Chevy Gauge Cluster

Discussion in 'Chevy Silverado Forum (GMC Sierra)' started by Tskerik, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. Tskerik

    Tskerik New Member

    Hey everybody. I am new to this forum and looking to get some help with my 2004 Chevy Z71. At the end of summer I hopped in my truck to find the message center below the gear selection indicator was half ways on. This was with the ignition off. I proceeded to crank the truck but the gauges never came on. The only thing that worked were the back lights, the turn signals, and the check engine light remained on (go figure). As never having this problem before, the first thing I did was check the fuses but that did nothing. Well after running out of simple fixes I left it alone and figured I would just have to deal with it at another time. I drove it for about a week with no gauges and one day after work it decided to come back on. Drove home and one other place that evening with everything working perfectly. The next morning nothing again. It sometimes will work for a couple of weeks straight with no issues then will not work for a couple of weeks as it is now. I know it also seems to work the the air is drier and seems to mess up after a rain or a damp morning which may just be just be a chance happening. I have not had much time to mess with it because of school and work but now that school is done I have time and need to try to figure it out. This is what I have done: Checked fuses, checked the 2 grounds below the driver door (not sure which one is for what or if there are any additional grounds). I have also pulled the cluster out and put a test light on the wiring connector that goes into the instrument. When I did this the only wires that were getting power were the blinkers, back lights and the check engine light (which are the only things that work all the time). Although I do not have a wiring diagram I assume these were the wires that were hot because the light blinked on and off for the blinker and the light on the test light dimmed as I dimmed the the lights. I have taken it to one mechanic who seemed very knowledgeable but he seemed to think it was in the instrument cluster but I am not so convinced since it does not seem to be getting power to the cluster. He also said when he hooked the computer to it the the gauge cluster was not receiving a signal (which I thought would mean that the problem is not in the cluster). I cannot afford to take it to the Chevrolet dealer right now so I am just wondering if anybody has any idea on what the problem could be?? One additional piece of information is that I know the cluster has been rebuilt (I assume for the stepper motors) as it has a re-manufacture sticker on the back. I am sorry for such a wordy post just trying to put all the information in. I am not a mechanic but do have some mechanical experience. If anybody has any ideas please let me know. Thanks!
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
  2. j cat

    j cat Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    first thing is do not use any light testers. get a volt ohm meter. these light testers will blow the electrronic circuits/pcm etc...

    the cluster of your vehicle had/has issues with about all manufactured. since it is a top secret GM electronic/electrical component only few can repair this.

    seach for cluster repair on the internet and contact those that repair these .

    the shop OEM manual has no circuit info on these [BLACK BOXED].
  3. Tskerik

    Tskerik New Member

    Thanks for the info. The mechanic that I took the truck too actually replaces the stepper motors for people and did look at the circuit board on the cluster. He did do something (I'm unsure of what) and the cluster did work when he put it back in.

    However, it quit the next time I cranked the truck about 30 minutes later so I do not think that was the fix. He said he thinks he could fix it if I was able to leave the truck there. Just unaware if its actually the cluster or a problem before the cluster. Don't want to spend a bunch of money in a cluster that isn't the problem just to have to fix another problem.
  4. Tskerik

    Tskerik New Member

    One other question as well that I may need help with! I read that a cluster from a 2500 with a temp gauge can be put into a 1500 and the gauge will work. Is this correct?
  5. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    I've read this, too, but am unsure. I added a stepper motor in the transmission gauge slot and new gauge applique to my existing cluster and did NOT get temperature readings -- so I don't know if that's a limitation in my gauge cluster, a lack of temp sending unit in the tranny, or a wiring interface issue.

    I've not yet tried a 2500 cluster because to switch to it wll require programming by a GM dealership since the mileage is stored in the cluster. (That's what I was trying to avoid by adding a gauge...)
  6. moogvo

    moogvo Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Sometimes they work, other times they don't. If you install it and it doesn't work, you can have someone that has a tech 2 scan tool turn that function on in the computer programming.
  7. Tskerik

    Tskerik New Member

    Ok thanks yall. I just figured if I have to buy a new cluster I might as well upgrade it a little bit since I do use my truck to pull a camper to the lake during the summer and to haul hay occasionally.
  8. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Based on my experience (so far), that's a myth. I call it a myth because it lacks enough specificity to have been true, for me.

    You see, I went to not one but two dealerships that had Tech II's and asked for that functionality to be enabled. (I paid them each for an hour of time for their technicians to do the work.) The dealerships (I spoke directly with each technician) both said it could not be done because my vehicle did not come with that functionality. They then said I'd need to call GM customer service to have them add something in their records about my VIN ... so that a dealership could download the appropriate program for the technician to use with the Tech II. So I called GM customer service ... which referred me to GMC customer service, which then stonewalled.

    I suspect this has a lot to do with finding someone with a Tech II who KNOWS how to use it and doesn't rely on programs downloaded from GM to do things. That's the specificity that seems to be lacking, above, at least based on my experience, so far. I'm halfway curious if I'd need a 2500's VIN, too.

    @moogvo, do you know a mechanic with access to a Tech II who can do it? I'm asking because I'd very much like to meet someone within 200 miles of me who can!
  9. moogvo

    moogvo Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I will ask around... A lot of that has to do with who you know and whether they are WILLING to do it. The dealership where I had mine done has been sold out and is now gone. I will see what I can find out for you tho.
  10. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    I too would like to do the trans temp addition to my cluster. But, I will let [MENTION=50075]SurrealOne[/MENTION] do all the leg work and find out exactly how to do it before I start! :great:

Share This Page

Newest Gallery Photos