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Anyone replaced the interior lights Dimmer Module?

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by sehaare, March 16, 2019.

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    1. sehaare

      sehaare Active Member

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      98 XLT SOHC 4WD

      I did a search and I can't find where anyone describes how to replace the Dimmer Module for the interior lights. I've also got the Ford Shop Manual for my year Explorer and it also does not have a procedure for removing it. Am I going to get lucky and be able to reach it from under the dash, or am I going to have to take the dash apart? I've been in there once, years ago, to replace burnt out bulbs and that wasn't fun.

      Thanks for any help.

      Steve
       
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    3. J_C

      J_C Well-Known Member

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      I haven't needed to repair or refurbish mine but AFAIK you will need to pull the dash panel off.

      The good news is that after this many years, you may only have hardened grease and oxidized copper. Your dimmer module may work again if you just clean it out, then put a coat of dielectric grease on the tracks. There are topics in this forum with pictures and everything, at least two topics, here is one of them:

      How to refurbish a 1998 2nd Gen Dimmer Switch
       
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    4. 974X4BLACKSPORT

      974X4BLACKSPORT Active Member

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      Dimmer switch, or dimmer module?
       
    5. J_C

      J_C Well-Known Member

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      ^ Aren't they one in the same unless referring to the high/low beam headlights switch in the MFS (steering column multi-function switch)?

      The module shown in the topic I linked previously should be the entirety of the interior dimmer control, has the plastic wheel on the dash panel, moving metal bobbin-shaped roller contacts, against conductive carbon traces forming a potentiometer (or at least variable resistor) electrically, to bias transistors on the built in circuit board.
       
    6. sehaare

      sehaare Active Member

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      dimmer module is the term that for uses for the plastic wheel in the dash that controls the interior lights . The dimmer switch is for the high beams.
       
    7. sehaare

      sehaare Active Member

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      I had seen this post, and now that I've reread it, I see at the very end where he mentioned having to take the instrument cluster out. So I'll start reviewing that procedure (there is one in the manual for doing that to replace the bulbs) and as he suggest, I'll replace the bulbs while I'm in there.

      I've already bought a used spare, but might not hurt to take it apart and see what kind of condition it is in before I put it in.

      Steve
       
    8. fast_dave

      fast_dave Active Member

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      @sehaare

      Just saying - given that for 21 years all of the cabin interior lights as well as the dashboard lights and radio lights go through the dimmer wheel, a used one will more than likely have just as much wear/tear/oxidation/pitting/dried grease as the one you're currently running.

      Check the write-up pics and note how heavily built the copper contacts are (for all the power going through it), as well as all of the heat reducing ventilation that is built into the body of the dimmer. This part runs hot...

      Your mileage may vary and good luck -
       
      Last edited: March 17, 2019
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    9. donalds

      donalds Elite Explorer

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      You are correct it's a pot
       
    10. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      You don't need to remove the instrument cluster to change/access the dimmer switch. Just remove the trim piece (maybe half a dozen screws). The dimmer switch is attached to the back of the trim piece. I'd recommend just replacing the switch with a new one rather than trying a used one, though reconditioning the old one is possible.

      If you want to replace the cluster's light bulbs, removing the cluster may make it easier to get at the 6 bulbs, but complete removal is probably not necessary and requires the removal of the knee bolster trim panel. plate and disconnecting the PRNDL cable.
       
    11. donalds

      donalds Elite Explorer

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      Have you looked for that switch it was $$$ last when I looked I refurbished mine
       

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