Ford F150: How to Repair Instrument Cluster

Is your odometer suffering from the common blackout problem? Here's how to fix it yourself for free, saving you hundreds of dollars over going to a dealership.

By Brett Foote - May 20, 2016

This article applies to the Ford F-150.

The F-150, like every other vehicle out there, has its quirks and common issues. One of which is the famous "odometer blackout," a condition in which the digital odometer in the dash mysteriously disappears. The cause of the problem is a bad joint on the circuit board. You have a couple of options to fix this problem: take it to a professional, send it off for repair, or fix it yourself. There are reputable shops out there that will fix it for you for around $150 (if you remove the panel and send it in), or you can take it to a dealership and pay nearly double that. Or, you can simply take the panel out and solder it yourself for free. Keep reading and we'll walk you through the process.

Ford F150: How to Repair Instrument Cluster

Materials Needed

  • Soldering pencil
  • Magnifier
  • 7mm nut driver or socket with extension
  • Plastic trim panel removal tool

Step 1 – Remove the instrument cluster

Use a trim panel tool to pop the knee bolster loose. Remove the two 7mm screws behind the knee bolster on either side of the steering column. Use the trim panel tool and work your way around the trim piece surrounding the instrument cluster to pry it loose. Drop the steering wheel down all the way, lift up on the panel, and disconnect any harnesses on the back, then remove the trim. Remove the four 7mm screws holding the instrument panel in place, pull it out slightly, and disconnect the harnesses on the back.

  • ford f150 broken damaged flickering dark blackout odometer gauge instrument cluster console remove replace repair change fix how to DIY
    Figure 1. Remove the knee bolster.
  • ford f150 broken damaged flickering dark blackout odometer gauge instrument cluster console remove replace repair change fix how to DIY
    Figure 2. Remove the bolts behind the knee bolster.
  • ford f150 broken damaged flickering dark blackout odometer gauge instrument cluster console remove replace repair change fix how to DIY
    Figure 3. Remove the trim around the instrument panel.
  • ford f150 broken damaged flickering dark blackout odometer gauge instrument cluster console remove replace repair change fix how to DIY
    Figure 4. Remove the instrument panel.

Step 2 – Disassemble the instrument cluster

Remove the screws from the back of the cluster, then pull off the white cover. Unplug the connector on the back and carefully separate the circuit board from the gauge assembly. Check the pins shown in Figure 7 to locate the bad joint, using a magnifying glass. If you have a bad joint (shown in Figure 8), use your soldering pencil to repair it. Once repaired, carefully reattach the circuit board and connector. Reinstall the screws on the white cover, then reinstall the cluster in the dash. Replace the bolts in the knee bolster and the knee bolster, then the top trim panel.

  • ford f150 broken damaged flickering dark blackout odometer gauge instrument cluster console remove replace repair change fix how to DIY
    Figure 5. Remove the white cover.
  • ford f150 broken damaged flickering dark blackout odometer gauge instrument cluster console remove replace repair change fix how to DIY
    Figure 6. Separate the circuit board from the cluster.
  • ford f150 broken damaged flickering dark blackout odometer gauge instrument cluster console remove replace repair change fix how to DIY
    Figure 7. Check your solders and repair any cold ones.
  • ford f150 broken damaged flickering dark blackout odometer gauge instrument cluster console remove replace repair change fix how to DIY
    Figure 8. Examples of good/bad solders.

Featured Video: 2004 F150 Instrument Cluster Removal

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