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1996 Escort Turn Signal

We have a '96 Escort LX (1.9) with 239k miles on it; running smooth and strong most of the time. About 6 weeks ago the left turn signal no longer flashed. Right side and hazard lights were fine. I immediately checked the front/rear bulbs and swapped them to the right side and they worked fine. Bulbs from the right side failed on the left: no signals, and the flasher working in double time.

I checked the grounds from the terminals to chassis and they were both fine; from front and back nearly zero ohms.

The catch here is that sometimes the flashers will work but there is no rhyme or reason behind them working. I might push the signal down and it won’t work, and immediately try again and they will work. Mostly they left turn signals do not work though.

I initially blamed the switch and chased down a replacement multi-function switch from one of my local junk yards. Only to run into another problem.

In my attempt to replace the switch I found out that the previous owner must have pulled the steering wheel at some point in the past and must have re-amounted it to the shaft with Lock-Tite. Using a normal steering wheel puller and a three arm puller could not break the wheel free from the shaft.

At this point I took a step back and rethought the problem. I pulled, inspected and reseated the flasher unit and initial tests failed. Frustrated, i put the mess back together to ponder my plight.

Later that day the the left turn signal suddenly worked - everytime. it did so for about 4 days and then gradually went back to it’s failing - but of course sometimes it will work.

I am completely stumped. Should I find a HUGE puller and snap the steering wheel off the shaft and replace the multi function switch or order a $79 flasher (nothing available in the junk yards) and hope the flasher is intermittently bad?

Thanks in advance,

Mark d.

Do you have a repair manual for the car? If memory serves, you don’t even have to remove the steering wheel to replace the multifunction switch on this car; you just have to take the collar off the column (the big plastic cube. It’s held together with a few screws installed from underneath, then splits into two and comes off).

What the heck kind of flasher does this car take??? $79??? What’s so special about it? The most expensive kind I have ever run across were the $15 electronic kind. The normal ones run about $2-3.

I do have the repair manual and there is no way to remove the multi-function switch without pulling the steering wheel. The MF switch has the turn signals, hazards, wipers, cruise control and is designed to fit over the steering shaft after removing plastic collar.

As far as the price of the flasher, I am completely surprised about that price too. It’s for signals and hazards, maybe more, and has seven blades. I’ve checked all of the parts stores in the area and; first: none of them carry the flasher and they are all special order; second: they all charge between $79 and $99.

Mark d.

I was asking because most Fords are not that way. Most of them have a multifunction switch that bolts to one side of the column and is shaped like a C. Perhaps this car is an exception. Your symptoms do point more to being a switch than a flasher. You may try some electronic parts cleaner sprayed into the switch to see if that helps.