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2003 Instrument Cluster Problem

Discussion in '2002 - 2005 Ford Thunderbird' started by larry46, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. Have a 2003 T-Bird. Instrument Cluster has intermittent malfunction where all gauges go to zero and all warning lights come on while car is running. It lasts only a few seconds, but can happen a few times in a 5-10 mile drive. Does anyone have same problem, or know where I can find another cluster (I've had no luck finding one).
  2. George

    George Passed Away July 25, 2015

    How old is the battery? Just a thought, but these birds do funny things when the battery gets old
  3. Thanks George. Back in January of this year the battery was replaced, which fixed the check engine light that came on because of low cranking voltage.
    The instrument cluster malfunction started happening in the summer time, so not sure its related to battery replacement. But it may be worth having battery checked at auto parts store.
  4. George

    George Passed Away July 25, 2015

  5. George

    George Passed Away July 25, 2015

    Larry; I saw where an owner said the following:
    I don't know how to remove the dash cluster but, the lights quit working for my instruments last month. Checked fuses, no problem. Dealer ended up replacing the processor, lighting control module which deals with the lights and key fobs, which had to be reprogrammed. The part number was 1W6Z14B205AA, cost $530, because I had the extended warranty, only had to pay the $100 deductible.
  6. I have a 2002 Tbird and the main lights on the instrument cluster have gone out. Fuses all good, all other lights (indicators) in the cluster work. Dealer says the problem is the electronics module and wants about $1000 to repair (parts and labor) . I think I am stuck unless there are some alternate suggestions?
  7. George

    George Passed Away July 25, 2015

    He may be talking about the FEM, front end module....shop around to see if you can get one. Did you read all of the above posts, like disconnect battery, and clock spring, etc.?
  8. Picked up the car from the Dealership and the problem is fixed. It cost me $1082.20, but that is the only non-normal maintenance expense in the past 5 years. They replaced the FEM. I asked them to try disconnecting the Battery first and they said they did, but I am not so sure they actually did as the radio was set to all of my stations and IIRC if the battery is disconnected the radio presets revert to default. The only other issue I had was the COPs and I replaced a load of them just after the warranty expired. I was really mad when Ford decided top extend the warranty on the COPS to 100,000 miles but only for Tbirds after 2002; for that reason alone I will never buy another Ford product.

    The car gets many compliments mostly from those in the 50+ set, younger folks don't seem to appreciate the retro look.
  9. Common problems with these instrument clusters. They can be repaired here: http://www.mrwhizard.com Say you saw this here and get $20 off repair price.
  10. I have a 2002 Bird, bought new with 6,500 miles.....always garaged in humidity controlled garage.....the problems started six months ago.....the passenger door lock stopped working......now the dash lights for the speedometer and Tach have gone out....I took it to the FOrd dealer in Pensacola, florida and Loxley, Alabama ---neither could fix it....any ideas?
    steelers12 likes this.
  11. jjtbird

    jjtbird Lifetime Subscriber Lifetime Donor

    I had what appears to be the same problem a few years back but on my Explorer. The problem was solved by replacing the little wheel beside the light switch that controls the lighting to the cluster. The tab was about 90.00 if I remember correctly.
  12. Do you have an OBD code reader? Are there any codes?
    Larry, generally speaking, this type of issue is almost always a ground problem. If it were me, I would start with the wiring data for the instrument panel an find where the ground comes into the panel. Take the connector / connectors off and liberally coat both sides with dielectric grease. While you're in there do it to every connector you can reach. Follow the wiring diagram to the final ground for the system, find it, take it apart clean it, grease it and put it together. It may be the battery or some ground wire bolted to the frame in or near the cockpit/engine compartment.
    Also pull and check all the fuses that impact that system and coat them with grease and put a dab on the female connector for the fuse. I don't know where you live, but if it's near the coast or in places that get a lot of rain/snow etc. that would be my first effort. Cheers, Frank
  13. I have a beautiful 2003 bird with the same problem. Instrument cluster intermittently “blacks out” and all gauges go to zero. 2 years ago my dealership took it out, sent it to Ford factory. They reconditioned for no charge. Dealership charged labor to remove and re-install and shipping- ~$750. Worked fine for two years. Now it’s malfunctioning again. Any advice out there?
  14. Amazing! I solved my instrument cluster "black out" problem! After posting yesterday, I went back and read my other two posts on this problem. I forgot that I had noticed that the "black outs" occurred more frequently when I was charging my cell phone. Yesterday I drove 800 miles with my cell phone plugged in the whole time. The "black outs" started happening about 2oo miles into the trip. They came intermittently, but frequently and the "black outs" lasted longer than they did before the reconditioning. Ugh! I thought I was going to have a difficult decision to make. I couldn't see paying $750-$1000 every other year on this problem. Today I traveled another 700 miles. I never plugged my phone in and WHOOOOPIEEEE !!! Absolutely NO "black outs" occurred. It seems that for my cute little bird, if the electrical system is not stressed by having to charge the cell phone, no "black outs" occur. I'm taking the charging cord out of the car! Hopefully this simple fix will last!
  15. well I still dont have my 2002 running.. But I have a question on the instrument cluster. When you turn the car over do the needles move from side to side. Or just lay flat. Mine were moving i turned it over and I sounded like fuses blew. I have no lights, the needles no longer mover and the top wont go down.. Any ideas???

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