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Gauges Gone Wild!


all_thumbs
07-27-2007, 07:24 AM
My '00 Windstar has recently begun to exhibit some curious instrument panel behavior in the form of dancing gauges. All gauges are affected simultaneously - temp, tach, speedo and fuel - quickly swinging from stop to stop in no apparent pattern (Semaphore cry for help? :runaround: ). This will go on for a few seconds to a couple of minutes, then they resume normal operation. It may occur again on the same trip or not for a week or so. There are no other symptoms, no CEL, no obvious trigger or apparent after-affects, the van runs fine. The battery is fairly new and quite strong.

Has anyone seen this problem before? Is this likely just a ground issue? Where would I start to look?

Thanks in advance for any assistance.


thumbs

AvalonJohn
07-27-2007, 09:46 AM
Have you replaced your alternator yet ? If not, it sounds like it's about to go.

AvalonJohn

12Ounce
07-27-2007, 10:56 AM
I'm gonna bet on relays ... The PCM power, ... the fuel pump, ... then the "Switched Power" relays ... in that order. But I would wait until you have starting issues before wasting money ... just have a couple of new relays on hand.

troyken
07-27-2007, 03:17 PM
I had EXACTLY the same problem last weekend with my '00 windstar. (about 74KMI) 3.8 engine.Gauges went crazy, temp gauge pegged, tach pegged ,speedo pegged and then swinging wildly. Van ran fine while this was happening. The only thing I noticed was that my son had an X-box game and small tv plugged into an inverter powered from the lighter socket. I pulled that out and the gauges stayed pegged , tach, 0 speedo-max. After some minutes I plugged it in again and the same problem. swinging gauges. Unplugged and hit dashboard above the wheel, all back to normal instantly. No more problems since. I had riden over bumpy rutted roads with lots of body flexing that day. Also lots of hilly roads so I was turning on and of the overdrive via the button. I normally never do that. Maybe a loose connector in the back of the cluster? Interestingly, I went to scan for codes when I got home,there was no power to the data port. I found blown fuse # 17 that supplies the lighter and data port. Replaced fuse, got power to the port and found no codes.

huskerdooo
07-28-2007, 07:54 PM
I had some similar issues with an intermittant voltage regulator (before it died all together).

wiswind
07-29-2007, 07:25 AM
Voltage regulator is inside the alternator on the windstar.

all_thumbs
07-29-2007, 09:30 PM
Voltage regulator is inside the alternator on the windstar.


Wiswind, do you think this is the most likely source of the problem?

Mac2002
06-08-2010, 01:16 PM
Wiswind, did you ever find the source of All Thumbs problem? My 00 just started doing the same thing.

Thanx

all_thumbs
06-08-2010, 01:35 PM
Wiswind, did you ever find the source of All Thumbs problem? My 00 just started doing the same thing.

Thanx


No, I never found the source of the problem. I believe it to be either a ground issue or a relay, because a stiff swat to the dash above the instrument cluster usually corrected the behavior for a while. It's not a voltage regulator/alternator fault.

I removed the instrument cluster at one point because the tach needle had gotten trapped by the gearshift indicator when the wife put the car in park while the tach was pegged. After freeing the tach needle I soaked the electrical connectors with contact cleaner hoping to clean up any poor connections, but the problem didn't go away. That was the extent of my efforts to troubleshoot. I have since sold the van.

Good luck with your van, if you find the answer please post it here.

AvalonJohn
06-12-2010, 03:14 PM
All,

have had this problem for a year or two now and will change some relays next week and let you know what I find. Problem is getting worse and is a real pain with my 16yr old learning how to drive.

AJ

Gobbler865
06-17-2010, 07:24 AM
I too have had this problem for some time now. Mine has progressed to intermittent lighs lighitng up my dash like a Xmas tree! It's kind of amusing. The gauges will stick, bounce, and jump from peg to peg. All my systems are normal and even my directionals still work outside the van but not registering inside the van. Even the swift swat to the dash board behind the wheel doesn't fix the problem anymore. I doubt it's the voltage regulator just for the sheer fact that I changed out the alternator in the middle of all of this mess last summer.

Mike

beamrider42
06-19-2010, 10:24 AM
You are certainly not alone with this problem, I'm still trying to sort mine out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouno9F3twLA&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K7dn5vX1-Y&feature=channel

bgriek
06-27-2010, 01:41 PM
My 00 windstar just started doing this in the last few days. Have been having lots of other problems recently. Replaced torque converter and solenoid due to o/d light in instrument cluster. Replaced left front a/b sensor when it came back from trans. shop. Had the brake switch recall done last week. MIL came on yesterday and gave code for DPFE. Opened the hood and found the plastic replacement dpfe is burned up. Not sure if any of this has anything to do with the crazy gauges but I'm going to ask the dealer that did the warranty work.

