Some of the common Ford F150 Instrument Cluster Problems you need to be aware of are the LCD Odometer Screen going blank, the dashboard lighting up randomly or blinking. Other problems include your gauges showing incorrect results, brake lights staying on all the time and the instrument cluster lights becoming dim all of a sudden.
You need to watch out for your Ford F150 Instrument Cluster problems and be able to find the required solution. In order to know how to solve these instrument cluster problems for F150. Let’s get started.
Common Ford F150 Instrument Cluster Problems: Quick Overview
There are some common F150 Instrument problems you need to be aware of. You need to watch out and solve these problems. Following are some of the common problems you will encounter with your Ford F150.
Before that let’s check the following table for simplification.
|Instrument Cluster Glitch
|Reset Instrument Cluster
|Blown Instrument Cluster Fuse
|Blown Wire in the Harness
|Replace the Blown Wire
|Odometer Not Connected Properly to the Circuit Board
|Resolder the connection Back to the Circuit Board
|Damaged Instrument Cluster
|Replace Instrument Cluster
The table above shows some of the common reasons for the problem. Let’s dive into the details now.
LCD Odometer Screen Going Blank
This is probably the most common problem you can face with the Ford F150 instrument cluster. Here, the Odometer can suddenly go blank. Of course there are different reasons that you need to go through and solve.
Reason 1: Instrument Cluster Glitch
There is the classic instrument cluster glitch that can cause the screen to go all blank. This happens from long use or just out of random.
Solution: Reset Instrument Cluster
The solution here is to reset the instrument cluster. Following are the steps of resetting the instrument cluster on a Ford F150.
Step 1: Find the reset button near the instrument cluster.
Step 2: Press the reset button and hold it into the position for a few seconds. While pressing the button make sure to put the key into the truck and switch on the ignition slowly. However, don’t start the car.
Step 3: Wait until the reset process is done.
Step 4: Finally, turn on the car and check the instrument cluster.
Reason 2: Blown Fuse
Your F150 dashboard fuse getting blown is another reason why the LCD Odometer will go black all of a sudden. If you want to verify if the fuses are blown or not you can use a multimeter. You can also do it visually by checking the fuse box underneath your driver seat or under the hood. Although for F150 the fuse box is normally beneath the driver seat.
Solution: Replace the Blown Fuse
Following are the steps of replacing the blown dashboard fuse on a 2012 Ford F150. But before you start to replace the fuse, always make sure to turn off the engine and disconnect the negative battery cable.
Step 1: Locate the internal fuse box located underneath the gloves box in the kick panel.
Step 2: Open the plastic cover and you will find the fuse box. Take off the lid of the box and on the very left row you will find a fuse that is marked as f11.
Step 3: Have a look at the condition of this fuse, if it is burned then replace it and put the new fuse on its location.
Step 4: Finally you need to close the lid, reconnect the battery terminals and then start the engine to check the instrument cluster.
For a visual demonstration on how to replace the blown fuse, check this FORD F150 INSTUMENT CLUSTER FUSE LOCATION REPLACEMENT F 150 GAUGES FUSE 2009 – 2014
Reason 3: Blown Wire in the Harness
Check the wiring in the harness as well. If the wires are blown then the LCD Odometer will suddenly go blank.
Solution: Replace the Blown Wire
Find the blown wire and then replace it. Make sure to check the connection properly because loose connection can make the wiring go bad again and turn off the instrument cluster.
Reason 4: Odometer not Connected Properly to the Circuit Board
Have a check if the odometer is connected properly to the circuit board or not. Sometimes just a loose connection with the circuit board will be the reason for the odometer to go fully blank all of a sudden.
Solution: Resolder the Connection Back to the Circuit Board
Following are the steps of resoldering the connection back to the circuit board.
- Solder Iron
Step 1: First, find out the circuit panel around the steering column and behind the panel you will find the circuit board held by the 7 mm screws.
Step 2: Unbolt the screws using the socket and carefully bring out the circuit board.
Step 3: Now, you need to bring out the circuit harness in order to dismantle the wiring harness. Take out the steering wheel and remove the bolts connected and finally remove the circuit board.
Step 4: Open the circuit board. This is to check for solder flow and look for any damaged joints.
Step 5: Once you find the damaged joints, grab the soldering pencil to fix the broken joints.
Reason 5: Damaged Instrument Cluster
At this point, if you check and verify that it is none of the reasons mentioned till now then chances are that the problem is with the instrument cluster itself and it got damaged either through incorrect connection or prolonged use.
Solution: Replace Instrument Cluster
Replacing the instrument cluster is easy. Following are the steps of replacing the instrument cluster on a 2018 Ford F150.
- Prying tool
Step 1: Grab and pull out all the trim from the instrument cluster.
