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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
yup, u guess it.. i'm posting back cause it happened again. this time with DIFFERENT results. when the car acted like it was trying to die out/ sputter out it didn't. this time the speedo and tach were bouncing back and forth. some of the idiot lights (airbag and check engine if i recall correctly) were flashing too.

I pulled off, let the car stall, put it into park and started it right up. no issues for the 15 mins back home.

any ideas? another red herring?

Lost with this one.

Btw, like some have suggested, I should invest in a 'scanner' tool. Which one would suffice for what was mentioned above? How much and how would I use it to look at the regions of memory?

Thanks.

sadly,
Matt :dunno:
 

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I liked SHOZ123's idea to pull the computers underhood electrical wiring connector & check the pins & sockets for corrosion, damaged, or bent pins or sockets, so did you ever do that?????
 

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A scanner won't tell you what's up unless you have codes. A voltmeter, some 20 ga solid copper wire like found on fluorescent light ballast and back probing the connectors will tell you what is going on.
 

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He has a scanner, but I believe he was referring to a "scantool" that reads PID's, now with that he could monitor many sensors inputs to the computer on the scantool & not have to back probe sensors, or use a breakout box.

The scantool, if hooked up while he was driving, could take a snapshot/freeze frame of the parameters it's monitoring when things act up & they are stored in the scantools memory for review later.

His problem sure sounds like a power interrupt, from the alternator, or to the computer to me, so if he could beg, borow, or steal a good scantool that'll read PID's, seems to me he could maybe come by a good clue or two on what's acting out.

Seeing as how he can crank & restart the engine immediately after it acts out & stalls, would suggest the battery & cables are likely ok.

Now with the speed-o & tach acting out, along with the warning lights, that should be some good clues, but I just can't connect the dots yet!!!!

Think maybe he should pull the computers connector & have a look see, like SHOZ123 has suggested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Okay, i will pull the connector and take some photos of it.

Just to make sure that I do this right (and not damage anything) I just wanted to run it by you all first.

Disconnect the negative battery terminal
I should take a socket (size not sure yet) and loosen the retaining bolt in the middle of the PCM,
wiggle back and forth the connector until it comes off.

probably should do all this with a cold engine too.

Does this make sense? Anything else I should keep in mind? Thanks guys and I hope with the more information I keep getting that we can solve this.

I do not believe it's a bad regulator at the alternator b/c once it reboots, the symptom goes away for awhile. Besides I have replaced alternators like they are underwear.

I will look into getting a scan tool and reading the PID's. I may need some assistance as to which PID's to be looking at though, so if anyone has hints now, that would surely help!

oh btw, pawpaw thanks. one silly question, does the OBD2 outlet hookup for the scantool as well? I'm guessing so seeing as it's the only place in the car that has a connection like this but just wanted to make sure.

I did some research on the scan tools and this looks like a pretty good buy: Actron CP9180. Does anyone agree/disagree?
 

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Yes the scantool hooks up/plugs into the OBD-2 diagnostic port under the steering wheel, where your scanner/code reader does. BUT, you need to make sure this port still has power.

As I mentioned above the Rangers cigar lighter & the diagnostic port use the same fuse, so if your Taurus is wired the same & your cigar lighter isn't working you'll need to be sure the ODB-2 port has power. If it does,, then do a scan & see if anything is there now. Post ALL the codes you find.

The CP9180 scantool is a mighty nice one, but I don't know that you need to go & throw $500 at this problem just yet.

I'd pull & look at the computer connectors pins & socket first, like SHOZ123 suggested. The fact that the cover was off it, makes me suspicious.

If that proves naugt, then maybe even suspect the ignition switch. Say next time the engine begins to act out, jiggle the ignition switch & see if the problem clears up.

I hate to keep bringing this up, but this problem did clear up for some time, after you replaced the last faulty new alternator that had the bad regulator & you've never indicated that you've revisited the electrical connections messed with when the last alternator was installed, to make sure the regulator plugs connector contacts are in good condition & it's plugged in good & tight & your sure it's connections at the underhood power distibution box are sound.

You could quickly & easily do this while your tinkering with the computers connector. Yes unplug the B- cnnection at the battery, before removing the computers plug.

So imo there are still some basic things thatl need to be inspected, before chucking $500 out fo a new scantool

Just a bunch more thoughts for pondering.
 

