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Old 06-29-2011, 06:14 PM
 
Location: Live in NY State, (sometimes) work in CT
6,577 posts, read 8,207,412 times
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About 3 months ago, whenever I would have the car in reverse the radio would shut off (consistently) and the power locks wouldn't work (sometimes). After about a week it "fixed itself".

Yesterday, it came back after 3 months (and about 4000 miles of driving) but in a weird manifestation. When the car was in reverse or any "forward" (drive) gear, the radio shut off, the power steering shut down, and the power windows wouldn't work. It would instantly fix once I put it in park or neutral.

Today, all is fine when I first leave with the car, but after about 15-30 minutes of driving the radio will go off and stay off while in Drive. Sometimes it will come back on for awhile. No issues with the power steering or the power windows though. I figured out when the radio is in "off" mode it does it while in reverse too.

A Ford dealer said they "think" it's the transmission range sensor, but wouldn't say for sure without spending about $150-200 just to look at it. An AAMCO shop said they're familiar with that problem, but looked and insisted that it is not that at all, but was clueless and mystified as to what it is. My regular mechanic is clueless and mystified too, but admits he's not an "electrical expert".

Anyone have any ideas on this one? The car drives fine outside of this issue. FYI, car only has 34,000 miles on it, that sounds like "tampering" but I know the original owner, an old couple who rarely drove it. Thanks for any thoughts and ideas!
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:46 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle, originally from SF Bay Area
14,440 posts, read 17,381,414 times
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Even with 10,000 miles on it, a 15 year old car has wiring and other parts that are 15 years old. Wire insulation gets brittle, bugs and even mice munch on them in a car that's been sitting, and it could take an expert many hours to find the problem only to have another pop up a week later. Tracing it takes a long time an that means a lot of money. I'd look for a shop that specializes in electrical, if you can still find such a place, where they might have a better chance of knowing the problem. Most shops these days do charge $80-150 just to look at it. The thing that stumps me is the power steering, on a 2006 that's strictly mechanical, no electronics, and should not be affected by anything else. Maybe just coincidence.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:02 PM
 
10,798 posts, read 8,903,016 times
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Sounds like its been crittered. Dealerships replace harnesses and private mechs take the time to follow the wires and connect then back together again. Choose your poison: 500-2000.
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Old 06-30-2011, 02:46 AM
 
8,410 posts, read 8,921,704 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bisjoe View Post
The thing that stumps me is the power steering, on a 2006 that's strictly mechanical, no electronics, and should not be affected by anything else. Maybe just coincidence.
It's a '96, but that's even more to your point. An electrical problem shouldn't affect the power steering pump is what you're saying, right? Unlike some newer cars that have electrical (-ly assisted) steering?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilVA View Post
Sounds like its been crittered. Dealerships replace harnesses and private mechs take the time to follow the wires and connect then back together again. Choose your poison: 500-2000.
Crittered! I'm gonna use that!
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:06 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle, originally from SF Bay Area
14,440 posts, read 17,381,414 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vmaxnc View Post
It's a '96, but that's even more to your point. An electrical problem shouldn't affect the power steering pump is what you're saying, right? Unlike some newer cars that have electrical (-ly assisted) steering?

Yes, that's what I meant (oops on the 2006)
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Live in NY State, (sometimes) work in CT
6,577 posts, read 8,207,412 times
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I agree about the power steering, but when I Googled "power steering shuts off when car in reverse" (without mentioning the make/model of car), several forums (usually from a few years ago) came up all mentioning 1996-1999 Ford Taurus or 1996-2000 Ford Escort and all saying about that transmission range sensor. All seemed to suggest that it was a cheap and easy repair, that the part was about $30-50 and under an hour of labor, but since the forums were old (oldest one was from 2002, newest from 2009), I figure maybe the part is hard to get now, though I was able to find some used sources on the Web for about that price range. My regular mechanic thought it was the power steering pump and/or a leak in fluid but no leak was found, the fluid was almost full and he said the pump was sound. The fluid was moderately dirty so he did do a flush for me so maybe that fixed the PS problem, but I'm skeptical because it was working fine in other gears even when we had the problem.

