This is a cleaned up version of my 08 cluster fix thread. For the most part it is a simple cut 'n paste of the usefull bits. originally posted April 2015.
It applies directly to 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 instrument clusters with flickering and/or dim odometers.
Got 'er done today. Hopefully. We'll give it a couple days and see how it stays. Numbers all bright and evenly lit. Before I pulled it, pushing behind the odo definately got it back to life. So heat up the iron, get out my good solder and see if I can keep from breaking anything.
Of the existing youtube vids, the freestar odometer more closely matches the panther cluster than the mustang/f150 clusters. But in the end, the cause is the same: Failed solder joints.
Looking at the circuit board, there are a few surface mount components under the odo, they where a bugger to get to, but patience and experience pay off. There are also 3 1/2 watt resistors under there, conventional through-hole mount though so that makes it easier. Give these lots of heat, I noticed a problem that used to plaque viewsonic monitors back in the 90's--the leads on a couple resistors would not take solder properly, the fix then was lots of heat and solder with lots of rosin to cook off whatever was coating the resistor leads. I found a couple leads on these suffered similar looks, so cook they did. =-)
Examining the board, I also touched up the soldered through-holes on the board. I also noticed that the corner pins of the connector could use a touch up, and I hit a couple other components that looked suspicious to me, looked fine, but they kept attracting my eye so hit 'em with the iron for good measure.
I had to pull the needles, and managed to screw up the speedo. Took apart the stupid thimg a few times thinking I had it right. But we'll see. Tach is okay, and fuel and temp are slightly off from where I remember them. Close enough though. But the cluster seems to work as is, then after sitting, it resets itself a bit, change needle, stupid thing resets itself again afterwards. I went from too slow, too fast, but never correct. =-) Ain't no certified cluster no more.
A handy tip from PHoganDive;
Before I remove any needles, I gently push them counterclockwise to the end of travel, and mark that position with a pencil mark on a bit of masking tape on the guage face. Gives me a reference when they go back on.
Onwards with some pics;
0.Familiar view, dim/flickering/non-existant odo display. Compared to the box, this speedo comes out rather easily. Good thing to, becuase it came out a few more times...
1.What the backside looks like. Plastic sneeze shield still in place.
2.Guage needles removed, starting to get her free from the housing.
4.ODO closer up, arrows pointing to conventional resistors and surface mount components also "hidden" underneath that should be touched up. DO NOT SKIP resolding the components under the odometer display thinking its too difficult to do and playing the odds, because guess what, these are the primary failure points as Kots discovered and you'll be pulling your cluster apart once again.
Also of note from Kots on information he found elsewhere, if you tend to bang your dash to get the odometer to come back to life, these surface mount resistors will eventually break off, and then you get the joy of getting those back on.
5.closerer up. Viewers will note that the legs of the odometer are essentially hanging in free air with only the backside solder pads anchoring it. No wonder these things go, bit of shaking while driving will eventually crack anything mounted like this.
6.Connector. You'll want to inspect this closely, it doesn't get much stress, but having operated a wave solderer in the past, theres a few things to know when you have large areas of solder, namely, a cooling action if the wave solder ain't perfectly setup, and with that, poor solder joints. If it is extremely poorly setup, you can tell what direction the bosrd travels through it. It can be a delicate balance between too hot and too cold depending on what is mounted to the board. I had a crack on the top left pin, and number 3. Retouched all corners and any that looked suspect.
7.Main odo pins we are concerned with. Hit those legs of the 1/2watt resistors with some heat, don't be afraid, and don't use no sh--y 35watt soldering iron. That is for people who don't know how to solder and just want to be able to say they own a soldering iron. 75watts or 100watts. Even more important with todays multi-layered boards, too low a wattage means all the copper sucks the heat away from your iron and you are just making solder drops at best. Don't be afraid of heat.
9.Oops fixed. Not quite perfect, but close enough for the way I drive.
With PHoganDives tip, you should avoid any misalignment when you put things together. But justin case, don't push the needles home when you are done, get the cluster back in its housing, but leave the clear cover off and plug it into the car and go for a test drive. As I noted originally, there is no guage zeroing in my 08 when you turn on the key, so I resorted to taking a run around the block and letting the cluster get itself back into sync and then closed things up.
Since then, I have found the cluster self test, which should make this a single session job;
Instrument Cluster Self Test;
Press & Hold Trip/Reset button.
Turn key to run.
Release trip/reset when "tEST" appears in the odometer.
Press trip/reset to flip through a bunch of other info,
including bulb test (warning lights, maybe general illumination-have only done it during the day).
When you get to the odometer saying "gAge", watch the guages have a mini siezure and full sweep, supposedly returning to zero.
Turn key off when bored.
Among other info, you will get values for what the car is sending to the cluster to display (fuel level, oil pressure, engine temp, rpm for the regular info.
To verify the speedo, hook up an odb scanner with live data and monitor speed to see if the needle is pointing to the appropriate location. If not, just pull the needle and reset the appropriate amount. I shouldn't have to say this, but don't do this while in motion.
And yer Done.
In summary, resolder anything that looks suspect, definately resolder the surface mount components under the odometer display, the odometer display, and the connector grounds at minimum.
Cluster removal can be found in other threads around here, not that you need them, this generation panther come apart easily, you don't even need to remove the radio from the cluster surround.