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Old 10-20-2013, 06:19 PM
BadCJ7 BadCJ7 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1
Angry Parsitic Drain Instrument Cluster

OK, First let me say I'm new here so hopefully I don't get flamed. I am having a problem with my 08 Ranger that has got me so flustered I'm about to take a match to it.

I drive truck so my ranger sits all week long in a parking lot. Starting last winter every week when I got back, my battery would be dead and I would have to jump it. Had the alternator tested... Diode Bad... Replaced alternator and battery since it was 6 years old. I still had to jumpstart it every weekend!

Springtime rolled around and I had no problems with it starting. All summer long, no problems, even letting it sit 2-3 weeks at a time.

The first cooler week hit and temps went into the mid to low 40's. DEAD BATTERY! Jump started it at 5 am this morning and drove it 20 miles home. Shut it off and when I went to leave at 2pm it was completely dead again!

I got out my multimeter and did a draw test. I had about .30 amp draw. I started pulling fuses and found when I pulled #33 (Instrument Cluster Battery Feed (B+)) it dropped to .04 amp. After the antitheft light stopped flashing, it went to a flat 0. Put fuse #33 back in and it goes back to .30 amp draw.

Does this mean my Instrument cluster is bad? I see other people posting about a GEM controller? How can I be certain it is the instrument cluster before I spend $279.00 on a new one?

If it is the Instrument cluster will the Odometer be correct when I put the new one in or will it have to be programmed?

I hope someone can help because I am at the end of my rope with this thing and really considering going back to a gas guzzling 70's model truck with no electronics other than HEI!
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Old 10-20-2013, 10:50 PM
cowboybilly9mile cowboybilly9mile is offline
Ford Ranger Driver
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 4,897
Default Re: Parsitic Drain Instrument Cluster

You need to evaluate the current draw over time rather than just slapping an ammeter between the battery and a cable and jumping to a (surely wrong) conclusion. Reason is, when you turn the key off, it's not really off, it goes into more of a standby mode.

When I turn my key off and with no lights on, the current draw is as follows:

Time = 0:00..............Draw = .30A
Time = 0:01..............Draw = .12A
Time = 0:30..............Draw = .07 - .08A
Time = 0:30+............Draw = .01 - .02A

And it remains like that until something changes, like opening the door, locking it, etc. As per the shop manual, a draw under 50mA is acceptable; in there they tell you to allow the systems time to fully power down. I don't think you have any problems with the cluster, I cautiously suspect you *may* have a misbehaving relay on a timer. You need to allow the vehicle to power down and determine the draw after perhaps the time I found above, then watch it every hour for maybe 6 hours to make sure nothing changes. NOt sure if this is the case, but if the problem is intermittent it *might* be tougher to cure, but time will tell. And finally, you don't have a GEM, they got rid of that after the 2003 model year and went with the SJB instead.

**PUlling fuses and putting them back in can, depending on what circuit was served by that fuse, cause the timing and shutdown event(s) to start over, causing you to have to watch and wait. Chose the fuse you're fulling carefully when the time comes, to try to save time.
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battery, cluster, gem

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