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Old 04-02-2010, 10:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Speedometer Cluster Replacement

Well, the odometer is dead on my 1994 S420. I saw a few instrument clusters on Ebay and most have the digital odometer vs. the analog one I currently have. Is there any issue with replacing the 94's cluster with a 95 or 96? I know I could order the gears for the VDO odometer, but replacing the cluster would update the interior and be less work. Also, anyone know if the replacement cluster would read my current miles, say off the computer, or would it retain the miles from the donor mercedes?
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Old 04-02-2010, 10:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There's a few places that do VDO repair real well. Just off the top of my head:

Lauderdale Speedometer and Compass

Palo Alto Speedometer: Repair, Restoration, and Sales of Automobile Gauges

and Beckman Technologies <-- these guys also do great work on ECUs and the proverbial climate control units

I've used each at least once, your mileage may vary. If you want to swap years, they're certainly the ones to tell you. I know 97-99 CAN be interchangale, depending on the PROM versions.

Good luck!
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Last edited by geebee; 04-02-2010 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 04-02-2010, 10:51 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I gotwith Lauderdale and the price is $255 plus shipping. I think I'm going to go with ebay. Has anyone tried installing the digital odometer in place of the analog one?
Tanks GeeBee
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Old 04-02-2010, 10:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Can you post a link to the one you're considering? I'm curious what they look like

Thanks!
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Old 04-02-2010, 11:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I can't right now. Our work computers block ebay. If you go to ebay type 's420 instrument cluster' in the search bar. Most of the ones that come up are the digital ones.
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Old 04-02-2010, 12:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The early analog speedometers can be replaced with the digital type I think up to mid nieties. If you look at this page it will describe the three different styles. The digital cluster will show the miles of the donor car, it can be reprogrammed but not by you.
MBCluster.com Mercedes W140 Instrument Cluster Repair Homepage
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Old 04-02-2010, 07:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mslchief View Post
Well, the odometer is dead on my 1994 S420. I saw a few instrument clusters on Ebay and most have the digital odometer vs. the analog one I currently have. Is there any issue with replacing the 94's cluster with a 95 or 96? I know I could order the gears for the VDO odometer, but replacing the cluster would update the interior and be less work. Also, anyone know if the replacement cluster would read my current miles, say off the computer, or would it retain the miles from the donor mercedes?

I was wondering the same thing and found a donor cluster to test with (retain the mileage or not) - alas - no - i just gave me the readout of the milage of the car it had come out of and not mine
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Old 04-04-2010, 06:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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For the old mechanical odometer types, If you're getting the dash-flash issue then your power circuitry is fried. Actually that flashing is driven by the seatbelt warning light circuitry feeding back power into the instruments, that's why the flash rhythm looks so familiar.

If your odometer/speedometer has stopped ticking, then that's another problem. Rare, but your odometer drivers are fried. That is fixable. I have heard of the broken gear issue, but have never personally seen it on a 140 or 129. These guys have the gears :

Odometer Gears | 72 Croatan Road | Newport News, VA 23606 | 757.593.3478

Reprogramming the digitals was historically done at the factory, even the dealer didn't do it. This company says they can sell you the equipment to do it, looks interesting :

SMELECOM
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Old 04-10-2010, 06:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Exclamation Photos of Speedometer Replacement

I got the replacement cluster from Ebay and it looked great. The connections on the back are the same - just the two pairs, round and square, on the left and right side, are reversed. The connectors plugged in without issue. When I started the car all the gauges came to life and the odometer works.
Details for the photos.
First, here is my orginal Cluster. I removed it by going through the air vent.
Next here is the donor, digital, replacement
Remove the 2 screws at the top. Mine needed a crosstip #1, the donor cluster uses a #10 torx
I also took out the 5 screws along the bottom, however this is not required for cluster removal. I had to look. The back will flip up
Here is detail photo of the speedometer prong connectors.
Cut 5 pieces of stiff cardboard, like junk mail flyer.
Insert one between each of the 5 tabs and the white clip.
Flip the back down if you opened it and reattach a few screws before removing the clear plastic face.
Hold the 2 pieces and alternately tug the two apart. The warning light labels will probably fall out. They slide back in, no problem.
Here is the speedometer. Take out 3 screws with crosstip or if digital torx screwdiver
Speedometer removed. Here is a detail of the back side.
Reverse order for reinstallion.

Bad news, the digital cluster does not plug and play with the orginal. I need to use the entire donor instrument group.

I have the following isues with the donor cluster.
First the gas gauge reserve and fuel red and yellow lights flash on and off every second and all the warning lights on the right side or passenger side of the cluster stay on all the time.
Can I repair this fault?
Attached Thumbnails
Speedometer Cluster Replacement-cluster_repairpic_0235.jpg   Speedometer Cluster Replacement-cluster_repairpic_0236.jpg   Speedometer Cluster Replacement-cluster_repairpic_0237.jpg   Speedometer Cluster Replacement-cluster_repairpic_0238.jpg   Speedometer Cluster Replacement-cluster_repairpic_0240.jpg  

Speedometer Cluster Replacement-cluster_repairpic_0241.jpg   Speedometer Cluster Replacement-cluster_repairpic_0242.jpg   Speedometer Cluster Replacement-cluster_repairpic_0244.jpg   Speedometer Cluster Replacement-cluster_repairpic_0246.jpg   Speedometer Cluster Replacement-cluster_repairpic_0248.jpg  


Last edited by mslchief; 04-10-2010 at 06:29 AM. Reason: Forgot something
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Old 04-10-2010, 06:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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So I take it that the mechanical one you are disassembling is your original, and the digital is the one on Ebay? Also, the digital one is acting up on your car aswell? Interesting.

The digitals are not known to go bad, as they are now the replacement part for the W140s, replacing the older analog types which were prone to failure. If the digital is acting funny, then there is a good chance you have a wiring issue with the car.

The old mechanical ones can fry by themselves, or with some help by either boosting, or by an electrical problem. Especially if any of the positive inputs are flakey and disappear during operation, this will definitely fry it. The digitals are friendlier and you can throw anything at them, and they wont fry, they'll just misbehave, similarly to what you are seeing.

Since your digital is consistantly misbehaving, from what you described, it should be easy to track down the issue. In my FAQ page, there is a pinout of the round connectors identifying + and -. Go through it carefully and verify yours are either good or bad. If you find a problem, its a wiring issue.
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