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Dashboard Instrument Cluster Swap

1992redranger

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Hello all!

The speedometer, odometer, and gas gauge stopped working in my 1992 Ranger, 2.3 4CYL, manual transmission.

Lucky me, though, because I found a replacement cluster off a 1990 Ranger, 2.3 4CYL (Ebay listing here).

I'm hoping to swap out the cluster myself, but have never done this sort of thing before. If anyone has any tips, tricks, or resources for how to do this, that would be very much appreciated!

Also, I was thinking I'd swap out the dash lightbulbs while I was in there. What kind of lightbulbs should I buy?

As always, thanks for the help y'all have been a blessing!!
 


RonD

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1994 and earlier Rangers use mechanical speedometer/odometer, so have a speedometer cable that runs to the transmissions tail shaft housing
Speedometer and odometer both not working would be more likely to be an issue with the gear at the transmission or the cable itself

Gas gauge not working is rarely a problem with the gauge itself, it could be the "anti-slosh" module in the back of the dash(cluster) or the sender/float in the tank
A disconnected wire would cause gauge to show above FULL with key on
Sunken float in the tank or bad module would show EMPTY all the time

There are 6 back lights in the cluster, they are 194 size/type


I would unbolt speedo cable at the transmission, pull out the unit and give the DRIVEN gear a good look

Article here: https://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/speedometer.shtml
 

1992redranger

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Hey @RonD thanks for the response and resource! I'll check it out.

Yeah, the gas gauge is funny. Its needle is always on the far right end (past the "F" for "Full") and stays in that position whether or not the key is on. The previous owner told me he replaced the sending unit and cleaned the gas tank and that didn't fix it.

I'll definitely check out the speedo cable at the transmission before I do anything else. What should I be looking for in the DRIVEN gear?
 

RonD

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You will see it if the plastic gear has damage
You can also use a drill on the speedo cable to spin it, and see if speedometer moves, speedo doesn't move in Reverse direction, but doesn't hurt it, just like when you back up
So try drill in forward and reverse direction, can't remember which is correct

There is a Worm gear, the DRIVE gear, on the output shaft inside the tail shaft housing, while these tend to last they can fail, not too hard to replace


Gas gauge at above FULL means the wire from sender in the gas tank to gauge is disconnected or the Ground wire for the sender in the tank is disconnected

Once you pull out the cluster you can use an OHM meter on the Yellow/white stripe wire on the cluster plug in
1989 and up Ranger gas gauges use
16 ohms EMPTY
160 ohms FULL
You can rock the truck, causing gas to slosh around and OHMs should go up and down as float goes up and down

If wire checks out then ground is also good, so problem could be in the "anti-slosh" module, but usually these fail on EMPTY, short to ground, 0 ohms

0 ohms means direct connection, select OHMs on meter, touch probes together, you will see 0 ohms because its a direct connection
When you test the yellow wire you put probe on yellow wire and other probe on cab/dash ground, metal bolt/screw head
If its passing thru the sender in the tank it will show 16 to 160 ohms depending on fuel level in the tank

If it shows higher than 160 ohms or meter display doesn't change then NO CONNECTION at all, which = infinite OHMs, so higher than 160 ohms and gauge shows ABOVE FULL

And it could be the gauge/cluster, if its disconnected inside the cluster then it would also show above full
 

1992redranger

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Thanks for the tips, @RonD !

I went ahead and just replaced the old cluster with the one I got from Ebay to see if the disconnection was in the cluster itself and not elsewhere. Guess what, that did the trick! Now I have all working gauges and a working speedo and odo. Living large (y)
 

Shadowrider6661

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My credo
Drive it, Break it, Fix it, REPEAT !
Congratulations. Welcome to the club.
 

RonD

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Good work (y)

Thanks for the thanks, and posting THE FIX, it will help someone else down the road
 

scotts90ranger

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I'm glad it worked, but just a note you kinda got lucky on that... Ford changed the dash wiring in the middle of the 1992 model year... so apparently yours is a early '92 :). The giveaway is the color of the printed circuit boards, it's been so long I don't remember what's what (I think I changed my cluster in like '02 for one with a tach...).

If I remember right Zman had an issue swapping his '92 and that's where some things were figured out, but that was a LONG time ago...
 

1992redranger

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@scotts90ranger just looked up the Carfax that I pulled when I bought my Ranger and yep! Sure enough it was a very early '92 Ranger. So early, in fact, some might even call it a '91 😜

Regarding your circuit board color comment, indeed: when I pulled out the old cluster, the circuit board color was pink, which I thought was odd because the color of the circuit board on the Ebay replacement was red. I guess the pink circuit board dash clusters have some issues with them? Are the red ones better? I sure hope so!

Thanks again for all the help, y'all, I appreciate it 😊

 

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scotts90ranger

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The color is more of a broad difference not a shade difference, I remember there being yellow, blue, green and red I think, the color difference means they're wired different for the factory workers to tell them apart, pink and red likely isn't a huge difference and the fact the replacement worked means they were wired the same.

Yeah, my '90 was made in '89 which gave it a few oddities, for one it had the 3 wire oxygen sensor instead of a 4 wire that a '90 would have, and it was still speed density (had a MAP sensor) instead of using a mass airflow sensor like a normal '90 would have... Now it's just a jumble of random parts from who knows what years (well, I do know what fits...)... I just go up to the parts counter saying "lets call it a '92 Explorer" or whatnot... :)
 

Michael MAnning

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Hey @RonD thanks for the response and resource! I'll check it out.

Yeah, the gas gauge is funny. Its needle is always on the far right end (past the "F" for "Full") and stays in that position whether or not the key is on. The previous owner told me he replaced the sending unit and cleaned the gas tank and that didn't fix it.

I'll definitely check out the speedo cable at the transmission before I do anything else. What should I be looking for in the DRIVEN gear?
Mine did the same thing in my 90 Ranger and I bought a new voltage regulator that's located on the left hand side in back of cluster. No more problems.
 

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