How to: - Mountaineer Cluster installed - Pics, problems, fixes, walk-thru WARNING! 35 pics! | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How to: Mountaineer Cluster installed - Pics, problems, fixes, walk-thru WARNING! 35 pics!

Prefix for threads which are instructional.


Well-Known Member
October 8, 2003
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City, State
Columbus, Ga
Year, Model & Trim Level
'95 Ranger XLT
~~~WARNING! 35 pics!!!!~~~

Oook...I know I don’t post on here too often, you guys have given me lots of info. I've been doing some upgrades to my girlfriends 2002 here in the last few weeks and this install was the most time consuming. There isn’t much info about this install on here and figured I'd give a lil more insight.
Had lots of problems with this install, but in the end it works.

Details: 2002 with a build date of 8/01.
There is a TSB (02-23-4, 11-25-02) regarding "Engine Controls - DTC P1635 Set after PCM/IC Replacement" says this,
“Article 02-5-8 is being republished in its entirety to update the Service Procedure and to clarify build dates for Explorer.
This article applies to all vehicles listed with the exception of 2002 Explorer. This article applies to 2002 Explorer (SLAP) St. Louis Assembly Plant built before 3/11/2002 and 2002 Explorer (LAP) Louisville Assembly Plant built before 3/4/2002 only.
Some vehicles may exhibit an inoperative or inaccurate speedometer, 4x4 lamp illuminated, and/or Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTCs) P1635 or P1639 present after a Powertrain Control Module (PCM) or Instrument Cluster replacement. This may be caused by the Vehicle Identification (VID) block that must be programmed when replacing the PCM.
As part of the calibration, there is an area referred to as the Vehicle Identification (VID) block. The VID block must be programmed when replacing the PCM. Failure to perform the proper Programmable Module Installation procedure may generate fault code: P1639 VID Block not programmed or is corrupt--P1635 Tire/Axle Out Of Acceptable Range. Refer to the following procedures to ensure the PCM is properly configured.”

So, I figured I'd have problems installing this.

I picked up a 2002 Mounty cluster on eBay for $50/shipped.

Tools: I used a 1/4 7mm long socket (or standard equiv.), 1/4 7/16 socket, Phillips head screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, t15 torx, small ice pick type tool

I did disconnect the battery during all this....I normally dont in my Ranger, but I know how sensitive these newer vehicles can be....

I cannot guarantee this process will work for you, I’m sure there were a few diff clusters and his just happened to be the way mine worked out.

This is a full walk-thru with pics....and LOTS of them....I'm a visual person....

First, the before pics..basic cluster..

Next, remove the 2 screws at the bottom of the panel and pull the top straight out. There are 3 clips at the top.

Next, remove the 3 screws on the bottom of the top panel

Remove the 2 screws that are in the panel right above/infront of the cluster

Pull Radio panel off, may have to get flathead screwdriver to get it started but be careful, it can break easily. I just laid mine down with all the wires connected.

Remove 3 Phillips head screws in the bottom steering column cover. Then pull the gear selector cover "up" on the selector to get it off the top cover and out of the way.

Next, yank the top trim panel forward, there is a clip on each side, one by the radio, and 1 above the headlight switch.
Now disconnect the 4 plugs from the back of it. Mine had 2 dummy plugs, plugged into yellow things and 2 plugs on the headlight switch.


Now wiggle the panel out. It’s a pain it the butt, so be careful not to break anything. It will come, just needs some pushing...

Now you are here..

Next, unscrew the 7/16 screw on the selector slider thingy. There is a loop at the end, kinda got to wiggle a finger in there and unhook it.


Now, unscrew the 2 screws at the bottom of the cluster and disconnect the plugs on each side. and wiggle it out.

DSC02115.jpg you know how to take it comes the fun part...
I put the Mounty cluster in it and cranked up the truck, and it did NOTHING! So, its def not plug and play for some people. No needle movement, no dummy lights nothing. In this pic the truck is actually running...

So I took apart the clusters and they were totally different. Guy on eBay advertised that the cluster did not have the msg center in did.

Here's a run down of what I did to fix this issue. I made it a hybrid cluster. :) I suggest doing this on a rug or a blanket or something to keep things from getting scratched.
