Engaged my emergency flashers & now my turn signals don't work

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic' started by 1point9isfine, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. 1point9isfine

    1point9isfine New Member

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    Dave in Louisville, KY
    1994 Escort LX 1.9L hatchback ruining batteries in 2 days (parasitic drain)
    Engaged my emergency flashers & now my turn signals don't work (the exterior lever works and "clicks" as normal), plus my dash warning lights, gas gauge, and temp gauge no longer work. The emergency flashers still work so it's not the fuse.
    Seat belt retraction system no longer works. I disconnected the electrical to the retraction motor
    in case this was draining the battery. This was not it.

    I've gone thru 2 batteries and 2 "reman" alternators. These supposedly "tested as good" in the shop, but only deliver 11.6 when the car is running.
    The repair shop told me they checked the wiring and mechanicals from the alternator back to the firewall and all appears normal. Their assessment is the problem is from the firewall inward, that in the dash or steering column something has become "live" and is constantly pulling on the battery.

    I've seen from YouTube videos that the combination/multifunction switch is involved, but would corrosion or a broken part cause all these issues? It almost seems like a major electrical hub or relay has become ruined to cause all these things to be going on.

    Is there an awesome shop in Louisville, KY that can figure this out, or can someone suggest a diagnostic strategy that would address all the error possibilities which I can give to the shop where it's sitting now? DESPERATE doesn't begin to describe this situation.

    Any other courses of action (like-give it up, Dave-sell it to a parts shop) are welcome as well.

    Thanks so much.

    Desperate Dave (AKA 1point9isfine, but not so much right now)
  2. Pizzaman5000

    Pizzaman5000 FEOA Donator

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    This is a quick response buy not terribly thorough. I've seen flasher switches get stuck and cause a no signal situation, but that was on a 1979 Italian car that I have seen that scenario in.

    Our signals don't work unless the key is in the on position, I'm wondering if our terrible ignition switches could cause that somehow.

    No real clue on the power drain
  3. Gamer92

    Gamer92 FEOA Donator

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    How far in Louisville are you? I'm not too familiar with shops around there, but there is a shop here in New Albany that specializes in Auto Electrical.

    Stumler Auto Electric Co

    412 W Main St

    ,
    New Albany, IN 47150

    (812) 945-8315


    Mon - Fri7:30 am - 5:00 pm
  4. Ocramzeej

    Ocramzeej FEOA Donator

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    I don't happen to have my manual nearby (it's at home, I just got to work), but I can try and pull up the wiring schematic and see what blocks those devices all inter-connect to when I get home. Or, if you've got a Hayes manual, try tracing back those wiring connections in the diagrams in the back of the book, and finding a common relay/block point for all of those dash connections. That'd be my first step at least.
  5. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the forums Dave.
    I know that there is a 40 amp fuse in the fuse box under the hood (next to the battery) labelled the BTN fuse. If that is blown or removed, the alternator wont charge, both sides of the seat bolt sliders wont work, the running lights wont work, the radio loses its memory, and the Brake Lights wont work! I think the turn signals wont work either. If you charge up the battery, the car will run fine until....the battery gets discharged again. The headlights will still work, being on a different circuit.
    There are other fuses in series with the BTN fuse, for individual systems; which fuses are mostly located in the fuse box by the driver's left shin.

    The mention of the ignition switch is very good. The electrical part of the switch is known to give problems eventually. I think its a combination of corroded/arc-ed contacts and melted terminals. You can buy just the electrical part and swap the old one out; it just means removing the steering column bottom clamshell and dealing with two connectors and a few screws. I have had to replace those switches on a couple of my Escorts. I own four of them, all in use as daily drivers. The entire ignition switch assembly is a good bit more expensive than just the electrical part.

    To help with diagnosis I would make up a 'tester'; by connecting wires to a light bulb having female spade terminals on the other ends of the wires, which terminals you can slide onto the two blades visible after removing the BTN fuse. This puts the light bulb into the circuit instead of the BTN fuse, lets you provide power to all of the circuits the BTN normally fuse powers (several of them). But instead of blowing more of the 40 amp fuses, the light bulb will come on as you wiggle and push things looking for the bad circuit. **

    I made my tester by using an 1156 bulb with wires soldered to it. The wires are each about about 4 ft long, which allows me to position the bulb where I can see it when I am fiddling with things inside the car and under the dashboard. I like the bulbs having a brass base, as they are easier to solder to.

    ** If I have a lot to do under/behind the dashboard, I take out the four bolts (14mm socket) holding the drivers seat, unplug its 'seat belt sensor' connect wire, and remove it. Then I can put a narrow longish sheet of plywood down that I can lie on, and be facing up at the wiring stuff without twisting my back. Since all of my Escorts are 4 doors, I can easily get in and out using the rear driver's side door.

    Yours being a 94, take good care of that multifunction switch. Not only are they expensive and hard to find! I had the turn signal go bad on mine, and I COULD NOT get the steering wheel off the column - which is essential for replacing the multifunction switch. I had to get another complete column. (Thank god for feoa forum members). My advice is to use only a thumb and index finger to operate the turn signals, headlamp dimmer, and wiper controls. !!!

    Another thing that can drain the battery; although it usually takes a week or two, is a failed circuit inside the memory-&-clock-sustain function in the radio. Normally this function only needs 2 or 3 milliamps to keep it alive. In the event of a failure, it might be drawing 90 milliamps or more.

    Good Luck with trying to find a repair shop that will be knowledgeable. Many mechanics arent much if any older than your car. If the shop only looked at the harness under the hood, they only thing they could have found that would be a likely source of your problem would be melted or chafed wires. And since your car is OBD-I (actually Ford's term is EEV-IV), it doesnt have the more comprehensive OBD-II functions - which likely would not help with the symptoms your car has.

    If you dont yet have the Electrical and Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual (EVTM) for your year of Escort, I would recommend getting one. I got mine from ebay. It has the wiring diagrams/schamitcs in it, with pictorials showing where the components are located. I think it is about 700 pages. I have one for each year of Escorts that I own or that are in my family. Although the 2nd generation Escorts didnt change much mechanically, there are electrical differences that make it worthwhile to have an EVTM for the specific year your Escorts is. Its really a 2nd volume of the Service Manual, but nowhere in either manual do they even mention the other book.

    P.S. I like the way you set up your profile page. I think I will make mine similarly.
    Ocramzeej and Pizzaman5000 like this.
  6. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Added observation: The voltage of a fully charged battery is normally about 12.6. If the engine is running and the alternator is not charging, I would imagine a reading between 11.5 and 12.3 would be normal. It would also depend on whether you had the heeadlamps turned on, or how long it had been since the battery was recharged.
    zzyzzx and Ocramzeej like this.

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