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Unintended Acceleration


cutlasguy
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As I was returning from Fall Carlisle on Interstate 81 in my mint 89 Caprice Classic, I pushed the cruise control on the turn signal wand to the on position with my thumb. Suddenly the car began to accelerate all the way up to 90mph and couldn't be stopped by applying the brakes! Just as I was about to try turning off the ignition, I remembered to check the cruise control slide button on the turn signal indicator and, sure enough, it was stuck in the Accel position. I popped it back to the left and the cruise stopped accelerating and disengaged. So many times I had pushed it on and the spring pressure had always retracted the switch back to the on position if I had pushed it too far into the Accel range. This time it hadn't. The incident never happened again, but you have to watch these older cars, even though they present a showroom appearance, mechanically they are still 22 years old.

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Brake application should have disengaged the cruise, but as we all know sometimes electronic gadgets in cars have minds of their own.

What's amazing to me is that the resume/accelerate function still works. The one on my Custom Cruiser will quit, I'll install yet another JY stalk (have you priced NOS or even aftermarkets?!) or resume solenoid, and I'll have cruise again for a while.

Actually the only vehicle I own that the cruise works reliably on is the Ford truck, and even it went thru the brake switch recall. The Mercury often has to be fiddled with to get it to engage though once it starts working it works fine. The Ninety Eight always worked well, but it was a simple cruise or no cruise unit. No resume, accel, etc.

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Guest noncompos

I've never liked the idea of Cruise Control; have it on a 2000 Saturn wagon, never use it. My own personal feeling is that driver should not be physically separated from continuous control input, that if I find myself not fully aware of road feel, wind noise, pedal pressure etc it's time (past time) to pull over and walk around a little.

Too many years of living/driving in NM/AZ and seeing people scaped up that let their attention wander or simply drited off to half sleep (BTDT!).

But then, I'm saying hello to 80, so could just be tech-resistant!

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I quickly adapted to using speed control. It takes out a bit of the fatigue when driving on a long trip.

This is a good heads up for those owning older cars with these systems. There are lots of moving parts that need maintenance just like the rest of the car.

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Not to sound flaky, but I didn't know you could "over travel" the slide switch. The ones I've used have always had a positive stop as the paddle hit the main housing. No way to go past it . . . unless there is some internal failure that allows the slide to become cocked or otherwise misaligned.

The fact the slide was "locked" in "Resume/Accel" would have overridden the electrical brake switch, possibly. BUT as the cruise cut-off part of the brake switch is at the top of the brake pedal's travel, more than about 1" of brake pedal travel, with it held there, should have cut power to the cruise and the lock-up torque converter. Strange that it didn't happen that way.

Might be good to get a full operational check of the system, for general principles.

I'm glad you got things under control with no real problems!

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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Guest Jim_Edwards
I feel your terror .... :eek:

Years ago I had a 70's Lincoln Continental that did the exact same thing.

Scared the daylights outta me,

Jim

I just experienced that same phenomenon with the '78 Lincoln Continental Town Car I picked up in far Eastern Tennessee and drove back to Texas. In this case I finally figured out it was the Idle Stop Solenoid getting a signal from something and extending its plunger fully. First thought cruise control, but it wasn't. Ultimately had to disconnect the Idle Stop Solenoid and have yet to find where it is getting the signal from or if it has an internal intermittent short. Actually any Ford Product having a 460 with a 4350 carburetor is likely to eventually have this problem, whatever its cause. I'm going to buy a new Idle Stop Solenoid for it ASAP just for backup since we're down to one producer of new ones and I'll bet that isn't going to last much longer.

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