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Mr. EdC
Mr. EdC, ASE Mastertech
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 224
Experience:  ASE Mastertech, 30+ years working on all makes and models in independant repair shops.
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1996 town car: turn signals..brake lights..rear window..quit working

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This afternoon the emergency flashers, turn signals and brake lights (all but the little one in the rear window) in my 1996 Towncar quit working. I can't locate the flasher unit(s). Can you tell me where they are installed on my car and if you think changing it (them) will correct the probvlems, please?



Hello Gilligan in Lousian

Thank you for choosing Just Answer

I can assist you with your question.

In answer to your question, the flasher unit is contained in the lighting control module, which is located behind the middle of the dash, right of the steering column, about knee high. I am attaching a drawing of its location.

Although I have had one or two go bad over the last 15 years, a more likely cu;prit is the multifuntion switch mounted on the steering column

The modules are 2 or 3 times the cost of the, switch, and with a minimum of testing we can determine just which component is bad.

Do graphicgraphicgraphicgraphic you prefer to try some testing , or go ahead and replace the module? The procedure for replacing the module fairly straight forwards. Remove the panel that allows you access to the fuses, and the module is mounted above the accelerator pedal. Disconnect the 2 connectors, unbolt he module and slide it from the mounting bracket.

Either way, you can contact me here with any more questions.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Mr EdC,

Thank you for a faster than expected response. Your answer is shedding light on the situation, but I'd appreciate more clarification. As I understand your answer, the flasher unit is a component of the lighting control module. You indicate from experience that the likelier fault is the multifunction switch on the steering column. You explained how to replace the entire lighting control module, but not what is involved in replacing the multifunction switch. How experienced and competent must the person replacing the steering column multifunction switch be? Are these tasks someone with little mechanical experience attempt? Can you guesstimate repair costs and mechanic's fees for replacing the lighting control module and the multifunction switch. Perhaps what may be confusing me is that O'Reilly Auto Parts quoted a flasher unit for $8.99. Or is this incorrect information?


Thanks again,



Definately wrong information. Both databases I have at my disposal show the same thing-the light control module is also the flasher unit.

Do you have a 12 volt test light available?

We can test that switch fairly easily with a test light, but also try this-cycle the hazard switch up and down a bunch of times in an attempt to clean the contacts, and then do this-very SLOWLY push down on the hazard switch with the turn signal lever in an on position-doesn't matter which one. If you get to a point where the indictor on the dash flashes briefly, or you can hold it in a position in between off and on and the signals start working, then its definately the switch.Try this several times before giving up.

And that switch is easy to replace. After placing the column in its lowest position, unscrew the tilt lever (sometimes it takes a pair of vise grips to get it out due to liquid lock-tight on the threads), and from under the column, there are 3 Phillips headed screws going in from the bottom. Also, on the right rear of the upper and lower shroud seam there is a small phillips-headed screw that needs to come out. Carefully remove the upper and lower shrouds. Now the turn signal/hazard/high beam switch is accessible. The only rub here is that I believe that it is held on with Torx or even torx tamper- resistant screws, which require special bits that are also available at the local parts stores. The job using an after market switch(which are usually more expensive than the Motorcraft ones) usuaaly runs around 200.00 plus. Very easy to do, however. Oh, yeah(sorry), make sure you have that knee bolster/Fuse access panel beneath the column out of the way before you start.

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After checking my data base, the control module is about $600 from Ford just for the part. And here's the thing. The light control module, if it was the flasher section out, would still have the rest of the brake lamps work regardless. I'm seriously leaning towards that switch. If you decide to do it, get a tamper-resistant torx bit set as they work in regular torx AND tamper-resistant torx, whichever the case may mbe,ad if I remember right, those are either size 15 or 20 torx, tamper resistant ot not.