[V8] dash lights

Buchholz, Steven Steven.Buchholz at kla-tencor.com
Mon Dec 18 01:58:42 EST 2006

Yes, Instrument Clusters are a common failure on the V8 ... I think Ingo's find was very likely the main symptom ... poor solder joints on the interface connectors.  

It is also true that the dimmer is fairly easily replaced ... the problem is how do you get one that is any better than the one you are removing???  :-)  I've got a 5-speed cluster I will be installing in #2 as soon as I repair the scratches on the inside of the bezel I made when I cut it off ... :-(  Getting back to the dimmer control ... one thing that I notice is that they tend to have no stop, as if some PO felt it needed to rotate a full 360 degrees.  I think that may be common as well, and contribute to the poor operation.  When I repair the one on #344 I will be investigating further.  In any event a proper application of DeoxIT or R5 Power Booster might do the trick for a lot less than $55.  

Back in the old days the current for all of the dash lights went through that rheostat ... but not so on newer cars like the V8 ... there's a module that "relays" the control's setting to the dash lights without running all the current through the control.  

Steve B
San José, CA (USA)
> I had the same syndrome in my '90 V8 Quattro.  The dash lights would simply
> go out as I cruised along.  The car was tornado red with black interior, and
> when the lights went out, it was severely dark....VERY BAD dark, actually.
> I would smack the top of the instrument panel and sometimes the lights would
> come back on, and sometimes not.
> I took the car to my favorite dealer and they told me that the problem was
> in the rheostat that controls the brightness of the interior instrument
> lighting. According to them at that point, EVERY thing goes through the
> rotary knob.  The fix according to Audi, was a new instrument pod at $900
> less some smidgen for the core....The rotary knob was NOT available
> separately.
> My "fix" was to buy a rotary knob assembly from a dismantler in Colorado, if
> memory serves.  I took the part in to the Audi dealer and asked them to
> install it...which they did.  It seems that I paid the dealer about $55 to
> do the job, which took about forty five minutes while I stood there watching
> and talking with the mechanic who did the job.
> I was told that the '90 V8's had a LOT of trouble with this, and that there
> were a LOT of clusters replaced under warranty.  I was also told that some
> of the used '90s running around had a LOT more miles than the odo showed as
> a result.

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