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2005 Sport Trac engine start hiccup and goofy dash instruments

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CBass

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On my 2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac This happens about four times a month, especially on cold mornings. I turn the key to the start position, the engine cranks, then stops for a second like it seized up, but then starts and then the gauge needles are all doing this vibration dance below the low end of their sweep (the right hand two are beyond the high end of their sweep). I have to shut off the engine and wait for them to stop vibrating, then when I start again they are all normal except the fuel gauge, which reads below empty with the LOW FUEL light on (even if it's a full tank) and then slowly comes back up after about 3 miles of driving. Any ideas what's causing this and how to fix it? See video I just posted at at
 

Tombstones81

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04 & 05 are known to have issues with the gauges that require professional repairs, if you cant do it yourself.

I had issues with my 05 as well.
Started with blinking mileage, to some gauges not working, & in the end... Nothing worked!
The power windows & radio are also tied into the gauges & can stop working. (mine did)
Not sure what else is wired into or through the gauges.

I used this companies services & got mine back working 100% & a new lens as the PO cracked it.

But... if you have them professionally repaired.
DO NOTTTTTT upgrade to LED bulbs!!!
I did & mine do not work 90% of the time now & annoyingly flicker like crazy! (known issue when swapped to LEDs)
Already got standard bulbs to replace them with, when I get to it.

If/when you get the gauges fixed.
make sure you dont need to drive the truck for the time the gauges are out (mine took like 3, 4 or 5 days only I think)
My wife used a GPS speedo app on her phone & drove the truck to the grocery store without the gauges.
Truck died 3 times as if the battery was dying.
When the gauges were fixed & reinstalled, no battery issues & seemed like it was running better too.

I searched & searched when I was having issues.
& having them sent out to be fixed was the only solution I could find for "my" problem.
 

Tombstones81

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Actually that reminds me.
When I replaced the bulbs in mine yesterday, I noticed it doing the same thing when I initially plugged the gauges back in.
Both times (once to test the bulbs & 2nd after I put the back cover back on)

Reading your post again
(I turn the key to the start position, the engine cranks, then stops for a second like it seized up, but then starts and then the gauge needles are all doing this vibration dance below the low end of their sweep)

That Might be a power issue.
Since mine did that when initially plugged in, im thinking there might be a short or bad connection somewhere.

I am not sure of everything that is tied into the gauges.
If it was my truck, I would start at the battery (check & clean connectors) & then check the wiring behind the gauges.
Mine had a TON of splices from one of the previous owners financing it & it having that GPS & cut off BS on it. (below the steering wheel)
But then looking up other wiring under the steering wheel photos, I noticed others had them as well (the splicers)
So def check the wiring out.

I believe ALL of the panel screws are 7mm around the steering wheel.
 

CBass

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Thanks. I'll get it checked out. My left rear window stopped working several months ago- I never associated that possibility with the instrument panel, nor that hesitation during starting, but sometimes things are not what one expects.
 

Tombstones81

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Not sure if the gauges can affect One window.
With mine, None of them worked, or the radio & in the end before the repairs.... None of the gauges.
So I dont know anything else thats tied into the gauges but those.

Call the repair company & simply ask if they know all of the indications that the gauges are in need of repair.
Let them tell you, if they even know.
Dont tell them until they tell you, as they might just be like... yeah send it in & we'll fix it.
Only to find out it was something else & you wasted money.

Not that they are not trustworthy.
I just find that most businesses will care about making that money before caring about a customer.

Unless someone else can chime in that Knows all of the symptoms of the gauges needing the typical repair job.

(edit)
This guy seems to have the same problem but it sounds like hes driving!

& I spoke before rereading the site.... they have some issues listed.
"
  • Intermittent power failure to the gauges
  • Odometer display issues such as dimming, flickering, or no longer being visible
  • Intermittent power to radio, power windows, or interior lighting
  • Individual gauges are not working or giving incorrect readings
Next time it acts up, try to lower a window a Little Bit (dont wanna get it stuck halfway down!)
& leave the radio on to see if that cuts out when the issues act up.
 
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Alex Gonzalez

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Actually that reminds me.
When I replaced the bulbs in mine yesterday, I noticed it doing the same thing when I initially plugged the gauges back in.
Both times (once to test the bulbs & 2nd after I put the back cover back on)

Reading your post again
(I turn the key to the start position, the engine cranks, then stops for a second like it seized up, but then starts and then the gauge needles are all doing this vibration dance below the low end of their sweep)

That Might be a power issue.
Since mine did that when initially plugged in, im thinking there might be a short or bad connection somewhere.

I am not sure of everything that is tied into the gauges.
If it was my truck, I would start at the battery (check & clean connectors) & then check the wiring behind the gauges.
Mine had a TON of splices from one of the previous owners financing it & it having that GPS & cut off BS on it. (below the steering wheel)
But then looking up other wiring under the steering wheel photos, I noticed others had them as well (the splicers)
So def check the wiring out.

I believe ALL of the panel screws are 7mm around the steering wheel.
Hate to hijack the thread, but I need to replace the bulbs in the instrument cluster on my '03, which I'm the original owner.. Have not gotten around to searching this forum or YouTube yet. How difficult and time consuming is this? Type of bulbs? I have the owner's manual, so if the bulb information is there, I can refer to that. If you have any links to the steps, or to a YouTube video, would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

Tylerxp2

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On my 2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac This happens about four times a month, especially on cold mornings. I turn the key to the start position, the engine cranks, then stops for a second like it seized up, but then starts and then the gauge needles are all doing this vibration dance below the low end of their sweep (the right hand two are beyond the high end of their sweep). I have to shut off the engine and wait for them to stop vibrating, then when I start again they are all normal except the fuel gauge, which reads below empty with the LOW FUEL light on (even if it's a full tank) and then slowly comes back up after about 3 miles of driving. Any ideas what's causing this and how to fix it? See video I just posted at at
My 2004 did that same dance and my alternator/battery was dying. Of course I was out of town and it was 500 for Alternator to replace at the dealership. And and 200 for battery at auto parts. All cured after that...
Hope that helps
 

EddieS'04

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Electronics on the gen 1 Tracs can wack out with just a bad or weak battery.
 

Andrew Homar

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I am the original owner of a 2004 XLT. I experienced the same or similar instrument cluster failure a couple of years ago which can present itself in many different ways. When I posted on this forum looking for help, founding member Todd Z. and other members of long standing directed me to Circuit Board Medics (800-547-2049) who repaired and turned around (shipped back) my cluster in one day. I also seem to remember the members I spoke to at the time sending me the link to a video or step by step photos for taking out and reinstalling the cluster. You may be able to find all of this information in this forum's archive.
 
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