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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When my alternator & battery went bad I also noticed a problem where my car turns over when I depress the clutch with or without the key being in the ignition. I assume this will cause major problems even when I'm shifting??? So far everyone that has an answer for me is saying that the ignition switch is worn or the ignition relay is bad. Does anyone know how I'd replace this on a 1991 GT? Is this in the column or somewhere else? I'm assuming this is expensive, but was hoping it's something simple enough that I can replace it. I guess itd be good to know how to tell if it's the switch or the relay, and which thing is where.
 

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KingPudah1979 said:
When my alternator & battery went bad I also noticed a problem where my car turns over when I depress the clutch with or without the key being in the ignition. I assume this will cause major problems even when I'm shifting??? So far everyone that has an answer for me is saying that the ignition switch is worn or the ignition relay is bad. Does anyone know how I'd replace this on a 1991 GT? Is this in the column or somewhere else? I'm assuming this is expensive, but was hoping it's something simple enough that I can replace it. I guess itd be good to know how to tell if it's the switch or the relay, and which thing is where.
There are several relays under the dash near where your left foot would be when you are driving. A few more under the hood buy I'm guessing this one is under the dash. They are realtively cheap and easy to replace. Don't know for sure if it's a realy though, will have to check servcie manual and get back in 2 days (off tommorrow).
 

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Lay your seat WAY back and lay with your head down near the pedals. you'll see the relays right above the clutch pedal. Little plastic boxes.

The ignition switch (i THINK, don't quote me on this) is on the steering column, right behind the lock cylinder (where you put in the key) under the plastic. Usually, you need a special tool to get these off.. but i've never done it to an escort, so i'm not positive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok, that is some good news. I thought it was the ignition module, which seems easy enough to replace as well, but it's a little more expensive. Also, what is happening, doesn't really make sense as an ignition module problem. Would it make sense for one of these relays to go bad because of the incorrect alternator being installed? I took the car to a mechanic and he put in a different alternator than I did. We'll see if it chews up another belt or not. He wouldn't touch the electric problem though as he is an import guy and doesnt have knowledge of american systems nor the charts, etc. Here is the problem as it stands today. When the car is running the BRAKE and FUEL CUTOFF light are both lit and will not go off. If I depress the clutch with the ignition off the starter engages, but will not turn the engine over. When I put the ignition switch to start and the fuel is delivered, it turns over. The big problem is that every time I shift the starter engages and grinds. This is happening, I assume, with the clutch saftey switch. So, if I push it just enough to shift, but not enough to engage the CSS, then I'm fine, but it's a pain in the neck. I also dont think the illumination light above the ignition goes out. If I have to swap out the ignition switch, what would that entail? Im scared to take it into the dealer, but they seem to be the only place qualified to diagnose this... but it will cost too much and I don't like that.
 

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It really sounds like you have an ignition switch problem. If you want to DIY then try and take a trip to the junkyard first to learn what you are doing on something that isn't yours. Usually enough of the car is gone that you can see real well what you are doing.
 

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I'm a little strapped for time right now, so I'll be back later on to give you the full do it yourself on the ignition switch swap. It's relatively easy.

Matt 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Do you really think the ignition switch could cause the Fuel Cutoff and Brake lights to be on and make the starter engage whenever I press the clutch in enough to trip the CSS? I don't get how the alternator going bad would have triggered this. If you are right though, I eagerly await your instructions and hope it is indeed an easy thing to tackle, as that would be great news.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Do you really think the ignition switch could cause the Fuel Cutoff and Brake lights to be on and make the starter engage whenever I press the clutch in enough to trip the CSS? I don't get how the alternator going bad would have triggered this. If you are right though, I eagerly await your instructions and hope it is indeed an easy thing to tackle, as that would be great news.
 

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Alright I'm back :D

To replace one ignition switch:

1) Disconnect Battery

2) Remove the black plastic bezel around the steering column -> 3 or 4 phillips head screws

3) Gently Drop the steering column down -> four 12mm hex head bolts -> don't let the steering column drop or pry on it too hard or it will break the dash piece below it -> if it's not steady enough prop it up with something

4) Follow where the key goes in all the way to the back -> the plastic unit with all the harnesses going to it is the switch -> disconnect the harnesses to the switch -> mark which ones go where unless you have a good memory

5) Remove the two phillips screw retaining the switch to the keyswitch assembly -> a stubby phillips scredriver is required a normal one is too long

Voila! 8O one ignition switch removed

I don't know about the aftermarket ones, but if you buy a switch from the dealer they will supply a 'white' electrical unit with the swith. This is most likely a diode assembly of some sort. However, short of pulling the steering wheel and the turn signal switch, which I didn't have access to the tools to do, you can't get it off. Just re-use the old one that is there. Keep the new one as a spare. If you can replace it without this let me know how please!!

