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Ford Focus mk1 2002, cluster needle removal help please

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Hi everyone,

I am looking for a bit of backup, my grandad has a mk1 ford focus, the speedo cluster basically illuminates but does not work properly. on a warm day it has kicked into life, I have tried to look into this for him he says its an earth problem. today I took the cluster out and sprayed electrical cleaner on the multi plug but the only thing this has done is throw the petrol and water temp gauge into full for both.

My plans tomorrow where to take it out again and re solder the joints on the "multi plug" and clean the board with isopropanol.

But I am worried about removing the needles. as the petrol and water temp gauge are on full am I best to mark where they are and just prise them off with two spoons? or pull them down to zero or stop, mark the position and remove from there?

Any help greatly appreciated. 

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The shafts of the electric actuator motors can move freely and do not have a fixed position. Marking the needle position does not bring much because there is a 99% chance that the shafts will move between removal and installation of the needles. Even the smallest movement of the shaft position will result in a large deviation at the end of the needle.

I recommend to use the following procedure:

1. Make sure that the fuel tank is completely full.
2. Remove and disassemble the instrument cluster and do your thing.
3. Assemble the instrument cluster but do not yet install the needles and acrylic lense cover.
4. Install the instrument cluster in the car (temporarily).
5. Switch the ignition on.

Now comes the easy part:

6. Install the needle of the fuel gauge at the correct position (full).
7. Start the engine and let it run until it has reached its normal operating temperature.
8. With the engine running install the needle of the temperature gauge at the correct position (in the middle of the scale).
9. Stop the engine.
10. Put the instrument cluster into Test Mode (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6h-0M1lHFQ) (https://panuworld.net/misc/focus/index.htm).
11. Start the engine and scroll through the different Test Mode pages to the digital tachometer page.
12. Install the needle of the tachometer gauge at the correct position according to the value displayed by the digital tachometer.

Now comes the hard part:

13. Take the car for a drive and find yourself a suitable quiet (or closed) road with no other traffic.
14. Scroll through the different Test Mode pages to the digital speedometer page.
15. Drive and maintain at a steady speed and install the needle of the tachometer gauge at the correct position according to the value displayed by the digital speedometer.
16. Check the position of the speedometer needle at different speeds and correct if needed.

Be aware that installing/adjusting the speedometer needle while driving involves a safety risk. Only do this if you are confident and know what you are doing! It is completely at your own risk! 

Now again the easy part: 

17. Remove the instrument cluster from the car.
18. Install the acrylic lense cover.
19. Install the instrument cluster in the car

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Removing needles is something I would never do on a car again. Many years ago, I did the boy racer thing of changing the dials on my old Celica GT4 to white dials, and removed all needles to make it easier (LOL). As guided above, the temp gauge, and petrol are fairly easy to calibrate, but driving at 30MPH in an abandoned industrial estate, and taking the 'speed' from my SatNav, and trying to locate the speedo needle back on the dial on at the same time, well, it's simply scary!  Of course, you are probably much more skilled at doing stuff than I have ever been 🤣

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Thank you for the responses both of you much appreciated.

Yeah I think the panic I had was justified and the comments you've given me made me realise I wouldnt take the needles off, I cleaned where I could with spray contact cleaner and re installed It seems to be working now but obviously that probably wont last. I've told my grandad best to go for a second hand unit replacement or send it off to a specialist for repair. 

Thanks again.

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