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Question from an electrical newbie....My wifes car ('97 Sable) has developed an electrical glitch over the last while in addition to all the others. This car has always been an elecrtical lemon....The washer pump some times works (for the last 5 years) as well as the drivers window and the rear window washer pump no name a few. In the last year the headlights began to flicker constantly and now the car has developed a random total power cut out during driving. (mostly during decelleration or braking) The cut out only lasts a second or two, enough to see the gauges go nuts, radio and lights fade and loss of ignition. (engine stumbles) There is sometimes loud clicking coming from the upper left corner of the dash when this happens. (my wife has even heard these clicks when the car is not running...***??) We had it at the garage and they lost all the data when it "stumbled". They replaced the ignition switch which solved the problem for a few months. Ironically (and I may have answered my own question) the switch has been starting to buzz like the key is in it some times (on exit or entry) untill you wiggle it, but causes no engine stumble or power loss when wiggling it as we are driving. Im thinking these two symptoms must be related as they started up around the same time.
Is ther anything else I should check? Computer, wiring harness short or loose connections? I wish it would just quit altogether so we can trace the problem...If it was only me driving it, I'd hope it catches on fire so I could walk away. (But for the safety of my wife and kids, Id like to see it fixed.)

I don't really care about the minor glitches like the washer pumps or windows, I'm primarily concerned with this ignition thing as I believe it is a major safety issue. Any advice is appreciated.
 

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Ford Recall

Doc here :pimp:

I remember reading Ford had a recall on the ignition switches because they would burn up and cause fires...I do not remember however what years they covered...90 somethings...

If you went in for just diagnosis and repair, you may have gotten a post recall switch..and it may be bad again...This was discovered on a "Sting" operation by 60 minutes, for a woman's estate who was burned to death in one...60 minutes found the part number that was replaced was post recall number replacement (the same switch) and on many others as well...

Check your recall notices and part numbers...

As far as the rest, Fords are an intermittent nightmare because of the Metal/plastic relationship, and the best course of action is attack all your grounds first..make sure all your grounds are good and bonded.

Then troubleshoot each problem as it occurs for both power and ground.

Doc :pimp:
 

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Check cables at battery both + and - cables. Engine ground cable, B+ at starter connector. There is a connector at the engine compartment power distribution box. Check the red 10 gauge wire at the mounting bolt at the box.
Start there and let us know. Perform a wiggle test of the terminals connectors power distribution box and ign switch with the engine idling and headlights on while checking for a stumble.
 

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from my little experience...

Things are probably quite different on your '97 model Sable, but back in '95 when I had an '88 Chrysler Conquest, I had a similar electrical ailment. Mine turned out to be a bus bar (terminology?) of sorts right off the battery. This bus bar had one connection that was just loose enough to wear the wire loose at the connector and the result was complete loss of power.
My modestly experienced advice is to restate the prior. Be very investigative of your grounds and connectors.
 

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Firewall plugs

Doc here:pimp:

Another source of contention is the firewall plugs where the main harness go in, come loose, corrode, or fill with dirt, good place to check and clean.

Doc :pimp:
 

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Grounds, grounds and more grounds. From your description, and a long time lemon problem, you most likely have more than one poor/faulty ground. The modern day vehicles (I include 96 Sables in this category) have many grounds for a reason and one intermittent ground can run you crazy.

Trees
 
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