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Old 02-14-2009, 01:19 PM   #1
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Default Cluster swap revisited

Some of you may recall my quest to put to sleep the myths of swapping clusters in our 2004 to 2008 F150's. I won't repeat my posted findings I wrote here a few weeks ago (search on my name if you want to read that).
Today, I removed the plain cluster from my 2005 STX. It had a speedometer, temp, battery, gas, and oil pressure gauge, plus the basic display panel (door ajar, trip1, trip2, odometer, and "door ajar" when they were opened). I replaced this cluster with one out of a 2005 Lariat. This cluster had much more capable "stuff" than my cluster (from what I read in the owners manual for a Lariat), which I expected would not work (i.e. inside/outside temp display, etc) in my basic STX. After installing this cluster into my STX, it started right up, and all guages worked (tach, speedometer, battery charge, oil pressure, and water temp. The turn signals worked (as well as the indicators on the dash), the emergency flashers worked( indicators on dash too), headlights, highbeams, horn, seat belt indicator light, emergency brake indicator light, the "overdrive" indicator light came on when I operated the button at the end of the shift selector, and the odometer indicated it's mileage (did not of course match my real mileage from the old cluster). I took it for a ride to see that the speedometer and odometer would work, and they did. Tach worked fine too. This proves that the PAT system is indeed within the PCM and not in the cluster; this changed somewhere around 2001 or so (read my previous writeups on this).

What did not work: The "trip1 and trip2" odometer, the "door ajar" display, and the interior light and outside cargo lamp does not operate when the door is opened/closed (drivers or passengers door). Also, when I unfastened my seatbelt (engine running), the seatbelt light lit up on the cluster, but after about 10 seconds, it went out, and there was no chiming going off like on my old cluster did to indicate for the driver/passenger to fasten their seatbelt. That I can live without for sure!

On my old cluster, I had a black rod that I would push to toggle between "trip1 and trip2"; the Lariat cluster did not have this rod. I suspect it has a botton perhaps on the steering wheel or on the dash? As to the interior light and "door ajar" not working, that is a puzzle to me, but it's not a big deal to me that they do not work. I did read from another post way back that a person had this same issue, and a technition changed a wire on one of the two cluster connectors to correct this. I can live without this feature as well to gain a tach.

Anyhow, this proves you can easily swap a cluster to gain a tach for those trucks that do not have them, with no ill effects. A flash IS NOT REQUIRED UNLESS YOU WANT THE MILEAGE TO MATCH YOUR OLD CLUSTER. If they tell you it is needed in order for the truck to start, they are incorrect. Mine has started several times now, and other than what I mentioned above for the Lariat cluster, all is well with my truck.

I would suggest however those of us that drive an STX to use the FXT cluster, as it is very close to the STX cluster, except the FXT cluster has a tach. I plan to install one of these next, and I'm betting all of the things will work in my truck with it. I would then have a Lariat cluster for sale!
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Last edited by Bucko; 02-14-2009 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:35 PM   #2
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on the lariats the trip1 trip2 and all the info is mounted on the dash next to the steering wheel its the same on my father f 350 lariat
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marine2014 View Post
on the lariats the trip1 trip2 and all the info is mounted on the dash next to the steering wheel its the same on my father f 350 lariat
Well then, that explains why those did not work (trip1, trip2, and door ajar)!

Perhaps the interior/cargo bed light are tied somehow to the door ajar circuit, which would also explain that not working.

Again, I can live without these minor things in order to gain the tachometer.

Thanks for posting that information.
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:17 AM   #4
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No Problem anything to help.
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Old 02-19-2009, 11:23 AM   #5
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Just an FYI you can turn the seat belt chime on and off, it's in the owners manual.
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:25 PM   #6
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Update in case this comes up in a "search".... I discovered that the Lariat and King Ranch trucks are the only models equipped with "automatic climate control". Because of this, if you put a Lariat or King Ranch cluster in any othor Ford truck model (I.E. XL, STX, XLT, or FX4), the AC compressor will not activate when you press the AC button on the dash (manual climate control models). The orange lamp on the AC button face lights, but the AC compressor is not "on". This is aparently due to the Lariat models having a seperate display on the dash (programed through the cluster) for inside temperature reading, as well as they have a cabin temp probe in the dash (to the right of the steering column; horizontal slots in the dash). It enables/disables the AC compressor based on the temperature setting you set for the AC or heat range. The XL, STX, and FX4 models do not have this. Some folks have reported having the slots in their dash, but the temp probe is not there; only "fully" equipped on Lariat and King Ranch models.

So, any cluster from any model can be used in any 2004 to 2008 except the Lariat and King Ranch; a Lariat or King Ranch cluster can only be used in a Lariat or King Ranch. A cluster from an FX4 or XLT are the best choice for STX models. You could install an XL or STX cluster in an FX4 or XLT, but you'd loose the tach; why you'd want to do that would be beyond me, unless you were wanting to show a lower mileage display. Can you say fraud?!?

If you were to install a Lariat or King Ranch cluster in a model other than a Lariat or King Ranch, all the gauges and icon cluster lamps will work, but your manual AC will not (AC compressor will not activate).
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:47 AM   #7
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Thank you so much for your write up! My cluster is taking a crap and I read on this forum that the dealer will charge you $600 plus 1 labor hour for a new one. Now I can just buy a used one with similar mileage and avoid any headaches. Thanks again!
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:01 AM   #8
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... Bucko, did you ever try the FX4 cluster in your STX? Or anybody else done it? I'd make that swap in a heartbeat if I would get the tach and still have everything else work too. Also you indicated the mileage could be "flashed" to indicate the actual vehicle mileage? By a dealer I suppose?
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:44 AM   #9
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To date, I have not installed an FX2/FX4 cluster, as they seem to be the most desirable cluster, and get high prices. I could assure you that all the guages and AC functions will work, but I'm unaware as to what the green, rectangular display window provides. Perhaps some FX owners will chime in and give us the run down as to what display's they get. Should someone want to sell me an FX cluster at a reasonable price, I'd be glad to install it in my STX and report to this thread.

As to getting your mileage flashed on your replacement cluster, it's a crap shoot as to locating a dealer to do this. The Ford dealers in the Dallas Texas area will not flash them; they will order you a brand new cluster with the mileage flashed, but they won't do yours. Awhile back, a F150 owner posted on a thread I started on another truck site stating he was in South Florida, and called every Ford dealer along the east cost; he gave up when he got to the Carolinas, as none of them did this searvice.

The equipment is costly to do this; somewhere in the $18 to $20K range, and there is just not enough business out there to justify a dealer in buying one. I did find two speedometer repair shops that would do it; they require a mileage statement from your old cluster, a signed letter from a law enforcement officer (the other would accept a notorized letter), and the price ranged from $175.00 to over $300.00; this was more than we pay for these used clusters!

Be aware that it is illegal to sell a vehicle with incorrect mileage. If you're caught, it's a big fine. When you trade the vehicle in or sell it, you're required to say the mileage is not true for the title transfer.

I'm still working with another guy to build a unit to flash these clusters. Can't get ahold of the board schematics, so it's been alot of trial and error to get this built. We are close. I do not however have any way (yet) to get the display units in the clusters to correctly show features that your old cluster did (I.E. Door Ajar in the FX/STX models, etc).
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:12 AM   #10
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Thanks. I was wondering about the mileage issue for my own maintenance perposes. I'd bet the difficulty in getting info on the schematics your talking about are directly related to the fraudulant mileage reporting issue. As soon as you figure it out you'll get a visit from the FBI!
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