99 CHEVY Suburban cluster issues again

Discussion in 'GM Electrical Tech' started by John Miller, Jan 17, 2013.

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  1. John Miller

    John Miller New Member

    reading the posts concerning the vibration in the gas gauge needle, this is concerning to me as I have the same problem with my Chevy suburban. The dealer from which I purchased the vehicle had the hardest time troubleshooting this, and after the (supposed) replacement of the fuel pump and sending unit itself, a new alternator, and various other tricks of the trade, replacement of the gauge cluster was the final trick that cured the jitters. However, this was not a permanent fix, on a recent road trip across the states, out of the blue, it began again. Given the fact that it vibrates, and occasionally I hear the fuel pump running even after the vehicle has been running, what concerns me the greatest is the power draw the gauge takes from the battery. While it is not a high demand draw, if the vehicle sits for more than a few days, it drains the battery to the point of needing a jump. It should be noted that the constant power to the needle makes the needle surge to the point of pegging past full when the ignition is activated, and never rests in the usual car is shut off position. It always reads as if the vehicle is running. is it my bad luck and have had TWO bad clusters, and if so, what makes them go bad to begin with.

    99 Chevrolet Suburban
    "vibrating with frustration"
    John
  2. Curky

    Curky New Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Welcome to the club :great:. Better chance to get help if moved to proper thread. [MENTION=51590]Pikey[/MENTION] or [MENTION=12002]moogvo[/MENTION]
  3. silverhobey

    silverhobey New Member 100 Posts

    Welcome to the club....as Tim stated, you will probably get info
    Soon in a different thread......lots of Burbguys around during here
    With cool rides as well. Brian
  4. donyms

    donyms Active Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Welcome to the club, it's good to have you here. Good luck on the gauge problem. :glasses:
  5. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Moved to Electrical Tech**

    Welcome to GMTC. I don't think that your battery drain issue is the cluster. There is something else happening there. Unless of course the dealer wired a constant hot to the fuel gauge for some reason. You can check that by disconnecting your battery and seeing if it drops the needle all the way down. Your fuel needle pegging when you turn the key on could be a few things. First, did they change the entire cluster or just the stepper motor for the fuel gauge? They may have not put the needle on correctly, also explaining why it does not go all the way down when the key is off. Another cause could be another bad stepper motor. Lastly, I would say the sending unit on the pump, But, the needle would still go all the way down when off. So, after reading about the needle vibrating I am thinking it is a stepper motor issue. If all the gauges were acting funny I would say you have a ground issue. It could be as simple as a bad connection at the back of the cluster. I would start by disconnecting the battery and pulling the cluster, then use a small wire brush and clean up the connections on the back of the cluster and the connection that plugs into the cluster. Look closely at these connections. Do any of the pins look just a little off? I have seen the connectors have pins that are just a little off causing poor connections. I have seen them "pushed in" some and they have lost their "springiness". If the pin looks off then I pry them to the proper position using a pick. Take a look at it and let us know what you find.
  6. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Welcome! :great:

    Pikey gave you a lot to chew on. Any luck, so far?
  7. shibby2oo8

    shibby2oo8 New Member 100 Posts

    That fix sounds shady to me, a gauge circuit is fairly simple and them needing to replace all the components is bs. There was a prob with the ethanol eating the coating off of the sending unit coil causing the "hummingbird" gas gauge but usually a new sender fixed it. I think your "new" cluster is crap and would demand since they replaced the whole damn system to fix it right on their dime.
  8. vncj96

    vncj96 New Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    The hummingbird effect on the gas gauge IS the cluster, the problem is that the stepper motors they used and continue to use even for a replacement cluster are junk. You will have to take it to an electical shop that specializes in these repairs to get a good stepper motor installed, you can just google " speedometer repair" and find them all I've the country, the big ones you can also find on ebay for repair services. My suburban had a new cluster installed around 5 1/2 years ago and I already have to replace it again. So you can either replace it with a new one from the dealership that costs about $400 or spend $100 or so and send it in to a shop for them to do it
  9. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts


    x2 on that! There are places that will do a complete rebuilt, ei, new bulbs and all new stepper motors with a lifetime warranty for around $150. I have dealt with one in Texas and was happy with them. I only bought parts from them I did not have them do any work. Search locally! I found a guy in Dearborn, MI, about 40 minutes from my home, that will pull your cluster and replace a stepper motor while you wait. He charges $25 for one motor, $125 for all motors and bulbs.

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