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Thread: Electrical problem with instrument cluster

  1. #1
    BAMF truckercl0ck's Avatar
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    Default Electrical problem with instrument cluster

    A week or so ago, driving to work in my '98 TJ when the speedometer/tach dropped to zero, about 5 min later the fuel, temp and other gauges dropped to zero also.

    Now they come back on occasionally, but spend 95% of their time not doing anything.

    A buddy of mine said that he suspects that it's a ground problem. I personally don't know a thing about wiring.

    I was hoping that someone could shed some light on the subject, or maybe give some direction as to where I can start looking.

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    the ground is usually a central point. but in this case, you would need to pull the dash out, unless you can see up from the bottom. you want to find a set of wires that are attached to the frame or body somewhere as a common point. if the connection is tight, which i suspect. I am suspecting that there is a rubbed wire in the back of the instrument cluster that is bare and when you go over certian terrain, the wire is no longer grounded and everything works. check also around the steering column shaft and see if any wires are sitting/rubbing the shaft.

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    sorry forgot to say that the grounds are usually the black wires, but could be brown. (grounds are usually a darker colored wire)

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    Land Squid Jeffb_79's Avatar
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    Yeah, I would say it's a ground problem as well.... although I've never looked behind the console, so I'd have no idea where to start either.

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    darwinism at its best irish1371's Avatar
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    does your odometer read no bus when this happens? if so then it is most likely that the large main connector for the dash wiring is loose. I had the same thing happen to mine in my 97 the connector was loose. it did not read no bus yet and if i smacked the dash above the gauges they would come back on.

    after a while it got worse and the od read no bus. I messed around and noticed the main plug was loose. pushed it together and no more problem.
    "Some people wonder their whole lives if they will ever make a difference. Marines don't have that problem." Pres. Ronald Reagan
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    If you spot me, I'll do it! socalkenny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irish1371 View Post
    does your odometer read no bus when this happens? if so then it is most likely that the large main connector for the dash wiring is loose. I had the same thing happen to mine in my 97 the connector was loose. it did not read no bus yet and if i smacked the dash above the gauges they would come back on.

    after a while it got worse and the od read no bus. I messed around and noticed the main plug was loose. pushed it together and no more problem.
    Ditto. Sounds like the instrument cluster is just loose and needs to be seated.

  7. #7
    Back to 1 Jeep... for now rroadkilll's Avatar
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    X3 on the last comments... try the EASIEST thing first...

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    BAMF truckercl0ck's Avatar
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    Well the problem is intermittent, but when the cluster stops working the odometer is still up, but it doesn't rack up miles.

  9. #9
    BAMF truckercl0ck's Avatar
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    I really really really hope that the problem is as simple as a loose harness.

    I have a buddy who's a UH60 electrician, and we're gonna yank it apart this afternoon and try to figure this thing out.

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    Senior Member HillBillE's Avatar
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    Check the ground wire 'cluster' (bunch of ground wires running into 1 or 2 eye ends, and screwed into the inner fender or firewall) near the ECU.

    Then check the wire harnesses under the hood for any shorts, or worn spots.

    I went through this with my '99 XJ last spring, what a pain!

    Tearing the dash apart will get you nowhere with the wiring or grounds, except for the plugs into the guage cluster. So don't take the dash any farther apart than you need to to check these. (they plug directly into the back of the cluster)

    If that doesn't fix it, there's a 99% chance the problem is under the hood.


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