WARNING LIGHTS, '04 Ford Taurus

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  #1  
Old 03-16-09, 03:57 PM
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WARNING LIGHTS, '04 Ford Taurus

My '04 Taurus has 60,000 miles (I bought it new). Within the past few months, the same two warning lights will occasionally stay on after starting. When it does occur, it's always the "brake" and the "fuel cap" lights together. Shutting down and restarting clears the lights. Here's what I find really curious: The electronic odometer can display various messages and can be set to show fuel mileage, trip mileage and etc. Almost every time the car is started, the display will show "xxx miles to empty". I can turn this function off, but it will almost always reappear next time the car is started. This began happening about the same time the warning lights started. Also lately, the car sometimes will not start on the first try (hot restart only). Other than all this, the car runs smoothly, accelerates fine and the trans shifts properly. Should I take the car in to have the codes read, or can anyone suggest something else? I disconnected the battery overnight to see if that would clear anything, but no change. By the way, the "check engine" light has never come on throughout all this. The car is well maintained and I'm about to schedule a transaxle flush and new fuel filter. Thanks very much!!!
 
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Old 03-16-09, 04:08 PM
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Never heard of this problem before. It wouldn't hurt to see if there are any pending codes. Autozone type stores will read the possible codes for free.

It maybe a instrument cluster problem, or possibly a computer module, but lets see if someone else has seen this problem.
 
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Old 03-17-09, 02:13 PM
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Took the car to AutoZone and their scanner displayed "no codes present". I half expected that. I could be wrong, but this makes me feel more positive that the car has no real faults, just some sort of goofy electrical/electronic problem or glitch in the computer. Guess it means I don't have to be all that concerned about those warning lights coming on. Maybe I should just wait until something actually fails. Not sure where to go from here. I still need to get the transaxle flushed and fuel filter replaced, but not sure if I need to spend an extra $79 to have a Tech scan it and try to determine what's up. Also now thinking the hot restart problem is not related.
 
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Old 03-18-09, 07:27 AM
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RE: WARNING LIGHTS, '04 Ford Taurus

I also have a '04 Taurus (SEL DOHC) with aprox 80K miles and the electronic info / odometer display. I am experiencing identical problems: intermittent occurrence of warning lights staying on after start; restarting clears lights; intermittent no starts with unspent fuel odor after finally starting and outside temperature thermometer in electronic display needing to be reset to appear when having the problems above. My tachometer also sticks (bounces at 0 RPM) at start-up when encountering the problem.

All of the issues do not necessarily occur at the same time; sometimes the car starts on first try but the lights stay on. Like aznaturist the car runs fine after start-up and runs fine if no start-up problem but with lights remaining on. I have taken to local mechanic and no codes are present; had fuel filter and all fluids (ATF, brake, coolant, oil) flushed and or changed.

I will continue to post with updates; please do the same and let me know if a solution is found. Thank you.
 
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Old 03-21-09, 04:51 PM
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behind the instrument cluster is a circuit board. on my 02 it caused all the lights to go on and off on the cluster at random
times.

make sure you keep on the tranny flushes also.
don;t forget the cabin air filter either, i just did mine this morning.
 
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Old 03-21-09, 05:37 PM
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Thanks for posting! Did you replace that circuit board? If so, did it cure the problem?
 
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Old 03-22-09, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by aznaturist View Post
Thanks for posting! Did you replace that circuit board? If so, did it cure the problem?
yes it did. one other problem i've heard is automatic starters in the taurus. especially if thay slap the key on the module to trick the car the pats system is good.
 
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Old 04-02-09, 07:40 AM
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Fixed

Replaced battery and all problems are now fixed. I assume that the battery (original) as it began to fail was not suppling the GEM module enough power to fire the neccessary items controling gauges and start-up. Try the battery.
 
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Old 04-02-09, 10:42 AM
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Thanks to all for posting! To "risoworker"; did you have a shop replace the circuit board or did you do it yourself and what was the cost? To "dbranding"; were you having problems with the battery? My battery is also original, but I'm not experiencing any problems that would indicate it is failing. Also, NOW every once in a while the power windows won't work! Have to shut the engine down once or twice to restore window function. What next?????!!!
 
  #10  
Old 04-03-09, 12:44 PM
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I was having no problems that would indicate the battery was failing. Went to start the car shortly after arriving to work and the battery was dead to the extent of not even enough power to light dome lights. Tried to jump start, which gave me dome lights and other accessories but not enough to turn over. My guess is that your battery is in the same condition.

I have not had any issues since replacing the battery - all fixed.
 
  #11  
Old 04-25-09, 10:17 AM
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Apparent success!

Had the car in to a Goodyear store for transaxle fluid service and they informed me that the battery tested bad. So, a trip to AutoZone to replace the battery and all problems cleared up! I guess the car's computer is extremely voltage sensitive because I was not experiencing any indications that the OEM battery, not quite 5 years old, could be weak. Thought I'd better replace it before the desert heat out here gets too extreme. Thanks, dbranding, for your posts!
 
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Old 04-27-09, 07:41 AM
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Thanks for posting back, AZ. Yes, cars nowadays can be very finicky about power when it comes to the electronics. Can be pretty frustrating troubleshooting if you skip over an obvious step looking for something more serious. Been there, done that (recently, in fact, while tracing a problem with my hydraulics that turned out to be a simple wire pulled loose from a butt splice).
 
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