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2003 Suburban Instrument Cluster Problem causing Transmission slipping issues ?

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2003 Suburban 5.3L 4x4

Original cluster had bad stepper motors and was replaced under warranty at dealer in 2008. The needles went all over the place parked or running.

Replacement cluster ran perfect until it 2 weeks ago. This time it was not jumpy needles going 140 mph etc., all dark no needle readings (all pegged at 0) no idiot lights except the check engine light check upon startup, it goes on and then goes off when started. The illumination lighting goes on, lighting up a dead cluster at night so I know there is power going into it. NO gear selection indicator, NO computer messages, all dead. Since Check Engine light is NOT on, no codes are stored or readable. I wiggled the ignition switch, no luck, still no cluster movement. Truck still starts up and runs fine.

The truck still ran fine, shifted fine, we drove 1 week perfectly fine, just no readouts and so we topped off the gas tank more frequently to prevent low fuel.

I called the dealer who replaced it once already 4 years ago. Manager said if they find out it is indeed another bad cluster, he will get the part replaced for just $110 labor. Good deal, so I decided to pull fuses and check first to make sure I ruled out the basics. Checked some forums and someone mentioned resetting the computer by disconnecting the 2 battery wires and touching them together for 10 seconds to clear memory.

All related fuses checked out fine, so I decided to do the clear computer thing. Put everything back together, truck started up fine, still no cluster readings. Oh well, must be bad cluster. Took it to the dealer the next day. a few hours later, service manager said they will order one, bring it back in a few days.

Drove home and within the next few days the transmission shifted funny, first slipping out of overdrive 4th gear. The RPMs would go up, I let go of the gas pedal and it will engage again. Checked fluids, all OK. Drove the next day and now 3rd gear was slipping! I was losing a gear a day!

Puzzled, I did the computer reset again, no luck, same thing around the block. The following day, it would not go into 3rd now, slips after 2nd. I was able to go on the freeway 4 days ago, 2 days later I can't go faster than 40 mph and now I am just limping on 2nd at 15 mph which it slips out of too!

Does the computer tell the tranny to go into limp mode if it does not get feedback from the cluster?
And when the transmission is in limp mode, is there a Check Engine Code stored in the OBD2?

Hard to imagine the cluster having anything to do with the computer and transmission as it is just for humans as a readout of the stats. I picture it more like a computer monitor that went out, but your PC still boots up and runs in the background.

Anybody experienced a bad cluster causing a transmission not to shift properly anymore?

I am puzzled and now might have to tow it to the dealer to replace the cluster and wondering if they are going to stick me with a $3000 bill to replace transmission too!