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Old 10-24-2005, 07:18 PM
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'97 Sable electrical & washer pump problems

Hi guys: I have a one of those Monday built-electrical lemon cars....I'm trying to fix what a couple of mechanics can't. Please be patient because I'm going to try to list most of the problems which routinely plague this car as they may be relevant to each other (guessing)

Here is a mini history of all the problems we have had:
  • Washer pump operates only out of the blue
  • Wipers don't automatically kick in when you call for washer fluid. - Upon the above items happening, I checked the pump with a direct wire from the batt...sprayed fluid nearly clear over the car. Replaced the multi function switch just to have the same problem months later.
  • Rear window washer pump works at random - sometimes the wipers will kick in but without juice
  • Car bucks and surges (total elec. failure) for split seconds at any speed - sometimes stalling upon stopping (Winter months only, doesn't seem to be a damp weather thing)
  • Service engine light comes on and off periodically. - changed more sensors than I care to just to happen again weeks later.

I have had at least 5 washer pumps and one multi function switch replaced. I need to fix this problem for good before I get to the others....winters coming, wife needs reliability and safety.

The schematic in the Haynes (useless) manual shows a "Generic Electronic Module" and a "washer motor relay". Could one of these be the problem? (Don't even know where to find these.) Because the wipers are supposed to kick in when you press the pump button, could there be a problem in the wiper motor? The ground on the washer pump itself is OK.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated..

Thanks,

Gear

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Old 11-18-2005, 09:59 PM
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wipers

some of these wiper motors have a flat cover held on with torx screws. if this is the case the cover houses a circuit board that controls the pulse wipers and the washer control. usually replacing the circuit board will repair the problem.
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Old 11-19-2005, 02:54 PM
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Having the same problem

I've got a 92 Taurus wagon. No wipers at all. Just changed the wiper switch in the steering column and the wiper motor. Still doesn't work. I've got the same Haynes generic schematic that shows the "interval governor". I just logged in here to see if I could find any clarification. When I move the switch I can here the relays clicking (it sounds like under the dash somewhere) but after I press the wash button to see if the wipers would cycle that way (which they didn't but the pump for the fluid worked) I loose the clicking sound unless I cycle the ignition off and back on. I also checked the C/B which showed continuity. I am going back out and tracing wires with this schematic, if I come up with something I'll let you know.
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Old 11-19-2005, 04:21 PM
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Found the module

Went back out and started twistin' the switch and zeroed in on the clicking sound. The Interval module is locate just to the right of the steering column mounted on a bracket that can be dropped down by removing the two torx screws. I am not going to be able to get any further on this tonight but I will be going down to the local parts pullin' car lot tomorrow to find one and stick it in a see if this resolves the problem. Good Luck. Time to go watch some HOCKEY !!!!!
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Old 11-20-2005, 04:28 PM
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Switch box

Changed out the electronic relay interval switch under the dash and everything once again works. Hope this helped.
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Old 12-01-2005, 01:13 AM
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Electrical blues

One of the things I would check too is the power supply, if you are not getting a good ground and or back feeding it can take out things. Printed circuits are not set up or designed with spike aresters or diodes to protect them nor do they like gray voltages....... Another words low voltages and or bad grounds. Anything that could cause a inductive kick back like a bad ground on electro magnets on doors, trunks are prime canidates and can cause this. Winches on 4x4's can cause serious spikes! Never hurts to check grounds! Think of electrical flow as water in a pipe. A diodes are a simply one way valve, Transistors are valves that only turn on when they have a small signal on the bace....... or third leg. Reistors are like smaller pipe to restrict flow. Happy hunting!
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Old 12-01-2005, 03:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onestophotrodshop
One of the things I would check too is the power supply, if you are not getting a good ground and or back feeding it can take out things. Printed circuits are not set up or designed with spike aresters or diodes to protect them nor do they like gray voltages....... Another words low voltages and or bad grounds. Anything that could cause a inductive kick back like a bad ground on electro magnets on doors, trunks are prime canidates and can cause this. Winches on 4x4's can cause serious spikes! Never hurts to check grounds! Think of electrical flow as water in a pipe. A diodes are a simply one way valve, Transistors are valves that only turn on when they have a small signal on the bace....... or third leg. Reistors are like smaller pipe to restrict flow. Happy hunting!
Doc here,

MOST modern Vehicle electronic components are protected by real world buffers, such as OP amps, quads or singles..

Zenier's are installed in order to crowbar over-voltage and reverse polarity to ground, to permanently short the B+ line, hence causing an immediate expenditure of the fuse protection device each and everytime it is powered up, until such time as the Zenier is lifted from one side of the circuit or the Zenier is replaced Protecting the circuit.

Under-voltages, on solid state components where the operating voltage is at least 25 % LESS the input voltage, are controlled by a proper OP amp Voltage regulator, such as a 7805 +5 Regulator, 0r a 7812 +12 regulator. If the output demand exceeds the 25% of the input source, the regulator will shut down until the voltage is within tolerance.

