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Solution to Sticky fuel/temp guages

Gosling1

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Hi all - given the number of people with the same problem, I had a go at fixing this today, and it worked, so here is a quick rundown:

The problem as pointed out in a previous thread is the 3-pin 5-volt voltage regulator on the circuit board inside the cluster - dry joints on the 3 pins. This is why it sometimes works when you bash the dash - I am so fully sick of bashing :b: so checked with a local instrument repairer, he confirmed that in most cases the voltage regulator itself is OK, its just the dry solder joints...

This explanation ( without turning into a mini-Haynes manual) assumes a couple of things:

A - you are able to use a fine-point soldering iron ( NOT a chisel-point monster..), and

B. - You are able to get the instrument cluster out yourself.

OK, if you have the cluster on the workbench, here goes:

1. Remove the front clear panel -you need a #10 'torx' head driver to undo the 4 x 'torx' screws along the bottom rear of the cluster - then unclip the top 2 clips and remove the clear front plastic cover;

2. Undo all the small screws near the needles, and remove the black guage 'screens' from the cluster - 1 each for fuel, speed, temp. You will also need to pull each needle from its pin - this is fine, just be careful.

3. Once these are off, you will see the innner workings of your cluster (WOW) it looks pretty simple heh ?. On the LH side, directly above the 'fuel' gauge, there is a small circuit board. You first need to remove the 2 x small screws that hold the clear plastic cover over the guage;

4. Once this plastic cover is removed, you can access the circuit board. Remove the bits of sticky gluey crap that holds the board in place ( I just used a small screwdriver), remove the large connector plug at the top of the cluster, and then gently lever the circuit board from its mounting points.

5. So far so good - once the board is removed, you can re-solder the 3 pins on the voltage regulator. The voltage regulator itself is the small black rectangular fitting, that is fitted inside a heat-sink, and sits on the left-hand side of the circuit board. It has 3 pins on the bottom. When you turn the circuit board over, you can see where these 3 pins are soldered to the board from the factory. Mine were obviously dry - yours may not be, but solder them CAREFULLY with a fine-point iron and some good-quality FINE solder (NOT plumbers solder - I think that is pretty clear :thumbsup: )

When you have done this, then assembly is reverse order of disassembly. Take your time to do it properly, I knocked this whole job over this afternoon in less than 1 hour.

Sorry for the long-winded thread, but this problem has shat me off for years, so I guess a few others may be able to fix up there own guages ( I was quoted $150 if dash in car, $80 if dash delivered ) for what is about 5 minutes worth of soldering.

My guages now work FINE - YAY !!!! :D :D :D

If anyone needs some further explanation, just post a reply and I will check for further questions whatever over the next few days/weeks. This procedure should also be fully applicable to VP dashes, and I would assume any dash cluster for VN-VP. Not sure on later models.

regards all, and good luck with it :thumbsup:
Dave
 
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BR377

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Thanks for that Gosling1, done it about half hour ago.
Haven't been for a drive but i switched the car to 'on' and it went up fine...
 

potshots007

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cool, might need to do it to mine as well, sounds very simple
 

Gosling1

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No worries BR377 - Mine has worked properly last night and all day today this is the first time in 10 years that it has worked 2 days in a row !! The fuel needle is still a bit 'notchy' in its movement - I did use some WD40 on the bits inside the guage that move, and where the needle pivots, this has not given me the nice smooth needle movement I was expecting. The temp guage moves fine, the missus was a bit worried because it is now showing an actual reading at the 2nd line up, it used to get stuck on first line, until it stopped working altogether... :(

Potshots - give it a go mate, its piss-easy really, if you are handy with an iron. :thumbsup:

cheers
Dave
 

I LIKE COMMODORES

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Yey Gosling1 that happens with mine & my dads tacho dash i hope your remerdy it works. Oh will it work on the tacho aswell? :thumbsup:
 

Gosling1

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I don't have the tacho dash ( yet ) , so cannot say for sure if it will help a sticky tacho. But, I think it would be a safe bet to say that GMH used the same 3-pin regulator on the tacho-dash cluster, and this being the case, the same dry-joint problem is highly likely. So I would think that the same remedy would work OK with a tacho-dash, and the fuel/temp guages on a tacho-dash.

cheers
Dave
 

Gosling1

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no worries mate, its 3 days now without missing a beat on both guages, and no dash thumping, will keep updates coming regularly, I want this fix to be a permanent fix.

cheers
Dave
 

mazza

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hey thanks for that mate
I'm not sure if this would be considered a sticky tacho, but when you rev it goes up, but doesnt come down all the way. Like when idling it sits on 1500 - 2000rpm
Do you think this solution would fix that
 

Gosling1

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I don't think so - if the needle is working OK on the way up, then the voltage needed to make it work is clearly getting into the tacho - this problem sounds more like you need to give it a gentle spray with some WD40 and/or electrical circuit board cleaner ( Dick Smith sells it pretty cheap). It sounds like you may just have some dirt/gunge on the needle and its inner workings.

BTW, have finally got a tacho-dash, and yes the voltage regulator is exactly the same as on a normal cluster, but this dash works OK without any thumping, so I don't need to do the mod. at this stage.

regards
Dave
 
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