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How to Fix a Bad Instrument Cluster for a 97 Ford F150

Updated April 17, 2017

A bad instrument cluster in your 1997 Ford F150 describes an instrument cluster which has become damaged or simply works incorrectly. You are legally required to have a fully functioning cluster when you take your vehicle out on the road. If the bulbs in your cluster stop working, you need to remove the instrument cluster and replace the bulbs. For more serious problems you should replace the entire instrument cluster.

Enter the drivers seat of your Ford. Locate the lever which opens up the bonnet of your vehicle. You will find the lever on the lower left hand side of the seat. Pull the lever and open up the bonnet fully. Find then negative terminal on the battery. Use a wrench to remove the bolt clamp attached to the terminal. Lift the negative cable away from the battery. This will allow you to safely work on the instrument cluster.

Press in the locking tabs behind the steering wheel which allow you to change the height of the steering wheel. Lower the steering wheel as far down as it will go within the steering column.

Use a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the two screws attached to the cowl trim. Lift the cowl trim off the dashboard. Remove the mounting screws attached to the instrument cluster. Slide the cluster out of the dash. Disconnect the electrical wiring in the rear. Move the cluster to a clean work space.

Remove the damaged bulbs from the cluster by turning them in a counterclockwise direction until they come free from the cluster. Replace them by inserting new bulbs and turning them in the opposite direction until they are fixed securely in place.

Reattach the instrument cluster or to install a completely new one, simply follow the removal steps in reverse. Connect the negative cable to the battery terminal and fix in place with the clamp bolt. Turn on the engine to check that the instrument cluster now works correctly.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver set
  • Wrench set
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About the Author

John Johnston began writing in 2006 for article sites such as SN&CK Media, and has a large wealth of experience in writing automotive repair and electronics articles. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in sports journalism from the University of Central Lancashire.