D.I.Y.: Simple Fix for 2004-2008 F-150 Brake Light Issue
Soldering iron and a screwdriver can help finally turn off your F-150 brake light.
Do you have an 11th generation Ford F-150 with a brake light on the dash that never goes off? If so, you are not alone. This has proven to be a common problem with the 2004 through 2008 half-ton Ford trucks, but the good news is that the fix is generally pretty simple.
In this do-it-yourself video from the Ask My Auto Mechanic YouTube channel, host Brian Bassett walks us through the possible reasons that your brake light never goes off, followed by showing how to quickly fix the most common culprit.
As Bassett explains, there are a handful of things that can cause the brake light in your F-150 to stay on all of the time. If your brake fluid levels are low, or if the brake fluid level sensor goes bad, the light will stay on. If the parking brake on your truck is engaged, the light will be on, but if the parking brake sensor goes bad, the brake light will stay lit up. There could also be a wiring issue with either of those sensors, but the most common issue is actually with the gauge cluster itself.
There is a particular resistor on the circuit board of the cluster that can come loose and when it does, the brake light will stay on all of the time, even though everything else is functioning properly. To check and see if your truck is suffering from the circuit board issue, you can remove the trim around the gauge cluster the wiggle the wiring hardness on the upper-left corner. If wiggling that harness causes the brake light to go on and off, you have the resistor issue.
To perform this simple fix on your Ford F-150, you will really only need two tools; a soldering iron and a screwdriver. In the video, Bassett uses a trim-piece tool to remove the needles, but that isn’t something that everyone has laying around, so anything that can be used to gently pry up on the gauge needles will work.
Other than that, you just need a screwdriver to remove the gauge cluster from the dash and to remove the backing panel from the cluster circuit board.
To address this issue with your F-150, you want to begin by removing the gauge cluster from the vehicle after removing the trim piece around the cluster.
Next, remove the clear plastic covering the gauges themselves. This allows you to pop off the needles after using masking tape to mark where the needles rest when the vehicle is off. This step is important in order to maintain the accuracy of your gauges.
Once the needles have been removed, you can remove the opaque plastic cover from the rear of the cluster, followed by popping the circuit board away from the gauges. With the circuit board out, you can now find the problematic resistor.
The culprit on the circuit board is a resister on the upper-left side, labeled 821. It is hard to see with the naked eye, but the soldering on this resistor cracks and causes the problem. By adding a little solder to each side of that resistor, the problem is solved.
From there, you put the circuit board back into the cluster assembly, add the opaque rear cover, reinstall the gauge needles, snap the clear cover back on and put the newly-repaired gauge cluster back into the dash of your Ford F-150.