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1996 Mercury Sable, intermittent starting problems

02-25-2006, 04:27 PM
I'm having intermittent starting problems with my 1996 Mercury Sable. It will start up with no problem, with several parking and restarts in a day, but occasionally the engine will turn over but it just will not start. Then awhile later, (sometimes the next day), it will start right up. This has been happening for several months. They can't tell me at Ford what the problem is, because it's intermittent.
I have ran a OBD test on my car when the problem occurs, it appears that everything is okay.
The car has about 90,000 miles on it.

02-26-2006, 08:07 AM
That's how the fuel pump died on my car. For awhile it ran fine, the service center would run tests and they'd get nothing. One morning, my 98 just wouldn't start. The fuel pump had finally gone kapoot!

08-15-2006, 09:01 PM
I have the same exact problem with my '95. Were you able to find the problem?

08-16-2006, 07:34 AM
Yes, it was the fuel pump. Without going into great detail, my fuel pump died slowly. It should cost you about a $1000 to get it fixed at a reputable dealer.

08-28-2006, 08:54 AM
You can fix it cheaply by doing it yourself. Takes 2 days (Sat and Sunday) if you have not done it before.
You can get the parts yourself and call a friend and find a mechanic that can do it on the side typically $100 or $200 to install the pump. I tell my relatives all the time to do it that way as long as you know what the part has failed. With me, I replace my own fuel pump. :)

08-28-2006, 08:59 AM
I agree that a person, if capable, should do their own auto maintenance. But dropping a fuel tank in your own garage can be VERY dangerous to a weekend mechanic. If you don't know what you're doing please have someone else do it.

08-29-2006, 08:00 PM
Thanks for all the input! It finally completely died tonight. It won't even partially start anymore. I'm assuming it's exactly what happen to KyooMac. Just filled the tank this morning. Just my luck. I hate to pay $1000.00 when I only paid $1200.00 for the car 2 years ago and recently dropped in a new $2400.00 transmission. I may buy a Hanes manual and attempt it myself.

08-31-2006, 07:35 AM
If you do decide doing it yourself. Do this tips.

Raise your vehicle high with a jackstand. I suggest to use 4 jack stand on all 4 sides.
Remove the fuel tank cap, remove the fuel filter, get a gas can. Put the gas can under the fuel hose where you have removed the fuel filter. Turn the ignition switch to the ON position to pump the fuel pump and then align your gas can to catch the fuel coming out and try to empty it as much as you can so that the gas tank would not be too heavy when you lower it down.

Once you have emptied the gas as much as you can, turn off the ignition switch and then disconnect the battery terminal connector.
If your gas tank is held up with a metal strap, then loosen the bolts on the metal straps holding the gas tank in place. Use some plywood under the gas tank and put a jack under neath you can lower it down slowly. However, before you can fully lower the gas tank, you need to remove the connection between the gas tank and the gas tank filler neck which is usually a rubber type. Disconnect also the fuel line connection and the electrical connection.

Lower down the gas tank. You can open the top part of the gas tank where the fuel pump is located by using a tool to turn the metal round cover or slowly use a screwdriver and hit it wood or hammer on all 4 tabs but do it slowly. Once you got the cover out then you can pull the fuel pump/fuel sending unit out but pull it out slowly. Replace the fuel pump. Before you put the fuel pump/fuel sending unit back, I would recommend to turn the gas tank upside down to remove any debris (usually it will have too many debris). I use water hose to spray inside and remove all the debris. I leave the gas tank on the hot sun for a few hours to let it dry and use paper towel to help it dry faster. Use blow dryer to help it dry fast. Put the fuel pump/fuel sending unit and close the round cover.

Again use a plywood underneath the gas tank while you jack it up slowly and then connect fuel line, electrical wires, gas tank neck filler connector, then connect the bolts on the strap. Connect the fuel filter. Fill the gas tank with fuel and put a water remover bottle (ISO HEET). Connect the battery connector and test it.

09-02-2006, 06:52 PM
Thanks for the "how to" info. However, I went back the next morning and it started right up. I'm thinking now that it's the fuel pump relay. When it wouldn't start, I didn't hear the fuel pump prime when I turned the key half way. Now I do. Maybe the relay is intermittent. My sable is a 1995 not a 1996. Do you know where the relay is and how to check and replace?

09-06-2006, 07:05 AM
Not sure on your vehicle year model, open the hood and on the top right side of the radiator, you might see a black plastic rectangle box and underneath the cover usually tells you which fuse/relay is for.

What I usually do is swap the relay for the fuel pump with the cooling fan relay and see if that makes a difference since they are usually the same type of relay.

This might help you testing the relay at

11-12-2006, 12:11 AM
I have a 1995 mercury sable 3.8 liter with 115,000 miles. It has a problem starting on occasions. It turns over fine and starts most of the time. When it does not start you can try a few hours later and it will generally start. I can not get it to not start when its at the repair shop.

11-16-2006, 03:02 AM
I have a 1995 mercury sable 3.8 liter with 115,000 miles. It has a problem starting on occasions. It turns over fine and starts most of the time. When it does not start you can try a few hours later and it will generally start. I can not get it to not start when its at the repair shop.

Read my thread, then check your key security sensor if you have one:

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