booster, rusted lines, or busted hoses.
Have a mechanic look at it. Most of the problems don't occur suddenly or with out neglecting maintenance on a 10 year old car.
Maintenance on a 10 year old car includes looking at brake lines for rust, replacing vac lines, looking for swollen hoses, keeping the brake fluid clean, and noticing the wear of the brake booster through peddle feel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
He stated "Pump your brakes when your car is parked, and that is as close as I can describe to my experience in July."

Correct me if I'm wriong but that would indicate an issue with vacuum or the power booster - brake lines wouldn't cause the pedal to go firm unless the lines were blocked or pinched and worn pads wouldn't cause the pedal to firm up either.

You need a lawyer - if for nothing else to argue the fact that the officer wan't there to witness anything and shouldn't have written the ticket in the first place and no one witnessing the accident probably has a clue what a legal charge of wreckless driving is or what was going on.... No matter what, you can't likely prove a mechanical problem - maybe your lawyer can cast a reasonable doubt and persuade the court, in any case your insurance is going up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sounds like you're looking to sue somebody....

Okay, I'll answer this first... I had hoped that my statements in the original post made my intentions clear, I'll re-iterate though.

The car has a Salvaged title, this pretty much ruins any chance of suing Ford, or the dealership the car was purchased from. Would I be suing the small, little known company that did the diagnostics in California? Firstly, I have no reason to try. Secondly, even if I did try(and win), any monetary gain would be very minimal, even before legal fees and transportation to/from California.

I stated the truth before, I'm not out to make money off of this. My girlfriend and I both have other cars to drive while this one sits, and my only concern currently is clearing my name. It's hard enough finding a job when you're a 21 year old guy in this economy, try doing it with a criminal record. Not only that, but I find it morally repugnant to charge someone with a crime they did not commit. It'd be better in my eyes to let off a guilty party, than to condemn an innocent one.
 

·
Cake monster
Joined
·
1,584 Posts
Okay, I'll answer this first... I had hoped that my statements in the original post made my intentions clear, I'll re-iterate though.

The car has a Salvaged title, this pretty much ruins any chance of suing Ford, or the dealership the car was purchased from. Would I be suing the small, little known company that did the diagnostics in California? Firstly, I have no reason to try. Secondly, even if I did try(and win), any monetary gain would be very minimal, even before legal fees and transportation to/from California.

I stated the truth before, I'm not out to make money off of this. My girlfriend and I both have other cars to drive while this one sits, and my only concern currently is clearing my name. It's hard enough finding a job when you're a 21 year old guy in this economy, try doing it with a criminal record. Not only that, but I find it morally repugnant to charge someone with a crime they did not commit. It'd be better in my eyes to let off a guilty party, than to condemn an innocent one.
I never made any mention of you trying to sue because I knew exactly where you're coming from. That's why I tried giving my best advice to beat it, and you'll need a lawyer to do so. It's going to cost ya a lot more a month for insurance if that gets on your record. You need to fight the charge and get a lawyer. I would imagine that the lawyer would want an inspection from a licensed mechanic to back up your statement of not having brakes.

It won't do any good to provide research from the internet.

Was there someone else in the car while you were driving?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You don't mention anything about the brake fluid level. Only times I've had something like that happen is when a brake line rusts through, there's no pressure, and all the brake fluid leaks out.
The brake fluid level is within the normal range, roughly 1/8" below the max fill line.

If it should happen again to you or anybody else, and you have enough time to react, you could hit the emergency brake or (hate saying this on a Taurus forum with the transmissions we have) throw it in Park or Reverse.
I agree, and I reached for the handbrake, which the Taurus doesn't have. :( Poor excuse, but truth be told I'm not used to the pedal style e-brake.

First of all.

If you want to get out of the wreckless driving, I'm thinking you'll have to prove that your brakes failed. I would see if you can have a licensed mechanic inspect the car and give his opinion as to why the car didn't stop. If he said that the car clearly had a brake failure, then you might have something to stand on. If you're being charged, GET A LAWYER NOW.

Basically, the brakes aren't generally defective. I'll say that right now. I'm not sure how they failed, as you didn't give a lot of indications as to what it did. Did the peddle go flat to the floorwhen you pressed it? Did it become hard to press? It seems possible that the squealing was from having no pads left, maybe you just didn't have the stopping power. Maybe the squealing was you locking your brakes and sliding into him?

If you want to fight the charges, get a lawyer.

I didn't go into great detail on the legal situation because I've been trying to keep things on topic, but I guess It's hard to offer tips/advice without knowing the full story.

I hired a Lawyer the moment I was on my feet enough to afford one, He has had the Trial date pushed back twice, and my primary concern for working on the car is the idea that I may be accused of tampering with it. I'm a DIYer for almost every project, this is just something I'm terrified of touching. I am hoping that the information you all have provided will help me narrow down the problem. I've got a certified mechanic that can look at the car, I just have to tow it to him. I'm amassing the funds for that currently, and trying to learn as much as I can in the meantime.

