Taurus Repair: A (sad) Tale of Two Grounds.

2002 Ford Taurus Loose Grounding Lug

2002 Ford Tau­rus Loose Ground­ing Lug

I’ve been chas­ing two no-start con­di­tions for some time.  The sub­ject of this arti­cle is my 2002 Ford Tau­rus… and it is very much frus­trat­ing me.  Elec­tri­cal grem­lins are some of the worst car prob­lems.  Take this ground prob­lem to the right, for instance.  Is it a prob­lem?  What uses this ground?  Is it ground­ing prop­er­ly or not?

I don’t have those answers, but it turns out this was not the prob­lem.

If you have a prob­lem with your brakes, it’s pret­ty obvi­ous.  They squeal.  Or there isn’t enough mate­r­i­al left.  Or maybe you just don’t stop (that is very fright­en­ing).  Both my wife and I have expe­ri­enced the “ped­al to the floor” fail­ure of one half a vehi­cles brake sys­tem fail­ing.  It is not a nice feel­ing.  But the repair is straight for­ward; mechan­i­cal even.

The no-start issue is frus­trat­ing par­tial­ly because both cars are doing it and par­tial­ly because it’s a com­pli­cat­ed sys­tem and it’s easy to screw up the diag­no­sis.  Ear­ly on in the Tau­rus’ case, I man­aged to con­vince myself that the igni­tion switch was at fault.  This is not the bit you put the key in, but a long box with a lever dri­ven by turn­ing the key that opens and clos­es many dif­fer­ent con­tacts that con­trol many dif­fer­ent things in the car.

While comb­ing the Tau­rus Car Club of America’s forums, I hap­pend upon some dia­grams post­ed by one of the mem­bers that came from “all­da­ta.”  Turns out alldatadiy.com gives access to car tech­ni­cal man­u­als for home users (their oth­er main site pro­vides this for inde­pen­dent auto repair shops and even pro­vides oth­er garage man­age­ment soft­ware).  I quick­ly sub­scribed for my own vehi­cles — the infor­ma­tion they pro­vide for chas­ing elec­tri­cal prob­lems far exceeds the infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed by Haynes man­u­als I’d been using pre­vi­ous­ly.

I became con­vinced that the igni­tion switch was faulty because the all­da­ta “data” was faulty on the con­fig­u­ra­tion of the pinout of the starter relay.  It mixed up two of the pins as I lat­er fig­ured out.  Since buy­ing a new igni­tion switch didn’t fix the prob­lem (and was thank­ful­ly cheap), I went back to diag­nos­ing.  Some­where in there, I man­aged to blow the fuse, but every­thing even­tu­al­ly led to the com­put­er.

2002 Ford Taurus Ground Mess

2002 Ford Tau­rus Ground Mess

Now the ground near the com­put­er was also a mess.  With hope anew that I wouldn’t have to deal with the com­put­er, I dis­con­nect­ed the ground, used my tap-and-die set on the screw and hole, and then used my rotary tool to shine up the lugs.

Again there was no joy.  This was a real let­down as it rep­re­sent­ed the last thing that could be the prob­lem before blam­ing the com­put­er.

Turns out the Tau­rus is pret­ty spe­cial.  There’s only 5 wreck­ers in Cana­da that have the com­put­er that match­es mine (where oth­er mod­els of com­put­er are quite com­mon).  It would appear that my Tau­rus con­fig­u­ra­tion match­es more close­ly how many Sables (Mer­cury vehi­cles are only sold in the US, not Cana­da… since some point a num­ber of years ago).  I sup­pose maybe the leather seats and cli­mate con­trol ver­sion of the Tau­rus we had most close­ly match­es a Sable — and maybe it would have been badged as such if it hadn’t head­ed to Cana­da?  I dun­no.

2002 Ford Taurus Computer

2002 Ford Tau­rus Com­put­er

How­ev­er, one large beef I have with Tau­rus repair:  The man­u­al should sim­ply state: “Remove the intake plenum and then decide what to repair.”  At this point I have done a num­ber of repairs on the engine chas­ing a miss­fire issue that has ranged from notice­able to quite severe and almost any­thing you need to fix requires remov­ing the intake plenum on this car.  You can see (some­what) in the pic­ture to the right that the com­put­er will not come out through the hole avail­able and the item in it’s way (not real­ly shown) is intake plenum.

I sup­pose it’s pos­si­ble that a new com­put­er might fix the mis­fire issue, too.  I’m just hop­ing that it will at least fix the no start issue.  At this point the new com­put­er is on it’s way from Win­nipeg by Grey­hound, so we’ll have to wait a few days to see if we’re right.

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6 Responses to Taurus Repair: A (sad) Tale of Two Grounds.

  1. Pingback: The Taurus and the Jeep: No Start. - Random Scribblings ...Random Scribblings …

  2. That was a sad sto­ry. Well let us know what hap­pens.

  3. I final­ly found my ran­dom miss, espe­cial­ly at idle in gear was cured with new plug wires. And, yes, you got­ta fight the intake plenum to replace them. One of the tough­est spark plug wire jobs I’ve done (DOHC engine).

  4. steve says:

    The Mys­te­ri­ous Ford Tau­rus Mis­fire issue is actu­al­ly a headgas­ket leak

    it leaks into the coolant rese­v­ior and caus­es it to over­flow out the over­pres­sure cap

    the exhaust gas cre­ates acid caus­ing your coolant sys­tem to rust out hard­core

    even­tu­al­ly you can melt all of your valves into the open posi­tion dras­ti­cal­ly reduc­ing your horse­pow­er by 100%

  5. Hey! This is my first com­ment here so I just want­ed to give a quick
    shout out and say I real­ly enjoy read­ing your arti­cles.
    Can you sug­gest any oth­er blogs/websites/forums that go over the same top­ics?

    Thank you so much!

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