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Posted: 11/18/2012 3:26:03 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/18/2012 3:26:46 PM EST by tbonifie]
I have a 1995 Ford Taurus Wagon GL. A few days ago, the signal lights, brake lights, and cruise control all stopped working. These are all on the same fuse, so, of course, that's the first thing I checked, but the fuse is good (I replaced it anyway, no go). I also went around and replaced all the lights in the rear, then removed the two in front (since I didn't have bulbs to replace them on hand) thinking maybe there was a short in the system, but that didn't change anything, either.

So far as I can tell, there is no power even getting to the 15A fuse. I pulled it and put a voltmeter in the socket and did not measure a voltage even when the car is on. So my wild guess is that it's something upstream of that which is broken.

The manual makes reference to a "circuit breaker" somewhere in the car which should "automatically start working again" after the "problem" is fixed. I'm wondering at this point whether it's the circuit breaker itself which is the problem? I don't have a repair manual (will probably get one tomorrow) and can't seem to find much detail online in that respect.

2 questions:

1. Is the circuit breaker a likely source of the problem?
2. Where can I find the circuit breaker in the vehicle, and is it a difficult thing to replace?


In the last two years, Arfcom is 2 for 2 in quickly diagnosing my automobile problems... let's see if we can go 3 for 3!!!
Link Posted: 11/18/2012 3:42:04 PM EST
I haven't worked on 95 ford anything in quite a while, but I'll give it a go.....first, testing for voltage across the fuse contacts will only show voltage if the circuit is ON. This means hooking up the meter, then stepping on the brake pedal, or activating turn signal, the circuit is most likely ground side controlled, so without that connection to ground your meter has no ground at the fuse contact. Second, if memory serves, the circuit for the brake lights goes from the switch down on the pedal, up through the turn signal/multifunction/hazard switch, and then on to the stop lights themselves. If there is a break in the circuit in the turn signal switch, the stop lights will not work, and quite frequently neither will the turn signals. Also, the cruise needs to see brake pedal/stop lamp input in order to function correctly, if it cannot get that signal, it won't work. So, again if memory serves, given your list of complaints all relating to the turn signals/brake lights/cruise inoperative, my best guesstimate from here is you probably have a faulty turn signal/multifunction switch. But I'm sure a couple ford boys will be in here shortly to confirm, or deny, this.
Link Posted: 11/18/2012 5:43:57 PM EST
Originally Posted By johnQpublik:
I haven't worked on 95 ford anything in quite a while, but I'll give it a go.....first, testing for voltage across the fuse contacts will only show voltage if the circuit is ON. This means hooking up the meter, then stepping on the brake pedal, or activating turn signal, the circuit is most likely ground side controlled, so without that connection to ground your meter has no ground at the fuse contact. Second, if memory serves, the circuit for the brake lights goes from the switch down on the pedal, up through the turn signal/multifunction/hazard switch, and then on to the stop lights themselves. If there is a break in the circuit in the turn signal switch, the stop lights will not work, and quite frequently neither will the turn signals. Also, the cruise needs to see brake pedal/stop lamp input in order to function correctly, if it cannot get that signal, it won't work. So, again if memory serves, given your list of complaints all relating to the turn signals/brake lights/cruise inoperative, my best guesstimate from here is you probably have a faulty turn signal/multifunction switch. But I'm sure a couple ford boys will be in here shortly to confirm, or deny, this.



Based on previous experience with Ford products, this is where I would start. That switch controls a lot of stuff, and for some reason the engineers put it all on the same circuit.
Link Posted: 11/18/2012 7:06:41 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/18/2012 7:11:20 PM EST by tbonifie]

Originally Posted By kevhogAZ:
Originally Posted By johnQpublik:
I haven't worked on 95 ford anything in quite a while, but I'll give it a go.....first, testing for voltage across the fuse contacts will only show voltage if the circuit is ON. This means hooking up the meter, then stepping on the brake pedal, or activating turn signal, the circuit is most likely ground side controlled, so without that connection to ground your meter has no ground at the fuse contact. Second, if memory serves, the circuit for the brake lights goes from the switch down on the pedal, up through the turn signal/multifunction/hazard switch, and then on to the stop lights themselves. If there is a break in the circuit in the turn signal switch, the stop lights will not work, and quite frequently neither will the turn signals. Also, the cruise needs to see brake pedal/stop lamp input in order to function correctly, if it cannot get that signal, it won't work. So, again if memory serves, given your list of complaints all relating to the turn signals/brake lights/cruise inoperative, my best guesstimate from here is you probably have a faulty turn signal/multifunction switch. But I'm sure a couple ford boys will be in here shortly to confirm, or deny, this.



Based on previous experience with Ford products, this is where I would start. That switch controls a lot of stuff, and for some reason the engineers put it all on the same circuit.

Hopefully a part I can get at the auto-parts store? I will look into this soon as I get a chance. Unfortunately, tomorrow is going to be VERY busy... so maybe not until Tuesday night. Hopefully the rain around here will give me a respite to work on the car in the driveway, got drenched this afternoon!

Thanks for the tips!

ETA: Crud, just checked the weather report, looks like I'm going to have to do this in the rain. On the plus side, that switch is around the steering column, so only my legs will be hanging out the door... Times like this I wish I used my garage for cars instead of reloading room/shop/office/storage.
Link Posted: 11/19/2012 10:05:26 PM EST
So I drive home from work today... and the hazard lights on the taurus sitting in the driveway are blinking... turned the car on, now all the lights work again (after having replaced all the lights yesterday, it still didn't work, but evidently after sitting for a day, it's working???)

Does this mean the garden gnomes magically fixed it? Or should I go ahead and replace the multi-switch? It's only a $40 part, but you have to tear down the stuff around the steering column to get to it... would probably take me a few hours work (everything I do on that car takes at least that long).

Opinions? Advice?
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