Me again, with a little update.
Things are getting a little weirder every day!
The new gauge for the instrument panel hasn't arrived yet. I did get a
service manual on CD, including a printed electric diagram "book".
So we've been driving around with the still defective fuel gauge in the
dash for about a week after installing the new fuel sending unit.
Today something strange happened: I got in the car, turned the key,
things cranked properly, but it didn't want to start. After turning the
key back and forth a number of times I noticed that the fuel pump
wasn't starting up.
Thinking this may be a simple fuse problem, I figured I might as well
check the fuses myself. Sure enough, one of the fuses in the fuse box
(under the steering wheel) was busted. Replaced it with the same value.
Tried starting it again but the fuel pump still didn't react after
turning the key. However, I immediately noticed that the "check engine"
and "airbag" lights came on. I hadn't seen those lights in months, but
since I hadn't driven the car in about 2 years I never even knew...
(it's - mainly - my dear wife's vehicle; it seems I only get to drive
it when it's broken, ahem).
More importantly, what also started working is the fuel gauge! Whilst
looking at the indicator lights I noticed that the fuel gauge had
dropped from almost full (where it has been for months) to somewhere
right under one quarter. All this after just spending some dough on a
new fuel sending unit and installation and a new fuel gauge. A simple
I pulled out some hair and proceeded to check the other fuses. They
were fine. I had a look under the hood; they're also good (had to check
them with an ohm meter - they're not transparent).
I went to the mechanic, informed him of the new problem (not starting),
and asked him if he could drop by to have a look. When I got back home,
I decided to have another look at the fuses. Got in the car, wanted to
roll down the windows (southwest TX here, 93 degrees today...) and as
soon as I turned the key - bzzzt - there goes the fuel pump! OK - this
thing is haunted. Started like brand new... Maybe oxidated contacts on
I have made almost 7 or 8 small trips this afternoon, to the store,
mechanic, post office, gas station, etc., shutting the engine down
every time, and now it seems to work fine again.
Unfortunately, the fuse I replaced is another matter. I thought the
replacement fixed it, but after a couple of trips I noticed that the
gauge would stick again, and the indicator lights went out too. I'm now
on my 4th fuse! Every time that fuse blows the right side of the
instrument cluster - including the fuel gauge - dies with it.
A long story, I'm sorry, but as a non native English speaker it's
usually easier for me to describe things in long form. My vocabulary,
certainly when it comes to auto parts, is limited. And I don't know
much about cars but I do know electronics. So I might find this problem
myself - and fix it. After all the wasted money on parts I now find I
didn't need that would be a welcome change...
So, my new question: does anyone here know where I might start looking?
I could check everything, but is there a "typical" problem with this
Ford Taurus wagon, maybe? It would save me a whole lot of time. The
fact that the fuse keeps blowing suggests that there's a short circuit
somewhere. But the manual doesn't even hint about fuse number 18 being
related to the fuel gauge. If it had I wouldn't even have bothered
getting those two new parts, probably not even taken it to the
Any ideas, anyone?