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1999 F150 Starting & Instrument Cluster Problems


Old 10-29-2007, 12:29 PM
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1999 F150 Starting & Instrument Cluster Problems

1999 F150 5.4L

First time poster here, and would appreciate any help with this.

A few months back my instrument panel went screwy. I have read the sticky at the top, but my prob was a bit different. My mileage indicator would work sometimes and sometimes not. Then the fuel gage just stuck showing a bit less than half a tank full despite what was in the fuel tank. I took the truck to my local dealer and they said the instrument panel was bad and replaced it.
Instrument Cluster 1 XL3Z*10849*CA. Total bill was $535.

Things were fine for awhile and then one morning I started the truck and the instrument panel was going crazy almost like it had been invaded by the devil himself. I drove down the street and by the end of my block the panel settled down and displayed correctly. The rest of the day this problem did not exhibit itself even for other restarts.

This problem continued off and on each morning. Some mornings it would happen, and some mornings it would not. The truck would still start and run and even when the problem would occur it would fix itself just by driving it a block or so. I was reluctant to take it back to the dealer because number one, I needed the truck for work. And two, if I took it to the dealer it would not happen again until the next morning and even then might not.

Time goes on, and then one morning the truck just wouldn't start. Or more precisely, it would start and then die and then not restart. I was thinking at the time this was unrelated to the instrument cluster problem and had the truck towed to a nearby independent repair shop. Once there they put the truck on their Analysis device and said it need a new lock cylinder, and P.A.T.S transceiver module. They also had to take both keys to the truck to the local dealer and have them re-programmed. This all cost $827. I got the truck last Fri and it ran fine home and the cluster looked ok. Sat morning I went out to try it and it was doing the same damn thing as before. Truck would not start or if it did, it would just start and then a few seconds later die. The instrument cluster continued to be glitchy.

After playing around with it all weekend I finally discovered that if I turned my key to "on" and left it there that the instrument panel would eventually settle down and I could finally start the truck. I ran a series of short videos to document what is happening. Hopefully I can post them here to show you. Any ideas on this would be appreciated.

This first video shows what the panel looks like when you first turn on the key. Note the theft flashing.


The second video shows an attempted start. You will see that the truck starts and then dies shortly thereafter.


The third video shows what happens when I just leave the key to the "on" position and the instrument cluster begins coming to life.


The fourth shows the instrument cluster finally settling down. Even though the theft indicator is still flashing I can start the truck at this point.


The fifth shows me starting the truck. Note that even though the truck is started and running that the panel is still not right. No odomoter, and other lights flashing including the theft indicator.


The sixth and last shows the panel as I drive off and ends with everything on the cluster returning to a normal state.


Hopefully my links will work. Is this crazy or what?
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Old 10-30-2007, 05:32 AM
DRJ is offline
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Location: Stockton, CA
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Just my .02...I'd take it back to the dealer and have them check out the PATS module
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Old 10-30-2007, 10:20 AM
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Thanks for your response. The dealer did not install the new P.A.T.S. module. It was done by a local repair shop. But I do plan to take it back to the dealer. I assume they will check everything out and hopefully get to the bottom of this. What is strange is that it only happens in the morning on the initial start. The rest of the day everything is fine. I have seen the Odometer problem (Instrument Cluster bad solder joint), and had the Instrument Cluster replaced. This new problem did not occur until after that replacement. I am sure this has something to do with the inner workings of the Instrument Cluster and the P.A.T.S. It is almost like something discharges during the night and has to be recharged before it will work. If you try to start the truck in the morning the Instrument Cluster is wacko and the P.A.T.S. system seems to not work. By turning the key to "on" and just letting it sit in this position for about 3 minutes or so, you can see the Instrument Cluster slowly come to life. Once that occurs the truck will start but the Instrument Cluster is still a bit wacko. After driving off, it settles down after about a minute or two of driving. I doubt this is a bad solder joint. It is almost like a bad relay or capacitor somewhere. I wish there was somewhere I could go and look at a complete wiring diagram to see what all is involved in this system.
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Old 11-07-2007, 11:34 AM
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Update: The problem turned out to be a bad Instrument Cluster. Thanks for all the help.
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