Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Instrument Cluster and Dead Gauges

Fix dead Instrument Cluster and Dead Gauges

Owners of Ford F-series trucks may experience a dead Instrument Cluster and Dead Gauges. This is usually caused by an open condition in the ground wire from the cluster. To diagnose the problem, remove the cluster and check the 20-pin connector that is connected to the rear of the cluster. Using a digital multimeter, connect the meter’s red probe to terminal 20 (red/yellow wire) to confirm the presence of battery voltage (key on, engine off) (black wire to ground). All the warning lights should come on when you turn the key to ON.

Next, move the red probe to terminal 13 (pink/orange). It should read less than 0.1 volt. If it reads higher, the cluster has lost its ground connection. This condition is usually caused by a poor ground located in the driver’s side kick panel. Clean this ground connection and recheck terminal 13. If it still reads high, check for damage in the wiring harness where it wraps around the emergency brake assembly. Often the harness can get cut by the brake mechanism. Repair the harness and re-route it to prevent future damage.

© 2012 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat



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