Mechanics

ELECTRICAL FAILURE

1996 Mercury Sable • 135,000 miles

My sable has started to have system wide electrical problems. It started a week ago the the blinkers not working all the time followed by the radio starting to cut in and out. Today the windows would not go up and we started to lose our power steering. The car hit a bump and we got all systems back temporarily then the radio and signals started again. When I shift from drive to park it seems to cause the problem as well. What should I be looking for first?
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Two knight
June 26, 2011.




The power steering is not related to electrical problems, but all of your symptoms could be caused by a slipping serpentine belt. That will cause the power steering pump to slow down and the generator will not keep up with demand so the battery will start to run down. Signals, the radio, and anything controlled by a computer will be affected by low voltage.

Start by using an inexpensive digital voltmeter to measure the battery voltage while the engine is running and the problem is acting up. It must be between 13.75 and 14.75 volts. If it is low, check the belt to be sure it's tight. You might also be able to see the power steering pump pulley slow down while the engine is running and a helper turns the steering wheel.

Caradiodoc
Jun 26, 2011.


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