digital odometer blacked out 2005 Ford Freestar


Old 07-18-13, 10:45 AM
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Unhappy digital odometer blacked out 2005 Ford Freestar

I can't read the odometer on my 2005 Ford Freestar - it seems like the light bulb that illuminates the center section of the instrument cluster is out. The warning center, which displays in the same area, is also unreadable. The dealer wants OVER $1000 to replace the whole instrument cluster; they claim that's the only way to fix this. Seems insane to pay $1000 to replace a light bulb, and wasteful to replace an (almost) perfectly good instrument cluster. But the odometer seems like a useful thing to have in a car...any suggestions?
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Old 07-18-13, 10:53 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Had this happen to a buddy in a GM and they replaced the whole thing to the tune of $900.
Old 07-18-13, 11:03 AM
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Welcome to the forum.
I can think of one of two options here (listed in order of easy).

The first thing I would suggest would be to call around the wreckers and find a used one. The odometer information is stored in a seporate module within the car and not the actual cluster. Should be plug and play. Getting at it may required a bit of figuring out (not fimiliar with the ford dashes). An internet search should tell you what model(s) and years had the same cluster.

The second option is to pull yours appart and replace the bulb (or more then likely LED). This I would only recommend if you are comfortable with a soldering iron and electronics. May or may not be a possible option depending on the construction of the cluster. If you are considering this option, I'd suggest picking up a used cluster first so you have that as a fall back. Be sure the wrecker has a return policy (most are 15-30 days).
Old 07-18-13, 11:23 AM
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Is it readable in the day...or just at night when dash lights are on? I have the same issue with wifes Tribute. Asked my shop and they suggested pulling it and if I couldn't replace or fix myself...send it to a shop in Phoenix that does those sort of repairs. I'm sure similar shops are everywhere.

He thought that the car would be un-drivable while it was out as he believed the anti-theft ran through the cluster, but wasn't sure.

Wifes biggest concern is that she can't tell what gear it's in???? (How about feeling the detents and watching the RPMs?)

Pretty sure these are a liquid crystal display? Mine is anyway. Not sure how they illuminate, but as said...I imagine an LED? Most any electronics shop could probably replace it if they knew the voltage required.
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