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A. Penland
A. Penland, Ford Senior Master Technician, ASE
Category: Mercury
Satisfied Customers: 6563
Experience:  ASE Master Certified. ASE Gasoline Engine Performance Certified,Ford Senior Master Technician
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Mercury sable: drove..the car, the speedometer needle..miles per hour

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On this same mercury sable 1995, 3.0, I am having a problem with the speedometer. When I first drove the car, the speedometer needle fluncuated from 0 to 90 miles per hour. It now doesn't show any speed nor does the odometer or tripometer work. Please explain and show pictures of how to replace or repair these items.

Is there a way to adjust the gear shift needle to correspond with the prndl? The gear shift is released when the brakes are pressed and the gear handle will move to the R position, which still shows the P letter marker. The other letters are set up in the same way. How do you suggest I correct these problems?

Thanks, John

Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.I will try my best to help you with your question.


First make sure the speedometer cable is turning inside the sleeve. Disconnect it from the speedometer and then jack up the front of the vehicle and place it on jack stands where the front wheels do not touch the ground. Place the vehicle into drive and see if the cable turns int he sleeve. If the cable does, then the speedometer will have to be replaced. The gears in the speedometer that drive the speedometer needle and change the odometer are not functioning properly. You can have the speedometer repaired if you have a repair shop in your area.

But if the cable does not turn, then the problem is in the transmission. Either the gear broke on the output shaft or the gear fell off the VSS sensor. But from your description, either the cable is not fully seated in the speedometer or the VSS sensor on the transmission. Make sure the cable is fully seated and double check the speedometer.

As for the shift indicator, I need to know if it is a floor shifter or a steering column shifter.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

The gear shift is on the column, and shows park. reverse, neautral, overdrive, driveXXXXX1. What is the vss and what does it look like? Do you have a pitcher to show where this vss sensor is located?


Incidently, the gasket that I was trying to replace on the transmission, has been completed. I was able to move the valve body pan on the left side (drivers side), but was not able to remove this pan. I then was able to slip the new gasket over and around the pan. I am estatic over the solutions y'all have that keeps me from paying to have this repaired, since I had a hard time paying in the first place. Thank you very much, John

First, the VSS is the Vehicle Speed Sensor. It is located on the transmission underneath the vehicle. It is a little tough to reach. It is located on top of the transmission where the passenger side axles haft attatches to the transmission. But I would check and make sure your cable is turning when the vehicle is running in drive.

Also, did the speedometer quit before you lubricated the cable of after?


As for the shift indicator. It is adjustable on the steering column. Remove the trim panels for the steering column. These are the top and bottom covers on the steering column. On the underside, there will be a plastic cable with a copper wire in it that attatches to the shifter on the steering column. Along that cable, there will be a black gear mounted near where the cable meets the shifter. Turn the thumb wheel forwards or backwards to adjust the pointer. Also make sure the indicator cable is not broken where it mounts to the column with a small bolt.



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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I have another question. I dropped the steering column in order to check the speedometer cable. I noticed that I did not have the cable firmly seated and attached to the speedometer. Now that is completed and the gear shift is adjusted properly....

I some how messed up the ignition. The car will not start. The ignition cyclinder does go from acc to the start position, but will not start. Thought it might be the battery, but not so. Is there an accuator rod for this or is it totally electronic? What and how do I check this out and repair?

If you dropped the steering column, inspect the ignition switch. It bolts to the under side of the steering column. Make sure the pin for the switch is in the small actuator rod hole in the steering column. You can see the hole with the ignition switch removed. It has two Torx bolts. Also with the ignition switch removed, you can turn the key and see if the actuator rod in the steering column moves back and forth with the key. You can also, place the vehicle in park and push the metal pin forward on the ignition switch and see if the vehicle starts. If the vehicle started fine before you lowered the steering column, check the alignment of the ignition switch to the actuator rod and also make sure the wiring harness is connected completely.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
When I removed the ignition switch, I found the actuator rod hole at the bottom (closest to the brake pedal). I then tried to turn the igniton key, but it would not move in any direction. I then removed the ignition lock cylinder. The actuator rod then moved to show the hole, which then aligned properly. How do I know when the pin is in the actuator rod hole properly? Will the rod hole stay in the alignment mode when I put the ignition switch back on the steering column? While I had the ignition switch removed, I was able to move the pin back and forth, but the car did not start. All the way down, the radio turned on. Mid way, everything was off. At the top, it seemed to be in the acc mode. Does this mean, that when I re-install the ignition lock cylinder and turn the key to start the engine, that it should start? Do I need to adjust the thumb wheel for the gear shift in order for the car to start?

