GM instrument panel by some member request. - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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GM instrument panel by some member request.

I will try to show how I repair GM clusters. Lots of guys that own snowblowers have trucks to move them around and a lot of these are GMs. As these truck get older symptoms of faulty gauges show up bulbs burn cold solders appear causing all kinds of problems. I just received one I will take it apart and go through a full refurbish. Here it is.


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post #2 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Problems with this cluster;
1. 3 gauges don't work properly, Temperature, battery and oil pressure.
2. Sometimes when the truck is started the cluster doesn't turn on.


3. PRND321 display is dim and sometimes doesn't even turn on.
4. Backlighting has dark spots. In this case the Tachometer.



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Last edited by Coby7; 03-26-2015 at 06:02 PM.
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post #3 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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To remove the lens release these 3 tabs.



This will release the top of the lens from the facia.



Then insert your hand between lens and facia at the release point applying slight pressure downwards against the two botton snaps, these will release as soon as you touch the white part of the locking clip. Some can be stubborn but usually they give up pretty quick.





Then your cluster will look like this. Facia and needles exposed.



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post #4 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Next step is to remove needles, If you don't have means to power up the cluster after you put back together the you will want to put a piece of masking tape on the facia and mark the most counter clockwise position of the needles for reference.

I'm not going to do that because I will power up the cluster and properly calibrate the needles as needed.

First thing is to remove the needles without breaking them. This tool is specially design for this purpose and works super well.



You slide this tool under the needle pivot point and apply slight pressure as you spin the needles counter clockwise pass the cracking loose point and it will pop right "off".







Then you will need to release the facia from the bottom cover.

Four clips on the top.



And three on the bottom



This will expose the circuit board. I've place a toonie on the circuit board for a reference on the size of the stepper motors.



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Last edited by Coby7; 03-27-2015 at 11:44 AM.
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post #5 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Now burnt bulbs can be removed by just grabing them and plucking them of the board if they are original bulbs.













In this case I'm going to replace all bulbs with LEDs but I will still show you how to replace the bulbs.

Apply solder to both islands of each bulbs locations.



Remove old bulb from is carrier mount.



[]



Mount new 12 Volt 1watt 5mm bulb into socket.







Carefully cutting and bending the leads appropriately.



Then just resolder to the board with a soldering iron no hotter than 700°F



You can also do the same for flasher bulbs and cruise bulb to be on the safe side.


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Last edited by Coby7; 03-26-2015 at 07:03 PM.
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post #6 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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I know 3 of the stepper motors are bad but since I don't really know the state of the other 3 I'm not going to chance it and I will be replacing all 6. Customer satisfaction is more important than profit. Here you see the board stripped of it's bulbs and motors since all are going to be replaced with new, but only if I can find the other electronic problems with this particular cluster first. Motors are held in place with 4 solder islands just solderpult these Islands and the motors come off.



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post #7 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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I will tackle the fact that it doesn't always come on when you apply power to it. I'm going to put my magnafying glasses on and visually inspect the board and will come back here with the results.


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post #8 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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I'm back! Since I work on these all the time it didn't take me long to find the culprit. I only have my cell camera for these pictures so hope they turn out okay with close ups.

There was a cold solder on a resistor. I believe these are caused by the heat produced by the backlighting bulbs over time from getting hot and cold. The solder eventually fatigues and breaks. Hopefully these pictures will explain better.



Even closer shows the crack, this picture was taken from a different cluster with the same problem.



The repair is to redo all solders in the vicinity.



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post #9 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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Now on to the dim PRND321 display, probably a cold solder there too since one of the speedometer bulbs lies right under the supply circuit of the display.



I will now go tackle this other problem and report back.

Okay, as I suspected the first resistor closest to the speedometer bulb had a cold solder on both sides. Here is a before picture.



After repairing the first solder joint on the corner of the circuit near where the bulb would be.





After repairing all 14 to be safe. It's even brighter than the odometer display.



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Last edited by Coby7; 03-27-2015 at 08:55 AM.
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post #10 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Now I'm going to replace the 12 volt bulbs with 12 volt LEDs in cool white. I will solder in a normal bulb so you can see the difference. LEDs are polarity sensitive so I will also show you the polarity should you decide to do the same to your cluster. Arrows indicate the negative of the LED.



To find the negative on an LED look for the shorter lead, if this is not possible because you already cut the leads look for the carbon resistor on the positive lead inside the LED or the beveled edge at the bottom will indicate the negative side.



Here is a picture I drew of an LED. The bigger triangular shape supporting the substrate is the negative. The black dot on the other lead is the resistor for 12 volt use.



Here is a bulb and an LED in place where the speedometer will be, I under exposed so it wasn't all a blur by 2 f stops. Hope you get the picture. lol



LED is on the left, bulb is on the right.


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Last edited by Coby7; 03-26-2015 at 08:27 PM.
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