1. Welcome To GMTruckClub.com!

    The #1 Chevy Truck Forum Online
    Online since 2004, we are the #1 Chevy Truck & SUV forum and user community. If you have any questions about your Chevy or GMC Truck, SUV or Crossover, or just want to connect with other GM owners and enthusiasts around the world, you've found the best place on the internet to do that.

    Join Today ~ It's Free
    Registering is Free and Easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon!

Suburban Ignition Switch/Instrument Cluster Problem?

Discussion in 'GM Electrical Tech' started by JAL1959, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. JAL1959

    JAL1959 New Member

    2002 Suburban 2500 / 4x4 / 8.1L
    84k miles

    Suburban dash gauges all die at once, then come back on, with entire dash lighting up (like when you first start vehicle), then goes back to normal. It did this two days ago at low speed (25 mph) on smooth road. Then I drive for 50 miles with no problems. Did it again yesterday on smooth road but at 45 mph, but then engine revs, and it appears transmission is stuck in second (drive selector is in “D.”) May have done they tranny downshift two days ago when dash gauges died, but I just didn't notice it since that was at low speed? Drove today with no problems.

    Advice/comments so far from others include:

    1) Bad ignition switch. Power to the IP goes through it, that's why the intermittent failure. The PCM power also goes through the switch, thats why the trans gets stuck in 2nd or 3rd gear...the failsafe mode. May or may not set any codes. 2002 was good for that. and

    2) Or possibly a loose connection at cluster or anywhere from its feed or ground. Agreed response 1 above is more than likly right on the money.

    Hard to solve when you can't duplicate at mechanic's shop.

    Any ideas??

    Thanks!!
  2. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Moderator Staff Member Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts

    You should be able to diagnose the ignition swtich issue by starting the vehicle, then shaking and jiggling the key in the ignition. Messing with it in this manner should reproduce the problem. If this doesn't do it, then I'm going to guess it isn't the ignition. It could be a ground issue, like the main ground going to the battery is loose, damaged, or insufficient for the vehicle. Have you added any aftermarket power-eating goodies into the vehicle before this started occuring? (car audio, lights, winch, etc)
  3. JAL1959

    JAL1959 New Member

    Thanks for the quick response!

    You response with My comments in *****

    You should be able to diagnose the ignition swtich issue by starting the vehicle, then shaking and jiggling the key in the ignition. Messing with it in this manner should reproduce the problem. If this doesn't do it, then I'm going to guess it isn't the ignition.
    ****** Did that this morning and could not get it to fail.

    It could be a ground issue, like the main ground going to the battery is loose, damaged, or insufficient for the vehicle.
    *******Pulled batt cables and cleaned them off yesterday, then it failed 15 mins later.

    Have you added any aftermarket power-eating goodies into the vehicle before this started occuring? (car audio, lights, winch, etc)
    ****** Bought used Oct'04 from original dealer who sold it to guy who was now trading it. (Yea, he ate a ton of depreciation) Original owner had aftermarket DVD Player installed with twin fold down screens and two power inverters and AV outlets to add video games, etc. so you can do two sepearte things on each screen (TV, DVD, or whatever you want to connect to the AV outlets.) It was profesionally installed and looked stock. We only use when on trips, and for the 3+ years we have owned it, we have not had any electrical issues. Has a master cut off switch in front and that stays off. It's one of those things I would have never bought/paid for myself, but it was perfect vehicle for us as we wanted and SUV (nd not PU) to tow a 33', 9k Travel Trailer, and this Burb is a 2500 and has the big block for 10k+ towing and at a good price. Thanks
  4. jjoel

    jjoel New Member

    I had the exact same combination of problems with my 95 Suburban. Intermittently, the instrument cluster lights went out - specifically the PRNDL gear indicator light (the dealer referred to it as IPC and the "PRINDLE") and the transmission felt like it was stuck in 2nd/3rd gear.

    Replacing the ignition switch solved these problems it has been 3-4 months without incident. It cost me 218.22 in parts and 309.45 in labor to get it fixed at the dealer.
  5. 84fiero123

    84fiero123 New Member Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts

    Check for a bad or broken ground wire from the engine to the firewall, or frame rail.

    We have a lot of ground problems with our Fieros and this sounds like the same problem.
  6. JAL1959

    JAL1959 New Member

    Fixed

    Thanks for all the posts. Replaced ignition switch, and no problems. JAL
  7. IrishBrewer

    IrishBrewer New Member

    I had this problem with my '02 Suburban. I have the service manual on DVD and it includes the TSBs and it turns out that there is a TSB for this problem. In my suburban, it started out that I would have all the gauges drop out and other dash lights (like ABS, CEL) would come on. This would happen from time to time while driving. More recently, all this would happen every time I started the vehicle but I could get it to come on with a firm tap on the end of the key. If I just drove it with the disabled gauges, it seemed like it was in limp mode because it was starting in 2nd or 3rd gear.

    The service manual instructions for the replacement of the ignition switch are fairly good with a couple of exceptions. The airbag module removal procedure is a bit difficult if you don't know what you are trying to do when you are releasing it from the steering wheel - it's a blind operation, all by feel with a flat bladed screwdriver. Once you see a steering wheel with the airbag removed, you can see what is going on. Look for a YouTube video on Satruns by a guy named richpin for a good tutorial on this.

    The only other thing that was tricky is a connector that sits above the ignition lock cylinder. The service manual talks about rotating it 90 degrees clockwise before lifting it out. However, it doesn't want to rotate freely because there is a hidden lock tab on the back side of this connector (furthest away from the location where the key is inserted). If you break this connector taking it out it's no big deal because the replacement switch has a new one so if you can't release the hidden tab, no worries.

    The service manual lists a special tool for removing the switch. It is not needed. If you pull down on the switch while inserting a screwdriver in the holes where the switch tabs lock it in place, it releases pretty easily. No need to insert two screwdrivers simultaneously - if you pull down and release them separately, they should not lock back in place.

    The other thing to be aware of is the indexing of the gear in the ignition switch. Being an inquisitive person, I fiddlled with this gear after removing the switch without first noting the position of the gear. Make sure you note the correct position of the gear before doing any "fiddling" so you can set it properly on the replacement switch before attaching it.

    One other thing - there is a metal "shroud" around the steering column under the knee bolster panel held on by four bolts. I don't think the service manual mentioned taking this off but it is easily removed and makes access to the wire harnesses much easier so just take it off after removing the bolster.

    Also note that there is a 14 pin and a 10 pin variant of this switch. You don't really know which one you need until you get the old one off. To determine this, count the number of actual connectors on the big plug that bolts on under the dash. Mine had 14.

    The TSB for this is: Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) On, Transmission Stuck in Second or Third Gear, Instrumend Cluster Inoperative (Replace Ignition Switch) #01-07-30-002D - (Oct 19, 2004)

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2009
  8. kbroderick

    kbroderick New Member

    Can you recommend a good source for an ignition switch? I found a couple with a Google search, but I'm less than convinced that they'll actually be the right part (and I don't want to wait until I have everything apart to find out).

    Thanks,
    Kevin
  9. 99'HEARTBEAT

    99'HEARTBEAT Moderator Staff Member ROTM Winner Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts

    Kevin.....in order for Us (Members) to help you, What Year and Model is your Vehicle??


    Also, by chance did you notice that this Thread is over 2 yrs Old??
  10. kbroderick

    kbroderick New Member



    2002 Suburban 1500 LT 4wd, Flex Fuel

    I did, but I'm about 90% sure it's the same problem, so I didn't want to create a new thread.

Share This Page