You will have to turn the ignition key cylinder to the on position where the pin slot is visible where the ignition switch bolts up. Then insert the pin of the switch into the slot and bolt it back to the column. Then turn the vehicle off with the key and then try to start the Sable with your foot on the brake.

You will not have to adjust the gear shift. if the vehicle does not start, place the shifter in neutral and then in reverse and the other gears. See if it will start in the other gears.

If it does start in the other gears and not neutral or park, then the shift cable will have to be adjusted properly.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Today, I finally got the car to start. Last night I removed the battery and placed on the charger. After installation of the battery, the car still did not start. I then began adjusting the gear shift thumb wheel and finally found a place it would start. However, the gear shift is not set on the proper gears. It does not show park when it is in park. When driving the car the gear shift is showing drive while in the drive gear. While the car is running, should I try to adjust the gear shift with the thumb wheel? Will it keep running while adjusting the shift? While the car is running, can I adjust the gear shift to highlight the park gear and not stop the car from running?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Were you able to receive the question listed above? I haven't heard from you and I wonder if this is a legitamte question? I don't want to mess the starting situation by adjusting the gear shift indicator and have to spend several days trying to get the car started again. Please answer soon.


Another question. The dome light does not work when the toggle switch is moved. Does this indicate the dome switch need to be replaced? The door button does not turn the light on or off. What kind of trouble shooting do I need to do?


All that you can do, I would greatly appreciate. Thanks, John

Sorry, had some computer problems. Finally got them fixed.


To adjust the shifter indicator on the dash, place the parking brake on and place the shifter in neutral. Then adjust the thumb wheel to align the pointer on the indicator. Then shift through the gears and see if they all line up. If not, make sure the cable has not broken. Especially around the point where it bolts to the steering column with the little bolt. If the plastic sleeve is broken, the indicator will not line up properly.


Let me dig a little on the dome light. I'm at work right now. I'll be back online after 6:00 PM EST. I'm on the east coast.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
<p>Have you been able to find a solution on the dome light. I used a test light on the button at the door and found that it works properly. While the button is out (door open) the test light is lit but when I push the button in as if the door closed, the test light went off. But I still don't have any light at the dome. I have replaced all three bulbs and I tested them in another dome fixture in another car. What I mean is the switches on the dome light is not working.  I would like to solve this mystery and save face with the boss (wife).  Appreciate all you can help me with on this car.</p><p>Thank you.</p>
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I have been waiting to hear from you again. The last question I asked concerns the dome light. As I said before, the dome light lights up when the door is opened. However the switch lights do not light when I use the rocker switch. What do you think the problem is? As you can see, it has been since Feb 13, 2011 and have not received an answer. Last I head is that your computer went down and it took you a few days to get it up and running again? The bad news at this moment is that my son lives about 2 1/2 hours away from us and needed a car ( he put his in the shop), so we loaned him the Mercury. I should get this car back in the next couple weeks and then I will be ready to repair the dome light. Let me know how to solve this problem. The boss (wife) has not realized that I haven't received an answer to this problem due to the fact the car is not here. Anytime you want to address this problem, I'll be ready to hear from you. Thanks, John

Sorry about not getting back. I haven't heard from your either after your last reply. But I will still help you. Again I am sorry.

Since the dome lights work off the door switches and not the switch on the headlight switch, it is not that difficult.

It is either a bad dimmer switch, or wiring. More that likely the dimmer switch.

We can test it by removing the headlight switch/dimmer switch and plugging it back in.

Then with either a test light or a meter, turn the dome lights on with the switch and the doors closed. Check for power at the dimmer switch on the GRAY wire.

If not, check for power at the LIGHT GREEN/YELLOW striped wire in the same connector. If you do not have power there, you have a broken wire between fuse #8 in the dash fuse box and the switch.

If you have power on the green/yellow striped wire but not on the gray wire, your dimmer switch has failed. If you have power on the gray wire out of the switch, then you have a broken wire between the switch and the dome lights. Below is the wiring diagram for your dome lights. Ford calls them the courtesy lights.