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Andy3050
Hi everyone,

I've had my Focus for a few years now and started having some problems with my instrument panel. The only thing i could find to show the problem is this youtube video.

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWSUvCMLRIc[/media]

mine happened whilst i was driving. Similar to the video, the temp, rev and speed gauges all went down to zero, the mile counter display only showed lines (like shown in the video) however the fuel gauge didn't change and no warning lights came on until all the dials started working, then the check engine light came on for about 5 seconds.

its done this a few times in one journey then everything was fine, no engine dips or stutters and no strange noises prior to the fault.

i phone my local ford garage who put me onto parts, i told him what happened and he said it was a definite cluster failure, told me £130 parts and labor to replace it which i'm sort of happy with as i was expecting more. he put me onto the service guy to book a time to go in and he started asking if i wanted them to do a diagnostic test "just in case" which would put the price up to £170. i told him the other guy said it was a definite cluster failure, and he said but what if it isn't? I just took the original £130 quote and its going in friday morning.

now i'm having second thoughts about the diagnostics. has anyone had similar symptoms and was it a cluster failure?
Stoney871
There was a known problem on clusters where condensation formed on the boards and caused shorting, this sounds like the same problem.
Usual short term fix was spraying the cluster with WD40 and putting it somewhere dry for a couple of days to get all the condensation out.
There was also a deal where Ford would replace the clusters for 99 but I don't know if that arrangement is still in force.
50 for a diagnostic is cheap compared to my local Dealer, they're more like 100+ but at the end of the day it's your choice and whether it will give you peace of mind or not.
artscot79
bear in mind having a faulty battery or the wrong type fitted can cause the same results have a free battery test done first if thats okay its the cluster
ZetecSmitch
yes, as said get the battery checked and also the alternator! this happened on my old mk1, replaced the battery and it never happened again!
Andy3050
The battery is fairly new, I had a new one put in last year. I might just get the diagnostic done. I've read a few other forums and seen that a lot of people's cluster failure faults are the same as mine (i.e most gauges and not just one)
ZetecSmitch
yeah its an electrical fault and not a gauge problem, hence its intermittent, all of them and the milage/ODO goes
Andy3050
wow i think this may cost more than i thought, i think the ford dealer only charged £50 because i was having the cluster done. looks like i'll have to shop around for a cheaper diagnostic.
Andy3050
Did some quick tests with my multimeter this morning (taking into consideration the cold weather) the battery gave a reading of about 12.15v (should be atleast 12.4v but as it was cold it would be lower). Switched the engine on and got a reading of 14.4v and no drop in voltage when I put every electronic device on in the car. If it was the alternator the voltage would have not gone .5v over my original voltage.

Also no resistance drop from the negative terminal, not sure about the positive as I'm not to sure how to test that one.

I'm stumped now, after reading about alternator problems my car had been exhibiting signs (slower in car fan at low revs ect)
artscot79
any garage will do a free load test it may be a faulty battery cell 12.15v is odd even for the cold i would have tha battery load tested and a free alternator test done if its okay then what ford are charging is a good price for the cluster
Andy3050
I tested it on my lunch break again, it's warmed up alittle since this morning and battery is now 12.3v. I'm going to give it a charge tonight when I get home.

No faults with the dash this morning, and I can tell its not an alternator fault as the voltages I tested are well within the parameters given by the hundreds of self help guides I've found on mechanical sites.

I'll probably give it one more test later for a longer period to see if there are any other fluctuations.

Surely if it was an alternator problem all gauges would stop working, but with the fuel gauge not being affected I'm leaning more towards instrument panel. I've suspected it a while since the trip counter has reset itself on and off for the past year or so.
Stoney871
If it had just been your Speedo playing up I would have said for sure it was the Speedo sensor which is also a common fault but as it's all the panel then I'd still say condensation.
artscot79
sounds like it is the condensation then getting into the cluster the wd40 trick rarely works and the price you were qouted is a good price mate
Stoney871
[quote name='artscot79' timestamp='1354022866' post='218598']
sounds like it is the condensation then getting into the cluster the wd40 trick rarely works and the price you were qouted is a good price mate
[/quote]
Totally agree, sometimes the spray works but as stated the price they're quoting is pretty good including fitting and will give peace of mind so I certainly wouldn't pass it up.
Andy3050
Tbh I was expecting 200 from ford for just the part. I'm going to give the alternator another test and let the engine get up to temperature to see if there is any change as I only had about 15 minutes to do it before work this morning.

The only part of all this I'm not looking forward to is going to the ford garage and seeing all the new focus', got a feeling I could be tempted to get one haha
Stoney871
There's always that risk. :D
Andy3050
Haha! Especially when I just saw on their website a 2009 59 reg 1.6 zetec with only 11000 miles on the clock for 7000
Stoney871
Nasty Ford, putting temptation your way and all that.
They should be ashamed. ;)
Andy3050
Well I took it in, they did a diagnostic and it was the cluster.

