Frankie the Fink

Well-Known Member
We recently bought this 2002 Thunderbird with only 22,000 actual miles in early fall of 2020. Driving late one evening we noticed that the gear indicator light and most of the dash instruments would not illuminate. After reviewing this site I thought the front electronic module was at fault. I removed this module and had it looked at by a module repair specialist. He found no issue with the module. I reinstalled the module and traced power back to the fuse box. It indicated I had 13 volt power going from fuse 13 to the instrument cluster and fuse 5 to the transmission shift selector when the main light switch was activated. I am pretty sure others with this car have had this issue and would like to get feedback if possible on what had to be done next by others to resolve this issue. This is the only electrical issue with this car. Everything else associated with the Front Electronic Module works fine. I also changed out the Instrument Panel Dimming Module to no avail. Trying to avoid dealership diagnosis cost if possible.

Thanks
Larry Hunt
Its almost certainly the FEM if the shift indicator AND the instrument lights are out....I have an 18,000 mile 2002 in which that was the only issue and some Bubba had hot-wired a patch inside the instrument cluster itself to have the lights on full time. I reversed that and then had the FEM repaired and all is well. There is more going on that just fuse voltages...the sash light switch sends a signal to the FEM which then determines what the instrument lights and shifter light do. There is a workaround by sending voltage to the shifter light to "backfeed" the instrument cluster lights and adding an external on/off switch which I have done and guided others through. Not perfect but very functional and can save an owner about $500.
 

Waltbird

Walt & Conny Birdsong
2002 Tbird in inspiration yellow. Just recieved a FEM from Ford in Dearborn. It did not come with instructions, wich is not an issue, I dont think. But I am curious if anyone who has replced a FEM has had any issues, ie FEM needing programed after install. Anyway thanks in advance and happy Birding.
 

Gus Gutz

Well-Known Member
2002 Tbird in inspiration yellow. Just recieved a FEM from Ford in Dearborn. It did not come with instructions, wich is not an issue, I dont think. But I am curious if anyone who has replced a FEM has had any issues, ie FEM needing programed after install. Anyway thanks in advance and happy Birding.
From what I understand, it is plug and play. I would make sure the battery is not connected and everything is discharged.
 
My 02 dash lights and manual lever selector doesn't illuminate either. I am new to retrobird and trying to find out about this. Some people say it must be programed some say no, I sure would like to know before spending close to 700.00 dollars. I can't even find a dealer in central florida that knows or will work on vehicle to diagnose. I am looking for service manual- wiring diagram to diagnose myself as I am retired mechanic. P.S. someone already bypassed fuel-pump circuit.
 

Gus Gutz

Well-Known Member
My 02 dash lights and manual lever selector doesn't illuminate either. I am new to retrobird and trying to find out about this. Some people say it must be programed some say no, I sure would like to know before spending close to 700.00 dollars. I can't even find a dealer in central florida that knows or will work on vehicle to diagnose. I am looking for service manual- wiring diagram to diagnose myself as I am retired mechanic. P.S. someone already bypassed fuel-pump circuit.
I think somewhere in this thread there is an upload of the pages from the service manual. If not, I will upload the pages when I get home tonight
 
2002 Tbird in inspiration yellow. Just recieved a FEM from Ford in Dearborn. It did not come with instructions, wich is not an issue, I dont think. But I am curious if anyone who has replced a FEM has had any issues, ie FEM needing programed after install. Anyway thanks in advance and happy Birding.
you actually found a reman from ford? may I ask the cost was there a core charge? thank you for your time Rick
 

Waltbird

Walt & Conny Birdsong
you actually found a reman from ford? may I ask the cost was there a core charge? thank you for your time Rick
$527.88 for thr FEM $50.00 corE and $14.64 freight. $592.52 total cost from Village Ford in Dearborn Mich. Took two weeks to receive after payment and vin# Best Regards.
 
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I'm having some weird electrical issues in the dash that my mechanic can't figure out and I'm hoping someone here can point me in the right direction. It started with the entire dash lighting up while I was driving, every darn light, speedometer would bounce between 160 and 0, other gauges would also max out and then drop to zero/empty. Then it would go back to normal for awhile, then it would do it again a while later. When I got home, turned off the car and when I tried to restart, the dash was black, nothing lit up at all and car wouldn't start. Prior to this, I'd been having some weird issues with a check engine light that my mechanic traced back to fuel pressure getting too high when coasting downhill, but he couldn't figure out why that was happening. And I will randomly have the airbag light flash, as well as the volume buttons on the wheel change stations instead of volume. Don't know if all this is related or a bunch of other problems, but I'm mentioning it all here, just in case it's one of the control modules and this list of issues helps narrow it down. So, anyway, I sent the car to my mechanic. He came back stumped. Again. He says that it's something in the gauge cluster that's messed up but isn't sure if he needs to replace the whole thing or the control module associated with it or just one specific component within it. He did discover that when he left his scanner plugged in it, then the dash would light up and he could start and drive the car, which just mystified him further. Any ideas out there on what's going on??? I need help! I love the car but the electrical issue is driving me crazy!
 

biddle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
I'm having some weird electrical issues in the dash that my mechanic can't figure out and I'm hoping someone here can point me in the right direction. It started with the entire dash lighting up while I was driving, every darn light, speedometer would bounce between 160 and 0, other gauges would also max out and then drop to zero/empty.
See post #10- https://forums.fordthunderbirdforum...ectronic-module-fem-2002-2005.5560/post-35306

Airbag light can be the clock spring.


Instrument cluster thread-
 
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CBBIRD

2005 Steel Blue Tbird
Dash lights and light on the shifter went out in November. I shipped the FEM to automotivemodules in December. Recieved the re-built FEM in January. Easy install and all my problems fixed for $595.
 
I also need a F.E.M. but thunderbird Specialties prices are scary high. I called Bob Alan in kansas city but the core charge is now 1000.00. Guess i'll bite the bullet as none to be found, and don't want to wait for rebuild of mine.
 
Not to worry I will not do business with Thunderbird specialties.:)

I went for a rebuilt module and have questions. Is the dealer asking for vin to flash module before shipping? Do you have flashed after install? Thanks for any input or help on this, Rick.
 
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