Fuel light and ABS light turning on randomly, Ford Taurus 2003

ford

#1

Hi,
I have a Ford Taurus 2003 wagon. We bought it used in 2010. Initially we had the car checked out and only needed a transmission fluid flush because of a shift delay. We replaced the battery and oil changes for it on a regular basis.
Last year, we had an issue where the engine would suddenly turn off while driving and then turn back on. The dealership said it was the synchronizer and replaced that. We also had then check out a burning scent and they said that it was from oil leaking from the engine. I am not sure that they fixed what they said they did since it still smells and some times there is smoke or steam coming from under the hood on the right side near the windshield. A month later the car was still turning off while driving and the dealership said they didn’t know why. We ended up taking it to Advanced auto parts and having the battery tested. The alternator needed to be replaced. We wasted a ton of money at the dealership… So mad about that and never going back there again. They clearly don’t to a good job. We replaced the alternator.

So now, a few days ago, the abs and fuel lights came on while driving, and the radio also made a noise like an electrical surge type. ~10 minutes later I noticed smoke or steam coming from under the hood. Anyone have any idea what is going on with the car?

I am so anxious driving it since last year when the engine would turn off while driving. I have my baby in the backseat and I have already decided what to do if the engine catches fire. I want to get rid of this car and get a new/used one but my husband wants to keep it since it should be cheaper to fix then to get a new one. I don’t want to spend a ton of money either, but I also want a car that will reliably drive us to work and daycare.
Oh and of course the car works fine anytime when time my husband is driving it, but that is only on the weekends occasionally.

I would greatly appreciate any advice or comments.
Thanks in advance!


#2

The radio, fuel and ABS light don’t have that much to do with eachother so my guess that problem is electrical in nature. It is just a guess but it is highly unlikely all three are giving your trouble, all at the very same time. The thing they have in common is the electrical system - specifically, the power to them.

Maybe when they replaced the alternator a cable got jostled loose or not tightened properly and it now does not make good contact. When they don’t make good contact, the connections can heat up and could puff some smoke when the wire heats up along with it.
I’d first check the battery connectors and the large connector on the alternator first. That’s what they touched last. Also look at the negative lead from the battery to the frame. There likely are other bare ground strap connections from the frame to the engine, etc.

Should you or your husband try to look at these connections, disconnect the battery first before you attempt to tighten connections for safety purposes.