The problem is very likely the surface mount resistors on the instrument cluster circuit board. If you are handy with a soldering iron, it takes about 1 hour to fix counting taking the instrument cluster out, testing it, and putting it back in. The official removal instructions are at
And a video showing the resistors is at
As for the official removal instructions, I would modify/add to them as (note: I have a 2004 Mercury Monterey):
1. Tilt steering column to the lowest position
2. Remove steering column cover by pulling up and towards you
3. Open plastic panel under the steering column by pulling on the finger hold just under the steering column.
4. Remove the 5 screws behind this panel holding the cover/panel on and remove.
5. Put on the emergency brake.
5. Turn the key to the on position and move the shift lever as far to the right as it will go.
6. Use a flashlight to find the tiny transmission range indicator cable down the right side of the steering column.
7. Remove the cable from the knob connecting it to the gear shift.
8. Shift back into park and remove key.
9. Remove bolt holding gear shift cable on to steering column
10. Remove the 2 instrument cluster screws.
11. Use a small thin pry bar at the top of the instrument cluster to pull it out. It is just a tight fit.
12. Remove the instrument cluster electrical connector it has a small clip you have to depress to pull it out.
13. Guide the instrument cluster out from behind the steering wheel (may have to tilt the steering wheel even more to squeeze it out.
Now, to fix the cluster.
1. Gently unclip the five snap clips holding the front plastic case onto the circuit board and remove.
2. Remove the gauge needles by gently but firmly pulling then straight out.
3. Remove all the screws from the back and remove front assembly from circuit board.
4. You will now see the four resistors shown in the youtube video above.
5. Be careful about soldering them because when you heat one side, the resistor might just pop off and then you have to go looking for it. I found it useful to use long tweezers to hold the resistor while soldering and also to use some no clean flux with some small diameter solder. Solder both ends of all four resistors and try to do it cleanly so you don t have extra solder floating around.
6. If you want to test this fix, just take the circuit board to the car and plug in the electrical connector (it will make some noise as the gauges try to reset). Turn on the vehicle and see if it lights up.
And as they all say To install, reverse the removal procedure.
The hardest part is maneuvering the soldering iron to get to all the sides of the resistors.
Friday, September 19th, 2014 AT 8:56 PM