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Old 08-19-2009, 19:42   #1 (permalink)
kae
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Question 99 Windstar intermittent instrument gauge problem

I have a 1999 Ford Windstar with analog type gauges. A few weeks ago I had just started the van and was about a mile away when I noticed that the analog RPM needle rotated all the way to the right (past the highest mark) and the gas gauge needle fell all the way to the bottom. It looked like those gauge needles just lost all power and just fell to the bottom (like they were hanging there). They came back for an instant and then fell back again and then came back to normal. They seemed to function normally for the rest of the trip.

About two days ago, I noticed that the RPM gauge rotated to the right and fell to the bottom right again, but the gas gauge didn't move and stayed showing the same gas level. The RPM gauge came back and I didn't see it do it again that day.

Then today, I ran to the store and when I came out I had just started the van and I had driven about a half mile from the store and was only going about 30 MPH when the speedometer gauge needle rotated all the way to the right (way past the max markings) and while that happened the RPM needle fell to the bottom (this time it rotated all the way left and was way past the Zero mark). I was so mesmerized by the two gauges that I didn't really look at the gas gauge or the temperature gauge. I don't remember if they moved. Anyway, in a few seconds the gauges returned to normal and have operated fine since that time.

Each time this happens, I don't notice the car behavior changing (i.e. the car doesn't run rough).

My brother-in-law suggested that it might be an internal board that is going bad (maybe a short or an arc or something).

The van is pretty old, but has been pretty trouble free. Has anyone else had a similar problem? Any clues?

Thanks!

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Old 08-19-2009, 20:51   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 99 Windstar intermittent instrument gauge problem

A poor ground can cause that. I don't have a wiring diagram for a 99 or I could look it up and give you some idea where it could be. Look under the steering wheel area and wiggle the wires to see if you can duplicate it.
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Old 08-22-2009, 18:24   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 99 Windstar intermittent instrument gauge problem

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Originally Posted by kae View Post
I have a 1999 Ford Windstar with analog type gauges. A few weeks ago I had just started the van and was about a mile away when I noticed that the analog RPM needle rotated all the way to the right (past the highest mark) and the gas gauge needle fell all the way to the bottom. It looked like those gauge needles just lost all power and just fell to the bottom (like they were hanging there). They came back for an instant and then fell back again and then came back to normal. They seemed to function normally for the rest of the trip.

About two days ago, I noticed that the RPM gauge rotated to the right and fell to the bottom right again, but the gas gauge didn't move and stayed showing the same gas level. The RPM gauge came back and I didn't see it do it again that day.

Then today, I ran to the store and when I came out I had just started the van and I had driven about a half mile from the store and was only going about 30 MPH when the speedometer gauge needle rotated all the way to the right (way past the max markings) and while that happened the RPM needle fell to the bottom (this time it rotated all the way left and was way past the Zero mark). I was so mesmerized by the two gauges that I didn't really look at the gas gauge or the temperature gauge. I don't remember if they moved. Anyway, in a few seconds the gauges returned to normal and have operated fine since that time.

Each time this happens, I don't notice the car behavior changing (i.e. the car doesn't run rough).

My brother-in-law suggested that it might be an internal board that is going bad (maybe a short or an arc or something).

The van is pretty old, but has been pretty trouble free. Has anyone else had a similar problem? Any clues?

Thanks!
I have a 99 Windstar that had the exact same problem. After pulling the instrument cluster many times, I finally figured it out. I pulled the instrument cluster and started looking closely at the PCB boards in it. If you remove the back white cover on the cluster (5 or 6 T15 screws), you will see 2 printed circuit boards. One is full size, the other is a smaller "piggyback" board. If you pull the smaller ribbon cable off the piggyback board, you can lay it over to the side, leaving the larger ribbon cable connected. I looked at the back side of the surface mount connector that the small ribbon cable had been connected to, and saw 5 or 6 bad throughhole solder connections. I used to work in a PCB manufacturing facility, and knew what to look for. If you look very closely, the solder connection should be shiny and smooth. Any cracks will cause intermittent connection. I used my soldering iron to reflow the solder connections (I did the back of both connectors), and no more problems. I went from gauges bouncing ever minute or so, to no problem whatsoever. It looks as though this connector, which is at the edge of the PCB, hadn't been reflowed properly during manufacture. If you're not handy with soldering on a PC board, find someone who is. In my case, this was a fix.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
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Old 08-22-2009, 19:00   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 99 Windstar intermittent instrument gauge problem

Thank you for the Help Sholm
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Old 08-04-2011, 14:45   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 99 Windstar intermittent instrument gauge problem

hi guys,
got a similar problem here... my 99 windtsar tach doesnt work at all and my clusters fuel, temp, and speed randomly freeze or bottom out simultaneously. since the tach is bad i feel it may be best to go to takeapart and get a new cluster... but would the other problem be possibly solved from a new cluster or do you feel this may be from a bad ground. when i tap the cluster thru the glass is often reaffirms and starts working again. is the short IN the cluster?
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Old 08-04-2011, 19:32   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 99 Windstar intermittent instrument gauge problem

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Originally Posted by Still_Smokin View Post
hi guys,
got a similar problem here... my 99 windtsar tach doesnt work at all and my clusters fuel, temp, and speed randomly freeze or bottom out simultaneously. since the tach is bad i feel it may be best to go to takeapart and get a new cluster... but would the other problem be possibly solved from a new cluster or do you feel this may be from a bad ground. when i tap the cluster thru the glass is often reaffirms and starts working again. is the short IN the cluster?
That's what it sounds like, in the cluster itself.
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Old 08-24-2011, 22:14   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 99 Windstar intermittent instrument gauge problem

ok so i got a newer cluster from takapart and installed it in the minivan and now it wont start!!!!! need programmed then?
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Old 08-24-2011, 22:20   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 99 Windstar intermittent instrument gauge problem

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Originally Posted by Still_Smokin View Post
ok so i got a newer cluster from takapart and installed it in the minivan and now it wont start!!!!! need programmed then?
Yes
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Old 08-24-2011, 22:25   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 99 Windstar intermittent instrument gauge problem

any idea on how much something like that is gonna cost me? it wont start with the original cluster now either. how can i at least get he old cluster to allow the car to start so i can move it to the shop? i unplugged the battery and put the new cluster in but it doesnt start. lol, wtf it ran fine with the old cluster???
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Old 08-24-2011, 22:37   #10 (permalink)
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Re: 99 Windstar intermittent instrument gauge problem

It looks like you'll have to get it towed.

Alldata states:

Prior to removal of the module, it is necessary to upload module configuration information to New Generation STAR (NGS) Tester. This information needs to be downloaded into the new module once installed. For additional information, refer to Information Bus.

Once the new module is installed, it is necessary to download the module configuration information from the NGS Tester into the new instrument cluster. For additional information; refer to Information Bus.

After instrument cluster replacement, refer to Anti-Theft or Active Anti-Theft system for anti-theft system programming.
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