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Classic symptoms of low voltage at the battery. What is happening is the battery saver relay is dropping out due to low voltage. This cuts out the PCM too.
When the relay turns this stuff off the voltage will then raise due to the way a battery works. Then the the PCM reboots. This is when the all the warning lights flash on and off. Then the voltage drops and the battery saver kicks in again. This just keeps happening until the battery cannot recover.

A new battery and alternator at 2000 rpm should be putting out 14.4V even with a minor electrical load.
[/b]
After re-reading all the posts, this one caught my eye, as it has a "relay" involved & I don't think the question about if the battery savers relay may be acting out, or the battery saver itself may be faulty, was/has been completely considerd.

On the post about monitoring the Radar detectors varyng voltage output, but not seeing any voltage changes on a voltmeter hooked to the 12 volt power point outlet socket, just under the cigar lighter, kinda makes me wonder about the radar detectors crimped on power splice, or it's ground.

If it's loose & of poor contact quality, as many of these kinds of splices are, then it could cause the detectors display to give false system votage readings.

So if the 12v power point is showing steady voltage, then we're being led astray by the radar detectors faulty connection.
Seeing as how the splice is for +12 volts, where is the radar detector getting it's ground?????

In re-reading all the posts, 6 things still seem to be in question in my mind.
1) Is the AZ rebuilt replacement altenator still ok????

2) Are all it's electrical connections that were messed with on installation, all the way to the underhood power distribution box, still good & tight???

3) Are we sure the battery saver isn't acting out????

4) Check the computers electrical connector for damaged pins or sockets, or corrosion.

5) Is the ignition switch ok

6)Should the tranny range selector switch & it's connections also be on the suspect list here????? I'm not sure how it interconnects with the ignition wiring.

Just some more troubleshooting review questions for pondering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
<div class='quotemain'>
Classic symptoms of low voltage at the battery. What is happening is the battery saver relay is dropping out due to low voltage. This cuts out the PCM too.
When the relay turns this stuff off the voltage will then raise due to the way a battery works. Then the the PCM reboots. This is when the all the warning lights flash on and off. Then the voltage drops and the battery saver kicks in again. This just keeps happening until the battery cannot recover.

A new battery and alternator at 2000 rpm should be putting out 14.4V even with a minor electrical load.
[/b]
After re-reading all the posts, this one caught my eye, as it has a "relay" involved & I don't think the question about if the battery savers relay may be acting out, or the battery saver itself may be faulty, was/has been completely considerd.

On the post about monitoring the Radar detectors varyng voltage output, but not seeing any voltage changes on a voltmeter hooked to the 12 volt power point outlet socket, just under the cigar lighter, kinda makes me wonder about the radar detectors crimped on power splice, or it's ground.

If it's loose & of poor contact quality, as many of these kinds of splices are, then it could cause the detectors display to give false system votage readings.

So if the 12v power point is showing steady voltage, then we're being led astray by the radar detectors faulty connection.
Seeing as how the splice is for +12 volts, where is the radar detector getting it's ground?????

In re-reading all the posts, 6 things still seem to be in question in my mind.
1) Is the AZ rebuilt replacement altenator still ok????

2) Are all it's electrical connections that were messed with on installation, all the way to the underhood power distribution box, still good & tight???

3) Are we sure the battery saver isn't acting out????

4) Check the computers electrical connector for damaged pins or sockets, or corrosion.

5) Is the ignition switch ok

6)Should the tranny range selector switch & it's connections also be on the suspect list here????? I'm not sure how it interconnects with the ignition wiring.

Just some more troubleshooting review questions for pondering.
[/b][/quote]


So I'm going to try and answer some of these questions, b/c some of these have crossed my mind when this 'event' happens.

The battery saver relay, I have not replaced. I was more concerned with the PCM relay up under the hood. I believe that the battery saver relay is in the interior fuse panel, is this correct??? If so, is there a sure fire way (other than buying another one) to test whether the relay itself is good/bad???

As for the radar detector, it shows good voltages when the car is running fine. It ONLY shows the varying voltages when the event is in the beginning of happening. It's almost like the event happens, the battery isn't getting enough DC voltage to charge itself and then bam! it happens.
The ground is connected to the metal bracket that holds the OBD2 port to the chassis.

I just went out and tested the AZ alternator. A-Ok for now, which this one seems to be taking a rather good beating this time without blowing up! I saw 14.4volts at the outpost terminal. Inside the radar detector read 14.1volts

Connections: Checked the outpost terminal at the alternator. That is tight and good. Battery terminals same. Whatever the connection is that plugs into the top of the alternator and seems to lead to the engine (spark plugs or something?) was secure as well.

