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1996 F-150 strange electrical issue

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Old 03-02-2017, 08:19 PM
gdfrick122 gdfrick122 is offline
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1996 F-150 strange electrical issue

My Dad has a 1996 F-150 Lariat 4X4 302 with a strange electrical issue. When he first cranks up the truck the oil pressure and water temp gauges do not move. The radio does not work. After the inside of the cab warms up one by one the gauges and radio start working. Does anyone have any ideas what the problem could be? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Gregg
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Old 03-02-2017, 10:13 PM
88n94 88n94 is online now
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Have you tried pulling back on the key tumbler slightly? Maybe have to remove the cowling around the steering column and spray the switch linkage area with WD40 or just replace the ignition switch. This may not be the right answer at all, just a thought.
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Old 03-03-2017, 12:49 AM
NinetyFiveF150 NinetyFiveF150 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdfrick122 View Post
My Dad has a 1996 F-150 Lariat 4X4 302 with a strange electrical issue. When he first cranks up the truck the oil pressure and water temp gauges do not move. The radio does not work. After the inside of the cab warms up one by one the gauges and radio start working. Does anyone have any ideas what the problem could be? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Gregg
The instrument cluster is powered through the headlamp switch and, further back through the fuse panel.

In order of ease, I would first pull the fuse for it and either clean the connections or put in a new fuse. Second I would pull the instrument cluster and check/clean the two large connectors that plug into the flexible circuit on the back of the cluster. Lastly pull the headlamp switch, you maybe be able to clean it with spray electrical cleaner or replace the switch.

The radio interestingly also pulls its switched power from the headlamp switch according to my manual. That's kind of a surprise to me. And the cluster and the radio are both Fuse 10.

This is on a 1995 F150, your 1996 may be somewhat different.

Good luck!
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Old 03-03-2017, 02:54 PM
gdfrick122 gdfrick122 is offline
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Thanks Ninety-five. We will give these items a try this weekend. What gets me is it is the Engine Temp and Oil PSI gauge which are both to the left of the spedo. The fuel level and battery volts are on the right side and they work just fine. It makes me there is a problem with the left side of the cluster. But then the radio does not work. But when the cab of the truck warms up everything works. It is some kind of loose connection I believe.
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Old 03-03-2017, 02:56 PM
gdfrick122 gdfrick122 is offline
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Thank 88N94 we will check this.
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Old 03-03-2017, 06:58 PM
madpogue madpogue is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinetyFiveF150 View Post
The instrument cluster is powered through the headlamp switch and, further back through the fuse panel.

In order of ease, I would first pull the fuse for it and either clean the connections or put in a new fuse. Second I would pull the instrument cluster and check/clean the two large connectors that plug into the flexible circuit on the back of the cluster. Lastly pull the headlamp switch, you maybe be able to clean it with spray electrical cleaner or replace the switch.

The radio interestingly also pulls its switched power from the headlamp switch according to my manual. That's kind of a surprise to me. And the cluster and the radio are both Fuse 10.

This is on a 1995 F150, your 1996 may be somewhat different.

Good luck!
Um, NO! The headlight switch provides ILLUMINATION to the dash, radio, etc. Exactly as your attachment says. That has NOTHING to do with powering the radio and gauges themselves.

Questions for the OP - does the radio work with key ON engine OFF? Does it work with the key in the ACC (one click counterclockwise after inserting the key) position?

Once the engine's running, does the voltmeter move right-of-center?

You would expect the temp gauge not to move right away on startup, because the engine's still cold.

The oil "gauge" is really just an idiot light with a needle. It reads only two positions - all the way left when there is not "sufficient" oil pressure (something like 8 psi), and somewhere in the middle when there IS sufficient oil pressure. So if it's not reacting right away, it's possible you're not making enough oil pressure right away, or your oil level may be low, or it could be the sender is just sticking.
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Old 03-04-2017, 08:22 PM
gdfrick122 gdfrick122 is offline
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madpouge,
Thanks for helping us. Below in red are our responses to you questions.

Questions for the OP - does the radio work with key ON engine OFF? Does it work with the key in the ACC (one click counterclockwise after inserting the key) position? The radio does not work when the cab is cold in either the RUN position or the ACC position.

Once the engine's running, does the voltmeter move right-of-center? When the engine is running the voltmeter moves to the right of center.

You would expect the temp gauge not to move right away on startup, because the engine's still cold. When the inside of the cab gets very warm the temp gauge moves to about the middle. The heater is blowing hot air before the temp gauge moves so I believe the water is up to temp before the temp gauge moves.

The oil "gauge" is really just an idiot light with a needle. It reads only two positions - all the way left when there is not "sufficient" oil pressure (something like 8 psi), and somewhere in the middle when there IS sufficient oil pressure. So if it's not reacting right away, it's possible you're not making enough oil pressure right away, or your oil level may be low, or it could be the sender is just sticking. The oil level is at the correct level. We removed the oil pressure sending unit and replaced it with a pressure gauge the gauge reads around 25PSI cold engine at Idle.
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Old 03-06-2017, 02:32 PM
gdfrick122 gdfrick122 is offline
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Thanks for everyone's insight into this issue. We did not get to work on the truck this weekend but hopefully we can get on it this week.
Gregg
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