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Strange Test from message center

It's Not the Cold, It's Your Battery!

Hey everybody, It's Not the Cold, It's Your Battery! The problem happens more in the cold because the (already weak) battery has way less available amperage in cold weather, (that's why they are measured in CCA (cold cranking amps)) and the engine oil is way thicker, making it draw more amperage to crank over. The gauge problem is just a symptom of a weak battery. Replace your battery and the gauge problem will disappear.

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More info that may help!

I bought my 2005 Explorer in Feb 2009. Dealer had trouble getting the truck to start and replaced the battery; no further problems with starting, no HEC Test Mode in message center. January 2010 started having the same issues mentioned above: vehicle barely starts, gauge needles vibrating for about 5 secs, test mode in message center, Diagnostic Trouble Codes 9317 (Battery Voltage High) 9318 (Battery Voltage Low) 9352 (unkown) D900 (unknown), advance track no engaging.
Here is something else that is interesting: Had to have the truck jumped one night and then the problem with the vibrating needles disappeared for almost a week, then the problem came back again.
What I'm getting at here is the battery replacement may not cure the problem. It could be, but I'm not sure because I'm not a mechanic, but it could be the insturment cluster is putting a excess draw on the battery. I keep getting Part # 5L2T-10849-AA (Instrument Cluster) coming up on my message center. It is driving me nuts though, don't mind replacing the cluster panel but it hasn't gone completley bad.
What do you guys think about this??

ALSO: When I push RESET during normal operations system check (displays fluid levelsm tire pressure, etc.,the message center indicates the charging system is good. Replacement battery has 650 cold cranking amps.

same thing happend to me, after a new battery two weeks later the same thing.
Then i took a volt meter and found 11.8volts running, 12.8volts off, Reman Alteneator and it went up to 13.4 volts running. Turned out the Bad Battery took the Alt with it, never put out enough to charge it but just enough to run the engine.

We'll see what happens

Looks like NLCBOSS was correct. I took my explorer to AutoZone to have the 1-year old battery tested and sure enough it was about to fail. No more problems since Saturday with the vibrating gauges. We'll see what happens in a week but it looks like the new battery fixed the problem! The local Ford dealer is going to reinburse me for my purchasse, which I thought was very good customer service.
Thanks for the tip NLCBOSS!

"TEST" and fluttering guages...

I was very relieved to see this forum today as I am steadily losing confidence in my car. I was in a car accident resulting in the total loss of my 2003 Explorer. We have since replaced it with a 2005 Explorer (55,000 miles+ at purchase) that has been in the shop for repairs twice since April. First for a leak in the transmission and next, because the crank shaft pulley flew off the car while driving. Luckily, we purchased an extended warranty on the car when we bought it.

Yesterday, I started the car in the afternoon - high heat of the day at around 95 degrees (love the South). The gauges fluttered and then engaged as normal. This morning, I went to start the car and it sputtered for a moment before turning over, then the gauges were fluttery and followed by the "TEST" message in the message center.

I suppose that I'm here mostly to say "thank you" for posting some items for consideration. I believe we'll start by replacing the battery and hope that, as others have indicated, the problem will be resolved. I love FORD for several reasons - no stimulus money taken, dependable vehicles, American made and very much for the fact that the accident that I was recently involved in could have been MUCH worse, but luckily, I was unharmed. I would just like to have confidence restored in owning this new/used Explorer - as much as I had in the last one we owned.

Thank you all! :)

I have the same on HOT days

8/30/2010 Had a six month NEW battery but it was BAD! CHANGE YOUR BATTERY BEFORE ALL ELSE!!! Another suggestion is to take off battery cover and make sure you use the felt washers so you do not have parasitic discharge COMMON to covered batteries and this design. This will solve this issue.

Thank you for this grand info - I have read it all. I had this show up last week, outside temps over 85 could not start garaged truck, jumped- started no problems, test started. I have gone twice to auto store to check elec system, found no problems. Have a 6 mo old Bosch Battery with 1000 CCA. Still fighting...

So REDZONE25, did replacing the battery solve your problems?

I'm having the same problems as described by others (trouble starting, weird DTC codes, self test). Cold doesn't seem to be an issue, unless you consider 70's cold. I did jump my wife's car just before this started. Wonder if I did something wrong, like connecting/disconnecting in the wrong order. FYI I have a 2005 Explorer.

