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No dash, no crank, no start

Discussion in 'Stock 2006 -2010 Explorers' started by higney85, February 24, 2019.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. higney85

    higney85 New Member

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    2006 4.0 EB Explorer at 140k miles.....

    About a week ago my wife went out to run errands and came back to tell me this explorer is dead from step one. This vehicle isn’t a daily driver so I initially figured the battery may be dead or some other issue that would be easy to see. The curveball is there is zero dash illumination when I took a look at it. Since then, I’ve been troubleshooting and still no dash indications, no cranking, and obviously- it’s dead.

    What does work:

    Blower fan
    Wipers
    Lights (fog and headlights)
    Interior lights
    Hazards
    Radio
    Cigarette lighter
    Brake lights
    Tow lights
    Power windows and locks
    EVERYTHING besides the dash and a crank to start the engine.

    What I have verified:
    Battery shows 12+ volts
    All grounds are solid with zero corrosion
    All fuses have been pulled for inspection in both the junction box and passenger fuse box and are intact
    Ignition switch has 12+ volts
    Relays click on in run and an additional “click” at the start position. Nothing from the actual starter. It’s the relay(s).

    Vehicle history:
    July 2018- new battery, alternator, and battery terminals. This was to finally figure out starting woes on occasion were due to an alternator going out. The wife and I both use this vehicle for errands, occasional towing, and anywhere we take the dogs to get muddy. It’s the true “utility” vehicle for us outside of daily driving.

    What I have tried:
    Battery was put on a charger to make sure it was full. It only took a few minutes to show a full charge and verified at about 12.7V at the terminals. Hooked up with clean terminals, it showed the same voltage and verified at the main junction box in the engine compartment and grounded to vehicle grounds in the engine bay (inclusive of the starter ground). I checked all fuses (not broken) with the exception of verifying the fuse in the passenger compartment (up behind the E-brake) that is all silver and cannot be seen through. I believe that’s ignition. I have swapped relays (matching part numbers) with no changes. The ignition switch was swapped out today and power verified in off/acc/run/start. I even attempted to jump start with another vehicle and zero difference behind showing 13.7-14.1V across the system.

    The instrument cluster has zero life in the gauges or any of the warning lights that should appear in the run position. Before pulling the battery terminals off, I did connect my OBDII scanner and got the single code for emissions that I was already aware of. In my head that would mean the PCM is alive. Now it has zero codes after reading, but the battery was disconnected for a while. PATS is acting completely normal with a slow red light link with the key out of the ignition and no light with the key in. We have 2 keys, without a change from either. I have traced all the visible wiring harnesses with no sign of wires being disturbed by rodents, chafing, or melting.

    I have time to be surgical in this process of redoing all the grounds, yet they look fine. We live in the southeast US and rust isn’t an issue here. The question becomes the instrument cluster. I have removed it with zero change from hooked up or not. I cannot see any visible damage to the chips, but I haven’t dismantled it. Previous to now there have been zero issues with the cluster or starting since the new batt/alternator last summer.

    Wondering where I should look next?... I’m assuming that the vehicle won’t even attempt a start without the cluster functioning. Being that the cluster seems to be dead, there are sites offering to rebuild it if sent to them (avoiding dealer reprogramming). Can anyone attest to this train of thought or offer other solutions?

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. Rcflyer330

    Rcflyer330 Active Member

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    Out of curiosity what modules can your scanner read? Or what scanner are you using?

    If your scanner cant read the instrument cluster module then verify the fuses in the passenger compartment also try to get into the manufacturer mode for the cluster ( hold the reset button while turning the car to the on position after about 10 sec it should be in the mode) just to see if it is getting power. If that doesnt work then next you need to get a wiring diagram for the cluster and start checking for power and grounds at the connector if all the power and grounds are there then its probally the cluster. If you are missing power or ground then start tracing wires and find out where problem is.
     
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  4. Rcflyer330

    Rcflyer330 Active Member

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    Okay so I did some research and there is a tsb for this exact condition its TSB 06-10-7 just google ford explorer no start with instrument cluster inoperative. Other things where to check grounds and there was one with a pats code preventing starting. Here is a link to the posting
    no dash lights and won't start

    Hope fully that helps.
     
  5. higney85

    higney85 New Member

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    Rcflyer- thanks. I spent time looking through searches before posting this thread, but completely forgot to google TSB’s. My scanner is just a simple/cheap one, so I’ll need to pull out the manual and see how much talking it can really do in the system.
     
