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Question: Can I change out my instrument cluster?

Thread in 'Help Forum' started by Evox, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. Evox

    Evox Member 1st Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    I have a bad instrument cluster, the speedometer isn't working, and several other indicators are off.

    I can buy a working cluster off a salvaged vehicle, the mileage will be off, but I can take that to the dealership to reprogram down the road. My question is will the salvaged instrument cluster work to get me there, or will the different VIN#'s cause me problems.

    I know that in some newer vehicles the cluster has to be programmed with the vehicles VIN# and if it's not it can cause some issues if the numbers don't match.

    Mine is a 2004 Sport Trac 2x4.
     
  2. swshawaii

    swshawaii Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
    Evox likes this.
  3. nickrep03

    nickrep03 Member 1st Gen Owner 4 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    yes you can, I don't have specific details but I did it in my 2001 and i got the same one from a ranger. It's fairly easy to do in the 2001, I wouldn't think it's much different in an 04
     
  4. Apats77

    Apats77 Member 1st Gen Owner 4 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    2004 has digital odometer. Might be wrong but older is analog
     
  5. Todd Z

    Todd Z Well-Known Member 2nd Gen Owner V6 Engine V8 Engine

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    04 is digital
     
  6. Evox

    Evox Member 1st Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    Thanks, but I went ahead and changed it out last November, and it's worked. I also repaired my old broken instrument cluster by changing out the stepper motor on the speedometer.

    As a postmortem, I think what happened is initially the speed sensor on my transfer case went bad. The first symptom was my speedometer would reflect higher speeds then I was actually going. It basically pegged out at max speed at around an actual speed (phone) of 45 mph. I deferred the maintenance of replacing the speed sensor on my transfer case for a month or so, I just used my phone, which was stupid in hindsight.

    By pegging out the speedometer's stepper motor and driving the truck anyway I believe it wore out the plastic gear inside the motor. When I took it apart the teeth of the gear were worn almost smooth. So by the time I repaired the speed sensor on the rear differential the speedometer was shot.

    MORAL of this story, if you notice that your speedometer is suddenly starting to read a speed faster then you're actually going, it's probably the speed sensor on the transfer case sending an incorrect signal to the instrument cluster. Don't delay repairing it. The speed sensor on the transfer case is cheap and easy to change out. Much easier and faster than replacing an instrument cluster.

    Oh, but if it does happen to you, you can buy a stepper motor for a few bucks and change it out on your old cluster, it's a cheap repair. Much cheaper than finding and buying a replacement cluster.

    That's what the instrument repair guys are doing. It cost them $5 and about 10 or 15 minutes of time, and they charge you $75-$125 to do it. Oh, and finding a salvaged instrument cluster is tough (at least on the 2 gen) and when you do the parts guys want a $200-400 for it.

    So learn from my mistake.

    (Edit: STEPPER MOTOR not stater motor or starter motor...lol sorry)

    A stepper motor on your instrument cluster will look like this, for those that wonder what it looks like from behind your instrument cluster:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020

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