1998 Mercury Sable Several Problems, Steering/Suspension, T

Tiny
BPOTYLYCKI
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 MERCURY SABLE
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 56,000 MILES
Hi, I purchased my car from an older woman who barely drove it (hence the low milage). I've since had some strange trans issues.

Trans Issues:

On longer trips, the problem may or may not come up. 3hr drive to NJ, problems the whole way down, 3hr drive back from NJ no problems at all. The overdrive off light begins flashing, soon thereafter the speedometer begins wandering from min to max. Soon after this the trans begins acting funny, not downshifting when I step on the gas, not upshifting after I let off the gas. I've spoken with several people that have told me to have the trans flushed, and several that said the opposite. The consensus is that these sables lose their trans early, that a flush might knock stuff loose and make the problem worse. What do you think? I'd like to do something preventative if I can to keep from having to replace the trans.

Electrical woes:

Problems began with my blinkers not working correctly, at first "percussive maintenance" of my steering wheel/column would get them to come back on. This problem is intermittent and the speed of the blinking varies. Is this related to my trans issues? Since this first issue, the door open light comes on when all of the doors are closed, how do I diagnose which door it is or if it's in the wiring? On top of that, my dome light recently stopped turning off (I'm assuming it has something to do with my door-open problem). I took the relay out, problem solved, but I would really like my dome light back.

Steering/Suspension Issues:

When turning hard right and going slow I hear a clunking nose from the front driver's steering/suspension assembly. U-joint?

Other issues/Inspection:

I discovered a pinhole exhaust leak in one of my mufflers, would it pass inspection if I slapped a gob of JB weld on it? If I cleaned it off with a steel brush, would it adhere? My inspection is due end of this month, and I definitely need back brakes (drum). I haven't pulled a wheel off and don't know how bad they are. They've been scraping for awhile but I don't think I'm hitting caliper piston yet. Is it cheaper for me to find a shop to resurface, or to have it done through a garage? What kind of shop would I even be looking for?

If I have to take my car somewhere to have the work done, I'd like an "all systems check" done so I know what problems might be waiting in the wings. What do I ask them to check? What is cost effective?

I realize I have a lot of problems and my donation of $5 isn't much. I thank you though for helping me get my bearings straight.

Bryan
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Thursday, April 10th, 2008 AT 11:28 AM

2 Replies

Tiny
JACK42
  • MEMBER
Trans- Need to have the PCM scanned for the trouble code/codes that the trans is giving, this wil help with diagnosis
Electrical- Need to remove door panels one at a time and use a test light to see if the switches are seeing the door shut. What kind of maint made the t-signals start working? That sounds like it may be abad wire grounding out in the column or the t-signal switch is shorting.
Front End- Sounds like it could be a cv joint going out. Might be a little premature for that, have a shop give you a second opinion
Muffler- That hole is ther to loet water out if it a small one in the bottom rear of the muffler. Otherwise water builds up and it will rust out
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Thursday, April 10th, 2008 AT 2:57 PM
Tiny
BRAVESTAR1
  • MEMBER
I hate cars that are bought from "Little old Ladies".

They generally are not driven much, sit around in the sun, rain, snow, and yard debris, and collect moisture, rodents and rust.

The fluids get old before their time, and oxidize and become useless.

I suggest a full overhaul, before you go driving on long trips. That's always a good idea. Change out the fluids as there is likely to be water inside them and/or gunky buildup. Even if the color looks good, brake fluid and transfluid needs changing as it absorbs water, and can really mess things up.

On this car, there are little door switches that are up inside the door, below the latch. Those can cause terrible problems with the interior lights, door locks, etc. You may have to replace them all, but before you do, spray some solvent in the door latches to clean out the dirt, and then lube it with some silicon spray.

If the CV joint is bad, you'll notice a "little frosting" of grease collecting in areas where grease isn't normal. Get that done soon, before it collapses. Also waiting on that, can mess up ball joints and tie rods, making one problem much more expensive. Make sure to have an alignment after any kind of suspension steering work too, or you'll need new tires sooner than you'd think.
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Saturday, April 19th, 2008 AT 3:42 PM

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