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2002 Dash Lights

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  • 2002 Dash Lights

    Seems I run across some new "thing" or other weekly with this car. A pre-dawn drive this morning and I noticed that with the headlights in either "auto" or "manual" mode when I dim the dash lights with the roller knob beside the steering wheel ONLY that left hand green digital odometer and trip miles display dims....the gauges (speedo/tach/fuel/temp) stay at a constant brightness with no change. They are bright enough to use so its no biggee but that seems weird. Is this by design ?

  • #2
    No, that's not normal. I hope it's not your FEM going haywire on you. The following is what I did on my
    '02 when I had similar problems: Disconnected positive battery cable, let it sit that way overnight,
    cleaned the clamp and terminal really good, finally reconnected the positive clamp on VERY tight.
    If you do that, keep in mind you'll have to reset your radio presets, window drops, transmission shift
    points and idle as outlined in your owners manual under "Battery Replacement " You could take it
    Into Ford and have them run a scan through your OBD port but that ain't cheap! (been there, done that)
    Does your overhead lights turn on when you when you turn the roller switch to the top?
    Hopefully someone more tech minded than me will chime in with a better solution..

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    • #3
      I did not know that I could reset transmission shift, maby that's why my Bird shifts too late when I drive it a little harder then normal,
      Fredrik
      I Started out with nothing and I still got most of it left

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      • #4
        Well it gets a bit stranger as the gauge lights temp/speedo/tach/fuel are on ALL the time; even when I turn the dash switch to the "manual" setting of OFF... (this was at night in a dark garage if that makes a difference).. With the switch in OFF the green odometer display does NOT dim (as I would expect).

        And yes, the map/interior lights come on when the roll switch is pushed past the detent at the top of its travel. I have a super OBD-II scanner and I'll run a diagnostic this morning...

        I can certainly drive the car like this, the concern being burning out the dash bulbs prematurely...
        Last edited by Frank Dreano; Sep 13, 2019, 05:45 AM.

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        • #5
          I have the 2002 Thunderbird Workshop Manual pages for removing the instrument cluster and its confusing; I've done Escapes and Explorers but these directions are weird....they have you disassembling and/or loosening a bunch of parts under the dash and around the bottom of the steering column.

          I would think removing the cluster surround trim screws and popping off the fascia and then removing the cluster bolts, pulling it forward to remove the connectors and then snaking it out would be all that's needed. What am I missing ?

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          • #6
            Well after two full days of diagnostics at Clemont Ford in Florida all the modules (FEM, REM, etc) checkout, dash light switch and dimmer also check out - so they're saying its the Instrument Cluster. So I pulled that this morning and its off to that company in Michigan that repairs them!
            Attached Files

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            • #7
              Midwestteckmart?

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              • #8
                Yes - MidWestTechMart..... I'm hoping those guys can deliver on their claims....

                I started to open up the cluster to see about putting in LEDs but had second thoughts, sometimes the difference in resistance from incandescent bulbs to LEDs can cause problems. Changing these in classic cars often requires an electronic signal flasher upgrade and I just wasn't sure if the FEM/REM/Cluster might not freak out with the change... And I couldn't find where some brave soul has already done the swap on here..

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Frank Dreano View Post
                  Yes - MidWestTechMart..... I'm hoping those guys can deliver on their claims....

                  I started to open up the cluster to see about putting in LEDs but had second thoughts, sometimes the difference in resistance from incandescent bulbs to LEDs can cause problems. Changing these in classic cars often requires an electronic signal flasher upgrade and I just wasn't sure if the FEM/REM/Cluster might not freak out with the change... And I couldn't find where some brave soul has already done the swap on here..
                  Frank,
                  I still wish TBN had a brave soul here to do the incandescent bulbs to LED swap. I would only swap the ones that light up the speedometer and tachometer. They are the ones you can't see in twilight (about 4 bulbs all the same type (7 if you want to replace fuel and temp Gage) ). The other incandescent ones get so little use (and a smaller type) that I would not be concerned about them.

                  I would be concerned about the LED light pattern. Incandescent bulbs are kind non directional.
                  LEDs with a 360 degree light pattern may be harder to find.

                  You should ask Russ at MidwestTeckmart about the LED conversion.
                  Hermann

                  P.S. Pulse Width modulation operation, necessary for LED operation, also works for incandescents.
                  Last edited by HKS; Sep 22, 2019, 05:43 AM. Reason: Additional info
                  2002 TB Motor Trend COTY Blue/White/Full #24737 (One of 291)
                  2021 Explorer XLT Sport 2.3L 300HP/310FP color RollingThunder
                  2015 Passat SE TDI 150HP/236FP (40MpgCity47MpgHW) 720MR
                  26Mpg in traffic jam. Skill required to get 40+mpg in town.

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