I have recently joined this forum although I have enjoyed reading the messages here for several months. Thanks to those that have contributed to these boards you have helped me find a repair a couple of problems I have had with my truck. Now I would like to reciprocate.
I have had the intermittent vanishing LED odometer for a pretty long time now. It has progressively gotten worse, even more so during the summer months. Reading through these message boards it is apparent others have had the same problem with the only known fix is to have Ford replace the instrument cluster. For me the problem was not bad enough to cough up the price for the repair. Finally I had a day off and decided to look for the problem myself and see if I could fix it. I think I found the problem in my truck, the odometer has been working for a week now without fail, and I wanted to share with you how I did it.
2000 F150 Supercab Lariat 4X4 117,000 miles
1) Disconnect the negative battery connection.
2) Remove the headlamp switch. I covered the head of a thin flat head screwdriver with electrical tape and pried the bottom out then removed and disconnected the electrical connections.
3) Remove the steering column opening cover. This is the plastic cover right over the steering column, it is held in by 4 clips. I grabbed under the bottom with my finger nails and it pulled out pretty easily.
4) Remove the instrument panel finish panel. This is the plastic panel around the instrument cluster. It has several bolts and clips holding it in. Don't forget the bolt that is behind where the headlamp switch was.
5) Remove the instrument panel. (Hint: Place a towel or other soft cloth over the steering column before you try and pull it out. I put a few superficial scratches on my column.) After removing the screws, if you have an automatic transmision you need to disconnect the transmission range indicator from the bottom of it. There are two plastic tabs holding it in place. Its a little tricky getting them both loose at the same time. Then disconnect the two electrical connectors from the back and remove it. Below is a picture of the back of the instrument cluster after removal.
Remove the screws and take off the plastic cover. Here is a look at the circuit board behind the plastic cover.
The ribbon cable runs from the main circuit board to a smaller circuit board that the LED odometer resides on. Remove the ribbon cable and gently pry out the board. Here is a close up of the ribbon cable connection.
I have too many images to post the entire message. I will try to do it parts......
Here is a close up picture of the connector after the circuit board has been removed.
Here is a view of the flip side of the circuit board.
Here is where I found my problem. One of the solder connections to the ribbon pin connector had cracked. I could only see this with magnification, I could not see it with my 40+ year old eyes alone. Resolder this pin with a low wattage soldering iron.
Then put it all back together. It took me a total of about 2 hours for the procedure. I could do it in less than half the time if I had to do it again. Much of that time was spent on going over the circuit board with the magnifying glass, plus I took the clear plastic lense off to clean some dust and debris from inside the instrument panel.
I hope this helps some of the other members who have had the same problem.
The trick to the headlight switch is to pull the facia that the switch sits in open on the door side. it will open maybe a 1/4" or so with a gentle pull. reach behind the facia with a small screwdriver and push on the spring loaded finger that holds the switch in. the switch will then release from the opening from the drivers side first.
If you sifted through the odometer threads you'll see that it was always my contention that this could be fixed as a DIY. The book answer from most people is to replace electronic equipment, but when the bill runs into the hundreds of dollars a good look is worth it. Really, what can go wrong with an LED display except power failure?
Skilled hands and patient eyes are in short supply, thanks for a great contribution.
I just purchased a used 99 F150 Supercab Lariet 4X4 78,500 miles with the identical problem. The previous owner was upfront with me concerning the intermittent odometer that plagued him for a few years.
Upon inspection per your instructions I found the identical circuit board terminal with a cracked weld(solder). Your right it was difficult to see with the naked eye.
Works great now. Thank you for saving me a lot of time.
Thanks for the feedback. Since the problem seems to be common I suspected the cause would be the same but couldn't be sure (I was beginning to wonder). I'm happy my report helped you out. Since that one pin to the ribbon connector is separated from the others I suspect it is the ground connection for the LED display.
"Question, though - is there any indication that this is anything more than a display problem? In other words, is the odometer still accurate if it's been on the blink like this?"
The odometer is still accurate. The problem appears to be with the display only.
Woo hoo - thanks to Greg, I fixed this thing myself this afternoon.
Guys - assuming you're in a late 90's F-150, you can avoid any cosmetic damage to your headlight switch assembly by using the directions in the Haynes manual to remove it. It's designed to just come out without any prying.
Turn the **** to the ON position and then pull it out just a bit. Look for a hole in the bottom of the ****. Use a tiny screwdriver and push in that hole to release the ****.
After removing the ****, turn it 180 degrees from its original orientation and put it back on (in other words, put it back on backward). Turn it counter-clockwise two notches to the OFF position, and then turn it clockwise until the entire assembly releases itself from the dashboard. It took me three or four tries, but once it works it's MAGICAL.
I just had to chime in with my HUGE thanks to Greg for posting this repair. I thought this was going to cost me upwards of $400 to have the whole thing replaced! Now it's working just fine after 2 days and I didn't spend a dime! BTW, I had 4 cracked joints so make sure you check them all carefully.
I had the same problem on my 2000 F-150, but my warranty (extended, not original)listed the odometer as a covered item. Since I had some other work I wanted done (most of it was covered by the warranty), I decided now was a good time to pay the $50 deductible. After a few days, they informed my that the only way to fix the odometer was to replace the whole instrument cluster, but that was not a part covered under the warranty. I raised the BS flag on that because my paperwork specifically lists the odometer as being a covered part. I told them that if the only way to fix it was to replace the whole thing, then I get a new instrument cluster. It took a few days to get things cleared up, but the panel was replaced as a covered part. So if they tell you it isn't covered, they'll still fix it if you raise a fuss.
Thanks Greg! I tackled this today and your instructions were fantastic!
I have a 2000 Supercab 2 wheel drive Lariat and I don't know why, but step 3 (steering column cover) was different. I had 3 screws holding the 2 halves together, not the 4 clips like you have. Took me a minute to figure that one out. I also had to remove the lock tumbler in order to remove the top cover.
When I was removing the back cover off the instrument panel I was using a 7/32 socket and a few of the screws weren't accessible with it (socket diameter to large). Fortunately, I had a T15 Torx driver that worked. If someone is going to tackle this project, you might want to have one of those on-hand just in-case.
I would also suggest that you use a nut driver instead of a rachet when removing the dash screws. It made things go quite a bit easier once I did that.
Ford did a pretty good job making all these panels easy to remove and install without breaking anything.
thanks for the great fix!
It was one of those minor, but annoying problems I'd been meaning to get around to one of these days. You saved me a lot of time tracing the problem from scratch!
I hour, start to finish!!
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