First, remove the gear selector mechanism. 2 lil clips on each side.


Now I removed the 9 T15 torx or 7/16s screws from the back of the clusters

Now you have this...

Next EASILY pry the circuit board off.....on the left side where the msg center/mileage readout is, there is a small ribbon attached to it. That goes to the LCD readout from the circuit board. Carefully pull the clips back and pry it off.

Now we have this...

Now flip it over..there are a few clips that hold the clear cover and the black part onto the cluster base. unclip em and pull that off. The Mounty cluster will have a black trim piece inside of it.



Now pull the gage face off the base...

Do these steps for both of them. What I did was use parts of both of them. I used the Mounty gage face, the Mounty cluster base, the original LCD readout, original back circuit board and the original clear cover.
Swap the LCD readouts, as in put your orig. LCD on the Mounty gage face..

Difference in the msg centers


The original black piece that is attached to the clear cover would not work with the trim piece on the mounty cluster, so I swapped the clear covers, because the one from eBay was scratched up and my original one was not.
Now, I took the Mounty base, put the mouty gage face on it and then the black trim piece and then the black piece with the clear cover attached.
Flipped it over and attached the ribbon form the LCD to the circuit board and the gently pressed the circuit board onto the back of it. Then the black plastic cover.
There are some dummy gages that MAY be WRONG! The Door ajar light on my orig. cluster is now the Traction light on the Mounty cluster. There is no "Theft" or "check fuel cap" light on the Mounty cluster, so you will not be able to see those....


And the "Check gage" light is diff. it is something like "hot oil low coolant" or something like that on the Mounty cluster.


Now, I Put everything back in and together and it works fine. All needles work right, the mileage was the same, other dummy lights work..etc.
Finished pics...


In this night pic I realized that I forgot to plug the ribbon to the circuit board so I had to take it all back apart to plug it in. So works now.

And, I think I may beed to ReCalibrate my Compass....

Anybody got any questions?

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superb writeup i must say... very impressive work... r u considering modifying the LEDs in the gauges from another color besides green?

Thanks! Nah, The actual gauge face is green so its hard to just change the bulb color..i know you can scrap it off and all but...I kinda like it the way it is....and my GF already really dont like it...she calls them boyish guages...HA!

Wow, very nice work!

great pics and writeup man...looks good

the reason you dont have a door ajar light is because on the models with the message center the door ajar warning is displayed in the message center area. And there is no theft light because on the mounty there is a blinking red light on the front of the dashboard.

Very impressive work though, and I love the mounty gauges over the X gauges

good job it looks great

Where did you find the Mounty gauge cluster? What kind of price are we looking at?

Where did you find the Mounty gauge cluster? What kind of price are we looking at?

Ebay, Since you have a Limited Id try for one with a msg center so itll be closer to a direct swap...

wow thats nice my 04 has the carbon fiber look on the dash already and the mounty gauge would just make it look even more bad a$$

hey im new to this forum and i have a question about the gauge lights. i wanted to change my gauge lights to white, can you change them from green to a different color or is the green part of the gauge cluster?

nah the actual gauge face is green'd have to try scraping off the green ..

and about the awd lock light ..i never understood the point of it considering the 3rd gen awd systems aren't lockable

awesome job.. u hit everything perfect!

There is no mountaineer with 4WD high and low they were all AWD or 2WD so there is no chance to get one with the correct dummy lights. I am going to try the swap into my explorer and just have to remember that AWD lock is really 4 wheel high and if I am towing with 4 LO i just have to remember to switch it out. Does anyone know if when you turn the explorer off does it revert back to 4 auto or does it have a memory setting with the 4 wheel drive system.

do mountaineer or aviator running boards fit on an explorer? i cant find out anywhere.

Wow Great swap. I love how ford uses the same parts.

But i love that original cluster what year model is it from.

The 02-05 Mounty is a 3rd gen. Will a 3rd gen cluster work in the 00 Mounty?

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If you are very good with an Exacto knife, and careful with the glue, you could swap out the "warning light" readouts with the correct ones. For example, replace AWD LOCK with 4WD HIGH.