Note: Allpar does not take responsibility for the veracity of any information or opinions here, does not claim expertise, and is not responsible for any consequences. Please proceed at your own risk.
Thanks to Lou (Cloud99c) and Stratusphere.net
This takes around two hours.
Disconnect the negative battery terminal. Then remove the trim around the radio and temperature controls. This just pops out, being held by four clips.
Remove the fuse cover on the left end of dash and the one dash cover screw from inside fuse area. Remove four dash cover screws, two on each side, from the radio and temperature control area.
Lower the steering wheel to the lowest position, and remove the two screws just below the instruments. You can now remove the dash cover by pulling straight out. There are four clips that must be carefully disengaged, easily disengaged by pulling dash cover straight out.
If your car is equipped with the temp/directional computer, you will need to pull the dash cover away about 2-4 inches. Then reach up through the radio/temp control area and disconnect the plug that attaches to the temp/directional computer). Set dash cover aside, being careful not to scratch it.
Remove the instrument cluster by removing four screws (two on top and bottom) and pull the instrument cluster straight out. Disconnect the two plugs on the backside of the instrument cluster while lifting the built-in plastic lock clip on top of the male end connector (circuit board side).
Remove wiring from the instrument cluster. The wiring harness is covered by a foam-covered piece of tape, which can be cut and re-taped with electrical tape during assembly. Don't pull the tab holding the wiring harness out of the instrument cluster. Instead, pull the tab away from the wiring harness. The tab is T-shaped with the wiring harness attached with black electrical tape to the upper part of the "T."
Slide each part of the tab out of the tape and left the tab in the instrument cluster. Now the instrument cluster is free from the vehicle. Be careful not to scratch the front of the instrument cluster. Whenever setting the cluster aside, be sure to do so with it facing upwards.
Remove the black cardboard-like backing to the instrument cluster that protects the circuit board. There are four silver colored screws that require a Torx driver to remove.
Remove the circuit board from the instrument cluster. On the circuit board, there are several silver-colored screws – remove all of them. There are 8-10 screws total including the two connector screws. Investigate the circuit board for the resistors and darkened circuit board. You will see a cluster of three blue resistors (two of the numbers are R101 and R210), and the board around them will be slightly brown to black.
Turn the circuit board over to see that the contacts have come loose or are broken all together. Also in this same area on the back, near the resistors, is a contact that, simply put, is a "loop" (comes through the board and connects with a solder point). The loop was broken away from the solder.
Unplug the circuit board from the instrument cluster. Using a low-voltage soldering pen, re-solder the resistors and the loop. You can also use jumper wires soldered away from the joints of the resistors to connect the board traces. This eliminates the possibility of heat from the resistors causing the joints to fail later on.
Note: Be sure to use lead-free electrical solder. The resistors in question are normally discolored due to high heat. Lead-free solder has a higher melting point and is more resistant to sublimation/joint failure in this application.
Once cooled, clean solder area with a Q-tip and alcohol to remove any flux and reassemble. When reattaching the wiring to the "T" tab, just use new electrical tape.
If you don't want to re-solder the connections, you can purchase a new circuit board for $135-165 from a Chrysler parts site. You can also purchase a replacement cluster.
Any cluster from a 1995-2000 Stratus, Breeze, Cirrus, or Sebring convertible will work. Try to get a 1998 mid-year or newer cluster as they seem to be less prone to this problem. Make sure to match up whether you have AutoStick or not – an AutoStick cluster will work in a non-AutoStick car, but the gear indicators will not light up.
One side benefit (depending on how you look at things) is that depending on the cluster you get, you can change the look of your dash.
You can remove the top plexi bezel and swap it onto another cluster for another look.
Do not worry about the odometer reading – it will not change. The odometer value is stored in the car's computer, not in the cluster.
Gauge clusters can be found for as little as $25, used.
See other Cirrus, Stratus, Breeze, and Sebring repairs • Cirrus, Stratus, and Breeze page • Also see Stratusphere.net, the world’s most active J-car forum
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