Help needed Front Electronic Module FEM 2002-2005

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.

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.