My Nephew has 2 Vehicles in his shop, a tow truck (which he was driving) and the towed Vehicle, (whose owner was killed in this incident) .

He was dispatched to a tow in Barstow, on the Highway between There and Vegas for a stalled vehicle..(Bad Fuel pump) and while hooking up the truck, The tow truck was struck by a lightning bolt..

The hit was solid enough to blow my nephew out of his shoes and break both legs, suffering 3 rd degree burns over the lower torso..The Motorist was not so lucky..he was killed outright by millions of volts passing through the body.

The point I'm getting to here, is after investigation, (and a new pump) BOTH Vehicles started right up...NO DAMAGE to either computer..The Tow truck was not so lucky, the MDT (Computer call Display) was destroyed, as well as two motrack communication radios...

What I'm getting at here is, most are of the opinion that if you have "static cling" and get in your car you'll kill the computer..it's that critical...NOT true..Modern computers are so well buffered that they usually outlast the vehicle..and most are replaced in error..(something else was the problem)

Usually all unused pins on chips are bypassed to ground through a bypass cap, to prevent them from becoming "Antennas" to RF and spikes..and source circuits are usually filtered so nothing but the very cleanest of DC reaches the Chip..

While it is true , If you take a CMOS or HMOS architecture device, and briskly rub it through your hair, or throw it in the dryer with your nylon socks , you'll for sure blow a micro~hole through the substrate..but that's pretty abusive treatment..nothing like your going to find on a vehicle..

Also Linear OP AMPS and CMOS/HMOS can not tolerate AC ripple on their Source current lines..They will heat up and go into thermal shutdown (forever) If allowed exposure over time to a dirty line..

This is why it is so important to replace a bad alternator as soon as possible on a newer vehicle...When the diodes begin to fail on the diode packs, the voltage albeit maybe, 14.4 .. is not pure DC, it is probably more like 11 volts DC and 3.4 volts AC over the DC line..

This will damage ECM's (usually go out soon after, while of running on reverse bias diode..) or Damage the Vehicle Computer, as well as instrumentation that uses OP Amp technology, and CD/Radio players, High output Audio amps..(These are nothing more than high output LINEAR OP AMP BRICKS..with a thermistor mounted to the heat-sink case.)

If you have ever run a stereo while charging a battery, you know exactly what I mean..It hums so badly you can't stand it...(and you will damage it if left running)

It's because the charger , while DC, is not well filtered at all..usually the cheap ones are 1/2 wave, meaning 30 cycles out of 60 (Wall AC Frequency) are getting past the diode Bridge (or 1/2 bridge) on every cycle..and usually there is little or no capacitive filtering in the output stages...

NEVER test any semiconductor circuit with a charger! Use a proper Fused and filtered, full wave Bench Supply of ample current rating. ALWAYS disconnect a modern Vehicle battery Before charging or you Can damage componets...

Diodes are more than just one way valves for Electricity, they can rectify, (as in an alternator, or power supply..turn AC into DC) They are capable of picking up signal and separating it from analog current..Some are Capable of Transmitting High Energy Microwave Signals out into space (Tunnel and PIN Diodes) In Digital, they can be used as matrix's to set up input codes in binary..0000000101...00000000100...etc..

They have many uses..a Zenier will provide polarity protection simply because it has a "Gate" that if it See's a voltage coming up the wrong direction, it welds it self shut..The diode is placed between ground and power, and normally is isolated from each, but when reversed it shorts and stays on ground to power, making it impossible to power up without blowing the fuse or melting the power wires until removal or replacement of the diode.

So yes, treat your computer with respect, but don't fear that just removing the kick panel is going to destroy every chip in the system...Normal care, and ALL power removed and you should never have a problem.

Doc

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Old 12-01-2005, 09:21 AM
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Short follow up.

I fully understand electronics and how it works, I have been an electronic engineer for 11 year working at H.P. I just was trying to keep it simple. Every chip made has a certain amount of protection built in, but it still happens. To me this is not some sort of a contest to see who is right, it is to help some one with a question and give experiance and possibilities. Yes there are voltage regulators, inductors, caps and Diodes (zeners) to suppress stray voltages and even badly designed circuits (this one may be marginal from the factory) who knows , but if protections fails it can cause problems. I watched a guy do a simple battery replacement and the posts on the new bat were backwards in polarity and guess what.......he changed it around and the truck would not run. Several trips to the parts counter later and he had it running again. I like the Kiss theory........Keep is simple don't cloud the issues and explor all options.
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Old 12-03-2005, 05:12 PM
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Thanks for the input guys. Its working perfectly lately. As soon as it fraggs again, I'm going to dig into it. I still think the wiper/washer switch is defective. I don't think I will have much luck troubleshooting it until it acts up again.
Thanks again folks
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Old 12-03-2005, 05:31 PM
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One thing to look at, on Taurus's they had big problems with a harnes that runs behind the battery. It rots out. You may want to take a look there next time it acts up. All the acidic crap from the battery runs right into the harness. I have seen this more than once

To Doc point, this is why grounds are so important. Keeps everything sort of isolated as far as power and grounding
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