Intermittent Odometer - A Repair
By: Greg Upton over at F150 online
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.
Greg Upton over at F150online