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  #11  
Old 08-07-2012, 06:21 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2
Default 03 Windstar SEL with Dim Message Center

I got in my 03 Windstar and noticed right away that the message center appeared to be out. Upon a closer look I found that it was dim, too dim to be seen in the sunlight. I have never had a problem with it before this. When the vehicle would come to a stop at a light the message center would actually brighten. Once I would take off it would dim to where you can't see it with any sunlight on it.

I measured the battery terminal voltage at 12.47V. When I started the engine it only went up to 12.60V. When I pulled it in the garage, I saw some smoke from under the hood, and there seems to be a noise coming from the alternator.

I haven't had a problem with the alternator before either. The van does have 139,500 miles now.

Anyone ever have this type of problem?

Thanks for any help,

Jerry
2000 E350 Club Wagon 80K 6.8L
2003 Windstar SEL 139K 3.8L
2003 Taurus SES 108K 3.0L Duratec
1996 F-150XLT 113K 5.8L
1995 F-350XL 207K 7.5L
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  #12  
Old 08-08-2012, 09:34 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Iowa
Posts: 727
Default

Jerry;

I had a message center that dimmed and brightened seemingly without cause. Once I had the alternator replaced it was alright (all bright) again.

Take the alternator to O'Reilly's and have it checked on their bench (free). If it fails get a re-manufactured one for about $200. Have the Battery checked as well. At least charge the battery with a charger so you don't overuse the new alternator.
Make sure all ground connections are good.

I suggested O'Reilly's over Autozone or Advanced because somewhere I read that O'Reilly's re's are better then the other guy's. I haven't heard anything about other stores.

Also: I have turned the interior lights off at the dimmer switch. This van's convenience feature of turning the lights off 30 seconds delayed is tough on the charging system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jerryr58 View Post
I got in my 03 Windstar and noticed right away that the message center appeared to be out. Upon a closer look I found that it was dim, too dim to be seen in the sunlight. I have never had a problem with it before this. When the vehicle would come to a stop at a light the message center would actually brighten. Once I would take off it would dim to where you can't see it with any sunlight on it.

I measured the battery terminal voltage at 12.47V. When I started the engine it only went up to 12.60V. When I pulled it in the garage, I saw some smoke from under the hood, and there seems to be a noise coming from the alternator.

I haven't had a problem with the alternator before either. The van does have 139,500 miles now.

Anyone ever have this type of problem?

Thanks for any help,

Jerry
2000 E350 Club Wagon 80K 6.8L
2003 Windstar SEL 139K 3.8L
2003 Taurus SES 108K 3.0L Duratec
1996 F-150XLT 113K 5.8L
1995 F-350XL 207K 7.5L
__________________
Bluewind

"It is important to know the difference between 'precise' and 'accurate', even if you are neither!"

Our family vehicles:
'05 Pontiac Vibe
'00 Ford Contour SE, 2L
'98 Mazda Protege, 1.5L 5 speed
'97 Mazda B 2300
Previously owned:
'03 Windstar, '94 Aerostar XLT 4L, '89 Geo Prizm , '86 Mazda 323 DX, 5 speed, '86 Chevrolet Cavalier, '81 Mercury Capri I6, VW 1302, Peugeot 304 (2), VW 1300, BMW R26 (motorcycle), Hercules MK 4 (Moped)



Last edited by bluewind; 08-08-2012 at 09:37 AM.
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  #13  
Old 08-10-2012, 08:16 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2
Default

Bluewind,

Thanks, it was as I suspected and you said, the alternator was bad. I checked the voltage again and found it to be around 12.25V with A/C running and not much else as far as accessories. I replaced the alternator and the display went back to normal.

Thanks for the reply!

Jerry
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  #14  
Old 08-20-2012, 05:05 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1
Default

I bought a new cluster for mine, and want to swap it out - looks like it only has 2 screws and a wire plug in? Anyone done this? Does the cluster have it's own brain or is it using the one of the main computer? Also, any instructions on how to take the dash apart?
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  #15  
Old 09-21-2012, 02:18 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1
Unhappy freestar heater

no heat on passenger side just cold. driver's side is fine. this is third time i've had to deal with this over 230 kms. dealer charges aroud $200 for a fix any do-it yourself suggestions would be appreciated.
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  #16  
Old 11-24-2012, 09:51 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 5
Default Bad Solder on Resistors in instrument Cluster - Odometer too Dim

My 2004 Mercury Monterey (same car as Freestar) had this issue - I just fixed it. A you tube video showed four resistors were the problem, sure enough, that was it. More help- the resistors are very small, labeled "270", which means 27 Ohms. and they are surface mounted type. When I first touched one, it broke off! the old solder was deteriorated. Fortunately I found it, Used two 'helping hand' setups, with magnifier and light, and a bent tip on the solder iron to get under the display. Also, to get the instrument cluster out, you need to pry the top catches as well as the two bottom bolts.
Video is here: Good luck!


Now I know that we have 124,000 miles. There were warnings about de-powering the SRS airbag, but the fuse listed in the Haynes manual (14) did not do it, so I just went ahead.
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  #17  
Old 01-10-2013, 08:50 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 3
Default

An Update on my issue with the "DIM/Black Message Center". Few days ago the temperature was about -20C and I left the car outside at work. When I started the car the Message Center was working for the first time in months. Then after a while when the car was warm, it stopped working. Next day, the same thing happened. Now that the weather is not as cold, it is back to a black screen again
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:50 AM
 
 
 
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2004, acces, center, ctr, dim, f250, fix, ford, forum, freestar, info, information, mesage, message, read, repair

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