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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
More times than not, all the gauges dont work
Sometimes they'll work after the car has been driving for some time, and then they'll all drop again.

The car runs fine, smooth, no hesitation

I can use the info center and change and reset settings, but nothing else works
Mileage does not show until the gauges start working again

Ive searched here and a battery thats week might cause gauge symptoms like ticking and shaking but I dont see any of that. I will check the battery tomorrow with a new one.

Just looking for any other ideas..
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
just to add, I dont think the cluster was ever out of this car
 

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There's some way to get the cluster into self diagnostic or test mode on cars with the info/message center - if there's a problem, they'll show up as dtc's in the message center.

EDIT: If you double click the video and go to youtube, there's instructions in the drop down description, sorry for not posting the instructions sooner
Entering a hidden diagnostic mode in a Ford Taurus's message center.

Engage the Instrument Cluster Self-Diagnostic Test Mode by pressing and holding the appropriate
buttons for 4 seconds:
2002-2006 - Base Cluster - Trip Odo Reset button
2002-2005 - Message Center Cluster - SETUP and RESET Message Center buttons
2006 - Message Center Cluster - RESET (only) Message Center button
With the vehicle in park, turn the key to the run position key on/engine off (KOEO).
Release the button(s):
2002-2005 - Base Clusters will display "tESt"
2002-2005 - Message Center Clusters will display "TEST"
2006 - Clusters will indicate "ENGINEERING TEST MODE"
NOTE: IF "ENGINEERING TEST MODE" IS NOT DISPLAYED, DEPRESS THE ODO RESET OR MESSAGE
CENTER RESET BUTTON 1 OR MORE TIMES UNTIL THIS MESSAGE IS DISPLAYED.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I had a friend drive the car for me today (Im currently not near it to do the diagnostics on the dash) and he said that when driving, the gauges work, but if he lets off the gas, the battery light comes on and the gauge needles drop.
When you get back on the gas, the battery light goes off, gauges work
I had him bring the battery to Autozone, and they checked it and its good.
So I need now to get there and take the alternator off to have that check.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cant test the alt. and batt. on the car???
I have a voltage meter...I think it should put out 14v with the engine running?

Thought having a shop test it would be more accurate.
I'll try testing myself first...;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Update
-=-=-=-
I noticed tonight...
The fuel gauge works all the time

When the tach does not work, the speedo does not work.
The temp gauge is intermittent too but is independent of the tach/speedo

I also noticed that when the problem occurs, the AC is warm!
When the needles start to work again, it gets cold. The fan works all the time, I can get heat, but AC seems to be intermittent too like the gauges.


From the Instrument Cluster Diagnostics I got the following DTC's

$D900
$C002
$9318
$9208

The only one I can find the meaning for is $9318 - Battery Voltage Low
which makes since as the battery light is on when this stuff does not work!

But Autozone checked battery and alternator, both are good, I even put in another battery out of my truck, same symptoms.

When the problem is happening...
in the cluster diagnostics, the TACH will say 'MIS', as will
- Coolant Temp
- Odometer
- Charge State
- PCM Telltale Data
- FF Alcohol
- PRNDL State
- ABS TT State

When working, all those will read the correct values.

The gauge test works, all needles will sweep so Believe the cluster is good.


Questions
=============
Are there any module(s) that control one or more of these gauge(s)?
I think I need to check power/ground connections to the PCM, any hints on how to do this?

Here's a video... I pulled on a parking lot on the way and got a video of the "events"

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I know the CEL is on, its always on p0426 - Fuel pressure sensor, I dont think its related to the gauge issue
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
May not be of any help but I did some googling and came up with this:
Strange Test from message center - Ford Explorer Ranger Enthusiasts "Serious Explorations"®

Same symptoms, they seem to have come to the conclusion it is the battery (though I didn't read it all that thoroughly).
Funny you should find that link, its the same one I used when I had gauge problems in my Explorer. But that time Autozone checked he battery, and it was bad, new battery in, problem solved.

Because the battery checked good (at two different autozones btw) im reluctant to buy another, but it may come to that...
 

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^ I was just saying you shouldnt have to remove the batt. or alt. for az to test them unless you cant get the car there.
 

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I went through 3 AZ batteries in 3 years. All had internal connector failure issues.
Smack the battery and the lights would come on and car would start.
It had me looking for UFO's flying overhead LOL
Had one Die Hard do that also after the AZ battery's. Current one has lasted 2 yrs.
All the batteries would check OK when carried into AZ . Moving the battery would remake the connection internally.
Todays junk batteries can't be ruled out anymore.
I wouldn't rule out the ignition switch either, mine was doing wacky things and switching off / on would cure it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well... bought a $101 battery today...
No movement in the gauges...same problem.
I tugged and pulled every wire under the hood with no change in the symptoms either.

Looks like I'll paying a garage:(
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
$89 diagnostics later...
- intermittent alternator failure

The old one is off, picking up another tomorrow.. will post back
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
ughhhhh...............
alternator replaced this evening, no change in symptoms

I guess a cluster is next...
anyone know if the mileage is stored in the cluster or PCM?
 

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It's stored in the cluster unfortunately.
 

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Are you sure the new battery is good? Did you get it from Auto Zone? Personally, I would stick with Motorcraft or Sears DieHard. I have a DieHard in my '97 that's 9 years old....
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It's stored in the cluster unfortunately.
But thats good right? I dont need a reprogram for the mileage?

Are you sure the new battery is good? Did you get it from Auto Zone? Personally, I would stick with Motorcraft or Sears DieHard. I have a DieHard in my '97 that's 9 years old....
Its an interstate battery.
 

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Good battery.

Well new cluster will have some other car's mileage.

It just seems weird that the cluster is spazing out like that...seems like there is something else at fault causing it...

If you had a spare cluster to swap in and try to test that theory out, it would help huh? Have a junkyard or self service junkyard near you?
 
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