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No Explorer resolution in sight

WASHINGTON — The cloud of suspicion over the Ford Explorer is going to hover — in part because federal safety officials and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. don’t agree on what constitutes a request for a defect investigation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t decided if an investigation of the Explorer is warranted because the agency hasn’t received all of the material it expects from the tire maker, NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson said.

Many outside the agency had expected a NHTSA decision by Sunday, Sept. 30, the deadline if Bridgestone/Firestone’s original May 31 request had been deemed sufficient.

But Jill Bratina, Bridgestone/Firestone spokeswoman, said Friday, Sept. 28, the tire company doesn’t know what else NHTSA wants. Since asking in May for an investigation, the tire maker has sent research from its consultant, Dennis Guenther, she said.

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