AvalonJohn
06-30-2010, 09:10 PM
Think I may have solved the problem ....... actually 12Ounce gets the credit. He's the one who suggested the PCM and Fuel Pump relays. I replaced the 304 Relay (PCM) and 21 Relay (Fuel Pump). My gas gauge, RPMs, Speedpmeter, and Temp were all going nutts every 10 mins or so while driving or car was on. Replaced on Monday and drove twice .... no problems. Tues AM great. Came out of work Tues and speedometer when nutts when I started car, but when back to normal after about 10 seconds and has been fine ever since. I will keep everyone posted through the next week or two. Don't know if it was the 304 or 21 relay so I'd just replace both. Only about $30.

AJ

iansinger
07-01-2010, 10:32 PM
I removed the instrument cluster at one point because the tach needle had gotten trapped by the gearshift indicator when the wife put the car in park while the tach was pegged.

When you do that and you straighten out the needles put a bump of clear silicon at the end of the normal range of speedo and tach. That way when they peg they will hit the stop and at least the tach will not jam in the gear shift and stop you shifting.

I did that but my gauges still go nuts at times and the electrical shop I went to said replace the whole cluster from a wreck to solve it.

AvalonJohn
08-03-2010, 10:27 AM
Ok. I thought changing the relays was the answer, it's not. I've heard from others that after a while the instrament panel just wears out. So I guess my problem with the gauges is that the panel is old (160K) and needs to be replaced. Won't bother unless it fails inspection. If anyone has the problem and replace the panel and the problem is solved, please let us know for sure.

Thanks,

AJ

reboot 48
10-05-2010, 01:20 AM
Hi,John,my 01 did the same thing,but seem like oniy on rainy day at the begining ,it star about a year ago.until three month ago I need to fix it,cause most of time I can't tell how fast I go,then I go to the scrap yard taking apart one, and I know the odometer reading will not be the same,but I want mine original 478,000 kms,so just take out the part that attach to the needle,the part that the needle push into,you have to completly take apart the cluster,4 of them,then on my windstar,do I change all 4? while I am thinking, notice that one of the 4,(the rpm needle doesn't rewind) speedometer does, so I change that one,put every thing back,drive for 10-20 min,NORMAL,except read about 200 rpm less,because when I put the NEW needle back was off,I can fix that correctly during emmision test.very happy to see rain,drive the van rightaway, all 4 needles normal.is now almost 4 months,still perfect.hope that was the problem.

reboot 48
10-05-2010, 01:22 AM
Ok. I thought changing the relays was the answer, it's not. I've heard from others that after a while the instrament panel just wears out. So I guess my problem with the gauges is that the panel is old (160K) and needs to be replaced. Won't bother unless it fails inspection. If anyone has the problem and replace the panel and the problem is solved, please let us know for sure.

Thanks,

AJ
Hi,John,my 01 did the same thing,but seem like oniy on rainy day at the begining ,it star about a year ago.until three month ago I need to fix it,cause most of time I can't tell how fast I go,then I go to the scrap yard taking apart one, and I know the odometer reading will not be the same,but I want mine original 478,000 kms,so just take out the part that attach to the needle,the part that the needle push into,you have to completly take apart the cluster,4 of them,then on my windstar,do I change all 4? while I am thinking, notice that one of the 4,(the rpm needle doesn't rewind) speedometer does, so I change that one,put every thing back,drive for 10-20 min,NORMAL,except read about 200 rpm less,because when I put the NEW needle back was off,I can fix that correctly during emmision test.very happy to see rain,drive the van rightaway, all 4 needles normal.is now almost 4 months,still perfect.hope that was the problem.

1stboom
03-14-2013, 06:03 AM
Problem solved! I have a 2001 Windstar that first started with the tach needle pegging took dash apart and flipped it back. That lasted a while but reoccurred after a couple hundred miles. Did it twice more the last time it happened again within 50 miles. I then thought it must be in the cluster so went to the boneyard and got another cluster. Installed new cluster and after a short time tach acted up again then the speedo started to quit working. Did find if I pounded on the top of the dash it would return back to normal with the tach pegged. So thinking I may have gotten a bad cluster got another cluster and replaced it again. Same problems came back. One day when speedo quit I also noticed that the fuel and water temp gauges were not correct. It now lead me to believe maybe the ground was bad as all the gauges was affected. Take the dash apart once more looking for a ground wire. Needless to say couldn't find anything that looked like a ground. Started van up with the cluster loose and tried wiggling the wire harness with no luck to recreate problem. After reinstalled dash panel I saw at the side of the dash in the door jamb a bolt that secures that dash to the body. I tightened the bolts in both the driver and passenger doorjambs and for over 7,000 miles haven't had a problem since.

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