If it weren't for the weirdness of it happening only in certain gears I'd automatically think all you say, after all, it is a 15 year old car that mostly "sat there" that I paid almost nothing for ($900) basically to have as basic transportation until I can get back to f/t employment and get a better car (had a much newer car with a car loan to pay but given financial situation was able to convince GM to let me simply "turn in" the car) and I can't expect the wires to be in "perfect shape" though in general it looks surprisingly good under the hood.

The manager of the AAMCO I went to did give me the phone number of an "electrical expert" to check out so that will be my next route. Thanks again!
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Old 06-30-2011, 02:20 PM
 
6,347 posts, read 7,219,727 times
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Sounds like a bad or mis-adjusted neutral safety switch (range sensor). Is it setting a code?
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Live in NY State, (sometimes) work in CT
6,577 posts, read 8,207,412 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gimme3steps View Post
Sounds like a bad or mis-adjusted neutral safety switch (range sensor). Is it setting a code?
Not sure what you mean, range sensor makes sense but isn't neutral safety switch when it goes back simply mean you suddenly can't start the car when in park or neutral?

If "setting a code" means the check engine light codes, no, it hasn't caused that.
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Old 06-30-2011, 04:05 PM
 
6,347 posts, read 7,219,727 times
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What used to be called a neutral safety switch is now called a transmission range sensor and has more functions.

Here's the TSB -- (check out the bold part)

Article No.
96-25-5


12/02/96
STEERING - CONTINUOUS REDUCTION IN POWER STEERING ASSIST WHEN SHIFTING INTO "REVERSE" OR "DRIVE" - VEHICLES WITH 3.0L ENGINE
STEERING - INTERMITTENT REDUCTION IN POWER STEERING ASSIST - VEHICLES WITH 3.0L ENGINE BUILT THROUGH 5/13/96
FORD:
1996 TAURUS
LINCOLN-MERCURY:
1996 SABLE

ISSUE:

There may be intermittent reduction in power steering assist during braking from 80 km/h (50 mph) on some vehicles. For this concern, the resolution may be a revision to the Generic Electronic Module (GEM) calibration.

On some other vehicles, there may be a continuous reduction in power steering assist when shifting into "Reverse" or "Drive." The customer may have noticed a loss of radio sound, power window and lock functions. For this 3.0L concern, the cause may be internal shorting of the Transmission Range (TR) sensor.

ACTION:
For those vehicles with intermittent reduction in power steering assist, refer to the following Service Procedure, Step 3.
For those 3.0L vehicles with continuous reduction in power steering assist when shifting into "Reverse" or "Drive," replace the TR sensor. Refer to the following Service Procedure for details.

SERVICE PROCEDURE
1. Perform normal diagnostics for high steering efforts found in Section 11 of the 1996 Taurus/Sable Service Manual.
2. For a continuous reduction in power steering assist concern on 3.0L engines when the transmission is shifted into "Reverse" or "Drive," disconnect the harness connection from the TR sensor and retest. If the steering functions correctly, replace the TR sensor (-7F293-).
3. Perform diagnostics for the GEM, refer to the 1996 Taurus/Sable Service Manual, Section 18-04. Observe any codes that have been logged by the GEM. If no codes have been logged, and communication with the GEM functions properly, then replace the GEM with a revised GEM (-14B205-) which has a calibration adjustment. Refer to the 1996 Taurus/Sable Service Manual, Section 13 for replacement details.
PART NUMBER PART NAME

F7DZ-14B205-AB Generic Electronic Module (GEM)

F7DZ-14B2O5-BB GEM (Gulf coast country vehicles)

F5DZ-7F293-AA Transmission Range (TR) Sensor (8-Pin connector)

F6DZ-7F293-A Transmission Range (TR) Sensor (12-Pin connector)
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Old 06-30-2011, 06:10 PM
 
21,863 posts, read 12,632,880 times
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My dad had a 1990 Taurus with a lot of the same problems. Darned if I can remember what the fix was but I think there was a factory recall, finally.

Maybe check and see if my memory is correct and there was a recall and what the fix was? These symptoms are SO similar. Ever have problems getting it to start? That was one of the problems it had. You could turn the key and nothing happened. No lights on the dash. No battery cranking. Nothing. I can tell you that after the recall repairs were made it ran like a champ for another 10 years.
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