Sorry for not getting back any sooner. Did not have a computer for a while. Yes... this did solve my issue.

I see this is an old thread but thank goodness doubleDD started it a few years ago! I've just started having this same problem with my 05 Explorer and really didn't want to have to take it to a mechanic to have the problem diagnosed. My battery isn't that old so maybe I can get it replaced at a reduced price since it should still be under warranty.


Am glad you were able to solve this issue as well. For anyone out there having this issue of different types of codes coming up on the dash board, i was told the following. When the battery does not regulate the correct amount of power or voltage to the car, the computer will start going crazy giving different types of readouts.Once I replaced that battery, never again has it occurred. Good Luck

Great thread! My '05 EB displayed "test" in the message center this morning. Interestingly, I discovered that one of my kids left a door open overnight. Even though the auto-shutoff prevented the battery going dead, it was still a little sluggish starting. Subsequent starts today have been fine, with no more "test" displayed in the message center. I'll be investigating a new battery, too!


Thanks to everyone who posted this information. This site has always been helpful, just wanted to show my appreciation. Hopefully the new battery will solve my problem.

Great thread

I did a google search for this "test" diagnostics explorer thing. My 05 Eddie just a couple of days ago started this symptom. Wasn't looking forward to doing all the crap involved with this kind of thing, yes my exploder has been hard starting the last few days. I will repost when the new battery goes in. Thanks:salute:

Yep, went to Sears Auto with my DieHard Platinum, 49 months old, and they said it was bad. Got a new one for half price ($112), now it should be good. I'll post if it was not the problem. Safe driving all. Happy Holidays.

So, I'm looking to purchase a 2005 Explorer and it was doing the same thing on start up. I'm glad to know the problem. Incidentally, about 3 months ago, I had a similar problem on my 2008 Chevy Express with erratic dashboard, transmission problems, engine codes, and hard starting, all out of nowhere in cold weather after letting the van sit for a few days. The codes were for "lost communication with the control module." Again this was Chevy, so how is it relevant? In that case I wiggled some wires and got it started. Subsequently, I took battery cables loose where they connected to the fuse panel and cleaned the contacts and no problems since. So if the battery is not that old, there may be just a corroded contact, you might try cleaning the contacts before purchasing a battery.

Part number 4L2T 10849CF

I read a gentleman's post and what is happening to his Explorer is also happening to mine, but mine also die on me and I had to get it jump, it started fine the first 3 times but now it's hesitating and the message board say almost the same thing, except some of the numbers were different. So if anyone can tell me where the part 4L2T 10849CD can been found and where it goes I will be most gratefull :exp:

2004 Mercury Mountaineer

I am having the same problems and same error codes, I am going to unhook battery to and see if it will reset itself before I replace battery. But before all this started my windows will not go up and down at all from any door. Hoping that it is a fuse. Right now tooo cold to check fuses. Thanks for the info

I have had this happening to my Explorer for about a month. Seeing that this is an occurrence that happens to many vehicles across many products from Ford, I wonder why the Service check-in people at the dealership did not know about this test and part situation. I was told the instrument package cost $500.00 to install. With no indication of causes I had them give me the CCA of the battery. They said it was 650. Then I thought, "Why didn't they clean the terminals on the battery during oil change and maintenance checks?" I'll do my own service checks before I take it to a third party to have the battery, alternator and other levels checked.
Thanks for responding on this forum, I think it may have saved me $500.00.

Okay, it wasn't $500.00. I cleaned the terminals and it helped to charge the battery a little. But using a small $10 voltmeter with the engine off the battery read only 10+ volts. Basically it was on its last legs. Battery replacement fixed the problem with the instrument package fail even though the test said the charging system was good.

Thanks to everyone that posted.

I have a 2005 Explorer XLT. Exact same issue. It started with the rear wiper being hung up, which drained the battery. Replaced battery with new one, found wiper problem and fixed, still had issue with 'test' and crazy gauges, replaced alternator, then starter. It was good for three days, then the same issue again.
Is it possible that the new battery is bad? Seems incredible, but from everything I'm reading, that just might be it.
Also, I noticed that even right after starting the engine (when it does start), the alternator gauge is right in the center - I would have expected it to be charging more just due to the current being taken out when starting.

Any ideas?

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