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based on a post by Lou (Cloud99c) and Stratusphere.net
This project can take two hours of time (and a Torx driver), and starts with removal of the battery ground (the negative, or black, terminal). Start by removing the fuse cover (left side of dashboard), and take out the dash cover screw that will be revealed; pop out the radio/HVAC trim piece, which is held in by clips, and remove the four dash cover screws there.
Lower the steering column to its lowest position, which will let you take out two screws on the gauge cluster; then you can pull the dash cover straight out, carefully disengaging its four clips as you do it. (If you have the trip computer, first pull the dash cover away by a few inches, then disconnect the plug that feeds it). Carefully set the dash cover aside.
To take out the gauge cluster, remove the two screws from the top and two from the bottom, then pull it straight out, disconnecting the two plugs on its back — to do that, lift the plastic lock clips on the circuit-board side of the connectors.
The wiring harness is covered by foam tape; pull the tab holding the wiring harness away from the harness itself (it’s a T-shaped tab, and the wiring harness is attached to it with black tape). Slide the tab out of the tape and leave it in the cluster, which should now be free. The cluster is easily scratched, so never place it face-down on any surface, and be careful when storing it.
Remove the black backing that protects the gauge cluster circuit board; you will need to take out four Torx screws. Then take the circuit board out of the cluster, by removing all eight to ten screws. Closely look at the board; a cluster of three blue resistors (two of them are labeled R101 R210) may be in a brown to black part of the board.
Check to make sure the contacts have come loose or are broken; near the resistors, there is a contact that goes through the board and connects to another circuit, or at least should connect; the connection may be broken.
Unplug the circuit board, and, with a low-voltage soldering pen with lead-free solder, re-solder the resistors and the loop. Using jumper wires, soldered away from the resistor joints, to replace the board traces may prevent a future failure. (Why lead-free solder? Partly because of its higher melting point, which may help prevent another failure.) Once it all cools down, clean the area with a little high-grade alcohol to remove flux, and put it back together. Use new electrical tape to attach the wiring harness to the tab.
New circuit boards used to cost around $150. The clusters seem to be universal between the 1995-2000 Stratus, Breeze, Cirrus, and Sebring convertible; the later (mid-year 1998 and newer) versions may be more reliable. Clusters from cars with AutoStick will work on a non-AutoStick car but the gear lights will stay dark. The clusters are:
The odometer reading will not change, since it reads from the computer.
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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