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posted: 8/17/2014 12:01 AM

Loose wire remains elusive for a decade

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By Doug McAllister

Q. I purchased a new 2000 Lincoln Cartier Town Car. Within a few years, the whole system just stopped; no air, no heat, no blower. For about the last ten years, this has continued about every three to six months after service by the Lincoln dealer. New modules, new blower, new wire, etc.

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This June when in Michigan, it again went out. The Lincoln dealer put in another module and it worked fine for one day. I took it back to the same dealer, and when they opened the hood and touched a wire in front of the firewall, the system started up. So he replaced the wire.

The car worked fine until I sold it to a friend of mine three weeks ago. Guess what? It went out again. After about a week, it started to work again. This pattern of working and then not, driving a half-hour or sometimes a day or two before things are fine, has been going on for years and has the Lincoln mechanics stumped. Have you had any problems like this with the Town Cars?

By the way, the car had 222,000 miles on it when I sold it. It was in immaculate shape. My layman's theory is there is a loose electron running around.

A. This is a tough one. I am leaning more toward a short somewhere that has to be found.

Whether or not it is the same short that was found in Michigan remains to be seen. The fact that it goes on and off fits more with a short than a failed module. It could be a wire or one of the connections, or it's possible it could be a problem right at the fuse box. The other thing we have seen cause weird problems on the Lincolns is an alternator that puts out AC voltage. This can play havoc with the electrical system and is fairly easy to test and diagnose.

Based on the history of your car, though, I would still look for a short somewhere in the wiring for that system.

Messy mice: I heard back from a few readers on how to keep mice out of your car during storage. From research I have done following advice from two readers, Irish Spring soap is the winner. I don't know, firsthand, if it works or not but I am going to try it in my boats this winter.

Here is what was sent in by our readers. Thanks for your input!

1) Mice hate Irish Spring bath soap. I put several bars (because they are cheap) in my car before storage over the winter.

2) Another reader wrote in that he uses a product called Fresh Cab. It is produced by a company called Earth-Kind (www.earthkind.com). It is a chemical in small packets to keep mice out of farm equipment.

• Douglas Automotive is at 417 W. Main St., Barrington, (847) 381-0454, and 123 Virginia Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 356-0440. For information, visit douglasautomotive.com. Send questions to underthehood@dailyherald.com.

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