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Instrument panel losing comms


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Hi. I have an 06 Focus diesel and it has developed an intermittent fault. Ever now and again the instrument panel will go dead, no speedo or taco, all warning lights on, no milometer and no throttle control! The engine still runs but there is no drive. If I turn off the ignition the car will eventually restart after about 5 minutes and will be fine again for some time. The RAC man said that the key was faulty but the fault persists with both keys! There seems to be no discernible pattern as to when or where the fault will occur.

The computer just gives a generic code that says instrument module lost communication but it doesn't lead them to anywhere specific and my garage is a bit stumped and I'm worried that it will cost me a fortune whilst they try to diagnose the fault. Anyone had anything similar? and would I be better taking it to a ford specialist? would they have a better diagnostic tool?

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You are facing the classic Focus MK2/MK2.5 instrument cluster problem.

Most of the Focus mK2/MK2.5 instrument cluster problems are caused by bad soldering connections of the instrument cluster circuit board. About 15 Years ago manufacturers were forced by law to use lead free solder. After several Years this lead free solder turned out to have a major downside. It is less resistent to vibrations than the old lead based solder. During time the soldering connections develop (micro)cracks. This causes bad electrical connections or even (temporarily) no connection at all. This can cause a large number of different (sometimes strange) symptoms. 

There are basically 2 possibilities to solve this problem:

1. Repair of the original instrument cluster. There are several specialized companies who reapir instrument clusters.

2. Replacing the instrument cluster. The instrument cluster can be replaced by either a brand new (very expensive) or a used instrument cluster.

 

If you have soldering skills and equipment you can disassemble the instrument cluster and resolder all connections of the large instrument cluster connector. In many cases resoldering the connector solves the problems. It is definetely woth a try.

 

Be aware that on the Focus mK2/MK2.5 the PATS (immobilizer) is integrated in both the instrument cluster and the PCM. When another instrument cluster is fitted there are 4 things that need to be reprogrammed:

1. Settings of the instrument cluster. All settings must match with the options of the car otherwise an error can occur.

2. The ignition keys must be programmed to the instrument cluster.

3. The instrument cluster must be paired to the PCM.

4. The correct mileage. Most diagnostic systems can only adjust the mileage upwards!

Programming can be done with the Ford IDS diagnostic system or any other Ford specific diagnostic system which has the ability to program the Ford PATS system.

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