OK, before everyone chimes in and says "that's the well-known and
well-documented Mach radio display problem," let me say that my Explorer
is a 1996 model and does NOT have a Mach radio.
During the day, when my lights are off, the radio display works fine, as
it always has. The other day, I was driving in the early morning and
had my lights on. The radio display was very dim, barely visible. I
couldn't get it to change by turning my dash lights up or down. A
little while later, it was working fine again (nice and bright). Last
night, it was dim again, and I never noticed it go back to normal.
I pulled the radio out and did not see any loose connections.
Yes, it's only when the headlights are on. I've been driving this
vehicle for years, though, and until just recently, the display was just
as bright as the dash lights when the headlights were on. You could
turn the dash lights up and down, and the radio lights would follow.
Now the radio lights are just dim if the lights are on.
This is normal behavior, at least with my '98 EB. The radio display is
suppose to dim when the headlights turn on. You can adjust the
brightness of the radio display, and the entire instrument panel, with
the Panel Dimmer Control on the dash.
Note, I *think* there may be a way to disable this feature when entering
the radio's Self-Diagnostic Mode, but I cannot remember the button
combination for entering the SDM? In addition, I doublt all models have
the SDM feature and the button combinations may vary between the models
that are supported. Maybe someone with more expertise can provide more
As you already know, it's not uncommon for Ford Explorer radios to
develop various problems and apparently your '96 is no exception. I've
had my '98 EB radio replaced four times, under warranty, for various
(i.e. display, on/off/volume switch, etc.) problems too, so I can
empathize your frustrations.
If I didn't have to worry about loosing my steering wheel and rear seat
controls, I would have upgraded the head unit with a quality
after-market unit years ago.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.