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Instrument cluster issues - 94 Lebaron sedan

Discussion in 'EEK! - Every Extended-K Car' started by bazzwell, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. bazzwell

    bazzwell Active Member

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    There are several points I need to cover so I'll try and be brief. Instrument cluster with tach. The following things seemed to coincide with the alternator troubles I mentioned in a previous thread but I can't swear if they're related in other than a "convenient" sort of way.

    (a) Normally car runs fine and cluster works fine.

    (b) Sometimes the cluster will go completely dead when you turn the lights on. No temp gauge, oil gauge, alt gauge, tach or speedo. However, the turn indicators and high beam light will stay on.

    (c) Turning the lights off will bring the cluster back to life with the speedo, tach and temp gauges working fine. Oil gauge will now read close to max and the alt gauge will now move in rhythm with the turn signal, go down when you hit the brakes and so on. However, a quick check indicates the alternator is indeed working as it should, regardless of what the gauge says.

    (d) Turning the car off and back on may, or may not, solve the problem. If it does solve the problem, now the alternator itself is indeed not working correctly and you have to give it a tap. By doing so you can hear it come back to life and everything is now fine.

    (e) Thought it was dampness related as one time it gave me no end of trouble during a damp chilly day. No, the next kind of day and it ran fine for 150 miles without issues. Stop, start, stop and start, no problems.

    (f) Thought it was related to the engine being hot. That idea was shot down as I did my best to try and recreate the same problem after a 35 mile trip home. Nada, zip, perfect.

    Battery is newer, alt is an aftermarket Bosch style replacement which I'll swap out this weekend. Both are well within range when tested with a meter, when the alternator works. A short wiring repair 10 years ago shows no signs of being damaged, a wire that indeed ran the cluster, and most everything else inside.

    What puzzles me is the relationship with the problem going away but killing the alternator when it does. Deepest thanks for taking the time to read and for any ideas.
     
  2. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    My guess is the solder joints in the gauge cluster need to be re-soldered.

    My '06 Ram 1500 has similar issues - the tach sometimes reads lower (by 2K rpm) than it should. Research (Google) shows the gauge cluster needs certain spots re-soldered.
     
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  3. bazzwell

    bazzwell Active Member

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    Could be. Still can't figure how the cluster problems and the alternator problem are related though. On the surface it looks like the symptoms are tied together since the alternator has no issues unless the cluster does. Or vice versa maybe?
     
  4. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    There's no alternator gauge. It's a voltmeter.
    This is an intermittently open ground, probably a bad solder joint as stated. Reflow all the solder joints in the cluster, and make sure the electrical plugs and their contacts all fit tightly.
     
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  5. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    As Bob stated it is a cluster issue, not an alternator issue. On my '06 Ram 1500 sometimes the voltmeter will rise slightly (still in the normal range) while idling in gear with the headlights on. If I put it in neutral or accelerate the gauge will drop to normal.
     
  6. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Bob L that there is a grounding problem in the instrument cluster electrical connectors. There are 2 round connectors. As mentioned check all pins for solid solder joints to the circuit board. Check and make sure the pins fit tightly within the round receptacles. Attached is an image of the instrument cluster back side.

    Instrument Cluster Backside 1994.gif
     
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  7. bazzwell

    bazzwell Active Member

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    Thanks much everyone! Always a pleasure.
     
  8. voiceofstl

    voiceofstl Well-Known Member

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    My kids 95 LeBaron convetable would do that off and on for 4 years, then we got rid of it.
     

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