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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
1996 Taurus LX Wipers Not Working: FIXED

I have a 1996 Taurus LX as my wife's daily driver. Yesterday, the wipers worked fine and nothing gave a hint that they would not be working today. However, today when my wife went to take our daughter to school, the wipers would not go on. I did some searching and found references to relays, the turn signal multi-function switch as well as other things.

I have checked the fuse box inside the vehicle as well as the power distribution box with the larger fuses and relays. Nothing stands out. No fuses were blown. And since the power distribution box has multiple identical relays, I swapped them around (moving them 1 outlet). I figured if a relay was bad, that would have fixed the wipers while causing something else to stop working - does that sound correct?

Moving the relays didn't help and with no blown fuses, the obvious solutions seem to be covered. I guess it could be the multi-function signal switch or the wiper motor, but I have no idea at this point. Before taking it to the mechanic (probably tomorrow), I was hoping for any other suggestions! Or maybe a simple way to test and identify whether it would be the wiper motor or the multi-function turn signal switch that was the cause of our problems.

Any thoughts as to the cause and how to repair? I would prefer to order the part online if possible, but I don't have time to wait since we are in the rainy season now. I am open to any and all suggestions.

Thanks!
 

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Twist the knob on the MFS several times while wiggling it. Contact wear is very common in that part.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Twist the knob on the MFS several times while wiggling it. Contact wear is very common in that part.
Thanks, jw89sho. I tried fiddling with the intermittent knob a lot. I pushed in to activate the washer fluid spray (didn't work), turned the wiper selection fast, slow through all the settings, but nothing worked. Is this what you mean or is there something else I could try? Does it come apart in some way without removing it or is it one piece? Can I pop the end of to clean it or is that not possible?

If I replace the MFS (and I'm thinking so anyway because the left blinker sometimes, though not too often, doesn't work when you hold it part way when changing lanes for example), isn't the 4-way blinkers part of the MFS switch? The 4-way blinkers only flash the drivers side like I'm turning left. It used to be that I could play with that switch and get the 4-way blinkers to work, but today, I couldn't get it to work.
 

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Sounds like your MFS is toast. Failed MFS is a relatively common Ford problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Can anyone recommend a good brand (and related part number) for the MFS? I've been searching and really haven't come back with the correct part number.

I'm wondering if a motorcraft part would be better than another brand - any thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Update: FIXED

I replaced the MFS (Multi-Function Switch) turn signal switch and this solved the wiper problem. In addition, my 4-ways now work as well with the added benefit that the washer spray also works better (my wife always complained that it would NOT work for her).

As far as the online instructions I found, they indicated you *may not* have to remove the bottom steering wheel column cover when replacing the MFS. In my case for this model Taurus, I don't think I could have easily gotten to the bottom torx screw holding the MFS (if at all). As it was, the tilt steering wheel lever was in the way even with the cover removed (the tilt steering wheel lever goes through a hole in the bottom cover). If I had left the cover in place, I don't think I could have reached the screw at all (ymmv).

Also, I did NOT disconnect the battery. I'm sure many of you will tell me that it's not a good idea to leave it connected, though it worked fine for me. The overall repair took about 20 minutes to remove the column covers (top and bottom), remove and disconnect the broken MFS, plug in the new MFS and test and reassemble.

Thanks to all who read and/or responded!
 

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Glad to hear it is fixed!
 
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