Mercury Monterey died after 28,000 miles. The mechanic says fluid ate through wiring & engine parts

We have a 2004 Mercury Monterey Van with 28,000 miles on it that’s been sitting at the dealership since last June. They say they don’t know what’s wrong with it but that they can start it one day and then a few days later it won’t start. They say that sometimes when they come to work in the morning the car radio is playing! Apparently the engine is covered by some blue film. They tell us all the wiring and computer need to be replaced but this would cost more than the car is worth.

We live on Nantucket and are away from January to April. We don’t have a garage, but we have someone start the car every week and run it until it’s warmed up. One week last April, just before we returned, the car wouldn’t start. We had the car towed to the dealership where they found wiring damage and said that a fluid had eaten through wiring, damaged sensors and the PCM, and that there seemed to be a blue film over the engine. It cost us a little over $2000. The repairs included replacing the wiring harness section at the PCM, the throttle & exhaust sensors, and the battery. They also replaced the cabin air filter due to rodent damage. It took about a month to complete these repairs, and after we got it back the car seemed OK for about two weeks. Then one day while we were driving it down Milestone road the car gradually lost power until, after 3 – 4 miles, it stopped all together. We couldn’t get it to start and had it hauled back to the dealership where it’s been ever since.

Two years ago mice got into the car and damaged the wiring. That was repaired, but we wanted to avoid that happening again. We put D-CON mouse poison on the ground around the car last year. We did NOT put anything in the car. These mouse pellets are green or greenish/blue. Could they have had anything to do with this? Should we call this a loss and not pursue it further? (We paid $14,000 for the car in June 2009.) Should we take it somewhere else?

It sounds like you car experienced “flood” type of damage. I’m not sure it will ever be a reliable vehicle. That blue film on the motor isn’t normal and that and the symptoms suggest flood damage. Perhaps you should consider filling an insurance claim?

I would sell the very much damaged vehicle, and I would NOT leave it’s replacement stored outside on Nantucket through the winter…

The D-CON may have killed a neighbors pet and the mysterious “Blue Film” and liquid that ate your car may just be a little blow-back from one of the year’rounders…

I hate to say it but you may want to get the van off island and have it looked at by someone else. I know its going to cost an arm and leg, but I cant imagine writing off a $14,000 van. You obviously have an electronic issue. You just need to find someone to look at who is willing it check all of the wiring. My bet is you still have rodent damage somewhere and you have something grounding out. The Ford dealership on the island (the only dealer if I remember correctly), may just be ill equipped to handle this.

Unfortunately, the vehicles of today are computer networks on wheels. The wiring is the critical connection between all the different modules that make this vehicle run. It sounds like the vehicle has be submerged or drenched with something and that has compromised some of the more important modules and damaged the wiring. Tracking down every failure of this complex web of connections is a huge undertaking, and the manhours required at typical shop rates will easily burn through the current value of $7,700. Since it has been 6 months, and the dealer has not been able to correct the damage, you may just have to write this one off.

I’d check with your automobile insurance and your homeowner’s insurance and see what they may be able to do.

Without knowing the missing ingredient (fire or fuel) that prevents the car from running and what, if any, codes are present there is no way of making much of a guess at to the cause of this problem.
Have they not given you one bit of info about what’s missing? They should have.

And when you say it won’t start do you mean the starter motor will physically crank the engine over but it won’t run or do you mean the engine does nothing when the key is turned?
Each one of those scenarios goes off in a different direction as to cause and even the latter may need a bit more clarification.

I’m a bit suspect of a shop that says all of the wiring must be replaced. The only way I could see that would be if salt water has run amok and eaten up every wire connector on the vehicle.

As to the blue film I have no idea but could throw out a what-if. That might be if a windshield washer line was leaking and spraying the engine down with washer fluid. That’s just a wild theoretical at this point.