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Mk1 Instrument Cluster Problem


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#1 Andy3050

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:20 PM

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.



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?

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#2 Stoney871

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:30 PM

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.

#3 artscot79

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:21 PM

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

#4 ZetecSmitch

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:53 PM

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!

#5 Andy3050

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:01 PM

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)

#6 ZetecSmitch

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:04 PM

yeah its an electrical fault and not a gauge problem, hence its intermittent, all of them and the milage/ODO goes

#7 Andy3050

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:42 PM

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.

#8 Andy3050

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 07:57 AM

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)

#9 artscot79

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:46 AM

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

#10 Andy3050

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:06 PM

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.

#11 Stoney871

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:10 PM

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.

#12 artscot79

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:37 PM

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

#13 Stoney871

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:43 PM

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

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.

#14 Andy3050

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:44 PM

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

#15 Stoney871

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 03:14 PM

There's always that risk. :D

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