1988 LTD Crown Victoria problems

About the car: 1988 LTD Crown Victoria 5.0L V8, automatic transmission
This car is driving me slightly mad. I need to get the entire dash torn apart to replace the heater core and start tracing some electrical
problems. I also need to repair or replace the turn signal switch.
* How do I get the speedometer cable to detach from the console so I can remove it? It's in the way. * The car is blowing up the brake light and cigarette lighter fuses whenever they are replaced, practically immediately. Are there any known problems with this car over time that cause this, or am I stuck playing voltmeter hockey under the dash? * My turn signal doesn't lock for left and won't go right at all. Should I replace the entire assembly or try to take it apart and repair it? * The horn doesn't work. Don't know what to do about it yet. * That annoying *ding* gets stuck on sometimes and I have no clue why. All kinds of things seem to affect it, including the dome light being on or off. Doesn't make sense.
Where would you start with the brake light problem? It is THE most critical problem to repair right now, since the vehicle is up for inspection and brake lighting is the one thing I can't temporarily rig to make it pass (not to mention it takes out my hazard lights and is very dangerous to operate).
Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
~Jody
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Always start with disconnecting the cig lighter, then look around brake arm for frayed wires.. ALSO this problem could be in the column or Multifunct (turn-sig) switch, as well
There's a plastic tab at back of speedo cable connection, squeeze toward cable to release.
I would find a U-Pick and get the entire column and/or its harness from another car.
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Jody Lee Bruchon wrote:

trans then feed slack in it up to the firewall, there are usually 2 straps holding it to the body, slide the cable through them. Give yourself about 4-6". Squeeze the connector at the cluster and it will disconnect.

Look down in all of the lighter sockets in the car. Coins and gum wrappers fit in them nicely. Lighter elements also fall apart and fall into them. If all is ok, disconnect all of them and see what happens. Because it is the brake lamp fuse also, disconnect the turn signal switch (Multi function Switch) and see if it blows. You say that you know it's bad and the brake lamp circuit goes through it.

Replace the Multi Function Switch. It's very well used and 18 years old. The cancel mechanism is worn out. It could very well fix your brake lamp problem also if it's coming apart inside.

might be faulty.

the steering column, a single wire connector. If you have a door ajar light that stays on, the switch in the latch is stuck. It thinks the door is open and is telling you the key is in the ignition.

I would start by replacing the Multi Function Switch, then go from there.

A description of when the "dinger" sounds would help narrow it down. You mention a voltmeter. If you can read a wiring diagram and can use a voltmeter get a copy of the factory EVTM (electrical manual) from Ebay. Here's one: http://makeashorterlink.com/?O1BF5270E Could be $15.00 very well spent.
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Tom Adkins wrote:

The fun part about this is that I tore it somewhat apart, laid down in the floorboard, and poked around. The wiring looks brand new, nothing obviously out of the ordinary. I didn't know the brake lights ran through that switch though, and that could be the key to all my ills. Now that it's been mentioned, I recall the brake switch wires running to a connector attached to the column whose wires ran into the column. The car has had a finicky "key in ignition" ever since it was given to me, and the driver's side door switch recently broke in a permanently closed condition, so it always registers as being shut.
One more thing: the car killed a brand new battery after sitting with it for only three days, not being used at all. No lights were left on in the car. Could there be something in that switch that could be draining the battery slowly?
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