1993 Mercury Sable - Turn Signals Not Working

Tiny
ZOUNDS
  • MEMBER
  • 1993 MERCURY SABLE
  • 90,000 MILES
My 1993 (3.8L, 90,000 miles) Mercury Sable's turn signals stopped working very abruptly while I was driving a few days ago. I clicked the switch to make a turn, got one blink, and then the signal stopped as did the light on the dash. Now I can't (for the most part) get the signal nor the dash to light when I flip the switch. The car has been sitting mostly unused for about 10 years, but I've been driving it regularly for the past 2 months and this is the first electrical problem I've had. Here's what I've found and done about it:

- The hazards still work and the relay clicks audibly while they're on.

- If I wiggle the switch just right I can get the signal to flash briefly (but not stay on) both at the bulb and on the dash, but I don't hear the relay click. The switch still works mechanically - it still catches and holds the position when I push it up or down to signal, but it's not making the actual signal happen. When I'm able to make it flash by wiggling it, it's never actually pushed up or down to an actual "left" or "right" signal position, it's always somewhere in the middle before the switch clicks/locks.

- I checked the fuse (it looked fine), replaced it with a new one just to be safe, and worked it in and out of the holder a few times to make sure it was properly seated.

- I replaced the multifunction switch as well but to no avail. I put the old switch back in and sprayed some electrical contact cleaner around the area where it plugs into the wiring as well as into the hazard switch, also to no avail.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what might be causing the problem? Are there separate relays for the hazards and turn signals, and if so, where is the turn signal relay located? I can only locate one near the fuse box. Any tips would be seriously appreciated. Thanks!
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Monday, August 5th, 2013 AT 1:26 PM

6 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
If you can get it to work by moving the signal switch, it sounds like the switch is bad. Have you also check / replaced the flasher? It should be located at the lower end of the steering column.
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Monday, August 5th, 2013 AT 8:09 PM
Tiny
ZOUNDS
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the response! I agree that it sounds like a bad switch, but unless I somehow bought a dud switch, when I replaced it with a new one it behaved exactly the same. I checked the flasher - it works for the hazards but not for the turn signal which makes me think that the unit is good but something else is interfering with the turn signals.
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Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 AT 8:36 AM
Tiny
ZOUNDS
  • MEMBER
UPDATE: I just measured the voltage at the connector where the flasher plugs in and got 6v between ground and the middle prong when the hazards were on. When the turn signal was on it read about 0.2v so this makes me think I have a wiring issue. Do you have any tips on how to trace such a problem? I see the 3 wires from the flasher disappear behind the steering wheel and from there I'm sort of at a loss for what to test next. Thanks again for your help!
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Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 AT 10:20 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I would like to say it's the switch, but since you replaced it, it must be a short or an open circuit. Have you checked to see if there is power to the switch itself? As far as the three wires you mentioned, they should run up the steering column to the switch.
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Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 AT 7:32 PM
Tiny
ZOUNDS
  • MEMBER
Checking for power at the switch led me to fuse #5 which was blown. I popped a new one in and the signals are back. I'm not sure why #5 did it, as the manual says fuse #1 is for signals, but, anyways, it worked. Thanks for the help!
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Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 AT 7:38 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Glad to have helped. Let me know if you have questions in the future.
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Thursday, August 8th, 2013 AT 6:19 PM

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