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Discussion Starter #1
Granted, this was not such a difficult install that it warranted such a thorough How To, but I was bored, and had the camera. If it helps one person get around one bump, or it makes just one person try something on their own rather than pay for it, hooray.

Reason for replacement:
  • my windshield nozzles wait about 5 seconds before coming on after pressing switch
  • on the intermittent settings, the wipers wipe randomly - for example, if you put it on the middle setting and count seconds in between wipes, I would see 5...3...5...25...10...
Considering it's an electronic component, on my daily driver, and considering the 129,000 miles I decided to replace rather than disassemble and try to repair or clean.

Tools needed:

One small flat head screwdriver
One small Phillips head screwdriver
1/4" drive ratchet
6" 1/4" drive extension
8mm 1/4" drive socket
T10 Torx socket
replacement part

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STEP ONE:

Disconnect the negative terminal from the battery. I am the captain of breaking this rule. I almost never follow this rule. But trust me, Taurus's have a LOT of stuff under the driver's side dash, a lot of bare metal that serves as VERY good grounds when you don't want them to be. One slip and you'll hear a pop, and you'll be chasing electrical problems for hours, and if you're lucky, you'll get away with only a fuse. Take it from someone who's been there, it's a lot simpler to take 3 seconds to disconnect the battery than all the headaches of electrical issues.

More importantly, this whole repair is going to be done with the door open, and most of it is going to be done with the key in the Run position. Do you really want to hear that annoying door chime for an hour? :lol2:

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STEP TWO:

Bust out your worklight - it'll cut your work time in half if you can see - again, I'm the captain of the being stupid struggling in the dark team! Get under the dash and find the two gold bolts with captured washers that hold on the driver's knee panel (directly under steering wheel). They are 8mm, remove both. When finished, the top is held in by two metal retaining clips...apply slight and even pressure by pulling towards the driver seat. They will pop and it will come off. Pictured second is the panel upside down so you can see where they are and how they work. Right next to each one is a plastic guide pin - when reinstalling, the guide pins go in first so you can't miss with the clips.

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STEP THREE:

Remove the three Phillips screws from the lower steering shaft shroud. There are four holes in the bottom of the shroud, the three that contain the screws are circled. The one that does not is nearest-most the center.

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STEP FOUR:

Before you can remove the steering shaft shrouds, you must remove the ignition tumbler - do this by putting the key in and turning to the Run position. Remember that hole in the bottom steering shroud that did not have a screw in it? Look up in there with your light, you will now see that the release detent for the ignition tumbler is visible. Turn it back to the off position while you watch it, see how it disappears? This prevents people from jacking your ride just by sliding out the tumbler - key has to be in the car and in the run position to remove it. Pull lightly on the key while you press in the detent and the whole tumbler will slide gently out.

Pictured separately and circled is the tumbler and its detent. Remove the upper and lower steering shaft shrouds by gently pulling them apart like a shell - two or three plastic retainers hold them together - they will come apart easily without the screws in there. It may be easier to remove them by putting the shifter lever into a lower gear if you have a column shift like me, or using the tilt wheel function to give you easier access to the upper.

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STEP FIVE:


Viewing from the driver side, this is where the T10 Torx and the extension come into play. The two bolts are easily accessed. When removed, move the wiper switch to an easier location to access with your hands. On the backside of the switch there are two electrical connectors - one tab holds them on each side of each connector. Use the flat head screwdriver to GENTLY pry the tabs up and over to release them.

Winner! Installation is the reverse of removal. Take your time, it should be very simple. With the upper steering shroud off, you should see the three long plastic columns and notice that's where those three phillips screws thread into. Make sure you line those up with the holes on the steering assembly before putting on the lower, it will make it a lot easier to get those three screws in and get the two panels back on straight and looking good.
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Start to finish, it took me 30 minutes taking pictures. I would expect a first-timer taking about an hour to do this at a leisurely pace. On a scale from one to ten, if you had the correct tools as pictured (which can be found at any major retail auto parts store), this job rates a 3 - slightly harder than changing your oil.

Doing it myself, I paid $53.40 for the part brand new in bag on eBay and got it within a few days with free shipping. Had I taken this to a shop, I would have paid an hour labor (~$100 depending on the shop), I would have paid list price for the part ($149.08), so I saved myself roughly $200, having to make and wait for an appointment, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Fixed the pics!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Added to the Topic Finder.
[/b]
Suggestions for the next one, either content or posting format?

I've gotta do some other non-routine stuff like power antenna, header panel and headlights, window motor, and possibly a rear drum-to-disk swap - I figure since I have the camera I mind as well shoot my adventures.
 

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I think the write-up looks good. It's well written (for casual internet standards) and well organized. I like how you kept everything in manageable paragraphs and used pictures that weren't excessively large. I like the picture of the tools and parts with a list at the beginning of the write-up. I like the description of symptoms for the reason for replacement. I like how you noted how much you saved. Good job adding a bit of humor to the write-up. You should make the circles in the images thicker next time.
 

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You can leave the top shroud on and the ignition in place and still be able to access the screws holding the stalk in. Just have to hold the top shroud out of the way. Thats how I did it on my 97
 

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QUOTE (RPFlloyd @ Apr 28 2009, 08:25 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=721239
You can leave the top shroud on and the ignition in place and still be able to access the screws holding the stalk in. Just have to hold the top shroud out of the way. Thats how I did it on my 97[/b]

This may be true for the 97 Taurus', but (what you can't see in the pics - hard to see in the pics) is that the bottom shroud actually goes over the Ignition Cylinder. Essentially the cylinder along with 2 of the 3 screws hold the bottom shroud to the column. Without the bottom shroud off you cannot access the bottom screw of the MFS, unless you go bending the bottom shroud plastic out of the way. But why do that? Just take the time to remove them both.
 

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Did this myself, took about 90 minutes because I had to go back and forth to this guide, and I'm a general newbie at auto stuff (aside from changing my oil). Better than the dealer, which estimated costs around $300-400 and 2 days. Great tutorial, thanks a bunch for the guide.

As for parts, if you've got one around, you can just go in to an Advanced Auto Parts, give them the year make model, and it'll automatically pull up the right part.
 

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This will help me find and fix the 'rattle' that the shift selector makes on my 99 wagon.
Sort of a mini vibration, comes and goes depending on the road conditions.

Thanks.
 

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QUOTE (RPFlloyd @ Apr 28 2009, 08:25 AM)


This may be true for the 97 Taurus', but (what you can't see in the pics - hard to see in the pics) is that the bottom shroud actually goes over the Ignition Cylinder. Essentially the cylinder along with 2 of the 3 screws hold the bottom shroud to the column. Without the bottom shroud off you cannot access the bottom screw of the MFS, unless you go bending the bottom shroud plastic out of the way. But why do that? Just take the time to remove them both.
For my 1996 Mercury Sable:

I did remove the bottom and top plastic shrouds. I used the flat round end of a hex wrench tool to remove the cylinder, as a flathead or a phillips screwdriver would not do it.

To remove the MFS I used the Torx T-15 as the T-10 did not do it.

The most difficult part of the removal was figuring out how to unplug the wiring harness connectors from the Multi-Function Switch. I ended up prying the sides of the connectors with two screwdrivers, and pulled the connector loose with plyers.

Perhaps there's a better way, but I did not know it, or could find explicit data about that. But I'm a novice at this... :06:
 
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