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Pickup Recall Campaigns
One little known source we've found for keeping posted on possible problems with late model pickups is a U.S. Department of Transportation publication, entitled: "Safety Related Recall Campaigns For Motor Vehicles." Manufacturers are required by law to report defects to the government.
Recall campaigns often affect only a fraction of the trucks of a certain model. However, they do point up things to look for and questions to ask to avoid "lemons".
Here are examples of recall campaigns, as published by the government, in 1981:

1979+80 Chevrolet C & K 20-30 and GMC C & K 20-30. Possibility that certain vehicles, equipped with vacuum power disc/drum brakes, may develop fatigue cracks in brake vacuum booster housing causing a vacuum leak and reduced brake effectiveness. After prolonged use, cracks may develop enough to cause booster to separate from vehicle, and braking ability would be lost. Correct by inspecting and installing support brace. If cracks are present, replace brake booster. 320,677 pickups recalled.

1981 Ford F-350, E-350. Possibility that certain vehicles may be equipped with wheels that were not welded (wheel rim to disc) during assembly. Without these welds, rim would be retained to disc by a press fit only. Under these conditions, wheel rim and tire assembly could separate from vehicle without warning, resulting in possibility of lost control and a vehicle crash. Correct by inspecting and, if necessary, replacing wheels not having identification codes. 450 vehicles recalled.

1981 Volkswagen pickup. Possibility that on certain vehicles the left and right outer tire rods ends may contain a crack, resulting from improper machine setup. Over an extended period of time, the tie rod could loosen and eventually the outer shell could separate from its ball socket. This would result in possible loss of steering control. Correct by inspecting and replacing tie rod ends. 4,800 pickups recalled.

For a copy of the latest list of recalls for pickups, trucks, cars and other motor vehicles, send $2.25 for "Safety Related Recall Campaigns for Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment, Including Tires", to: Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402 (ph 202 783-3238).

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1982 - Volume #6, Issue #1