[V8] Fuel never reads Full
armanmik at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 7 22:44:47 EDT 2005
>: [V8] Fuel never reads Full
>To: "urq" <urq at pacbell.net>, "V8" <v8 at audifans.com>
>Who's got the best writeup on fixing/repairing the V8 cluster? I've got
>mine out to replace some bulbs, and want to see what else I should
Turns out it really isn't a great big deal once the cluster is out.
Remember you have to pull the top dash pad and the top of the "trim box"
around the steering column to get the cluster out. You do not have to
disconnect or disable the air bag to do it, either. Steering wheel stays on.
The wire connectors (three or four of them) have snap locks which you have
to withdraw before they can be unplugged from the back of the cluster. The
snap lock looks like a plastic "bridge" which fits lengthwise over the
plug. Grip it with your fingers and pull it (gently) directly away from the
cluster (it does NOT come off the plug), and then the plugs will come right
out. You may need a small, flat screwdriver for some additional gentle
persuasion - be careful!
Lay the cluster face down on a towel, and remove the phillips screws that
hold the various back covers on. There are a couple of multi-pin edge
connectors - one in the middle of the large cover, and one or two on the PC
The usual suspect is the green multi-pin edge connector between the large
and small boards. Using a jeweler's loupe (Harbor Freight, $1.99 set of
three) of about 5 power, examine the solder joints where the pins go
through the boards.
Dollars to doughnuts you have cold solder joints there, and they are easy
to see with the loupe - the cracks are VERY obvious. The underlying problem
is that these boards are assembled on a wave soldering machine, and
everything is soldered at once. If the machine is set hot enough to
properly solder the pins on the edge connectors, everything else melts. If
it is set cool enough to keep the most fragile parts intact, the pins don't
get hot enough to make a good solder joint - and we get all kinds of
strangeness from the instrument cluster. (On my V8, the fuel and temp
gauges would intermittently drop to zero, the interior light would either
not come on, or stay on, and I got random autocheck complaints about oil
pressure and lord knows what else. Fixing the connector pins ABSOLUTELY
CURED *ALL* OF THEM in one whack.)
Use a soldering pencil (about 35 watts, max) and ROSIN core (electronic)
solder, resolder all the pins. Make sure you don't create solder bridges,
this does take a small amount of skill, and if you are not comfortable
soldering PC boards, don't do it - find someone who can, and who you can
trust. Remember if the cluster gets screwed up, the car CANNOT be made to
run . . . so be careful.
There are a couple of edge connectors which will need this treatment, but
the green one between the two boards is the most likely suspect. When you
put everything back together, this is a good time to change all the burned
out dash lights (and you won't believe what they cost), and use contact
enhancer on all the edge connectors and anything else that doesn't get out
of the way in time.
Don't put the dash pad back on until you are SURE you have everything
The whole job is perhaps a couple of hours - the hardest part is finding
the various screws that hold that dash pad in place. Check over the other
wood trim bits on the dash - you will find some loose ones - they are held
on to their metal mounting brackets with a few tiny, tiny wood screws,
which fall out, but can usually be found wedged between the bracket and the
cast dashboard cross-member. (So *that's* what those tiny wood screws are!)
Use some good glue (Pliobond is good) to glue the brackets to the trim,
then put the screws back. The screws alone are inadequate, which is why
they fell out. The Pliobond keeps it together forever, and the little
screws hold things in alignment.
This exercise accomplishes three things - all the "ghosts" in the dashboard
will be gone, the instrument lights will all work, and a BUNCH of squeaks
and rattles around the dashboard will also go away.
90 V8, not just a car, an ADVENTURE!
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