I have jiggled the Ignition switch (keys) Ground of the radar detector, and Ignition wire all when the event is happening. I was thinking the same thing. However, when the event happens it doesn't seem to stop until it wreaks its horror.

I also checked the cigar lighter connections by pulling the radio/cluster. the connections seem tight but still not power. I will grab some needle nose pliers and pull ALL of the mini-blade fuses in the interior panel and check them.

The OBD2 port DOES work. No Codes are stored though as I would expect.

The only 3 things I have left are:
1) battery-saver relay check/replacement?
2) mini-blade fuses check/replacement?
3) PCM connection, looking for corrosion or other signs of damage.

I hope to get to these today and post back. In the mean time, if pawpaw or shoz have anything else, keep the ideas coming. I don't know how often this is going to happen.
 

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OK, good checking & feedback. You are narrowing things down some I believe.

With your code reader working, that answers the qustion about the cigar lighter & diagnostic port sharing the same fuse, like on the Rangers, they don't!!!!

SO, with there being no codes stored, it would suggest your problem is a power interrupt one, or something the computer isn't monitoring, so a scantool isn't likely to be of much help as SHOZ123 said.

So it seems to me you need to concentrate on that idea & look for things that'll do that & relays & faulty connctions belong high up on your suspect list imo!!!!

I don't know the answer to the battery saver relay location.
Maybe the AutoZones parts location web site would tell.

Keep us posted, this mystery reads better than a Sherlock Holmes story!!!! lol
 

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Battery saver relay is under the hood in the Central Junction Box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
Battery saver relay is under the hood in the Central Junction Box.
[/b]

My manual does not label any of the relay's under the hood (ie Power Distribution Box) as 'battery saver relay' could it be named one of the following:
Relay #23 Starter Motor Relay
Relay #24 Low Speed Fan Relay
Relay #25 Wiper Speed Relay
Relay #29 Wiper Park Relay
Relay #30 Feul Pump Relay
Relay #31 PCM Power Relay (already replaced - no differences noticed)
Relay #32 High Speed Fan Relay
Relay #33 A/C Clutch Relay

Also, I pulled EVERY fuse (mini and maxi) and here are the results!

Not one fuse in the interior was blown
The only fuse blown was #18 in the Power Distr. box which is labeled Power Point. It's a 20 mini fuse.

I ask, wtf is a Power Point fuse and what is it for? I don't know how long this has been blown cause I never would have thought to look at this one.

The car drives just fine. I'm off to AZ to pick up oil (getting near that time) and while I'm there I'll pick up some mini fuses and toss one in that slot.

Post back with your comments on the latest chapter!
 

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The "Power Point" is the in cabin 12 volt outlet that looks like a cigar lighter socket & is likely the socket you say doesn't have power.

Seeing as how the power point socket looks like a cigar lighter, maybe you have the lighter in the wrong socket!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
The "Power Point" is the in cabin 12 volt outlet that looks like a cigar lighter socket & is likely the socket you say doesn't have power.

Seeing as how the power point socket looks like a cigar lighter, maybe you have the lighter in the wrong socket!!!!
[/b]

Well, I just replaced it and the cigar lighter is working again!

I don't think I have the cigar lighter and 12v in-cabin power source mixed up b/c the cigar lighter has springs in it that pop the lighter out. Also, if I 'try' and put the cigar lighter in the 12v source it will never get hot.

Well, one thing fixed. Still haven't gotten to taking off the PCM and taking pics of the connections. I am aiming to get that done today but the engine is pretty warm from the drive.

I have also disconnected the radar detector from the quick splice. Just thought I would test that theory as well. This time, I won't know when it's about to happen, but if it does, I will test the 12v source and the cigar lighter right away. Thinking of that, i'm going to run out now and get baselines while the 'event' is not happening.
I'll post back in a few and give you what i got at those two sources.


Baseline results:
Cigar Lighter - Off 12.87 volts, On 13.90-14.02 volts
12v incabin - Off 12.86 volts, On 13.89-14.01 volts
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
SHO and other TCCA Members. I wanted to give an update and ask a basic electrical question.

UPDATE: The car has been running fine since the last post March 23rd. It is now April 28th and not one sign of 'the Theft Light symptom'.

The radar detector has been unplugged above and at the Ignition wire source. Now this is my question.

