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Old 02-20-2012, 07:06 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by Tiger-Heli View Post
Some of this has been covered before, but I'm not sure all of LSCman's info is accurate.

First off - on the 2002 Focus at least, I think the models with the OEM tach had ABS and traction control (basically the SVT Focus), but I'm not positive of that. You could pull the bulbs from the cluster, but I don't think there was a way to re-program the cluster to have the tach without the lights. Newer models might have allowed this.

Also - I have never before heard that it was illegal to swap used clusters between cars. It has always been illegal to roll back an odometer to show the car had 60K miles when it had 100K miles. I think it is legal to put a 60K odometer in the car and sell the car as long as you sign paperwork saying the car had 100K actual miles on it and the odometer reading was 40K low. Some buyers might not like this.

You might have a similar problem with the dealer. I think most dealers CAN reprogram a used cluster - in fact I think earlier in the thread people paid $150 to $200 to have this done. For obvious reasons, you might have an easier time getting the dealer to reprogram the cluster from 60K to 100K miles to match then car rather than from 180K to 100K to match the car. The dealer is taking your word for it - but really, the law is against modifying an odometer to fraudulently sell a car. (i.e. if I install a new cluster in a 100K mile car without reprogramming it and I want to pretend my car is brand new, that is fine as long as I say it has 100K more than indicated when I try to sell it).
Plenty of early Focus with tach came with no ABS, but I agree that pulling that light will likely provide an effective workaround. However if you happen to get a cluster from a car with traction control and try to install it in a car without traction control, I believe that pulling the offensive annunciation light will disable alarms for classic brake troubles such as low fluid or system leaks. I'm sure mature 50 year old people who were accustomed to old technology would be safe, but younger folks who rely solely upon idiot lights for maintenance may experience loss of brakes. This is similar to BMW owners who destroy $30K motors when the low oil detection circuitry fails. Many never check the dipstick anymore. Some cars no longer even have engine dipsticks, so the mfrs are encouraging these practices! How about the lifetime air cleaner!

I should is illegal to alter the odometer reading (via hardware swap or any other method) unless you report it thru DMV or notary (depending upon which state you live). Of course it is legal to change the mileage by swapping hardware so long as you report the reading as inaccurate, but this is not typically what's being done and it basically would totally destroy your car's resale value. I doubt if it's reported even 1% of the time because you'd have to be a total idiot. Folks here are among the "other 99%"; ie, those who get all excited when their odometer value dropped. I'm confident that this is not because they're anxious to report it lol. Odometer manipulation tools are totally illegal to use and also totally illegal to own in all 50 states. This goes for dealer shops too. They are allowed to have tools to clone a new cluster to show same mileage (copy). If you go to certain nearby countries, you can legally sell, own and/or use hack manipulation tools which is a sad testimony for their legal system. Some border cities have manipulation shops on every street kind of like dive bars or McDonalds. Not surprisingly, many of the cars frequenting those shops sport USA license plates. I would use great caution buying a car from certain parts of Canada. Most European premium cars are not nearly as easy to manipulate as Ford, but hackers still find a way.
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