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02 Windstar - turn signal problem

04-13-2009, 08:37 PM
my pass. side turn signal is not blinking, there is a lite on the dash that indicates a flasher problem that is lit up and when i use the right signal the relay sounds like it goes at the regular speed two times then speeds up to twice as fast. the funny thing is that the rear pass. flasher is blinking at the correct rate. I tried a new bulb but nothing changed. the lite on the dash is on most of the time except when i hit a bump it will go off for a second or until i hit another bump then it comes back on. I have checked the other threads and didn't see a similar problem reported.

04-13-2009, 11:17 PM
I am assuming from your post that the driver side turn signals work normally. So try this, put on the left (drivers) side blinker and get out and make note of all the bulbs that are flashing (front / rear / side).

Now turn the blinker to the right side (passenger) and compare what bulbs are blinking to the good side.

For all cars I have ever owned, any fast blinking or "idiot light" always indicated a burnt out bulb somewhere on the troublesome side.

Good luck and post back what you see.

04-14-2009, 10:38 PM
I am assuming from your post that the driver side turn signals work normally. So try this, put on the left (drivers) side blinker and get out and make note of all the bulbs that are flashing (front / rear / side).

Now turn the blinker to the right side (passenger) and compare what bulbs are blinking to the good side.

For all cars I have ever owned, any fast blinking or "idiot light" always indicated a burnt out bulb somewhere on the troublesome side.

Good luck and post back what you see.

i see that the only thing different from the right side from the left side is that the turn signal is not blinking in the front right.:screwy:

04-14-2009, 11:22 PM
That would be the burned out bulb then, the front right one. Replace it and problem should be gone..

04-16-2009, 05:12 AM
That would be the burned out bulb then, the front right one. Replace it and problem should be gone..

come on now. if i can plug in a computer, turn it on, register, and post a message on this website... i think i would try replacing the bulb before asking for help from the experts.

05-11-2009, 12:27 PM
Having the same problem. Each of the four corners has a seperate 12V feed, there must be at least a four pole relay somewhere. Hanes manual shows only a standard drawing for these cars which represents nothing near the actual circuit. There is power to and through the fuse for this corner. Have you come up with anything yet?

05-29-2009, 05:20 PM
To ethanaw (et al),

I have a 2001 Windstar with the same exact symptoms. Here is what I have discovered so far:

* The bulb is OK, and some of the pins of the bulb socket have voltage
* The wire from the light runs across the front of the engine compartment, meets the other headlight wires, and proceeds through a mass of wire harnesses to the firewall
* Through the firewall, they enter the FEM - Front electronics module. Here's the bad news -- this part costs $800 to replace if it's bad. But you have to verify that it's bad. Supposedly you can get a FEM diagnostic scan but I don't know how to do this without paying a dealer a lot of $$. Advice here would be most welcome.
* This FEM is one of several on-board computers that modulate all of the electronics in the front of the vehicle including the 4-way flashers in front, the turn signals, etc.
* Either the FEM is bad, or the wiring from FEM to bulb is shorted or broken.
* Replacing the FEM is at a dealer, but also risky as a DIY job because the "module" is an embedded computer, and it has a label right on the front that says "this is a programmable part". I could borrow one from another windstar to diagnose, but am afraid of screwing up both modules by swapping them. They exchange messages with the other on-board computers and according to a (non-authoritative) posting I found they have to be recalibrated when you change-out one. It's also a pain to get out because it's connected with 2 nuts and one is on top -- way out of reach and behind the dash.
* I am currently pursuing the short theory. It seems that the bulb has full-time hot, and the FEM sends a ground when activated. I am theorizing that the cable harness is shorted where it passes by the battery -- there are signs of some corrosion in a small exposed area of wire. I cannot access much wire freely though, so it is difficult to test.
* If the short theory makes sense to you, you should know that the 3 wires to the passenger front turn signal are color keyed as follows:

- Yellow wire with red stripe
- Black (or gray) with with pink stripe
- Dark green wire with orange stripe

I am guessing that the dark green wire is the suspect, but that's just a guess at this point. When the rain stops, I will try to see if I can get access to the green wire somewhere around the battery for a continuity check.
* If the short theory doesn't work, I'm out of options. Help, please!?! Here is a picture of the FEM - located on the firewall in front of the low current fuses (thanks to the owner of this URL):

Please post if you make any progress! I cannot pass an (overdue) inspection until I get the front blinker working again, but cannot spend $800+ on it!

- WindstarOwner

05-29-2009, 05:29 PM
Quick update -- courtesy of someone named "Bronco Joe" I understand why such a simple thing like blinkers has to route through this computer -- it has to do with TIMING. The Windstar has a feature where your blinkers are turned off if left on too long. The FEM does this. Here's what Joe had to say:

"The FEM is a fairly expensive part that controls a number of things especially things that are on a timer, such as the delayed headlights, and the interior lights that stay lit for 30 seconds or so after one vacates the car. IT also allows for one to open or close the windows for a few seconds after the engine is turned off. It controls the chime function for the key left in ignition, and I think the directionals left blinking for too long. Stuff like that."

