2003 Dash cluster lights out & ac blower motor

About three years ago bought my wife a 2003 deluxe with 30k miles on it. she has since put another 7k on it. The first issue was the AC blower is always on high. I read manuals and tried disconnecting batter. I did try to replace the blower motor speed control and determined it can't be done from the bottom of the dash.

Shortly after that the lights in the white speedo portion of the cluster went out so she has trouble driving at night. I did check all the obvious stuff like fuses and have removed the dash panels to check the light switch and dimmer wheel but before I go any farther I have these questions;

With a car this old will it be possible to find a repair tech at any dealership that has ever worked on a 2003 tbird?
If not what about finding a non dealership shop that would have someone someone that is knowledgeable?

Does anyone here happen to know a good tbird mechanic in the Houston area they could recommend?

Since the biggest part of the cost will be labor I don't want to pay for someone to educate themselves.

TIA for your advice
Steve
 
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About three years ago bought my wife a 2003 deluxe with 30k miles on it. she has since put another 7k on it. The first issue was the AC blower is always on high. I read manuals and tried disconnecting batter. I did try to replace the blower motor speed control and determined it can't be done from the bottom of the dash.

Shortly after that the lights in the white speedo portion of the cluster went out so she has trouble driving at night. I did check all the obvious stuff like fuses and have removed the dash panels to check the light switch and dimmer wheel but before I go any farther I have these questions;

With a car this old will it be possible to find a repair tech at any dealership that has ever worked on a 2033 tbird?
If not what about finding a non dealership shop that would have someone someone that is knowledgeable?

Does anyone here happen to know a good tbird mechanic in the Houston area they could recommend?

Since the biggest part of the cost will be labor I don't want to pay for someone to educate themselves.

TIA for your advice
Steve
I recently had good success with using Triple A believe it or not. They also provided a very transparent report with pictures. Members get a percentage off labor and extended warranty on work.just putting it out there...
 

biddle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
could be your FEM- check out my post here- https://forums.fordthunderbirdforum.com/threads/help-needed-front-electronic-module-fem.5560/post-35306

Blower motor speed control access is here- https://forums.fordthunderbirdforum.com/threads/2003-blower-motor-for-speed-control.8165/
As far as a mechanic, it's not just the age of the car, but the fact only 68k were made total.

PS had you used the search feature, or used a subject/title that summarized your posts, it would have shown you the links above. I revised your subject.
 
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I've had luck seeking out mechanics that are affiliated with NAPA. I'm sure it can be hit or miss but what I have found is that their part prices are fair and the labor rate is way less than a dealership. Look for one that is a "Master Mechanic", an earned education type rating.
 
Hi Steve:
The problem you are experiencing with the lighting cluster may be due to a bad FEM (front electronic module). I recently replaced mine on my 2003.
In regard to service, I find myself going back to the Ford Dealer. They seem to have the most experience and also the diagnostic equipment to fix the car properly. Best of luck.
 
I strongly believe the problems you are experiencing are the result of a bad FEM, as I experienced similar difficulties. I had my FEM rebuilt by Automotivemodules.com . It cost a bit over $200. plus about $15 shipping and took about 4 weeks to be returned. I reinstalled it and my car has been running great since.
I hope that outfit has held to that price as the popular MidWestAutoTek fella that repairs TBird FEM's has doubled his price to $395...
 

herbo

2002 Yellowbird
I had the same problem with our 2002 Yellowbird, took it to my Ford dealership in Naples Florida, and was told that the electrical module was bad and they needed to remove the entire dashboard to get at it. The cost was over $1500, $750 for the module and another $750+ for labor. Not sure it was the FEM as stated previously.
 
If they charged you that to R&R the FEM you took a bath my friend...
The FEM is behind the driver's kick panel and popping the panel off, unbolting the FEM and removing the electrical connectors is a 35 minute job. I had my local dealer tell me I need a dash pull and a $1500 repair when my A/C went nuts to replace the "evaporator discharge air temperature sensor". Its a $29 part and you can change it from the driver's floor board in 5 minutes.

I no longer trust those guys have a clue about retro birds ore else are just flat out dishonest.
 
I recently replaced the FEM on my 2003 T Bird. I unfortunately purchased it from Thunderbird Specialties who turned out to be a bad vendor. At the time I didn't mind paying an inflated price, however, when he was ready to ship the item, I had to pay an additional $1200 Core Deposit which I was supposed to get back when I returned the old one. I must have sent a dozen e-mails to Philip Wegener, the owner of the company. He said the credit would be forthcoming but it never happened. Not sure why he would want to cheat a customer. Be careful when dealing with this guy who should be put in the "Hall of Shame" His new name in the industry should be "Crooked Philip". He turned out to be a real scoundrel. Just for the record, the correct item number for this product is 6W6Z13C788AB. The list price from Ford is $955.31. The dealer cost is $623.86. You are much better off buying it from a legitimate Ford Dealer.
 
I also had an issue getting my core charge back from Thunderbird Specialties. Same deal. Many unanswered emails, a phone call with promises of sending a check immediately and still nothing. Starting to wonder why a guy with a specialty business like that would want to get a bad name with the very people that are/were supporting his business.
 
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