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 1999 Mercury Sable problems
The magnet for the camshaft position sensor may fall out of its mount and damage the synchronizers. This causes long crank times when starting the engine and may cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate. If this happens, both the magnets and the synchronizers need to be replaced.
Chafing of the jounce bumper against the strut rod and / or rubbing of the dust boot against the strut mount cup can cause popping, squeaking, and noisy sounds from front wheel areas while driving. Lubricate the jounce bumper (bump stop), strut rod, and boot with dielectric grease fix this concern.