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buzzing turn signal

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Austin Healey, April 19, 2018.

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    1. Austin Healey

      Austin Healey New Member

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      On my '97, when I activate the left turn signal, sometimes all I get is a buzzing from somewhere (under dash, engine compartment?). Only happens occasionally, and right turn signal appears normal. Is likeliest culprit a failing relay or the switch itself?

      Thanks all.
       
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    3. fast_dave

      fast_dave Active Member

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      City, State:
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      Failing Multi-Function Switch
      Mine went out the same way - pretty common symptom before they outright break.
      The turn signal portion of the part is pretty fragile - doesn't do well when forced to engage.

      Link: https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog...cal-switch+&+relay,multi-function+switch,4580

      [​IMG]

      Here's Rock Auto's 5% off Coupon Code: 4B249D02D0C680 Expires: April 26, 2018

      As per RA: "Please enter this code in the ‘How Did You Hear about Us’ box to receive the discount. Please enter ONLY the discount code, no other words or numbers."


      There's also the EBAY options - $20 to $25 SHIPPED if you are on a budget.

      I went with this option after my second one went bad.

      When received, I remember comparing the 2nd one from Rock Auto VS the 3rd one I bought from Ebay and they were indistinguishable.

      Probably both were made in the same factory in China.

      With hard use, they last around 7 years or so...

      LINK: F87Z13K359AA in eBay Motors | eBay
       
      Last edited: April 19, 2018
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    4. Sean Anderson

      Sean Anderson New Member

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      So I know this sounds SUPER goofy, but mine was doing the SAME thing...and I just clicked the hazard light button up and down like 5-10 times and all the buzzing went away and has never came back....
       
    5. nameskreen

      nameskreen Member

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      It could also be the connector for the multi function switch. When they get old sometimes they can get brittle and develop cracks, causing the wires to pull out of the connector
       
    6. Austin Healey

      Austin Healey New Member

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      Thanks for all the suggestions. Actually, just posting the problem in this forum has evidently fixed it -- hasn't happened again. :)
       
    7. lobo411

      lobo411 Active Member

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      It'll be back. I suggest changing it when it either stops working entirely or starts emitting a puff of smoke, as mine did!
       
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    8. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      I had a 1980 Mercedes 300d in high school. my window switches were where the center console usually is and then behind the window switches was the hazards button. A friend of mine accidentally dropped her bottle of water when she was sitting in my back seat and a 1/4 of it dumped into the hazzard switch. It immediately started buzzing, my blinkers would turn on but not blink. Clearly it had a short and the only fix was replacing the hazzard switch. $90 for a switch in a 21 year old Mercedes at that point lol. So from the sounds of it I'm guessing these blinker switches are shorting themselves out.
       
    9. 96eb96

      96eb96 Well-Known Member

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      You can also take it apart and attempt repair. Put new grease on the contacts, sand them down. I repaired one on an old Ford, but it depends how much your time is worth :lol:
       
    10. Austin Healey

      Austin Healey New Member

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      As forecast by others, the buzz came back. Bought a replacement multifunction switch (new) on eBay for $22.97, including shipping, installed it, and that was that. The Chinese switch probably won't last as long as the original, but it'll probably last longer than the engine.
       
    11. J_C

      J_C Well-Known Member

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      Just did this to mine which started buzzing on the right turn signal.

      It really wasn't any extra time. Once you have the assembly out, there's only 5 screws holding it together, T10 if I recall correctly.

      Lay it flat when taking the screw-side cover off carefully and no parts will come flying out. Next I took a cotton swab with brasso (brass polish) and polished the contacts for a couple minutes, then came back with a clean cotton swab and dry paper towel and wiped remaining residue off.

      Smeared a coat of dielectric grease on the contacts, put it back together, and 5 minutes later it was ready to put back in... probably less time than hunting down the best deal for a new one and ordering/tracking/receiving/inspecting it.

      Before I had taken mine off, I mean a few months ago, I had taken the end cap and screw off, to take the rotating portion for the wiper speed off and clean grime off. At that point I had lost the detents (notchy feeling) for the wiper speed and couldn't figure out what happened.

      Recently I figured that out. There is a spring with two brass end caps on it that is in the turn signal shaft right behind that rotating wiper speed adjustment ring. If you take the wiper speed ring off, odds are it will come flying out and I hadn't noticed that it did that. The spring and caps are perpendicular to the length of the turn signal stalk, across the diameter of it. They notch into molded sections on the inside diameter of the wiper speed adjustment ring.

      One other tidbit I realized about pulling that multifunction switch out is that you don't have to take the lower dash trim panel off if you tilt the steering wheel down and are patient manipulating the cover pieces off and on. It doesn't speed the repair up a lot (couple minutes maybe) but does avoid getting down under the dash to work, everything else can be done standing next to the driver's seat.
       
      Last edited: October 14, 2018 at 7:19 PM
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    12. Austin Healey

      Austin Healey New Member

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      This explanation makes my head hurt. :)

      If I tried it, I would drop the entire assembly on the grass, ensuring most of its key parts were gone forever, hiding under weeds.

      My lone success story in electrical repair was with a Saab 9000. These cars required a number code for the sound system to turn on, and Saab stereos were notorious for forgetting or ignoring codes as they got older. When this happened to mine, I removed the radio (even by Saab standards, a ridiculously complicated process), took it apart and re-soldered all the connections I could find, especially those carrying full 12v power. Put it back, and it worked flawlessly ... for about four days.

      Anyway, back to my Explorer (which started this thread a long time ago): The cheapo aftermarket multifunction switch that I installed about six months ago is still working fine. And it has to last only 21 years to match the original ...
       
    13. J_C

      J_C Well-Known Member

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      ^ I left out the step "take module inside and put on workbench before disassembly." :)

      Once you get one of these open, it is pretty easy to see the green copper-corroded grease on the contacts. Brasso in particular (or any other metal polish with petroleum solvents in it) is good for this as it cuts through the old, hardened grease, and leaves a near mirror finish on the contacts.

      Edit: Oops, I used the old school brasso in the metal can that had more petroleum solvents than the new formula in the gold plastic bottle. The new formula will require a bit more rubbing to get through the grease. [/edit]

      I didn't need sandpaper at all, nor to clean all the old grease out, just that which was hardened on the contacts. The rest of the grease around the mechanism looked fine still.
       
      Last edited: October 14, 2018 at 4:04 PM
    14. Austin Healey

      Austin Healey New Member

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      What! You didn't use WD-40?

      Actually, I had sprayed WD-40 into the old one, hoping it would fix things, which it did for a couple of days.

      Anyway, I saved my old switch, so if the new one craps out prematurely, I'll try this repair. Thanks for posting!
       
    15. J_C

      J_C Well-Known Member

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      ^ A tiny bit of WD40 to cut through the old grease would work, but then an abrasive to clean the oxidized copper off. Brasso was just an all in one product that allowed me to not make a mess inside, take the hardened grease off with a cotton swab without flushing it down into the rest of the assembly, to leave the other non-contact grease intact.

      That's not really necessary, you could take a toothbrush and gasoline to everything, then polish or sandpaper (I wouldn't use steel wool in case fragments got left behind) re-grease everything, then reassemble.

      However if you get gasoline/etc in the stalk near the end with the washer/wiper switch assemblies, you'll want to re-grease those too.
       
      Last edited: October 14, 2018 at 7:14 PM

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