He stated "Pump your brakes when your car is parked, and that is as close as I can describe to my experience in July."

Correct me if I'm wriong but that would indicate an issue with vacuum or the power booster - brake lines wouldn't cause the pedal to go firm unless the lines were blocked or pinched and worn pads wouldn't cause the pedal to firm up either.

You need a lawyer - if for nothing else to argue the fact that the officer wan't there to witness anything and shouldn't have written the ticket in the first place and no one witnessing the accident probably has a clue what a legal charge of wreckless driving is or what was going on.... No matter what, you can't likely prove a mechanical problem - maybe your lawyer can cast a reasonable doubt and persuade the court, in any case your insurance is going up.
That is what I've been thinking, the car does run(very roughly, bogs down unless you keep it above 2K RPMs, but the brakes feel normal when it's kept in the 2-3k Range. It's not drivable, and we've avoided moving it due to the same fear that it will be in-admissible as evidence.

The defense for the alleged witness' testimony is fairly solid, this just happens to be the bread and butter of their case. Discredit the witness and there's still an unexplained car accident that caused a 4 car pileup... Discredit the accident and you've got a guy who says I changed lanes multiple times. Either way, a Jury full of attentive people who look at all the evidence will likely favor the defense. Jury's are a crapshoot though, you're more likely to get someone who'd rather be somewhere else.

I can take the insurance ding, my record is spotless. 5 years of perfect driving, you'd think the officer's would take that into account.

I'd also like to note that there were no skid marks at the scene, so I'm leaning away from the idea that the brakes locked up. The car didn't slow at all, at least not as measured by myself, my girlfriend, and the prosecution's witness.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I never made any mention of you trying to sue because I knew exactly where you're coming from. That's why I tried giving my best advice to beat it, and you'll need a lawyer to do so. It's going to cost ya a lot more a month for insurance if that gets on your record. You need to fight the charge and get a lawyer. I would imagine that the lawyer would want an inspection from a licensed mechanic to back up your statement of not having brakes.

It won't do any good to provide research from the internet.

Was there someone else in the car while you were driving?
I should have made the first post more inclusive, I really didn't put in enough information. I'm sorry for being vague, I'll try and cover everything. My last post has more info about the legal situation.
 

·
Cake monster
Joined
·
1,584 Posts
The brake fluid level is within the normal range, roughly 1/8" below the max fill line.



I agree, and I reached for the handbrake, which the Taurus doesn't have. :( Poor excuse, but truth be told I'm not used to the pedal style e-brake.




I didn't go into great detail on the legal situation because I've been trying to keep things on topic, but I guess It's hard to offer tips/advice without knowing the full story.

I hired a Lawyer the moment I was on my feet enough to afford one, He has had the Trial date pushed back twice, and my primary concern for working on the car is the idea that I may be accused of tampering with it. I'm a DIYer for almost every project, this is just something I'm terrified of touching. I am hoping that the information you all have provided will help me narrow down the problem. I've got a certified mechanic that can look at the car, I just have to tow it to him. I'm amassing the funds for that currently, and trying to learn as much as I can in the meantime.



That is what I've been thinking, the car does run(very roughly, bogs down unless you keep it above 2K RPMs, but the brakes feel normal when it's kept in the 2-3k Range. It's not drivable, and we've avoided moving it due to the same fear that it will be in-admissible as evidence.

The defense for the alleged witness' testimony is fairly solid, this just happens to be the bread and butter of their case. Discredit the witness and there's still an unexplained car accident that caused a 4 car pileup... Discredit the accident and you've got a guy who says I changed lanes multiple times. Either way, a Jury full of attentive people who look at all the evidence will likely favor the defense. Jury's are a crapshoot though, you're more likely to get someone who'd rather be somewhere else.

I can take the insurance ding, my record is spotless. 5 years of perfect driving, you'd think the officer's would take that into account.

I'd also like to note that there were no skid marks at the scene, so I'm leaning away from the idea that the brakes locked up. The car didn't slow at all, at least not as measured by myself, my girlfriend, and the prosecution's witness.
In hindsight, you should have had it towed right to a garage, instead of leaving it in the driveway. If you can prove that your brakes failed, you will have something to argue in court, this is the best option. Rear end collisions are very hard to get off on. What did the police say when you immediately said "I had massive, sudden brake failure, my car wouldn't stop." I've heard this kind of situation several times on my police radio, the cops generally take that into account somewhat.

From what I'm hearing, it doesn't sound like your lawyer is that good. Does he think you'll get off on this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I figured the same as far as proving the brake failure, it's also the only facet of their case against me that I have physical evidence to go through. It's 50% crash, and 50% "witness".

