Friday, May 3, 2013

Fixing the Van's Instrument Cluster

Project:
Mel's dad gave us their previous van (2005 Pontiac Montana) because they bought themselves a sweet new ride. He's wanted to get rid of it because the inspection is coming up in June 2013 and there were over $1500 worth of repairs necessary to pass inspection (wheel bearing - $200, rocker panels - $500, instrument cluster - $850). So he said we could have it if I fixed it up, then sell it and use the extra money for home schooling curriculum and expenses.

Today's blog post is about the instrument cluster. Dad was quoted $850 to replace the cluster because the temperature gauge was acting up. Once he gave us the van I did some research and found out that it's actually a quite common occurrence with these vehicles and fortunately, the fix was quite easy and rather cheap.

Difficulty Level (Easy, Medium, Hard, Insane):
Easy

Process:
The first thing I had to do was taking off the trim around the panel, loosen 4 screws, unplug 2 plugs and the panel came right out.

The second thing was to pry open the little plastic latches, take off the needles with a fork (learned that on youtube at 2:06).

The third thing was to de-solder the 4 pins of the broken motor

The fourth thing was to re-solder the 4 pins of the replacement motor

The last thing was to put it all back together

Pictures:

The cluster after it was removed
The rear of the panel with the 4 stepper motors visible
The plastic covering the needles
The front of the panel where the stepper motor pins came out
The four stepper motor pins marked with a blue marker
A braided soldering wick. I bought one on ebay for $3 bucks but it didn't get here in time so I just braided my own with some stripped copper wire
After I got the broken motor out I re-drilled the holes with a tiny drill bit. I bought the entire set at princess auto for 2 or 3 bucks a couple of weeks ago; didn't think I'd need them this soon
The opened up stepper motor that was broken. It is only about 1" diameter. The replacement motor only cost a couple of bucks on ebay and took about a week to get here
After it was all put back together. Easiest $850 bucks I've made ever!

Tools:
Screwdrivers
Soldering iron
Soldering wick

Materials:
Replacement stepper motor (X27-168)
Solder

Cost:
$5.00

Time:
1hr

Savings:
$845.00

Conclusion:
Works great

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You made it !!!!!!!!! and this time it went faster then on Friday.... Glad for you . Hope you could enjoy the left over time of the weekend. Muetti

Richard Hamilton said...

Really it's a nice information about cluster problem.I have the same cluster problem in my car.Thanks for your nice information.



Cluster repair services

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