1997 Ford Taurus • 225,000 miles

My car will start and run great. But when you put the car in reverse or drive, the stereo speakers, windows and intermittent wipers stop working. If I put the car in park or neutral, they will work fine. The wipers work on low or hi, but not intermittent. The stereo lights are on, but the speakers turn off.

I assume that there is a short in the column, but I'm confused as to why it works in park and neutral, but not reverse or drive. If it was a short, any movement on the shift selector would cause the short.

I would appreciate any ideas you could give me. I don't simply want to tear things apart on a guess.

November 20, 2011.

The wipers working on low or hi but not intermittent tell me that problem is related to the wiper switch.
The stereo issue sounds funky. There are no speaker wires anywhere near the column or gear shift selector.
Locate the stereo amplifier. Make sure it has constant and switching power at all times when the key is on.
The issue with the windows COULD be a short or intermittent open in the column, notably to ignition switch.

Nov 20, 2011.
Thank you for your response rivermikerat, and speedy at that.

In doing other research, I believe I found the problem. I failed to mention that the power steering was having some difficulty as well, in that it seemed to be working, but lost the "power assist" if you will. I couldn't imagine that problem could have been related to the accessory problem.

I found another site that says all of these problems are indicative of the transmission relay sensor (how it relates to the accessories, I don't know). This site states: "The symptoms associated with failure of the TR Sensor are loss of sound from the radio, loss of power window operation and loss of power steering operation when the car is shifted from park to reverse and/or drive."

I found a TSB which states: Article No.

. On some other vehicles, there may be a continuous reduction in power steering assist when shifting into "Reverse" or "Drive." The customer may have noticed a loss of radio sound, power window and lock functions. For this 3.0L concern, the cause may be internal shorting of the Transmission Range (TR) sensor.

This TSB describes all of my problems that I'm having, with the exception of the int. Wipers. That may or may not be a separate issue.

Thanks again for your help. I'll be replacing the part today, and I'll update you on the results.

Nov 21, 2011.
Ok, let us know. I don't see how the TR sensor could affect the stereo or power steering, either, but if the TSB states it, Ford Engineers have verified it. Maybe the short the TSB mentions somehow shorts the amp or speakers, along with the power window circuit, to ground. But the power steering is a hydraulic system operated by the serpentine belt. Really weird. I'm really interested to know if that sensor fixes all of the problems.

Nov 22, 2011.