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Troubles with tail light.

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by nursecandy, July 16, 2011.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^
  1. nursecandy

    nursecandy New Member

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    2001 Explorer Sport -
    My left rear tail light works with the head lights, but does not work with the signal light, or with the brakes. The left signal will flash in the front, but flashes fast to indicate there is a problem. all other lights, hazards, etc work as expected.
    I had it checked today, after about an hour and a half the guy comes back and tells me its the "combination switch under the dash", the switch that controls wipers, hazard lights, and cuts the cruise control off when the brake pedal is depressed. I was quoted a total of $223.00 to replace this switch, with $192.00 being for the part itself. Then he proceeded to tell me these were notorious for going out on Fords, (I didn't tell him this, but I have owned Fords all my life and have never encountered this problem). I would so appreciate some advice from anyone that knows.
    What is this part actually called? I called 2 auto parts stores, one didn't have a clue what I was talking about, the other seemed to and said it was called a "combination switch" and he had one in stock with a lifetime warranty, for $57, Thanks guys for helping me out..I am a woman and a nurse, not a mechanic, but I do so hate for people to try and rip me off....:feedback::feedback:
     
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  3. nursecandy

    nursecandy New Member

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    Wow, 12 reads, but nobody has any words of wisdom for me???
     
  4. MidnightRebel07

    MidnightRebel07 Elite Explorer

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    Atleast you didn't let him talk you into that rediculous "fix". I call B.S..

    Usually when a light is out and the other end flashes faster it's because a filament in the lightbulb is out (be it the tail light, turn signal or brake filament. If you know how to replace a brake light in your truck take the bulbs out and check to see that all the filaments (wires inside the bulb) are connected to each ends. If not there's a section in the factory owners manual of how to do this. It could possibly be the fuse too but more likely the bulb itself.

    As for the turn signal swicth, in the '01-03 Sport's and '01-05 Sport Trac's the wiring harness does get stretched out from the steering column being tilted up/down continuously but this can be fix by removing and or loosening some of the clips that hold the harness to the column.

    Hopefully this helps you nad you can fix it easily and cheap, remember, there's always someone on here that can and will help you fix your problems, either here or on the Sport Trac forum.

    Let us know how things go, good luck.
     
  5. MidnightRebel07

    MidnightRebel07 Elite Explorer

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    Did you get it fixed??
     
  6. nursecandy

    nursecandy New Member

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    Hey! Thanks for your reply. Bulbs were the first things I tried, several of them in fact, no go.
    I did speak with a Ford dealership today, he did at least sound as if he knew what he was talking about. I just want to be prepared...and have the money before going in for the fix..anyway, this guy mentioned 2 possible parts, both crazy expensive...a lighting control module..$360, or a multi function switch...equally expensive....and they will diagnose it for $90....LOL
    One of these in under the dash, the other on the steering column..
    I googled it...not a lot of luck in finding....ebay had some, but none to fit my explorer..
    Oh well, when it rains, it pours...
     
  7. MidnightRebel07

    MidnightRebel07 Elite Explorer

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    Try talking with the site sponsers either here or over at the mysporttrac.com. They give great deals and help out alot with diagnosing problems.
     
  8. budwich

    budwich Well-Known Member

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    It is unlikely to be the "light control module" (not sure what that is... maybe the flasher module plus some other "stuff"). Anyways, its more than likely it is the "usual suspect", the MFS switch also known as the multifunction switch.... but it doesn't have to be the module itself, could be a broken wire going to/from the module.
     
  9. RomeovilleIL

    RomeovilleIL Well-Known Member

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    It is likely not the lighting control module. I would start as you had by replacing bulbs first and foremost. Since that is already done, my very next check would be to ask if you have a trailer wiring harness installed on the truck. Gunk or salt build-up inside the connector can cause these types of problems and is easy to clean out with some WD40 spray. If no trailer wires, then the multifunction switch (MFS) <the turn signal lever> is a possibility.

    If the MFS is bad, replacing it is very easy. The part is listed at Autozone and other parts houses as the DIMMER SWITCH part #SW1977 - costs less than $60. I guarantee you can replace it yourself in about 30 minutes with absolutely no prior experience. You will need a phillips screwdriver, a pair of pliers, and a hand towel. You might or might not need a torx bit screwdriver or small socket wrench.

    Always #1 Step: Open the hood of the truck and disconnect the battery. Let sit 10 minutes so the airbags are turned off.

    While standing outside the truck with the drivers door open, look at the steering column. There is a lever on the left bottom side which you use to tilt the steering wheel up/down. This is the first item you need to remove. Take your towel to drap over it before gripping with piers. The towel keeps you from scratching it up or making burrs on the handle. Chances are good it has never been removed before so you might have to turn a little hard to get it started, but it will simply unscrew counter clockwise like any common bolt.

    Next look at the bottom of the steering column. There are two phillips head screws which hold together the top and bottom plastic column covers, one on each side located in a recessed hole. Insert the screwdriver and turn out.

    Once the 2 screws are out along with the tilt lever, the bottom half of the column cover can be easily pulled down and off. At this point the top half will lift off. You might need to screw the tilt lever back in partially to move the steering wheel up or down a little to pivot the top cover over the hazard button.

    You now have the column open and the MFS is right in front of you! There is a wire harness clipped on to it which you carefully pull off while pushing on the release tab. The switch itself is held on with a couple screws. I have seen these as either a phillips, a torx, or a small bolt head so I can't tell you for exact sure which type of tool you might need to unscrew it. But any way about it you will find them easy to remove. The old MFS is out!

    Put the new MFS in place, put screws back in place and attach the wire harness. Place the top half of the column cover back on. Before you put the bottom back on look at the passenger side of the column where the ignition switch is located. There is a blue or green plastic "C" shaped PATS sensor which might get bumped out of place. It just sits on the shaft of the ignition switch. If you put the tilt lever back on to move the column around while positioning the top half, go ahead and remove it now so the bottom half can be put back in place. Push the two halves together, then put the two screws back in from below and reattach the tilt lever handle.

    Reconnect the battery.
     
  10. RomeovilleIL

    RomeovilleIL Well-Known Member

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  11. nursecandy

    nursecandy New Member

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    Wow, thanks so much for that very nice detailed directions..I will most definitely give that a shot...and let you know the results in a few days.

    Thanks again!!!
     
  12. chapsdeva

    chapsdeva Active Member

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    I had a similar problem with my truck and it turns out that the tail light socket was bad. Cost about $14 for the part and took all of 5 minutes to fix. Might be worth a try before spending more $$ on MFS.
     






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