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V6 (1994-2004) Mustangs Technical discussions on the 3.8L and 3.9L V6 torque monsters
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Old 05-28-2014, 07:29 PM   #1
mo3nzo
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Vehicle: The Cross: 1999 3.8L
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Unhappy Accessories + Power Not Working

Just yesterday I had pulled out my entire front dash in order to access the heater core and A/C system as part of stripping down the car. I pulled out all electrical connections and disconnected the grounds.

However, now that I have wired everything back up (the heater core and AC still not removed) nothing works in the car. I tried reading through the ford service manual and I got lost in it - its the first time I've dealt with anything electrical.

Here's what happens:

The power locks on the driver and passenger side occasionally work, and other times just don't work at all. Whether it is working or not, I hear a single click from underneath the dash every time I hit the lock/unlock switch. What's even stranger is that when I have my battery charger hooked up to the battery, the lock functions much better and doesn't fail as much. The battery is fully charged however, so I'm not sure what is happening.

I have an aftermarket alarm system in the car (Viper) and it also shows the same problems, except that instead of a single click I hear multiple simultaneous ones and they come from the main module for the alarm. The alarm also works better when the charger is connected, and I hear two audible beeps coming from under the dash (sound similar to the door ajar warning key) when I'm using the alarm remote.

Other than the locks and alarm, nothing else works - the OBD II interface has an electrical current (I believe that's what its called) but the scanner cannot connect to the ECU. The instrument cluster lights do not work, power windows do not work, and the car doesn't turn on ( I hear no starter clicking to indicate its a starter problem).

At the same time, my ignition cylinder is behaving oddly, the key spins freely inside the cylinder and doesn't lock into the ACC and IGN locations as it used to.

It makes a bit sense too - the power locks and alarm are always on and work regardless if the ignition is on ACC or not. However, everything else doesn't work. Yet it doesn't explain why charging the battery makes the always-on accessories function better. Also, at one point, the brake lights and headlights were on but it was during dusk and it might be the Daytime Running lights system.

Could this possibly be a grounding issue? Or is it possible that the ignition solenoid is damaged? Would all electrical functions spontaneously fail if just a mechanical part in the solenoid was damaged? Or could it be a fuse? I visually inspected all the fuses and didn't find anything.


Help would be appreciated, I've rewired the front of the car over 7 times by now, and I'm still facing the same problems.

Thank you
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Last edited by mo3nzo; 05-28-2014 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:06 AM   #2
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Sounds like the ignition switch, the electronic switch on the column, not the key tumbler. Most people get these confused. Including the parts store.
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:48 AM   #3
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Sounds like you've got multiple problems with this car. Remember that grounds are equally as important as power supply wires. Many systems use ground side switches to function and all grounds need to be reconnected. You may have to check every fuse with a test light vs visually inspecting. I would also strongly suggest a wiring diagram at this point so you can begin to trace out circuits. The ignition switch sure sounds like a good place to start - something went wrong there. What you're describing is not how the switch should operate.
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyGT View Post
Sounds like the ignition switch, the electronic switch on the column, not the key tumbler. Most people get these confused. Including the parts store.
Thanks for the clarification; I quickly searched up to see what the ignition switch looked like and realized that I had temporarily disconnected it from the steering column and forgot to connect it back. Now the key locks properly and doesn't spin freely anymore.

But now I have a new problem. When the key is inserted into the ignition lock cylinder the theft light intermittently flashes and slows down after 30 or so seconds. Then suddenly, all gauges and warning lights turn on in the instrument panel and I can hear the fan running, fuel pump, etc. During that time I quickly pull up the right passenger window (I was disassembling the left one to pull up manually last night).

Once I tried to start the car the theft system just went crazy on me. Gauges were all flickering, but only partially, as if they were trying to start but then get cut off by something (either anti-theft PATS or a bad ground, or other?). During all this, I would hear a humming beep that would continuously run from the right front of the car (engine compartment). It kind of sounded like a fuel pump. I got worried I would burn something so I took the key out. The only way I could stop the gauge flickering and the humming sound was by either removing the key or holding down the power window button. That would also disable the flickering theft light.