05-29-2009, 08:07 PM
Hi WindstarOwner, welcome to the forum. You're correct in saying that the bulb is supplied with a permanent 12V - it's hot at all times even with the ignition switched off. I believe that's a dual-filament bulb, acting as the front park/turn lamp, so both filaments receive a permanent 12V via a single, common feed wire, and the FEM then grounds the low end of each filament as required, via separate ground wires. The wire colours I'm seeing on the wiring diagram differ slightly to those which you stated, so I'm wondering if they came from a wiring diagram, or if the wires are maybe faded and a bit difficult to identify clearly. My wiring diagram shows:

white/red - permanent 12V feed to both filaments (is this your 'yellow/red' wire?)
dark blue/orange - turn signal ground (is this your 'dark green/orange'?)
black/pink - park lamp ground (this agrees with what you stated)

When neither the turn signals nor the parking lamps are switched on, all three of those wires should measure 12V (there's no current flow through either filament so therefore there's no voltage drop across them, so therefore all three wires must be at 12V).

That's a good photo of the FEM - can you get access to the connectors? If so then I'd identify the dark blue/orange wire at the FEM and check for 12V at the connector - either a multimeter or a 12V test lamp would be ok for that - leave the connector plugged in, and just probe into the back of it, and the ignition should be switched off for that test.

If you have 12V at the bulb end of the wire but not at the FEM end, then the wire is open-circuit.

If you find you do have 12V at the FEM, then switch the ignition on and turn on the passenger side indicators and check the voltage again - it should alternate between 12V and 0V, alternating at the same rate at which your indicators normally flash. 12V = indicator off, and 0V = indicator on.

If the FEM makes no attempt to switch to 0V then it will probably indicate a problem with the communications network, or with the FEM itself, so let's hope you don't get that result.

If you determine that the wire is open-circuit, then you can trace the location of the break by piercing the insulation with a little steel pin or sewing needle to take voltage measurements along its length anywhere you can get access to it, until you find the break, ideally sealing the pinholes with a dab of silicone sealant or rubber adhesive etc, or you might want to just run a new length of wire and bypass the old one.

You don't have a short-circuit on that wire, at least not a short to ground, because if you did then the lamp would be permanently illuminated. More likely that you're looking for an open-circuit. Let me know if you don't follow any of that.

05-31-2009, 06:44 PM
First of all -- PROBLEM SOLVED!! Thanks to Selectron and others for your assistance!

Now, to elaborate on the details, in order to help others with similar situations... The root cause of the problem was a nicked wire right between the battery and the driver-side headlight. The wiring from the passenger-side headlight routes up across the front of the radiator, joins the driver headlight and that harness heads back into the firewall. Most of the wiring harness is covered with black plastic wrapping, but a small portion was exposed -- right next to the battery. I do not know how it got nicked -- battery replacement, engine service, whatever, but it was nicked. There was corrosion inside the covering of the wire almost seeping out, and the core had corroded through. I cut through the wire, stripped it in both directions, and soldered in a 2" extender to make sure I had good connections. Then I sort of over-killed with wire-nuts, electrical tape, and even a small piece of plastic wrapping to keep moisture away. Works fine.

As to the color of the wires (per Selectron's comments) -- I suppose that the wire I called Green/Orange could be considered Lt. Blue/Orange (it's sort of a slate or sea-blue-green color)...but the 12v line is certainly yellow/red not white/red on my model. I don't understand why it should be different from the wiring diagram.

For that matter, I checked Chilton's wiring diagram, and it's totally out-of-date. Chiltons published a manual in '95 and they updated the same manual for 7 years without updating all of the things that are changed. Theirs does not even show the FEM and the colors they claim are Black, Brwn, and Lt. Blue/White. Not much help.

Anyway, the most helpful advice to me was the idea of inserting pins into the wires to check for continuity along the way. Thanks again. Best of luck to others with this same problem!

05-31-2009, 07:21 PM
That's good - thanks for letting us know. That's three owners with the same fault in just a few weeks so I'm sure we'll be seeing the same problem reported again soon enough, and your feedback will be of great assistance. Much appreciated.

07-14-2009, 12:29 PM
thanks for this info..very helpful to me...although it wasn't my problem it was a great place to start!!!
just for some added info van was doing the same thing ..had the same worn spot on the wire harness (beside the battery) but the wires themselves were fine...mine ended up being on the other side of the radiator..the rubber overflow pipe for the radiator was rubbing on the wire harness..made a pin hole in the wire casing and got wet then shorted out..spliced a new wire in and all good now:rofl:
thank you again for the great help!!!
07-02-2016, 10:40 PM
I have a 2000 Windstar with the same front passenger side turn signal not Working. A Ford technician said the front electronic control module was bad was the cause. But after reading this thread my son and found a bad spot on the blue with orange wire and removed it and reconnected it. It was at the top of the radiator on passenger side. Thanks!!!

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