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1999 1.8 Fiesta van instrument/electrical fault

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I am having a problem with the electrics on my Fiesta Courier van. I guess if this is a common fault it could affect other Fiesta models and perhaps other Fords with the same instrument systems.

A month or so ago I started noticing that some of the warning lights on the instument panel glow faintly when I'm driving. The full beam, fuel heater coil, brake warning and ABS lights have all been affected but at random and sometimes two at a time. They are not glowing fully e.g. if I pull on the handbrake when the brake warning lamp is lit then it doubles in brightness.

I wasn't too worried about this but then one day last week the speedometer and odometer also stopped working. First the speedometer went to zero and then it started working but intermittently dipped to zero whilst travelling at constant speed. The odometer didn't register mileage whilst the speedometer wasn't working. However, next time I started the vehicle everything was working again, except the faintly glowing warning lights were back.

As if that wasn't enough, today I had another new problem. I went to start the van and it wouldn't start. The starter motor never turned over but the lights were bright and the battery seemed good. I tried several times then called the breakdown people. Anyway, whilst waiting for them to arrive I decided to try again and after 15 minutes the van started as normal. This has happened twice after switching off the ignition.

Another thing I've noticed is that there's normally a flashing light next to the clock to warn that some kind of theft protection is active presumably, but this has been flickering abnormally whilst driving and now its stopped working when the ignition is off. I'm not aware of there being an alarm or immobiliser fitted but don't know what's standard.

I've had few problems with the vehicle. I did have an alternator fail two weeks ago and the garage fitted a new one because they said the old one wasn't charging. I assume this really was the fault, though the only symptom was the battery charging light, which was very brightly lit one day. This occurred after the dim warning lights were first noticed.

I'm sorry for the long description but the faults must be linked so I just wondered if any one had any ideas where to look to find the fault. There are so many things affected - the speedometer, the instrument panel, the clock theft indicator etc. that I can imaging having to get numerous replacement parts before finding the real cause. Its an old van now and I don't want to spend too much.

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