1998 Explorer XLT - radio display blank - known problem and fix

I have a '98 Explorer and just experienced this problem. The radio, CD, and tape deck are functional in every way, its just that the
clock/radio display is dark and so you can't see what station you're on, CD track, etc. Apparently it's a common problem; I found it very disappointing and annoying.
Thank God for D Harrison, who posted a fix in 2002 on this group. I couldn't reply with my thanks because the topic is more than 30 days old, but I thought I'd include a link and post my gratitude.
http://groups.google.com/group/rec.autos.makers.ford.explorer/browse_thread/thread/7645e4d7581f26aa/2dda34a126ed0c8f%232dda34a126ed0c8f
My specific issue was a little different, as resoldering the surface mount components Mr Harrison indicated were his problem did not fix the problem in my case. So I pulled the unit again, and resoldered every surface mount component connection on the board. That did the trick. I am just amazed that anyone could figure out this problem - all the solder connections looked fine to me, and I wouldn't have known what a "surface mount" component was without Mr Harrison's accurate description of the board's layout.
I also want to post a link to a very helpful site that shows how to fashion the radio removal tools:
http://www.shareamemory.com/radio/removal.htm
Thanks to all this, a $500 problem cost me nothing but time to fix.
Thank you for this group, thanks for Google, and thanks to Mr Harrison!
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Very common issue, fixed it myself a few years back. I think the key to the fix long term is to desolder the large through-hole 1W resistors and adjust their leads so they don't sit so close to the board. I believe these resitstors get hot and cause continual connection/solder issues with the surface mount components on the other side.
--
Allan Williams



"TJ" <tj snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
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TJ wrote:

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.autos.makers.ford.explorer/browse_thread/thread/7645e4d7581f26aa/2dda34a126ed0c8f%232dda34a126ed0c8f
Harrison found the radio fix posted by someone else, long ago. He repeated it on his web site for a while, then began charging $$$ for the information. When others made the same info available on their own sites, free of charge, Harrison sent them email threats, impersonated an attorney, had pictures removed from free hosting services, had archived pages pulled, etc., etc. The guy is a creep.
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Agree strongly with your opinion Sparkle! Passed same on to TJ in an "off group" msg. I'm sure like myself, you have seen the "Craig's List" postings on nearly every major city list, whereby that advertisement is posted as a "LOCAL" service. Hard to be local in all 50 states :>) Bill

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Msg received and answered.
Sorry, didn't know what a jerk Harrison was. Was just relieved and thankful to be able to fix the problem myself. I did run into at least one website that would only offer the solution if you paid $$ through PayPal. Never seen that before; I hope that practice stays the exception and not the rule.
Bill Hall wrote:

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Dang. Radio display is blank again, the resoldering fix no longer works, and it looks like the toroid component on the surface of the pwoer board has leaked it's guts out. I wonder if it overheated and melted?
Does anyone know how to go about getting a replacement power board for the faceplate to this radio unit? I want to repait the unit rather that replace it, and I'm on a tight budget.
Thanks
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You might just want to hit Ebay and pick up a used unit. Lots of em on there.
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This is a miserable design, indeed -- dissipates more power than it delivers, with nowhere for all that heat to go. A switching power supply that looks like it had been designed by a 12-year old hobbyist. You can buy a new board from Pioneer for around $100 (actually, it's a three board kit, the two others you won't need). Can't remember the P/N . Google the archives of this group - someone posted that number a couple years ago. The replacement board has only a minor improvement, in the form of the two leaded power resistors stood off the board surface. But so far so good -- mine has now lasted 1-1/2 years.
Also, a guy who goes by 'shared memory' or some such keeps advertising here. His board repair price is about the same as the cost of a new one at Pioneer, though.
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Well i ordered the board from Absolute Tech, just came in tonight, and cant wait to see a constant display after almost years. Funny thing is that the display would work for about 15 mins in extreme temps either above 100, or below or at zero for about 5 minutes, I was always like check the staions, and settings to make sure they were stable. I would tell my wife and son....dont touch the freekin buttons... Ill let u all know how it installs

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http://www.shareamemory.com/radio / you can buy the board and replace it yourself. I did it easily and I'm not mechanical. It's been working fine for about 8 months now.

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