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Hey folks, this is an awkward way on to introduce myself to the forum but it's as good as any! I just got rid of a 1997 F(found) O(on) R(roadside) D(dead) F-150 P.O.S. that wasn't worth another minute of my time! I've always been a Chevy truck guy, and as of today I'm back in the saddle with a used 2006 Silverado 1500, extended cab, 5.3L Vortec with right at 125K miles, in excellent condition that I picked up on Craigslist for a very good price! A small power steering fluid leak, and bringing the stereo up to date with Bluetooth are the biggest issues I can find at the moment, but the tachometer being inop is something I'd hope I could get a clue from someone here with. The previous owner said he was told it could be a bad solder joint on the instrument panel. Has anyone seen or heard of this before or have any solid repair for this? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

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More than likely you will need a new cluster. When I worked in the aftermarket parts world we sold clusters for these trucks all the time. Usually it was a solder joint issue from what I understand. They would break where the stepper motor was soldered in. Dorman offers factory replacements as well as factory fit ones with different color backing options too. We still do these at the dealership I work for now. I haven't personally tried to re-solder these clusters but I've heard of other people doing it and im sure there are videos online for it too.
 

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More than likely you will need a new cluster. When I worked in the aftermarket parts world we sold clusters for these trucks all the time. Usually it was a solder joint issue from what I understand. They would break where the stepper motor was soldered in. Dorman offers factory replacements as well as factory fit ones with different color backing options too. We still do these at the dealership I work for now. I haven't personally tried to re-solder these clusters but I've heard of other people doing it and im sure there are videos online for it too.
Thank you Crispyt, I'll look into the video aspect!
 

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A buddy of mine had an '03, he would solder some and try it, solder some more and try again. I think he got it on the 3rd try.

By the way, in most cases the problem was due to cold joints. The original soldering wasn't hot enough to flow properly. So what is needed is to reheat the joints.
 

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I don't know if its possible on these boards, but you might be able to do a re flow. What this is, is taking everything apart so you have just the hard circuit board, (no wires or other low temp plastic parts). Then heating the entire board up so it melts all the joints enough to allow them to flow and re solidify. I have seen this done on computer boards in an oven at certain temps for a certain amount of time. If done right you wouldn't have to do certain areas at a time to see if it works since it re-flows all the joints. I would be cautions of this since over heating can damage components. I've even seen it done with a high temp heat gun too.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A buddy of mine had an '03, he would solder some and try it, solder some more and try again. I think he got it on the 3rd try.

By the way, in most cases the problem was due to cold joints. The original soldering wasn't hot enough to flow properly. So what is needed is to reheat the joints.
Thanks RayVoy, do you or anyone have a layout of the back of that panel showing which solder joints are applicable?
 

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L


Lord have mercy!
Haha, not a problem for a guy who uses a soldering iron a lot.
If you don't have any experience, you probably should practice a little before tackling this job.

It's not a difficult job; but there is a little finesse that is required.
 

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Haha, not a problem for a guy who uses a soldering iron a lot.
If you don't have any experience, you probably should practice a little before tackling this job.

It's not a difficult job; but there is a little finesse that is required.
Oh I'm no slouch at soldering, but which connections to solder were my question, but it seems the answer is all of them! That's the kicker! I haven't taken the cluster out of the truck yet but I'm replacing the factory stereo head unit this week so I'll have an opportunity to take a peek at this job then. I have the Haynes repair manual of the truck now so I'll look at the schematics before I start the job to see what is specific to the tach circuit.
 

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Ok, if you have some soldering knowledge, look at the joints, cold joints have a special look. They are not smooth and flowing like a well soldered joint.
 

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Ok, if you have some soldering knowledge, look at the joints, cold joints have a special look. They are not smooth and flowing like a well soldered joint.
Right, a cold joint will look more on the dull side. Weird thing is, the tach (Now on the 3rd day of owning it!) is showing signs of life! It looks off by the idle speed which I'm guessing would be around 700 RPM (+or- 100),and it indicates the engine revving and sits near 1300 when on the road and I expect the actual RPM is nearer 2000. Is this typical of the same solder joint symptoms?
 

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yep, bad solder on cluster is a common problem, one or more gauges go out (unless its just your gasoline gauge at around 150,000, that's when the fuel pumps go bad). Check the internet, there are some cluster rebuild places that might exchange your core for a rebuilt one.
 

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yep, bad solder on cluster is a common problem, one or more gauges go out (unless its just your gasoline gauge at around 150,000, that's when the fuel pumps go bad). Check the internet, there are some cluster rebuild places that might exchange your core for a rebuilt one.
I know of a Speedo repair shop close by, used them before. I might check to see what they want for a replacement just for kicks and giggles, thanks guys!
 

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I know of a Speedo repair shop close by, used them before. I might check to see what they want for a replacement just for kicks and giggles, thanks guys!
no do not replace. this is a violation of federal law about the odometer..you have no idea what is going on on the dash panel.. you have to take it out and use a magnifying glass to look at al the solder joints.
then set up the low watt soldering iron with the proper tools .. look up a you tube video on how to do soldering work properly and buy the tools..if not then the cost to have the repair shop that does these will cost about 120 bucks.. they will also change the lamps and can make a color change on the lamp color.
 

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no do not replace. this is a violation of federal law about the odometer..you have no idea what is going on on the dash panel.. you have to take it out and use a magnifying glass to look at al the solder joints.
then set up the low watt soldering iron with the proper tools .. look up a you tube video on how to do soldering work properly and buy the tools..if not then the cost to have the repair shop that does these will cost about 120 bucks.. they will also change the lamps and can make a color change on the lamp color.
I had to replace a dash before from these guys before on an older Ford Taurus, but they brought the mileage up to what it was, no problem. But repair was what it would more than likely be if I took it in. But more than likely I'll look it over before taking it in. Thanks j cat.
 

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I was looking on Superbright LED's and they don't list replacement LED's for the Instrument panel so I suppose that panel has soldered in dash lamps, is that right?
 

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They probably don't list them because either they are not dimmable with that setup or more likely its because the locking base is soldered to the bulb. This would make the bulb and socket one unit.

Below is a bulb and socket base unit. I believe you can buy just those bases without the bulb that allows you to remove the bulb from the base which would allow you to use LED bulbs.


166032
 

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You might try these, I would verify these are the correct ones for your dash, but these should fit more GM clusters that use the smaller 194/168 bulbs.

 
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