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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My turn signal flasher has been flaky for a while. It requires a warm up period after activation before the relay starts working. I have to leave the function switch in turn signal mode with that side's lights staying on until the module warms up (either side will do).

Unlike most thermal intermittents in electronics that I come across, this one works properly after heating up.

I don't get out much anymore, and I kept forgetting about this until the next time I needed to drive the Bird. I finally did something about it. As I had already purchased an adjustable flasher with an LED retrofit in mind, I went ahead and put that in and it's working.

I took apart the OEM and it's the version with 8-pin IC. Didn't Ford install purely mechanical flashers in some 96's? Anyway, I've taken the cap out and it checks good. The resistors are ok. The relay contacts aren't sticking and look in decent shape.

edit: Upon further inspection, I realize what I thought was the contact was just the backstop for the relay arm. The contacts are deep inside, barely accessible and very hard to see. I ran a narrow burnisher over them and blew it out with cleaner spray. Works great, but I had already let it warm up during tests, so I'll see what happens after it cools off for hours or overnight.
 

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97 Thunderbird 4.6, 98 Mark VIII LSC
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If it starts working as it warms up, I'd put my first bet on its being a flaky solder joint. Hit all the joints sequentially with a good no-clean flux and re-touch each solder joint. Use a variable temperature iron with a fine tip and spend only enough time heating said joints to get a clean melt.

If it was me I'd just replace the flasher - but from a curiosity perspective trying to repair the old one is not off the table.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
After leaving it overnight, it started flashing on first use w/o warming up. Looks like the problem was sticking relay contacts after all.

From my experience as an electronics tech, once relays become problematic, even low voltage ones, the contacts can be temporarily restored to functionality via burnishing, but they require frequent clean up from then on, because their plating has been compromised, which usually leads to replacement of the whole unit, even though the relay works. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Welp, after not driving the car for several days, the relay stuck on again, just like before. It doesn't stick after one day of no use, but after several days of no use it does stick until it warms up.

I did closely examine the solder joints when I had it apart and they all looked great with no loose leads — as a longtime electronics tech, I know my way around solder joints and know what to look for.
I suppose I could rework them all anyway and see if that makes a difference, but at this point it looks like the relay contacts have had it.
 
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