This 2003 Ford F350 Super Duty Lariat Pickup came in with the complaint that the radio would turn off while driving down the road. At the same time the power windows and the dome light would no longer work. Sometimes hitting a bump in the road or tapping on the top of the dash would make the problem go away. The problem would sometimes only happen for a few minutes or it may last for days. Based on the customer’s explanation of the problem and statistical repair records I wanted to look at the accessory delay relay connections on the instrument cluster circuit board. The first step in getting to the IPC is to remove the radio. A special tool is required. If you work on Ford vehicles for living chances are that you already own a set of these. If not they can usually be found at most parts stored.
After inserting the “U” shaped tool into the holes in the radio you should notice that the angle in a little bit. By pushing out on the tool the retaining clips are released and the radio can be removed. If you do not mind the bulk and awkwardness of it the radio can be pulled out with the main dash trim panel in most cases.
The antenna cable on the right and one harness connector on the left have to be removed from the radio. Depending on options there may be more connectors attached to the radio.
The dash trim panel is held in place by spring style clips and …
…can be pulled away from the main dash carrier panel.
There is wiring that will need to be disconnected from the rear of the trim panel as it is removed. Headlight switch wiring is shown below. Other wiringcincludes the four wheel drive switch and power outlet.
The instrument cluster is held in place by four screws with 7 mm head. The shift indicator has to be removed from the underside of the cluster by gently squeezing in the latches on either side. The indicator will then slide down and out of the cluster. Use care as it is a delicate part. More so as it ages. There are several harness connectors attached to the rear of the instrument cluster.
Once the cluster is removed from the vehicle the white plastic cover on the rear of the cluster will need to be removed. Sorry no picture of actual removal but you can see it in the above picture and it is already removed in the picture below. The ribbon cable connector needs to be disconnected as shown in the next two images. Gently pry out on the securing latches…
…while pulling up on the ribbon cable harness connector.
The circuit board can now be lifted from the rear of the cluster assembly. It needs to be lifted smoothly and in large sections to avoid damaging the circuit board.
Here is the accessory delay relay.
Here are the faulty/cracked solder joints.
Close inspection did reveal that the solder joints were cracked/faulty and all eight solder joints related to the two relays were resoldered.
Although my motto is stop guessing and start testing this repair involved more inspecting than testing.