WHY oh why (or bet yet how) would a radar detector screw up the ignition wire signal and throw this Theft light.

I had heard that if the transmitter/receiver in the Ignition switch ever broke with the Chip in the Car Key then the THEFT light would appear thinking that the car was started illegally.

So, I just would like to know for my own benefit why or how this could occur? Theories and real life experiences are most welcome!

Curious as always,
~Matt
 

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Within the last two days an interesting scenerio has been happeing... but at completely random.

It started while I was at a stop light. I wasn't really paying attention but I felt the car kinda of jerk like I had been bumped from behind (and that's what I thought it was b/c the truck was really close to me in the rear-view). When I let off on the brake the car didn't go anywhere and that's when I noticed all the dash lights on (idiot lights as some call them) and the RPM's at 0.. the car had just stalled!

I put it in Park and started again with no problems for the rest of the night.

Now lastnight, I go out and start the car after going to dinner with some friends. Within only 5 mins of bs'ing with the friends the car was idling and stalled (same problem with all the lights on again and no RPM's). I restarted and it happened one more time a few minutes later.

I started driving after it stopped misbehaving and the THEFT light came on in which I felt the car jerk a bit (small like dropping from Odrive to Drive) and then the Theft light went out and it drove like normal. The theft light came on once more.

All and all this was only 10-15 mins after starting the car. After that no symptoms occured for the rest of the trip home (about another 15 mins or so).

Any ideas? I see that a bad battery or alternator could be causing some of this. The only thing is that I just had the battery replaced about 3 months ago and I believe that it is working just fine. I have noticed that the Serpentine Belt system is still squeeling (even after replacing the idler pully - have a write up in the Common Problems section). The squeeling is pretty high on the pulley system, right around the Alternator. Could my alternator be gonig? If so, what are the symtoms and is there some way to check?

Thanks in advance. I hope I have provided enough information and a clear enough description to get some good responses!

~Ricer333

01 SES
115K miles
3.0 Vulcan
[/b]
some might say this is a bad idea, but it works... when my alt died i did the "old fauthful" test, disconnect the positive terminal while running the car... i did that then i went to auto zone to confirm my research... my alt was dead so i purchased a high output alt(which was a b***h to install) and did the same test and it kept running... it still sounds like i have a turbocharger on idle so my guess is its not the alt "whistling while it works"... or not :dunno:
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
<div class='quotemain'>
Within the last two days an interesting scenerio has been happeing... but at completely random.

It started while I was at a stop light. I wasn't really paying attention but I felt the car kinda of jerk like I had been bumped from behind (and that's what I thought it was b/c the truck was really close to me in the rear-view). When I let off on the brake the car didn't go anywhere and that's when I noticed all the dash lights on (idiot lights as some call them) and the RPM's at 0.. the car had just stalled!

I put it in Park and started again with no problems for the rest of the night.

Now lastnight, I go out and start the car after going to dinner with some friends. Within only 5 mins of bs'ing with the friends the car was idling and stalled (same problem with all the lights on again and no RPM's). I restarted and it happened one more time a few minutes later.

I started driving after it stopped misbehaving and the THEFT light came on in which I felt the car jerk a bit (small like dropping from Odrive to Drive) and then the Theft light went out and it drove like normal. The theft light came on once more.

All and all this was only 10-15 mins after starting the car. After that no symptoms occured for the rest of the trip home (about another 15 mins or so).

Any ideas? I see that a bad battery or alternator could be causing some of this. The only thing is that I just had the battery replaced about 3 months ago and I believe that it is working just fine. I have noticed that the Serpentine Belt system is still squeeling (even after replacing the idler pully - have a write up in the Common Problems section). The squeeling is pretty high on the pulley system, right around the Alternator. Could my alternator be gonig? If so, what are the symtoms and is there some way to check?

Thanks in advance. I hope I have provided enough information and a clear enough description to get some good responses!

~Ricer333

01 SES
115K miles
3.0 Vulcan
[/b]
some might say this is a bad idea, but it works... when my alt died i did the "old fauthful" test, disconnect the positive terminal while running the car... i did that then i went to auto zone to confirm my research... my alt was dead so i purchased a high output alt(which was a b***h to install) and did the same test and it kept running... it still sounds like i have a turbocharger on idle so my guess is its not the alt "whistling while it works"... or not :dunno:
[/b][/quote]


I am just completely at a loss for this posting above steph??? Is that a question you are asking??? A comment about something you did at one point???? Or just random babble?

