I have a 1998 Ford Escort SE sedan. My taillights have went out along with my park lights; and my instrument panel lights are out too. Me and a friend of mine traced a short to roughly the fuse box. I have a short somewhere either in the dash or in the engine compartment. Any ideal on where to look, or how much it might cost to fix it?
I assume that since you state you have a short in the circuit you are blowing a fuse for the lights. If you aren’t blowing a fuse and are just not getting power to the lights then you have an open power wire. To help you find the trouble you would be wise to invest in a service manual or go to your local library and get some wiring information on the car.
A common place to have trouble is at wiring modifications like for a trailer. Hopefully you have a test lght probe or meter to check for power and resistance. To help locate a short it is best to seperate connections and check each leg to see which one has the short on it.
Carefully note all of the circuits that are affected. Look at the Power Distribution wiring diagram. On the diagram, mark each component which is affected. It will become apparent which circuit(s) are losing power. Follow back to the power source. For the instrument panel (IP) the 40A fuse in the engine compartment is the power source. The problem lies somewhere between the power source and the affected components. See it?