Bad Ground?

I have a 1997 Mercury Sable. It has some interesting problems. When I shift into reverse, I lose my power steering, radio, power windows and rear defroster. At least that is how it started. Now It happens all the time, in drive, well it flickers on and off… When I shift back into neutral or park, my stuff works again. I can hear a clicking sound from the dash but I think it is just the seat belt idiot light popping on and off. The power steering is obviously trouble, as it goes off and on while I am driving. The other stuff is not as troubling but I feel that it is all connected.

First check the belt.

Then check the fluid.

The only thing out of all those that isn’t electric is your PS. Sounds like a serpentine belt.

From many years ago I vaguely remember someone with similiar problems & it turned out to be a defective TRS/transmission range selector.

This made no sense to me, but what do i know.

Is your power steering variable assist?

Try googling “Ford transmission range sensor problems.”

Could also be called “digital transmission range sensor.”

Try searching on both.

Here you go & it looks like all you need to do to fix this is replace the TRS.

See this link

Thanks! This was killing me! I have been reading all these posts…it sounds like it for sure. Like a gremlin in there…:slight_smile:


Glad I could help & good luck with the repair. Keep us posted.

I am going to a friends this evening after work to replace the part. Any tips? Should I be in park or neutral?


Monday morning and all is well! My car is driving better then it was before! It was an easy fix :slight_smile: Thanks for your help!


Good deal & i’m glad that worked out for you. Thanks for the update.

This was a real strange one alright. Good score on that link 87 Ranger.

Thanks Cougar and you’re right this was a strange one.

I dont have diagrams for a 97 Sable, but i did take a look at the diagrams for my 97 Explorer & sure enough with car in park or neutral the TRS does feed a ground to the “neutral sense input” pin of the GEM. The GEM thinks the car is cranking & kills power to most everything else.

Who’d a thunk it.