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99 SHO Anti-Theft causes 'no crank/start'

05-07-2010, 06:58 PM
Hi, everyone. I wanted to share my findings & fix with you regarding a 'no-crank/start' situation I had last week with my '99 Taurus SHO:


slow cranking (due to a weak battery)
interior lights staying on with doors shut and 'door open' dash light showing
anti-theft dash light flashing (during the couple of times the car did start)

After replacing the weak battery which likely had a dead cell the car started great a number of times until later that day. With a twist of the key in the ignition only the usual default start-up dash lights came on -- no cranking of the engine, no engaging of the starter motor.
Then, without explanation it would start the next day a couple of times. Not wanting to get stranded somewhere I left the car in the drive, shut it down and tried firing it up again: Nothing.

A neighbour who works on automotive electrical parts like alternators, starters, etc. thought it might be the starter needing its brushes replaced. It acted like it, although there weren't any nasty noises coming from it.

The next day the car was towed (free of charge, thanks to my CAA/AAA membership) to my regular mechanic. They took the time to trace the problem rather than replacing every part related to ignition: It turned out to be the anti-theft transceiver within the steering column!

Seems like during its last days this little part was operating intermittently until the last time I tried to fire up the car.

There are a number of things which can cause a no-crank situation, so taking the time to properly trace the problem is the way to go. Make sure you have a mechanic who can deliver results rather than just replace parts while keeping their fingers crossed! Mine is a CAA/AAA Approved shop and it's not the first time they've been able to fix a mystery electrical problem. (see my other post related to a '97 Mercury Sable GS)

The fix:

replace anti-theft transceiver - $65.00
diagnose & trace problem - $340.00
keeping my own hands off and letting a pro do the work - priceless

Hope this helps someone else zero-in on a similar problem with their car. Share your solutions and we'll have more time and $ for living! ;)

05-09-2010, 04:52 PM
Thanks for the fix post. Might give someone a direction to go on their own problem.

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