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Old 03-31-2008
buggman's Avatar
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Icon4 Electrical RED ALERT, Help!!

So I take a short trip to the store today & I turn on the wipers & nothing happens. I press the washer fluid thing (that normally shoots fluid on the windshield & turns the wipers on) and it did nothing as well.

Luckily, it wasn't raining that much & I was able to make it home ok.

I pulled each of the fuses from the panel (one at a time) inside the cab & they were all fine & none were blown (tested with multimeter). I even checked the fuses & relays under the hood & everything seemed ok.

I smacked the washer control/turn signal arm around to no avail. (sometimes the washer fluid control needs a little persuasion to work) so I pulled apart the shroud around the steering wheel to see if I had a short & everything seemed ok.
I turned the ign. to ON (not running) and the wipers worked, but the turn signals & hazard lights quit.
A few more smacks & wiggles and the turn signals & hazards worked along with the wipers.
I started the truck & the turn signals & hazard lights work, but the wipers quit working, as well as the dome light. Even the door open indicator on the dash quit working at this point.
I wiggled the hazard light switch & only the right hand dash indicator blinked, the left side did nothing. I switched the turn signal arm around a bit & the hazard blinker dash indicators started working again.

I checked all the connections that I could see & shot some wd-40 in the door latch to lubricate the door switch (the dome light now works sometimes, but it was working fine before I lubricated it).

1. the dome light works sometimes
2. the turn signals & hazard lights work most of the time either when running or when the ignition is in the ON position.
3. the wipers work most times, but ONLY when the truck is NOT running, only in the ON position.
4. I've ran out of ideas.

My 96, 4.0l, auto, xtra cab hasn't given me this kind of problem before (other than the dome light staying on a few minutes when the door is closed or the washer fluid button)

What the heck is going on with this crazy thing? Is there some special Ford voodoo wiper curse I need to have exercised?

I thought I had everything working (with the ign on) until I started the truck to double check & the wipers quit working again.

Looks like I'll have to pull over & turn the truck off to use the wipers for now.

Strange....! I drove around just a few days ago & the wipers, turn signals & dome light all worked as always, but today everything went nuts.

I have no idea what else to do right now.

I don't think it's a problem with the 200amp alternator, I have 14.4v when it's running and 12.5v+/- in the ign position. The main ground is 1/0ga from the motor to frame, frame to body & body to battery.

If anybody has any ideas, I'd sure be glad to hear 'em before I have to make the dreaded call to the local Ford dealer for service.
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Old 03-31-2008
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Wipers and turn signals are likely your multifunction switch. Those have a tendency to corrode... in fact, I just replaced mine a few days ago. You could try replacing that... or if you're the do-it-yourself type, take it apart and clean the contacts.

Dome light is likely the door latch sensor. Common problem with our trucks. The WD-40 method is tried and true, but when it fails it seems that replacing the switch seems to be the way to go.
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Old 03-31-2008
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Sounds like a multifunction switch for the most part I agree. I don't take them apart though, I just replace them.
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Old 04-09-2008
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Thanks for the info,
Ford wants about $80 for the switch, so it looks like I'll be getting one from ePAID. They seem to run about $45.00 online.

It worked fine for a few days, but today (it was raining again) the wipers quit completely... until I got back home and it had stopped raining, then they worked a little while.

The only problem(s) I can see with the swap is the automatic shift lever won't let the upper steering colum shroud (that black plastic thing) come off without cutting a slot in the shroud. Same goes for the tilt steering lever (it might unscrew, but I haven't had time to clean out the garage to get the truck in there to work on it).
Looks like I might have to try to get the screws out of the switch & hope I can unplug the harnesses to get it out of the shroud too.
There wasn't much room to work with the shroud bent upwards (being held down by the levers), so I'll have to figure something out.
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Old 04-10-2008
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Location: Pawcatuck, CT
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If you are going to open it up anyway, try cleaning the contacts. I have a switch on my motorcycle that needs yearly cleaning. Most owners use electrical spray cleaner but I use a finger nail file. DON'T use anything like sandpaper cause it can leave debris behind on the contacts.
Let us know how you make out.
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Old 04-15-2008
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I finally had enough today & disassembled the column shroud (had to unscrew the tilt lever first) and yanked on the upper shroud till it came off.
I removed the switch & cleaned (scraped) the contacts with a small screwdriver. Only one of the contacts had a little green corrosion on it. I shot a bit of wd-40 in the connectors & worked them around before I re-installed everything.
Unfortunately, it didn't help.

One day the wipers work when I first start the truck, but quit before I get to the end of the driveway. Next day they work for a few miles, then just quit. Next day they won't work at all. A few times I have left the truck setting for a few hours & everything works perfectly...until I try to go somewhere.

Wipers work sometimes in ACC or ON, but not when the truck is running. I tried turning the wipers on in the ON position & they worked, but when I started the truck, they quit working.
I even left the switch off the column and pushed/pulled on each wire (when the truck was running & wiper switch on) to see if there was one that had a bad connection, but no luck.

Now my dome lights, map lights & glove box lights don't work either (already checked the fuses). I'm pretty sure one problem has little to do with the other, but I can't seem to win for losing.
At least the turn signals still work (hopefully for a while longer).

I have to watch the weather channel & hope for sun before I think about going anywhere!

Somebody told me that the wiper motor could be bad, but that seems unlikely because it works sometimes when the truck isn't running. The washer pump should still work even if the wiper arm motor doesn't.
Could the switch/motor be getting too much voltage? My voltage meter stays at about 14.4v at idle.

They also said that the ignition switch could be bad & cause the wipers not to work. ??? I dunno about that.

If I can make it to the dealership (in next town over) I might get the switch & install it in the parking lot before I leave to see if it helps.

If all else fails, I'll put a rag on a coat hanger, roll down the window & stick my arm out the window for a windshield wiper!
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Old 04-16-2008
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This is becoming a joke now...
Today everything works perfectly. I did nothing other than let it set over night & the %$#!!& thing worked!
Frustrated, I called the local auto parts place (they don't stock washer fluid half the time) and low & behold they had the switch in stock.
$60 and 20 minutes later, I have the new switch installed & so far, so good. Nothing has melted or blown up.

My boot would still like to make an appointment with the @$$ of the designer who created the column shroud.
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