The engine oil pan gasket can develop a leak. Leaking oil may accumulate on the exhaust system resulting in a burning smell. Replacing the gasket should correct this leak.
Problems for specific Mercury Sable years:
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Most reported 1990 Mercury Sable problems
If you experience difficulty starting the engine when cold, stalling at idle, or hesitations during acceleration, it may be the idle air bypass valve. This valve helps the vehicle idle steady when the accelerator pedal is not pressed.
Worn motor mounts can cause the motor to rise during acceleration, causing a clunking noise and possibly damaging the AC hoses. Damage to the AC hoses can cause a loss refrigerant resulting in no cold air from the AC. The motor mount will need to be replaced prior to repairing the damaged hose or the problem will continue.
While steering, if you hear a clunk or a rattle, or if you experience premature tire wear, this could indicate the inner tie rod ends are loose or worn and will require replacement.