Intermittent dash

My daughter has a 2005 Freestyle that has an intermittent connection in the instrument cluster that causes gages and dash lights to go off for a minute or so then back on. I suspect a bad ground, but so far have not been able to find it. Since the dealer wanted a second mortgage on the house plus her next born son to explore the problem, she considered simply installing another instrument cluster from a junkyard. But she was told that this would not work because of the need to re-program the onboard computer to accept the replacement instrument cluster. Have any of you whizzes heard of this?

Have you tried removing and re-seating the connectors on the back of the panel?