Step 2: As you remove the trims off you will find 7 mm bolts underneath. Loosen and remove the bolts.
Step 3: Now grab the top of the instrument cluster and remove it.
Step 4: Put the new instrument cluster and then connect the bolts in it.
Step 5: Finally connect all the trims.
Dashboard Lighting Up and Flickering Randomly
It can get a bit annoying when the dashboard starts lighting up and flickering suddenly. Now there are different reasons for that to happen and let’s go through each of them.
Reason 1: Poor Wiring Connectors
Firstly, you need to check if the wiring is loose or not. Chances are that the wires are not connected properly that’s causing the instrument cluster lights to flicker or just light up.
Solution: Reconnect the Cluster
Disconnect the cluster and wait for a few minutes. After that, connect back to the cluster. This time make sure to connect back the wires properly. If the dashboards stop flickering or lighting up then your problem is solved. If not, time to move on to the next solution.
Reason 2: Damaged Bulb
If the bulb in the instrument cluster is damaged then the dashboard will start lighting up or flickering.
Solution: Replace Bulb
Take off the dashboard panel and replace the bulb from it. The process is relatively simple and you should be able to do it yourself.
Following are the steps of replacing the instrument cluster bulb from a 2001 Ford F150.
Step 1: Locate the headlamp switch and there you will find a small slot for a trim removal tool.
Step 2: Pull out the headlamp switch and you will find two wiring harnesses connected by plastic tabs.
Step 3: Depress the plastic tabs and wiggle the wiring harness free.
Step 4: After removing the wiring harness you will find a bolt and remove it using a 9 inch nut driver.
Step 5: Now you will find a dash right behind the steering wheel. Remove it using the trim piece.
Step 6: Remove the trim piece located on top of the instrumental cluster by removing the bolts connected to it.
Step 7: Right of the steering wheel you will find the two additional bolts. Remove those and similarly the bolt connected to the left of the steering wheel.
Step 8: Now pry off the trim and wiggle off the wiring harness by depressing the plastic tabs.
Step 9: After that you will find bolts around the instrument cluster and remove those bolts. The instrument cluster should be loose and slide that out.
Step 10: Press inward the two tabs to release the gear selector indicator and then release the wiring harnesses at the back of the instrument cluster to finally remove the gauge cluster.
Step 11: Use a Torx T15 screw to remove the bolts out and then take off the back panel.
Step 12: Wiggle off ribbon cable and using the trim removal tool remove the main board.
Step 13: Find the damaged light bulb and then flip the board over to find the light bulb location.
Step 14: Now grab a quarter inch nut driver, rotate the light bulb and pop it out.
Step 15: Connect the new light bulb and then reconnect everything back.
If you want to get into the details of how to change the instrument cluster bulb then follow this 2001 Ford F150 – Instrument Panel Bulb Replacement (Instrument Cluster, Twist Socket)
Perhaps the fuel gauge reading is coming out wrong or you are hundred percent sure that the tachometer reading is not correct. Let’s go through the reasons for which you can get faulty gauge reading.
Reason 1: Faulty Sensor
This is a common one but wrong sensor data is the main reason for problems related to gauges.
Solution: Replace Sensor
The solution is to replace the sensors that are malfunctioning. Now, there are different sensors on Ford f150 but in a car, the sensor that is the most prone to go bad is the speedometer sensor.
- 7/16 inch socket
Following are the steps of replacing the speedometer sensor in the instrument cluster on 1997 – 2004 Ford F150.
Step 1: Go under the truck on the driver’s side and go back to where the two exhaust pipes combine to one.
Step 2: Around the transmission line you will find the speedometer sensor.
Step 3: Unplug the connector and grab a 7/16 inch socket to loosen and remove the bolt.
Step 4: Now pull the sensor out and make sure not to spill over the transmission fluid.
Step 5: Grab the new sensor and make sure if the new one comes with the gear or not. If it does not then take off the gear from the old sensor and put it on the new sensor.
Step 6: Now put the new sensor in the required spot and then attach it back by connecting the bolt.
Check this How to change the speed sensor on a 1997-2004 F-150 for a more clearer view on the process.
However, if you do not want to go the DIY route and want to seek professional help then the cost will vary. The part itself should cost you around $65 to $70 while the labor cost will be from $130 to $160. So overall, expect to pay from $195 to $230 to get the speedometer sensor replaced.
Reason 2: Damaged Voltage Regulator
Voltage regulator helps to maintain the consistent flow of power to certain parts of the truck. So, if the voltage regulator is damaged then the power supply will be disrupted and gauges will display wrong information.
Following are some of the symptoms of a failing Voltage regulator.