  6. higney85

    higney85 New Member

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    My scanner is a cheap Autel ms300 multiscan. Pulls codes for a check engine light for under $20 on amazon as of tonight. Went through step 1 of the TSB and nothing came up on the dash (mx/reset test). Been working (out of town) so the next steps need a bus reading capable scanner (beyond the simple light codes) and multi reader (have that). Looking into scanners that can be beneficial for the long haul on multiple vehicles.

    Keeping this thread up to date for future viewers. Nothing worse than finding a previous post with the issue and no follow up.

    Recommendations are welcome for a scanner for more than a check engine light on a 2006 explorer, 2014 explorer, other vehicles, and likely a 2016-2018 expedition in the near future. This explorer still has a place in our family, and a good bit invested to keep it alive in the last few years with mx/ replaceable components, and a new transmission. Currently it’s just clogging up a spot in the driveway with the dash removed... brings it all back to the original thread of the no start/crank issue. All help is appreciated.
     
  7. Rcflyer330

    Rcflyer330 Active Member

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    The scanner i use and recommend is an obdlink mx (~ $70) and forscan ($4 for phone app or free if you use the computer version) it can do just about anything you need it to do. You can also get a cheeper elm327 adapter but it may not be able to read some systems. Forscan if a ford only program there is the torque app that can do any vehicle brand that is also popular.
     
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  8. higney85

    higney85 New Member

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    As a update to those who may search this in the future.... I bought a bluedriver Bluetooth scanner that reads all the modules ($90-ish on amazon) to pull codes. At the same time I gave the cluster some taps after the battery had been disconnected. When reconnecting everything and putting the iginition to “on” everything worked. Vehicle started and I was able to put it in the garage without issue. Short term victory. I have emailed numerous online companies who repair clusters and most replied to say that the IC (instrument cluster) was likely dead and a replacement with programming was required. Pretty much all said that all they do is either source a replacement cluster or replace bulds, needles, motors. D&D instruments replied much more in depth and mentioned the shifting from shipping many times brings the cluster alive and they do the circuit board all the way up to the microprocessor (which is where a replacement is needed). With that I did the taps/slight shake for it to work. I called and talked with the same guy who was answering emails and asked for his best guess/advice, thinking a tap is not a solution, especially once things are buttoned back up. D&D instruments replaces all that the other companies do, plus retraces the circuit board, replacement as necessary, up to and including the microprocessor (which may require reprogramming). Needless to say, my IC has been sent to them to do their thing, and should be bolt on ready when it returns. They handle the shipping both ways. While the vehicle was running, I pulled codes on the reader and had the following:

    P1000- OBD2 Monitoring not complete... duh. Battery was disconnected for days.
    P1260- vehicle imobilize (PATS).... interesting being that the light on the upper dash (meaning by the winshield and not the IC) didn’t show this.

    *also have an emission code(s) that I’m aware of with a full set of O2 sensors and bolt on cats that I just need to install, so not viewing that as part of the problem.

    A few others also came up, but don’t show now as I’m looking at the report. As I recall, One was a datalink fail the the IC (did that myself). Another was a datalink fail between PCM and IC. May have been from my disconnect, could be a loose connection.

    Either way, the cluster has something going on, but it seems to be positive that it’s not the main microprocessor requiring programming. Once the cluster is returned, I’ll let you guys know. Not that you may care now, but future searches may help in troubleshooting. So far, very impressed with this company. No, I have no affiliations whatsoever. In terms of customer service, I gotta give them some kuddos to this point. After I pulled codes and talked to D&D, I tried my other 2 keys (3 total) and 2 key fobs, all working correctly. Don’t think PATS was the primary issue as all keys worked AND had dash lights. A PATS issue should still allow lights up to the lack of starter energizing for a vehicle start Just saying in a troubleshooting scenario.
     
    Last edited: March 7, 2019
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  9. GeorgeH

    GeorgeH Member

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  10. higney85

    higney85 New Member

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    So.. as an update. My cluster should be back tomorrow. That will be Tuesday and I will get it on 3/22/19 and I sent it off on 3/7. It was received on the 9th and they called me on 3/15 so weekends were in play. The guy I talked to was the same one I emailed. Throughout the process, communication occurred to my satisfaction. The problem is, on the bench it didnt fail. They do a freeze test, shake test (vibration sequence- not sure what that is, but hey, they do it). The cluster wouldn’t fail. !Conundrum! I checked voltages and resistance per the TSB and everything pointed to the IC. The options were to just send it back to me, resolder everything(May fix it, may not), or replace the IC with a potential of needing reprogramming (May fix it, may not). Price points of $99/$249/349. I elected for them to just send it back to me. (There was no defined problem or leaning to take apart and resolder when everything seems working after their tests). The guy I talked to explained what they would do, but reiterated the fact that they cannot make it fail. It feels like I just spend a hundred bucks for nothing, but it doesn’t feel that my issue is in the IC when he explained for a while how they tried to make it fail. Heat, cold, vibration, all working normally.