Just to clarify, I believe the problem has been fixed since I have totally removed the radar detector. I'm just wondering HOW or WHY a radar detector could screw with an electrical signal to simulate/cause the THEFT light to come on and off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
TCCA,
I am back again with this problem. March 23 (as stated above) I had replaced a fuse and disconnected the Radar Detector altogether.

Well, last night the problem happened 3x in a matter of an hour. I did not have any sort of tools on me to take readings from the 12volt or cigar lighter sources. I can only imagine that they were jumping all over the place as that has been the symptoms in the past.

Here's the deal. I took it to an AZ and had them load test the alternator. The kid hooked up red to positive and black to negative and then the black circular around the output wire on the alternator. He did several load tests and said that it was charging the battery (13.9volts being sent to the battery I believe). The tests did not come back bad in his mind.

So I'm back at step one. It has been a little over 2.5 months with no problems. I had really thought that the radar detector was the problem, but I didn't do anything last night differently. If anyone can help on this I would greatly appreciate it. I am currently looking to buy a home and do not want the added pressure of having to put money into this for a gremlin to be tracked down or a new car payment.

~Matt

:(
 

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Good grief the problem is back????!!!!

Well lets think about this some more. You last removed the Radar Detector & replaced the blown power point fuse & it's been doing fine since.

So what changed on this last drive cycle???? Did you plug the Radar Detector back in, or add some other electrical load, or did your driving conditions dramatically change, any repairs just before this latest event, ect, ect????

Good idea to have the electrical system load tested.
Was the voltage number you posted, with the system at speed & under load, or no load & at idle speed????

I kinda get the feeling that you aren't really sure of this guys test results, if so take it elsewhere & get a second opinion.

Did you ever get the Actron scantool???? If so, what codes are stored, or what PID's don't look right????

Did this problem happen a idle speed, if so did the engine stall???? I'm thinking IAC problems maybe????!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
Good grief the problem is back????!!!!

Well lets think about this some more. You last removed the Radar Detector & replaced the blown power point fuse & it's been doing fine since.

So what changed on this last drive cycle???? Did you plug the Radar Detector back in, or add some other electrical load, or did your driving conditions dramatically change, any repairs just before this latest event, ect, ect????

*** ANSWER: Nothing has changed. I have used the cigar lighter off and on for cell phone charging. The cell phone was charging and I thought maybe that was it. So I removed it after the first time and it happened again 2 more times. ***

Good idea to have the electrical system load tested.
Was the voltage number you posted, with the system at speed & under load, or no load & at idle speed????

*** ANSWER: On top of the machine putting a load on the car, I had put my fans on HIGH, LIGHTS ON, and AC ON. So yes, I believe there was enough of a load to test this properly. ***

I kinda get the feeling that you aren't really sure of this guys test results, if so take it elsewhere & get a second opinion.

*** ANSWER: I did get a good feeling out of this guy. I had just mentioned this because the clamp that most put around the negative wire he put around the positive output of the alternator. He explained why he did it that way was to specifically read what was coming out of the alternator as opposed to what was getting to the battery. ***

Did you ever get the Actron scantool???? If so, what codes are stored, or what PID's don't look right????

*** ANSWER: I did not because I thought the problem was solved. What's the best part of this lately is that just yesterday I was talking with my friend and told him how I thought it must have been the radar detector being hooked up to the Ignition wire and maybe some interference. We decided that I would hook it up to the cigar lighter instead this weekend. Guess the gremlin heard us and decided he was going to screw with me some more :( ***

Did this problem happen a idle speed, if so did the engine stall???? I'm thinking IAC problems maybe????!!!!
*** ANSWER: This happend both at IDLE speed (backing up from a drive way, put the car from R to N and then to D) so my RPM's could not have been more than 800 or 900 at MOST!. It also happened while driving but did not stall as the car's RPM's where high enough. While driving it did trigger the RPM cluster to BOUNCE, if that helps at all. I personally just think that the BOUNCING is the rebooting of the PCM and the RPM cluster would BOUNCE if the car doesn't stall at IDLE. ***


[/b]
 

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Have you pulled the cables off the MEGA fuse post and looked to see that all is good there?

It sounds like either a bad cable, corrosion on the cable ends of bad alternator to me. Either that or the battery saver relay needs replaced.

I don't see how any minor load that won't blow a fuse would cause any of this.
 
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