Feature March 1, 2003 by
Peter Mc Ardle -- Domestic Specialist
Ford Taurus, Mercury Sable – 1986 To 1995 Cuts Out, Stalls Intermittently
The following problem could be a straight forward diagnosis, or it can be a nightmare for you, depending on how the vehicle arrives at your shop. The customer complaint is that the car cuts out or sta...
The following problem could be a straight forward diagnosis, or it can be a nightmare for you, depending on how the vehicle arrives at your shop. The customer complaint is that the car cuts out or stalls intermittently. The car may restart immediately, or after waiting several minutes, it may start without any difficulty. In fact, this problem may occur every few weeks or months. When the customer brings you the car, it is running flawlessly. This is what can make the diagnosis of this problem difficult. If you are lucky, the customer may have noticed that some accessories such as the power windows, door locks, mirrors, and courtesy lights worked poorly or not at all when the car cut out and was difficult to restart. This problem is most likely caused by a poor fuel pump ground which is characteristic of this model. The reason we added the fact that the accessories worked poorly or not at all is because they all share this common ground. This problem is most likely to occur after a long drive since the bad ground overheats leading to an increase of resistance, creating a voltage drop. This is the time that the fuel pump will run slowly or shut down. On 1986-89 Taurus/Sable sedans, the fuel pump ground is located on the center brace inside of the deck lid. On wagons it is in the left rear corner under the tail light. On 1990-95 vehicles, the ground is located on the driver ‘s side rocker panel, under the trim plate, approximately in the center of the driver’s door opening. Usually this problem develops because the self tapping screw was insufficiently tightened from the factory. The fix is to thoroughly clean the surface of paint and/or rust and firmly tighten the attaching screw.