    Really curious what codes come up when I throw it back in (planning tomorrow) and see what comes up on the bluedriver. I’ll update this thread of anything of interest occurs, meaning normalsy is lost. Completely baffled currently. For those who see this later in a search, disconnect the battery and IC for a bit, and reconnect. So far that’s evidently a working solution. If not, I’ll report back. Sorry for a lacking diagnosis. Frustration exists.
     
  11. Rcflyer330

    Rcflyer330 Active Member

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    Well thats a bummer. When you get it back if its still not working scan for all codes record them and clear them to see if they come back. Then we will go from there.
     
  12. Explorer_PL

    Explorer_PL Elite Explorer

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    Keep us updated, very valuable post.
    Thanks
     
  13. WaltZ

    WaltZ Member

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    Similar thing happened to me last fall.

    I would run errands. Turn off the truck, I went to leave and nothing when turning the key. Not even the "low battery clicking sound".

    After a while of waiting for a jump start from AAA, I would turn the key and it would fire up. This happened off and on for a few weeks, then every time if the vehicle was warm. If I waited 1/2 hour, it started fine.

    One place thought it may be the security system. It ended up being a bad starter
     
  14. CharlieK9

    CharlieK9 New Member

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    I think you did the right thing, not a waste. Very good info, thanks, and I'll be watching. With that scan tool you should be able to see live data from the IC controller as well as any DTCs stored internally. Will be interesting...
     
  15. zerodevil

    zerodevil Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you have what I have, symptoms are identical. I have a p1260 code. Theft, vehicle immobilized.
     
  16. higney85

    higney85 New Member

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    Zerodevil, did you figure out the fix?

    The saga is continuing on my end. Had a little time to mess with it just now and put the dash back in. Everything lit up, still no crank. Pulled off the battery cable and swapped out the starter (been meaning to do that for a while now...) had the batt on the battery charger for that 15-20 minutes, showing full. Hooked everything up and still nothing in the start position. No codes either being that I reset everything with the batt pulled again.

    Really thinking something with PATS is in play. That’s all that makes sense at this point. I’ve tried both keys with the same results. The PATS light on top of the dash still does the red blink every 2 seconds with the key removed, but it’s solid red in run and start positions Both key fobs do work. Lacking time today to mess with it anymore but curious on thoughts to proceed. In brief searching there doesn’t appear to be anything coming up for a pats reset procedure lining up with a 2006 explorer, once again only with a few minutes of searching.

    Open to suggestions before calling out one of those mobile locksmith companies. Really want to avoid a tow and dealer. Pretty sure that will cost me as much as the vehicle is worth..
     
  17. higney85

    higney85 New Member

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    Fingers crossed that things stay in working order...

    Explorer is currently running. Had a mobile locksmith come and reprogram the whole system (IC, PCM, BCM, whatever else is all linked) and program our 2 keys and fobs. That went fine, yet upon attempting start we had no crank.

    Went back to square one and the starter cartridge fuse had blown in the Underhood power distribution box. Swapped it, pop.. lovely, I likely screwed this up with the new starter. Hopped underneath and noticed the 12V main cable was touching the solenoid wire. That would be my mistake, and I’ll own it as a hometree mechanic. Loosened, adjusted, retightened, VERIFIED no connection touches with voltage and ohm readings (no short)...New fuse installed... running vehicle!

    All showed well on his scan tool (the professional one) with only P1260 (theft/immobilize) and P1000 (no OB2 history) showing. Both made sense and were cleared. Vehicle seems to be running as usual.

    So end result was a fresh reprogram of the computers and a new starter. I had to run inside and grab the second set of keys when he hooked up and was back when he was already programming, so I didn’t get to find out what’s PATS or anything else indicated beforehand. Mentioned it to him beforehand and the language barrier didn’t translate to trying to figure out what it originally was showing. Frustrating, but hopefully things are back to getting along in the electron world.
     
  18. L_turn9

    L_turn9 New Member

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  19. L_turn9

    L_turn9 New Member

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    Have you checked the ground strap between the neg battery cable and chassis? These connections can get greasy or come loose, then only a partial connection is made. It's one of those maintenance things that should be checked yearly like replacing brake fluid that seldom gets done... Good luck -
     
  20. zerodevil

    zerodevil Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for the late reply, I have been out of town working, and away from the internet. My fix was removing a bad aftermarket autostart that had failed.
     

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