1996 Mercury Sable internittant pwr steering and pwr window

Tiny
PARRYCHUTE
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 MERCURY SABLE
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 170,000 MILES
When driving normally (like down the freeway) the power steering will quit working (makes it hard to steer) at the same time the power windows stop working. You can recreate the problem with the car running but stopped by putting the car in reverse, the power steering and windows will quit working, then put it back in drive and they will start working again. I suspect a wiring issue in the steering column but the part about the power steering puzzles me unless there is some kind of sensor that detects when you start the turn that engages the power steering. Also, as the steering and windows return to normal the seatbelt warning light and the coolant warning light turn on momentarily. Please help if you can.
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Sunday, June 6th, 2010 AT 1:03 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Wow! You may need a priest for this one. (LOL) As far as the issues, I think there are two seperate ones. As far as the PS, check belt tension to make sure nothing is loose. Also, I need you to have the body control module (BCM) tested. Either there is a bad body ground causing the electrical issues, or the BCM is going bad.

Let me know what you find.
Joe
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Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 AT 2:16 PM
Tiny
ECOLOGICIAN
  • MEMBER
I have the same make of car and am experiencing the exact same problem. Power steering will suddenly go out, along with a host of electronics, including power windows, the radio, and windshield wiper intermittent settings. This also happens whenever I put the car in reverse as described by parrychute. Also, when this happens when the car is in drive, if I stop and put the car in park, the electronics come back on temporarily. Does this suggests that the power steering and electronics problems are not unrelated if I am having the exact same combination of symptoms?
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Thursday, June 10th, 2010 AT 10:31 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I would have to say chances are they are not related. The PS works from a hydraulic source and not electric. Some have speed sensitive steering that is electrically controlled, but when I try to tie the two together, it doesn't fit.
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Thursday, June 10th, 2010 AT 1:12 PM
Tiny
PARRYCHUTE
  • MEMBER
I've working in electronics and computers for the last 30 years troubleshooting all kind of problems. If two symptoms occur at exactly the same time and with the same apparent input they are related. The power steering goes out the same instant that the windows quit working and both go out when the moving from drive to reverse. I don't have the resources to look up exactly how this model of auto does its thing as I don't have the factory manual on it. However, on the Steering column just under the dash is a wheel with equally spaced holes around it that pass by some type of sensor. My computer/electronic experience tells me this is a sensor that is telling the cars computer/controller when the steering wheel is turned and which direction it is turning. My logic leads me to believe that the computer then tells some actuator somewhere to engage the power steering hydraulics to assist with the turn. I believe that this whole problem is electrical and possibly has to do with a bad connection somewhere in the steering column and/or the body control module and possibly its ground as mentioned above. The location of the body control module would be helpful. Also a few pointers on removing the covers on the steering column would help.
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Friday, June 11th, 2010 AT 9:04 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I believe the item that you are refering to is for speed sensative steering. Ford Motor company capps it variable assist power steering (VAPS). As you slow down, it increases the power assist. As you speed up, it does the opposite.

After researching for a while, I may have determined your problem. There is a "GEM" which stands for generic electronic module. It is located behind the fuse junction panel in the vehicle. You need to first check to see if the GEM will communicate with a scanner. If there is no communication, it's bad. If there is, it should give you diagnostic codes to identify where the problem is coming from. Also, check the GEM for any evidence that water has gotten to it from a leaking windshield. From what I have found, that could be a problem.

Here is a picture / schematic of the PS system. Also, I tried to upload a schematic of the wiring, but it was too small to read.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/249084_6_7.jpg



Let me know what you find.
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Friday, June 11th, 2010 AT 11:22 PM

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