Installation is quite obvious after you remove it, just the reverse as usual.
You may want to test the switch before you get the bezel back on just incase you have to rip it apart again for some reason.

Amazing how a stupid plastic switch can cost so much! (120 $CDN -> Dealer)

Hope that helps :D

Matt 8)
 

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Yes

That is the only logical place short of the ECU that all of these problems would occur at once. Also, keyswitches wear out, ECU's under normal circumstances will never wear out.

I also don't think that it was the alternator that caused the problem, just coincidence. You've got a 91, its a 12 year old car, things break (usually quite often) on 12 year old cars. Vehicles don't last forever.

Matt 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok... new twist. I heard a new noise today, and it was coming from near the alternator, so I figured it was going bad or the belt was about to go again. When I looked, I noticed something new... something I haven't seen before. A loose hose. I dont know what the parts are all called, so you have to bear with me here. If you were looking at the engine from the viewpoint of the passenger side of the car you would see the alternator to your left front... the a/c to the right front the engine is center and far ahead to the right is the battery and far ahead to the left is the distributor maybe? Ok. Above the alternator there is a VICS shutter valve actuator that is metal and tilted forward. To it's right and slightly below it there is a black plastic cansiter called the vacuum chamber canister. These parts are connected through two black things just below them that are side by side and have wiring harnesses plugged into them. The one on the left has the harness plug in from above, and the one on the right plugs in from below. This loose hose has the plastic nipple from where it used to connect broken off and stuck inside of it. This hose connects to the top of the shutter valve actuator and then goes down to the black thing on the left to the nipple on the bottom below where the wiring harness plugs in. This black thing (where the nipple is broken off from) sucks are in becuase when the engine is running and I stick my finger over the broken hole it sucks my finger to it. What the heck is this thing, is it going to be REALLY expensive like I think it will... what does it do, what harm will it do because it's broken, and how the heck do I fix this? It looks like both of these black things (valves maybe?) snap onto the engine, but it sure doesnt look like it's something that can be easily pulled and replaced because there are no screws. Coming from the bottom of this thing is another wire or hose (I cant tell which) that goes to the bottom of the vacuum chamber cansiter. Now, when I worked on the engine last I pulled the wiring harness from this black thing to make room for the socket to slip over the alternator adjustment bolt. The nipple would have been below this still and out of contact with the wrench. It was still connected at this point, and I know the sounds my engine makes, and it didn't make this sucking noise, which is why I noticed it today, the first day I had the car back and drove it. When I spoke to the mechanic yesterday, he told me that he installed the new alternator from the top. This made me curious because the manual says to do it from the side, and seeing as this was not possible for me to figure out, I had to do it from the bottom twice. I can't phathom how he did it from the top. He would have had to remove a lot of things, tilt things, etc. This black thing, and its nipple, would not have been movable, and when pulling the alternator up, I could easily see it snagging the line or the nipple itself and breaking it right off! My problem is going to be convincing the mechanic that it is his fault and that he should front the cost of the repair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok, here is where we stand as of today. Maybe some of you can give me advice on how to handle the situation to my advantage. I finally broke down and took the car to a dealer for service. I figured the extra money would be worth the quick repair, assurance of quality, knowledge of the car & it's problem, and the ease of dropping it off and picking it up. I told them right away I wanted to know what the broken part in the engine was & an estimate of replacement, as well as for them to replace the ignition switch. Thats it. I was told I could not have that done, and because of the nature of the symptoms they must conduct 2 hrs of diagnostic time on the car to track down the problem. The service manager assured me that the ignition switch was not the only problem. Well, 4 hrs later I get a call telling me the diagnostic time is done and it is $110.00 US for just that. The broken engine part, HE THINKS, is called a idle control valve or a 3-way valve. He said they dont make it anymore and the only way to get one would be to find a junked car and pull it. The electrical problems traced back to being only the ignition switch like I told them it was thanks to all of your help. It would be about $100.00 more to fix it. I said they should go ahead, and 2 hrs later I get another call. They explain that the tumbler assembly doesnt seem to work with the new switch and they need to replace it at $80.00. I get really mad and finally agree with the promise that I will be able to either use the old key or one new key for both the door and ignition. I am later called with a total, an assurance everything is working perfectly and the final remark to have a great evening and pick up the car any time. I pay a taxi to take me to the dealer. I get in there pay my bill and get the keys. The problem is that I only left ONE key. I said, "this isnt my key". The cashier replies, "yes it is. That matches your number, they're your keys". I calmly explain that my car had one key, this ring has two and that neither look like my key. She explains that I must then have new keys, and that I should just try them before complaining... at which point the service personel snicker behind me. I take my new keys out to my car to find it locked up tight. I try both keys in both doors and the trunk, then flip the keys and try again. I can't get in. I go back to the service counter, angry but somewhat content because I knew this was going to happen as soon as I saw the keys and happy that their snickering was going to be seen as premature... well, so I thought. They make fun of me for not knowing how to use a key, and go to the car with the keys to open the door and drive the car to me. About 15 min. later the guy comes back in and darts to the back. He talks to his boss, they both look at me, talk, and then come out to explain that the keys must be a rough cut and because my old locks are so old, that they cant work with such a high quality freshly cut key... so they will grind it down and it'll be set in 30 min. Now Im late to be back to work and livid because I know theyre lying to my face because they messed up, dont know how and are trying to cover their tracks and asses. Finally I demand to know whats going on because I dont want people breaking into my car without keys unless I authorize it. They guy asks me to wait, calls a guy named Dan (the guy that took my car in during the morning shift) and I hear him say "no, he isn't going to like that". Then a 2003 Ford Focus pulls up and they say, how do you feel about driving this new car until Monday or Tuesday? Now I am furious because I have no input as to the situation and this is supposed to be the dealer, where high prices equates good service and no screw ups like this. It's Friday, I need my car on Saturday, and I planned on getting that engine part replaced on Sunday as well as doing the wheel bearings myself on Sunday... I should add that I found that obsolete engine part myself from a Mazda dealership for $60.00... another screw up. I demand to know what's going on. I ask them if they bothered to test the new keys on the ignition or door and they said no. I asked why they would lock the car up without testing the new key, and they had no answer. I asked why there was no record of what happened, where the old key was or what the new keys were really for or why they didnt work... no answer. I demand they find the old key and a man steps forward and explains that he indeed did know where it was... it was in the car, locked up. They could get in and get it, but it wouldnt work the ignition, and I should be thankful that they are offering a car to drive until Monday when someone can look at it. I explode because they are treating me like the ass for THEIR mistakes... for wanting to know what was going on and how it would be fixed... for being told things would be delayed until several days later when THEY could "get around to it". For laughing at me when I first asked why things didnt match up.... they then start to move the loaner paper work aside as if I am not getting it, and I ask for the manager, and he explains that he isnt sure of anything as he just started his shift, and that I should take the loaner car and come back on Monday. I explain that I had no other choice, and they then have the balls to tell me to be sure to return the loaner at 3/4 of a tank of gas or it would cost me $4.00 a gallon to refill it. I feel like taking this car and entering it into a demolition derby before returning it, but such haste is wrong, and I also waived their comprehensive insurance coverage. Now, I just KNOW that on Monday things will b all messed up, they will try to charge me more, and have NO explanation. Is anyone out there a dealer, a service manager, technician or anything like that? Is there any recourse for what has happened? Can I expect anything more? Is there a right thing and wrong thing to do or say when I go in? I was planning on asking for a sit down with the service manager or dealership manager and explaining the furstration, cost, expectations and hardhsips caused by this problem, and leaving it to him/her to explain what could be done, but part of me thinks I should push for him to refund labor costs. I asked if they could take the time to charge up the a/c, replace the bearings, put in the valve if I brought it, or do some other minor things while they had the car for 3 extra days for only the cost of parts, but they refused any price quote without the labor being added in. What am I to do? I work on it myself and I have bad luck... I am told to turn to a trusted mechanic. I go a a long time mechanic that is a client and a family friend... he breaks the valve, and wont replace it.... Im tol;d to go to a dealer for their "expertise" and "quality service" and that is the worse experience yet. I love my fords, but I am so starting to hate them.
 

