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Weird Instrument Panel Issues

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Optimus Joe, August 8, 2019.

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  1. Optimus Joe

    Optimus Joe New Member

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    Location:
    Florida
    City, State:
    Saint Augustine
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    96 Explorer Sport
    All,

    I am starting to worry about my 2nd Gen Sport. I had previously mentioned my odo not working, but now I am seeing some other weird things and want some guidance.
    Recently I started having occasions where the speedometer will shoot up and then go to 0. Occasionally it will go back to working and other times it stops working until the vehicle has been off for awhile. Sometimes the e-brake light does not show when engaged and sometimes the seatbelt light does not show when I am not wearing the seatbelt. Recently, I have had an issue where the oil pressure gauge shows very low oil. If I rev the engine it will go up to the norm, but then slowly goes back down to near the low line and will pretty much stay there.
    Any ideas? Sounds to me like there is some bad wiring, but I am not sure.
    Thanks
     
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  3. EB4X

    EB4X Active Member

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    City, State:
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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    95 Explorer E.B. 4X4
    From what I've read the G.E.M. - General Electronic Module - does not play a role in speedometer / odometer etc...but came across this post from member:
    "the GEM being a problem child. I went to the junkyard, and got one out of another 96, and it's identical, exact same numbers, and put it in. Now the fuse doesn't blow and the speedo works perfectly, it seems to shift better too. It counts miles again too."
     
  4. Optimus Joe

    Optimus Joe New Member

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    Thanks EB4X.

    I took her back out for a small drive today and the speedo is still not working and neither is the e-brake light. The seat belt light is on, when I am not wearing the seatbelt, so that is something. I am going to check the connections to the GEM. Short of swapping that out, does anyone have any other ideas?
    I am going to try and drive it to see if the OD and the cruise control are still working.
     
  5. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    The speedo is controlled by the VSS (vehicle speed sensor). That might be your issue. On later models the VSS is located on the top of the left rear axle tube. On older 4x4's it may be on the t-case.

    Your seat belt and parking brake warning lights are controlled by small ON/OFF switches. On a old vehicle they may not make a good enough contact to always work correctly. Nothing to do with the GEM or each other. Simply dirty, or worn out, switches. The seat belt receiver is in a great location to get full of dust and dirt. The parking brake switch (located on the parking brake pedal bracket) can be cleaned with a piece of fine sand paper and lubricated to get it working reliably again. You can try blowing the seat belt receiver out with compressed air and then spraying it with something like WD40.
     
  6. Optimus Joe

    Optimus Joe New Member

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    Location:
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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    96 Explorer Sport
    So after all of that, I took her back out and the parking brake light seems to be intermittently working, making me think this is a contact issue. The seatbelt light seems to be working consistently now. The speedo worked for about 5 - 6 miles the other night and then quit and has not worked.
    It sounds to me like it is either the VSS or the instrument cluster. The VSS is cheaper to replace but harder to get to, for me, due to lack of a good place to work on the vehicle and get it up off the ground. The cluster I can get for about 70 - 80 but I know I can replace that with no issue.
     
  7. Optimus Joe

    Optimus Joe New Member

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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    96 Explorer Sport
    So, I need some help. I swapped out the VSS and the speedo worked for like a minute and then nothing. Before I start looking at a new instrument cluster, is there anything else I should look into?
     
  8. OmniusSK

    OmniusSK New Member

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    Hi,
    just try to open the instrument cluster - it could be a wrong soldering contact - i had the same problem and simple resoldering did the job. The problem was easily visible.
     
  9. Optimus Joe

    Optimus Joe New Member

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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    96 Explorer Sport
    I was able to pick up a new cluster from a local pick and pull for $35. I put it in and it worked find, except that the odo gear was toast. I have a new one on the way. Also swapped out the 194 bulbs for LED and it looked great. Would like to swap out the smaller lights for LED's as well.
     

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