The police reaction was strange, and definitely didn't help my case. My girlfriend and I both repeatedly stated that the brakes had failed, yet it never made it into the police report. They also neglected to mention other important information... They got the cross street for the accident wrong, they marked no damage on our car, they said the airbags did not deploy, and they said my ankle was swollen badly, yet not sprained or broken. The officer who filed the report was present as the doctor diagnosed my ankle as badly sprained, and their own(Police) photographic evidence of the scene shows their error for the cross street, the deployed airbags, and the extensive damage to the Taurus. I truly don't understand how a rational person could possibly consider the accident the result of reckless driving. I do know that the "witness" had described it thus, quoted as saying that "his reckless driving worried me". If I had done the aforementioned multiple lane changes, and then caused an accident... I could understand a careless driving citation. Nothing that has occurred makes sense, so far as I'm able to tell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
203 Posts
Cops are very weird when it comes to accidents. Usually they come and make outrageous assumptions that will fit nicely into their paperwork. Like one time my brother got in an accident at an intersection. He started going when no cars were around, but some bimbo flew around the corner speeding so fast, there was no time to react and he got hit.

The cop at the scene said since he didn't see tire marks from hard braking on the road, the woman couldn't have been speeding. Well moron maybe she just didn't brake since she didn't see him or couldn't react in time! It just would make too much paper work for them.

If your officer didn't put that you reported brake failure into his report, he can get into some trouble for it (if witnesses can verify that you were reporting such).

I don't know how you drive, or why random people were reporting reckless driving if you weren't, but it should have no impact on the investigation into this accident, as it's unrelated to the cause of the accident which was catastrophic brake failure.

With all the errors in the police report, the 'charges' against you should be easily dismissed by a judge. To further your case, it would help if you had the car inspected by several different mechanics (and maybe a dealer too) to determine the cause of the brake failure. Take pictures of the damage and airbag deployment the cop failed to report. Take that evidence to court.

On to the brakes themselves. Automotive brakes are set up in a way so that one line leads from front drivers side to rear passenger side, and the other line for front passenger side, rear drivers side.

This setup it so that in the event that one line fails, there would be at least some pressure on the other line to get you stopped. However, if the line failed, your pedal would have gone to the floor and you would have taken a much longer distance to stop regardless.

Where you experienced a completely firm pedal, I would suspect something went wrong with the master cylinder.

I'm not aware of any Taurus specific failures like this. If this were happening to any car out there regularly, it would be all over the news with massive forced recalls and class action lawsuits.

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Cops are very weird when it comes to accidents. Usually they come and make outrageous assumptions that will fit nicely into their paperwork. Like one time my brother got in an accident at an intersection. He started going when no cars were around, but some bimbo flew around the corner speeding so fast, there was no time to react and he got hit.

The cop at the scene said since he didn't see tire marks from hard braking on the road, the woman couldn't have been speeding. Well moron maybe she just didn't brake since she didn't see him or couldn't react in time! It just would make too much paper work for them.

If your officer didn't put that you reported brake failure into his report, he can get into some trouble for it (if witnesses can verify that you were reporting such).

I don't know how you drive, or why random people were reporting reckless driving if you weren't, but it should have no impact on the investigation into this accident, as it's unrelated to the cause of the accident which was catastrophic brake failure.

With all the errors in the police report, the 'charges' against you should be easily dismissed by a judge. To further your case, it would help if you had the car inspected by several different mechanics (and maybe a dealer too) to determine the cause of the brake failure. Take pictures of the damage and airbag deployment the cop failed to report. Take that evidence to court.

On to the brakes themselves. Automotive brakes are set up in a way so that one line leads from front drivers side to rear passenger side, and the other line for front passenger side, rear drivers side.

This setup it so that in the event that one line fails, there would be at least some pressure on the other line to get you stopped. However, if the line failed, your pedal would have gone to the floor and you would have taken a much longer distance to stop regardless.

Where you experienced a completely firm pedal, I would suspect something went wrong with the master cylinder.

I'm not aware of any Taurus specific failures like this. If this were happening to any car out there regularly, it would be all over the news with massive forced recalls and class action lawsuits.

Good luck!

Thank you for the reply!! I'm sorry that I haven't been on for a while. I had a mishap with my computer, but I've managed to get access to another temporarily.

I'm having a hard time finding a reputable mechanic that will fit into my budget, as I'm up to my eyeballs paying my lawyer. Thankfully, I've got until March to figure things out; I won't eat up my time sitting around though, I've got a starting point thanks to you guys!

The allogations made by the "witness" were outlandish, they contradicted themselves over and over. The police report has 2 and a half pages of their testimony... Half of which the witness claims to have been in front of me. I am no lawyer, but I can't believe anyone in their right mind would consider that a viable witness statement.

Another bonus for me, the person I was on my way to meet(Car insurance Agent) agreed to testify on my behalf, that I was not in any rush to meet her. Phone records coincide with her statement as well. It looks like the brakes are the only thing left to look in to, so it's a race to save money now.

I'm grateful for all the input I've received on here, and I'll keep checking back in case something new pops up.

Assuming the defense goes well, I'll be spending a lot of time on these forums during the repair on the Taurus.

Thanks again!
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top