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And people wonder why I do everything myself 8O

Looks like you got the short end of the stick. They sold you a pile of junk you didn't need. I'd tell then to shove that 2 hrs of diagnostic time up their ass. It only takes 15min to half an hour with the scan tool if that to find any trouble codes and computer problems.

Best of luck in resolving the situation :?

Matt 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Today I went to pick up my car, and guess what, THEY GAVE ME THE WRONG KEYS AGAIN! They gave me keys with a keyless entry remote, and the words "1999 explorer" written on the tag. I am so fed up with this. When I pointed it out they made fun of me for not knowing my keys, then the service manager inmterrupted and scolded them and found the right keys. I've filed a complaint with Ford, and the dealer's own CSR called me as they do everyone to ask how my recent experience was. She was so taken aback at the level of service, and promised to forward the info, and explained that the guy claiming to be the boss to me wasn't the boss after all. I think some 'splainin is in order from their service staff. Now I hear an occasional squeak from my right front that I have never heard before... I wonder...

Oh yeah, they said it would cost $500 to reaplace my locks. I asked if they could just put the ignition on one side and the doors on the other side of a key and they said it would be impossible unless a locksmith did it. I took the 2 keys to the local hardware store and they did it for me in 3 min for $2.00. I am so sick of this dealer.
 
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