Got a new one fitted and all is great (apart from mileage being reset to 0, but I will get used to it)
benskinley
Hi there

I've joined this site to talk about my car problem and it seems its exactly the same as yours! I have a 2003 1.6 petrol focus. It juddered a few months ago and I had the coil pack changed and everything was fine. Then intermittently I would be driving and the cluster goes wild and goes up an down (as if power goes for a few seconds) with the engine management light going on and off. This comes and goes an has been going on for a few months. Then recently the exclamation mark light and battery light sometimes come on along with the engine management light, absolutely no dials and just dashes where the mileage should be. Then after 15 to 20 mins everything comes back again. The car drives absolutely fine and there has been absolutely no difference in performance at all. Do you think it's the same problem? Also can you tell me exactly what you had to get done and estimate of cost? I don't want to get ripped off, I have heard people being charged 500 to get diagnostics and clusters changed! Your help would be amazing. Many thanks! Ben
Andy3050
If the car is juddering and battery light coming on it sounds like its more than the cluster. This one sounds alternator/battery problem.

With mine I phoned my local ford dealer and told him the problem, he ordered the part and asked me to come in so he could do a diagnostic on the cluster for 40 then fit the new one if it was faulty for 164 (inc diagnostic). He told me it is normally 80 for a full diagnostic.

If your local ford dealer had a service garage then give them a call. It's probably best to get the diagnostic done as that will bring up any faults that have occurred. But if it is the alternator then don't expect to pay anything less than 200 (not inc diagnostic)
benskinley
Hi there

My car is in the garage as we speak, and they agreed to do the work for 99 plus VAT not including diagnostic. This is a rate Ford agreed after a watchdog programme highlighted the common Focus cluster problem. I took the car in this morning and signed a form saying 99 plus VAT and I now get a call at 3pm saying they can't do that price and it will be 229 plus VAT. Am I within my rights to take this further? Also, can I ask which Ford garage did your repair and how much they charged, as this cost shouldn't be any different!!!
Stoney871
They can't renege on a contract.
Tell them you'll report them to trading standards.
good old reliable
just stumbled on this problem, i had same problem ford did a recall on the cluster as it was on watch dog they changed mine for £100 quid at the dealer, problem solved. only thing is the mileage will be set back to zero so keep the receipt for your records..
RichardE

Whilst the issue I have had on my Focus is not quite the same as the one on this original posting (ie all the dials off - apart from the fuel gauge - and various warning lights on) I think it has similar roots and I know others have encountered it. (Apologies for verbosity)

 

This first occured approx 4 years ago. Whilst driving on the motorway (typically I had to be above about 50mph) the speedo sometimes drops to zero, then returns to the correct speed a second or so later. This may then be followed by the rev counter dropping to zero and a second or so recovering, then the engine management light coming on and going off, the odometer display going to horizontal lines and so on. Sometimes this would be completely at random just happening every now and then. At other times it would happen for several minutes with the dials and warning light going on and off though usually not all together. I found a few forum threads and implemented the removal and WD40'ing of the instrument cluster but this had no effect. (A friend had had a similar problem on his Focus and had found that the cluster connector fix had worked for him). As the car drove perfectly well with no mis-fires or other safety issues I continued to drive it while monitoring whether the problem was getting any worse.

 

However, after a month or so it then progressed to another level. As well as the instrument cluster issue it would then have periods with all the vehicle lights flickering including the headlights, internal lights and all of the console illumination. Having found another forum thread, and taking a bit of a punt, I had the battery changed but also had all the earth bonding points cleaned and tightened. All of the issues went away (but it was unclear whether it was a battery fault or the earth bonding). However the important point was that it was nothing to do with the instrument cluster itself but was the primary electrical supply to the vehicle.

 

4 weeks ago the faults re-occured. This time all of the symptoms started at the same time. Instrument dials dropping to zero, warning lights coming on and off, internal/external lights flickering etc. In a series of tests it seemed that the issue became worse if the A/C was switched on and/or the headlights, heated windscreen, heated rear window or other heavy electrical loading. Again this pointed to an electrical supply/voltage problem. After inspection, I determined that the negative battery terminal was slightly loose - not really loose, you had to put some pressure on it, but it could just about be turned by hand. Also there was some corrosion on the earth bonding point from the neg terminal to the vehicle chassis - this point is located under the air filter box. I cleaned the bonding point and had a new terminal clamp fitted for the battery. Again, since these actions the issues have all gone away.

 

Both the negative terminal being loose and the bonding point being corroded could cause the voltage being seen by the vehicle systems to be low or fluctuate depending on the load. This in turn could cause the instrument cluster microprocessor to glitch or reset and other systems to misbehave. We can't say whether all such faults can be fixed by such simple remedies but it's certainly worth checking as a first stage before looking at more complex diagnostics. Good luck!

 

 

 

 



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