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Old 12-17-2013, 12:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Rear Defrost stopped working

I am hoping someone can guide me to what may have caused my rear defrost to stop working. 1996 Taurus GL wagon 3.0 liter Vulcan 175,000 miles. I am the original owner of this car and have managed to keep it in good repair. In fact this is the only thing that does not work. Last year it stopped working in late Fall. I cleaned the negative clip (right side) on the windshield as I had noticed some corosion---from there it worked all winter. A similiar clean this year did nothing. I changed out the relay with a new one. Both fuses look fine. The light goes on when the button is pushed, I hear a click, and it will turn itself off after 10-15 minutes. I can get no sign of current using a voltage tester on the clips or the harnesses attached to them. Could the switch/timer be bad even though the button lights up and times out? Is the switch/timer one unit on this vehicle?

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by icefisherman; 12-17-2013 at 12:18 PM. Reason: missing word
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Take a multi meter to the grid clips. Red on one side, black probe on the other.
See if there's 12volt hot when using defrost.


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Old 12-17-2013, 02:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sorry thesavo, my post was not clear---- I used both a high- low voltage tester and a small lamp kit called the Frost Fighter test lamp kit. There was no sign of current in either case. I tried ataching to both the clips and the harnesses.
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, you can try a meter set to "continuity" or 0 ohms. Touch the meter probes together, you should show continuity. Touch each of two wires separately, with the other probe touching a known good ground location . with meter in continuity setting

You could even use the battery for ground.

You'll need some long wire. I don't have a diagram for your year. I think that the circuit goes hot when in use, but always grounded.

Once you find one that does shows continuity with ground, mark it somehow. Turn on rear defrost, the other wire should be your hot in use. Test by switching Meter to 12/20vdc probe it while meter is still connected to battery ground.

This test may not work if the defrost grid it setup as always ground, with hot in use.

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Old 12-17-2013, 04:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Maybe this will help:
Diagrams for '96-99
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