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Old 01-19-2021, 08:41 PM   #1
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Dim odometer in 2004 E350

My 2004 E-350 uses an electronic odometer with a lighted readout of some unknown (by me) technology. It is small and in most conditions it is difficult or even impossible to read. This is not a major problem much of the time but when off road and following directions that describe turnoffs in tenths of miles it is maddening. I suspect this is a recognized problem for owners of those years that use the same technology. My question is has anyone found a fix for this that doesn't take replacing and rewiring a complete panel display? Perhaps a larger display from a different year or something aftermarket that could be installed? Knowing that some of you folks improve every little inadequate piece of engineering on these lovable beasts, I hope there is something you've found that will help. Thanks, Monte
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Old 01-20-2021, 09:52 AM   #2
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I'd say treat yourself to a nice moving map GPS system, which are ubiquitous these days, and forget the odometer.
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Old 01-20-2021, 10:55 AM   #3
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Have you tried twisting the headlight switch? If I recall, that dims or brightens the display.
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Old 01-20-2021, 09:00 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I just went out to my van to verify my memories. Although the light switch does in fact brighten and dim the display it makes no difference in the brightness of the odometer display. In fact the display is easily seen by these aging eyes in a darkened cab during night driving but is poorly presented in daylight conditions. Sometimes I jump on new technologies (first on my block to fall in love with LED's) but I am OD (original dinosaur) for other obvious improvements. GPS has been one of those but I feel a change coming soon. My wife and climbing partners will be supportive. Thanks again
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Old 01-21-2021, 06:24 AM   #5
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I have an '05 with the same digital odometer and it too is a bit dim to suit me especially during the day light hours. I also dislike it is dimmed along with the instrument lighting but that's not unusual as the older "analog" odometer's lighting was equally dimmed as its instrument lighting.

There's not a lot to be done to modify what Ford built into those clusters. You could change bulbs in the older versions but as a digital display it is what it is, sad to say.

HTH
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Old 01-21-2021, 11:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Greyswann View Post
Thanks for the replies. I just went out to my van to verify my memories. Although the light switch does in fact brighten and dim the display it makes no difference in the brightness of the odometer display. In fact the display is easily seen by these aging eyes in a darkened cab during night driving but is poorly presented in daylight conditions. Sometimes I jump on new technologies (first on my block to fall in love with LED's) but I am OD (original dinosaur) for other obvious improvements. GPS has been one of those but I feel a change coming soon. My wife and climbing partners will be supportive. Thanks again
Pick yourself up an old Garmin Montana, put it in a AMPS mount and plug it in to 12 volt power and give yourself all kinds of data to keep an eye on. Below is what I like to see on my screen but there are at least 50 different data fields you can put there. After a while you'll wonder how you ever did without all the great information a GPS unit can give you when out exploring. The GPS odometer is generally much more accurate than your vehicle odometer.
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Old 01-21-2021, 10:04 PM   #7
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incidentally Mr Eagle, can you tell me the model of your Garmin Montana?
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:38 AM   #8
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incidentally Mr Eagle, can you tell me the model of your Garmin Montana?
Mine is the original model - Garmin Montana 600 - over 8 years old now.
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Old 01-22-2021, 02:15 PM   #9
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You might try cleaning the contacts that feed the display. If it's soldered to a circuit board, cleaning the wiring harness plug that feeds the C/B might help.
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:20 AM   #10
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If it's a VFD (vacuum fluorescent display) it may just be tired. They get that way after many hours of use.

My van lacks a trip odometer. When I have to have precise mileage I use a GPS app on my phone that provides a resettable distance readout to 1/100 mile. While GPS isn't always identical to over-terrain distance, it's been good enough to track rally instructions. (On the plus side it's not affected by wheel slip.)
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