- Flickering or dimming lights randomly
- Battery or check engine light activating
- Engine stalling, sputtering and uncomfortable acceleration
- Instrument cluster not working properly
- Dead or weak battery
Solution: Replace Voltage Regulator
The first strategy should be to replace the alternator regulator. Following are the steps of replacing the voltage regulator on Ford F150.
Pop the hood and bring out the alternator first using a 13 mm socket and a breaker bar. After that, remove the plastic cap of this alternator followed by the rear cover by prying it off with a screwdriver. Next remove the torx screws and then the voltage regulator. Replace it with a new one and then connect everything back.
However if you prefer to get it fixed by a professional then do it. It should cost you around $540 – $600 for parts and around $90 – $115 for labor cost. In total, you will spend around $630 – $715 to fix the alternator regulator.
Brake Light Stays On All the Time
This is another common problem from the Ford F150 Instrument cluster. You might notice that your brake or check engine light would come on all of a sudden and stay that way. Now, there are different reasons for that problem. Let’s dive in and go through each of the reasons for this to happen.
Reason 1: Damaged Instrument Cluster
When it is none of the above mentioned sources then it is the instrument cluster that is damaged and needs to be fixed.
Solution: Replace Instrument Cluster
The solution here is to replace the instrument cluster. It has already been discussed above.
However, this problem can also happen for other reasons such as low brake fluid, pedal pushed down too much, low brake fluid on the master cylinder and bad master cylinder. To solve issues like this you have to maintain the proper brake fluid level, pull the pedal up and replace the master cylinder.
To check the brake fluid level follow this How to Check Brake Fluid 09-14 Ford F-150 video.
To replace the master cylinder follow this How to Replace Brake Master Cylinder 2004-08 Ford F150 video.
If you are not into DIY work and want to seek the help of experts in this matter then sure go for it. Labor cost is estimated to be between $130 to $160 and the part cost can be anywhere between $170 – $210. So, in total expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $370 for replacing the master cylinder.
Before we get into diagnosing and solving anything, check the dimmer switch. Find if the switch has been turned down. Most of the time, it is the problem with the dimmer switch that you need to look at first. You will find the dimmer switch right around the steering wheel if the F150 is after 2000.
With the cluster lights on, spin the toggle to check if the lights are turned down. If the lights are flickering despite not toggling the dimmer then there is a problem with the dimmer switch. Grab an ohmmeter and measure the resistance. If it is not within the range then you should replace the dimmer switch.
But if you find out that the dimmer switch is not the problem then you should look for other options.
Reason 1: Failing Voltage Regulator
Failing alternator regulator is the most common reason for the dashboard lights to get dim.To verify if it is the alternator regulator, grab the voltmeter and check the voltage reading of the dashboard and if it is not 13.5 volts then the problem is with the alternator regulator.
Once you verify the alternator regulator as the source of the problem, you need to check for any loose connection or burnt wires. If it is not the case then you need to replace the damaged alternator regulator.
Solution: Replace Voltage Regulator
You need to replace the voltage regulator of your F150. The process has already been discussed above.
Reason 2: Burnt out Bulbs
Through repeated use the bulb itself can get burnt out. Go for this option only once you verify that the alternator regulator is not the source of the problem.
Solution: Replace Bulbs
The solution is to replace the bulbs and the steps have already been discussed above.
Ford F150 Instrument Cluster Recall 2017
Between October 4 and November 23, 2016, Ford had to recall around 8000 F150s from Dearborn and Kansas City. The main problem was around the instrument cluster of these trucks.
The problem was the loss of functionality after cold start. Follow up could be fatal if the shift position indicator did not light up or if the warning light failed to display. Fortunately though, there was no fatality or any known case of injury. The whole problem was solved by just reprogramming the instrument cluster.
How Long Does It Take to Replace a Ford F150 Instrument Cluster?
It takes under an hour to replace a Ford F150 Instrument Cluster. Thanks to the relative ease of the process, you can easily replace the instrument cluster using common shop tools.
Can I Upgrade My Ford F150 Instrument Cluster?
Yes, you can upgrade the Ford F150 instrument cluster without any problem. In fact, if your instrument cluster is at a stage where it is beyond repair then you need to upgrade it as soon as possible. But before you do that, make sure to keep in mind the four key factors – Compatibility, Configuration, Price and Installation.
Can I Drive My Ford F150 With a Malfunctioning Instrument Cluster?
No, you cannot drive a Ford F150 with a malfunctioning instrument cluster. This is because your instrument cluster shows relevant information regarding brake system, fuel level gauge and engine condition. With a malfunctioning instrument cluster you are at a risk of not being alert for any potential problem in your Ford F150.
Now you know how to solve the Ford F150 Instrument Cluster Problems. Watch out for the symptoms and make sure to keep diagnosing the problems properly and then go for the solution. Finally, be sure to take the right steps while solving the problems and if you are not sure about a step, always seek help from the professionals to solve them.