Re: 1997 Ford Taurus lemon
I am assuming that the "accident sensor" which you are talking about is the
inertia switch. Its purpose is to cut power to the gas pump in case of
collision, so your friend won't perish in a ball of fire from a ruptured
fuel line. These are quite sensitive, and for a good reason. If your friend
is in the habit of hitting curbs or driving over speed bumps at excessive
speed, the switch may trip. The good news is that there is no need to 'pay
the mechanic' in order to reset it. All it takes is pushing a button, and
the user's manual (which your friend is well advised to read) tells exactly
where to find it. If the switch keeps tripping for no reason at all, it's
worth taking a look if it's still solidly attached and not rattling around,
or perhaps accidentally being hit by something, before replacing it. Anyway,
it's an easy to replace and very inexpensive item (around $15).
I have never seen one of those fail on my cars, but the TPS is an
electro-mechanical device, which moves all the time, and ultimately wears
down. It's a farily inexpensive (around $50) and easy to replace item. If
your mechanic diagnosed its failure correctly, it's well worth replacing, or
your friend will experience drivability problems or poor idling, sooner or
later. Unless the wire harnesses or connectors have been abused by someone
who does not know what they are doing, it's very unusual to have a short
mimicking for a TPS failure.
A fuel gauge malfunction won't set the MIL ("Service Engine Soon"). The
failure might be of the sender (in the fuel tank) or of the gauge itself.
Either costs around $60. Judging by the overall $500 quote that you
mentioned, it sounds like the gas tank is coming off. Or perhaps, that it's
time for a second opinion...
The computerized self-diagnostic capabilities are quite powerful and getting
better all the time. A brand new vehicle will be smarter than your friend's
1997 model. Nevertheless, there is a limit to how far a computer can
diagnose, factoring cost into the mix. Typically it will point to a symptom
or a subsystem, leaving the exact defective component to be determined by
someone who understands how things work and is equipped with the proper
tools. In the grand scheme of things, that's a lot cheaper than building all
those tools and diagnostic intelligence right into the vehicle. Things would
look a lot different if your friend's Taurus was flying in outer space,
where a service call requires a space shuttle flight...
No way to comment on your generic complaint that this car is a lemon,
because of the frequent 'check engine light' incidents, as you gave no
details. One or two of them might have been as simple as a loose gas cap
(did I mention reading the manual yet?)
Your state, just like mine, is using the built-in OBDII monitors instead of
measuring actual emissions from the tailpipe. In my opinion, it's a good
policy. Though the vehicle cannot really measures its own emissions, it's
doing a great job of identifying problems that CAUSE increased emissions.
Reading the status monitors stored in your engine's computer is a lot
faster, cheaper and more accurate than exercising your car on a dynamometer
through a variety of simulated driving conditions. And the abundance of AWD
vehicles would require an expensive four-wheel synchronized dymo to even run
Ethan" <ethan448@NOSOLICITINGyahoo.com> wrote in message
> The latest problem seems to be threefold: bad gas gage sensor, bad
> position sensor, and bad "accident" sensor. Repair cost will be $500.
> for the gas sensor, my girlfriend indeed said her gas gage wasn't working
> properly. I don't know about the TPS other than that her car has been
> driving fine. The "accident" sensor is allegedly something that'll shut
> down the car if it gets in an accident. Anyone know about this? I don't
> have too many details, as I didn't talk to the mechanic personally.)
> Now, as in the past, the problems are usually attributed to sensors. So,
> does this mean that problems are usually electronic rather than
> When a sensor senses a problem it could just mean that the sensor itself
> malfunctioning, right? (Hope my questions make sense.)
> I'm wondering whether all these problems are the symptoms rather than the
> cause. Could an electrical short just be causing various sensors to fail
> quite often? If so, is the OBD2 diagnostic not sophisticated enough to
> the cause behind the symptom?