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sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Mercury
Satisfied Customers: 22827
Experience:  ASE Master and Advanced level certified. Factory trained with 15 years dealership experience
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I have some type of intermittent short in my new to me 99

Customer Question

I have some type of intermittent short in my new to me 99 mercury villager van. It affects the cigarette plug/charge port, windshield wipers, mirror adjustments switch, not sure what else might be that I haven't noticed. I have had it to two different shops, the last being a specialist in auto electronics and they both say "it doesn't short for them"...however, Last time I went to pick it up, I started the van and there the short is, those items mentioned previously are out. I had them come look so they knew I wasn't crazy. It goes on and off. Sometimes if I turn the car off the crank it back on those functions will resume working. I'm at my wits end. I need to get it inspected and registered. Haven't been able to because the short likes to appear during inspection and if the wipers don't work, it fails. I haven't spent a lot on this van getting it into shape in the short time I've had it but I'm almost to the point that I'll have to give up and get rid of it over some stupid short!!!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mercury
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

What these items all have in common is their circuits are powered by the accessory relay. The accessory relay powers fuses 44, 46, 48, 50, and 52, which are power feeds for the mirror switch, wiper motor, lighter and rear power outlet.

The problem could be wiring or the ignition switch but I expect the issue is with the relay itself. The relay receives a constant ground on the coil side and is sent power to activate, the same circuit that powers the radio activates the accessory relay. If the radio still works when this happens then the relay should also be on. What I would recommend at this point is replacing the accessory relay and I expect that will take care of the issues.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
May I ask why you mention the ignition switch? I apparently failed to mention that the first mechanic dogs replace a relay that is labeled on my bill as an AC relay. I can't be sure it's the accessory relay or an air conditioning relay but I bet it's the accessory. I ask about the ignition because sometimes when I turn the car off and right back on things work again. The short occurred today and I accidentally nudged the keys on the ignition and noticed the items resumed working when I did that. Would that possibly indicate the ignition switch? Is there any way to test the switch?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

The ignition switch is responsible directly or indirectly for all electrical items that are powered when the key is on. If the accessory relay has been replaced and you're able to slightly move the key and get the items to come back on then the problem is almost surely in the ignition switch. To know for sure it's inputs and outputs would need to be tested at the time the problem is happening. If you can get reliable results from moving the key forward or back slightly then the switch should be replaced.