Casper - 98 XLT diagnostics/repairs | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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I introduced myself yesterday morning before I decided to dig into the headlight situation. I went in armed with the knowledge that the multifunction switch (wiper/signal/high beam combination switch) on the column was the likely culprit. I had to prove it to the hubby though.

Took my tool kit out and started tearing down the dash. I won't go into details bc there are dozens of posts here re: this exact issue. Before I got very far I had to check all fuses, as some dim wit had wired two sets of aftermarket fog lights straight to the main headlights. I demanded the previous owner fully remove them prior to purchase.

My tip for digging into this project is to have some pliers available in case your tilt wheel stem has never been removed. There's a nice little flat groove on it allowing it to be unscrewed. I greased it before putting it back in, so that it would be easier to turn next time.

So, I got the MFS out and decided to take it apart and check it out. There was a ton of corrosion, so I took some very fine grit sandpaper to the contacts. I discovered a little removable plastic card with two contacts on it, one of them was obviously fried. I cleaned it, added some dielectric grease, and put it back inside the switch.

I put the switch back together, but I pushed that little card in too far, I'll explain here in a minute. Put the switch back on the column, replaced the column shrouds and tilt wheel stem and metal guard under the steering wheel. I put the keys in, turned it to on position, then hooked the battery back up. Presto! Lights!!!!!
Then the battery started smoking. Ugh.

Turned it off and unhook battery quickly. Assuming the lights were drawing too much voltage without the engine running, hooked battery back up without key in. Started Casper up, still lights. As soon as MFS was pulled to check brights, there was a crunch. .. where I had placed the card too far into the switch with the lever in the wrong position. Duh.

Lights went out, brights began flickering with jiggle of stem. Looked up a new (not used, brand spanking new) mfs on eBay --- $25!!!!! Ordered immediately.

My question --- I purchased the sploder with the rear view mirror unhooked and had fallen off the damaged windshield. Would this cause an open circuit and make the battery fry since it controls the automatic headlight function? I left the battery unhooked while I wait impatiently for my switch and my new front brake rotors and pads. Hoping if I put the mirror back up before I replace the mfs, the new mfs will not fry....

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I don't think the rear view mirror has anything to do with your smoking battery problem. I just remounted an auto-lamp mirror that had fallen off and I'd unplugged the hanging mirror and drove it that way for days w/out any problem. Voltage draw isn't your problem either. Electrical wires get hot due to bad/loose connections which create amperage issues. Replace the MFS and see what happens.

Will do @koda2000, thanks much. I figured my attempt to repair the switch shorted stuff out. I got the truck pretty cheap due to the numerous cosmetic issues, and warped rotor, and broken windshield. I have multiple parts on order and am chomping at the bit to get em fixed so this can be my daily driver.


Taking the switch apart required 4 - 8mm sockets or sz 10 star screws. This is after I sanded the copper contacts and applied dielectric grease.


Card pulled from LEFT side of switch in above photo, which would be the FRONT of the switch as assembled on the steering column. This is obviously the part of the switch which controls the high beams. As you can very easily see, it is FRIED on the bottom.

Got my front rotors and pads from the ups man today, guess what tomorrow's task is?

Now I'll just have the MFS switch to replace before its road worthy. I've only driven it home and it's been sitting, getting cleaned and stocked with emergency supplies.

Next week will have severely cracked windshield replaced, hoping beyond hope the shelf for it isn't rusted so badly I have to do body work.

Next month I'll be putting a fail safe thermostat in, the month after will change plugs and wires, then after that new shocks. I also have numerous little cosmetic things to replace, but none are critical like the brakes and headlights. So far, even with adding in the repairs I don't consider normal wear/tear, still happy with my $900 investment.

The Multi-Function switch is not that expensive, as as youi are aware, pretty easy to replace. Probably best to just replace it, given the somewhat crispy state of the old one. They are also what I would classify as a "wear item", as both of my exploders needed new ones, as the now 20 year old originals were pretty worn out and sloppy.

Also, welcome!

To add to my roadworthy list: replace right front caliper since bleeder screw is just fubared.

Also found that I will need a front drive shaft as my "AWD" vehicle is fully equipped for it, complete front diff, transfer case, but NO durn shaft. SMH.

Rotors and pads replaced. Waiting for fedex to bring my MFS switch. In the meantime, impending storms have halted attempts to remove bleeder screw.

@96Green, here's some pics of my poor sploder as requested. :-)


here's Casper with Big Blue behind him. Had to wrap up the passenger front rotor and caliper while waiting to decide whether to drill the bleeder screw out, or just order a new caliper.


Score! Casper looks he's got some potential.

Here's my Green Monster, badly in need of a bath:


aww ****.Now your making me want to post pics.I need to take better ones and get em up to photobucket.We have hardly seen any sun this year at all in MI.

LOL! Join the party @98 MERC !!! I am switching from, amazon, and eBay to find the best deals on parts, then coming back here and reading up on AWD issues, BWC suggestions, etc... Not sure I want to do the brown wire conversion but I'm thinking on it. First things first, brake caliper, MFS, windshield (I have a major leak around the seal and fingers crossed just replacing the cracked windshield will help... does safelite put seals in with the new glass I hope?!?!)

I dont think i have ever seen a company NOT do new seals when installing a windshield.I think that is just protocol.You could just call em and make sure they do.

Sorry about the size but photobucket is being a turd and wont let me RESIZE.

Going for a classic yet modified look.

I'll do that. My list keeps growing. Husband says Yup its a Ford. (He has an Exploder too) Says he'd rather help me on my Ford though any day as compared to my previous AWD Honda CR-V. People look at me like I'm crazy for going up to a V8 from the little whiny 4 banger. I ask em if they think its a good idea to hook up 4-5000lbs of trailer + horses + hay and tack to a Honda of ANY kind. Then I just get the eye roll. Yeah, its gonna use more gas. But its also gonna have more *ss, and that hp and torque is what I need.

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