Quote:
Originally Posted by corker View Post
Sounds like you've got multiple problems with this car. Remember that grounds are equally as important as power supply wires. Many systems use ground side switches to function and all grounds need to be reconnected. You may have to check every fuse with a test light vs visually inspecting. I would also strongly suggest a wiring diagram at this point so you can begin to trace out circuits. The ignition switch sure sounds like a good place to start - something went wrong there. What you're describing is not how the switch should operate.
Corky

I'm a bit confused now, corker, you mentioned grounding could be a potential issue. But could this also be PATS related? I'm trying to figure out if I can eliminate the anti-theft as a cause before I move to testing the grounds. I'm really worried at this point I might fry something or permanently damage an electrical component or circuit.

I quickly asked a neighbor of mine who works as a mechanic and mentioned putting the key in the ON position and disconnecting the positive battery cable, let it sit there for 20 or so minutes, then turn car off and reconnect the cable. Would that, or a similar procedure clear the PATS?

I'm starting to read more thoroughly through the wiring diagrams, but I have a 2003 factory manual and the car is a 1999, not sure if differences would be present.

I'll be doing some research on electrical systems and testing procedures for now and see if the factory manual has any PATS resetting procedures.

Any ideas?
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Old 05-29-2014, 01:55 PM   #5
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Sounds like the pats system needs to be re-synced. When you disconnected all of the stuff under the dash, it cut the communication between the PCM/ECM and one of the security modules in the dash.

Someone should be by shortly to tell you how to reset it or you can search for it online with something like

99 Mustang PATS resync (or reset)
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Old 05-29-2014, 03:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derf00 View Post
Sounds like the pats system needs to be re-synced. When you disconnected all of the stuff under the dash, it cut the communication between the PCM/ECM and one of the security modules in the dash.

Someone should be by shortly to tell you how to reset it or you can search for it online with something like

99 Mustang PATS resync (or reset)
Thanks for the reply Derf00. I'm running some research on what you suggested as of now. So would the flickering gauges and the fact that the power window switch can stop the flickering and theft light be related to the PATS only?

I'll try my spare key once I get home tonight, I think I could have possibly demagnetized it when working on car with one of those magnetic trays. Or I could have damaged the receiver that sits underneath the lock cylinder.

Still researching web and manual, thanks for the replies so far, putting some direction towards what to research
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Old 05-30-2014, 10:21 AM   #7
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Sounds like ground/battery issues possibly as well. Throw a charger on the battery for a bit and clean as many grounds and the battery terminals as you can.
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Old 06-01-2014, 09:14 AM   #8
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UPDATE: Car is working again!

I still don't know what went wrong with it. Ended up turning on when I connected it to a charger and put on start. But the battery had a full charge, which is the odd part. It was tested as the first thing for voltage and by the charger and showed up good.

That humming sound that came on was from the PCM, I feel like after the ECU and PCM and all were disconnected, they required a much larger boost than simply 12 Volts to get back to going, hence they wouldn't work on regular battery or when I was simply charging it. When it started it was by complete chance, I tried the same method of boosting it a couple times before that and nothing happened. Was wondering if the battery cable that connected to the outdoor outlet was acting as a ground.

I'm still getting a ground issue with the aftermarket alarm system, but the rest of the car works fine. I'm going to dig into it and figure out why it would randomly refuse to turn on like that.

Still feel like there's a ground issue somewhere in the car, and will keep my eyes out for it.


Thanks again everyone, comments and suggestions were really helpful
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Old 06-01-2014, 09:39 PM   #9
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Sounds like your battery is dying. Just because your charger says it's full doesn't mean the battery is good, just means it's holding as much charge as it can. Still might not have been enough charge to start car on it's own. Might have a cell going out.
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Old 06-02-2014, 03:16 PM   #10
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Sounds like your battery is dying. Just because your charger says it's full doesn't mean the battery is good, just means it's holding as much charge as it can. Still might not have been enough charge to start car on it's own. Might have a cell going out.
I had the battery tested at a shop a month before and it had no problems, which is why I didn't initially suspect the battery being the source of the issues. The battery was disconnected for a only 1 hour while I was removing the dash. I'll get it rechecked again and see what the status is for it right now. But you have a point on the battery cell, I guess the amount of charge it can hold has decreased, or the discharge rate has increased significantly.
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Old 06-02-2014, 03:16 PM
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