Temperature gauge, Fuel gauge, Speedometer and Tachometer are all Dead - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Old 05-04-2008, 02:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Date registered: May 2008
Vehicle: 1997 E320
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Unhappy Temperature gauge, Fuel gauge, Speedometer and Tachometer are all Dead

In my 1997 E320 Temperature gauge, Fuel gauge, Speedometer and Tachometer have gone dead. When I turn the key in the ignition none of the gauges work. However, the temperature gauge has some minor vibration/shaking which you can feel when you look closely. Also, light sound comes behind the temp gauge when it is vibrating. This sound is like a very small motor trying to turn this gauge.
I have checked both cluster panel fuses in the fuse box under the hood and they are good. But when I removed either one the temp gauge vibration stop and the light sound which comes behind the gauge also stop.
Digital Odometer, trip odometer, clock and outside temperature are all displaying/working fine.

Does any one knows what’s really wrong with it and what's the fix.

Thanks a lot
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Old 05-04-2008, 03:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Those

are the cluster fuses,#4 and 7?at least on my 99 thats what they are.The gauge and instrument fuses I think are unlabeled over under the big panel that contains the ecu on the passenger side by the duo valves.Several fuses along the leading edge if you pull the 4 screws and lift the cover.Pull each fuse and check with a multimeter set to ohms.zero ohms no resistance =dead fuse
always pull the fuse to test.
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Old 05-04-2008, 05:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I replaced the following two fuses in the Driver Side Fuse Box under the hood but no change
Fuse#4 Instrument cluster, automatic climate control
Fuse#7 Instrument cluster, automatic climate control, relay module / motronic

Passenger side big panel under the hood
I checked all 5 fuses like you suggested and they all look good. I tried to use the ohm meter but on every ohm setting it gives me zero on every fuse. May be I am not doing it right but they look good.

What should I do next?

Thanks again
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Post Cluster

I would pull out the instrument cluster and check the connection of the cables. Your car has two cables that come behind the cluster and I think one (or both !) of them might have gotten loose. Thats what I would check.
Just pull your cluster out, it simply slides out if you can find a good place to grab it.

And then check the wires where they are connected with your cluster.
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Old 05-04-2008, 10:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If I pull the cluster, disconnect and reconnect the both cable, will I loose the odometer mileage or it will stay. I don't want to loose the odometer mileage because there is no problem with the odometer.
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Old 05-05-2008, 08:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Post No

Don't worry, you will not loose the mileage on the cluster.

Even though a lot of people wish they could.

I think one of your cables is loose. If you can't get the cluster out, there should be a DIY w picture in here somewere.

Let me know if you have other questions.
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I connected the instrument cluster with out the outer shell and turn the key in the ignition. I noticed that all the gauges are still dead and the temp gauge has still minor vibration. I gave it a little push with my finger and all the gauges started working.
When I turn it off and turn it back on with out restarting the car, all the gauges gone dead again and they only work when I give little push to the temp gauge.
If I turn it off, the temp gauge keep vibrating few seconds and the temp gauge small motor make a light noise/sound.
I think the motor that turn the temp gauge has gone bad. Is it possible to fix it my self?

Thanks in advance
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Old 05-22-2008, 12:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Sounds like you have either have cold soldering or a microscopic crack on one or some of the cupper leads on the instrument PCB (Printed Circuit Board) Check for bad solder joints or crack with a magnifying glass.. Solder joints deteriorate by the time if protector layer worn off of PCB surface. If you are good at soldering, solder the joints you think don't look good. I would also check the pin surfaces for any possible corrosion. Also make sure the socket pins tightly fit the mating section.
Make sure nothing is electrically short circuit before putting back the instrument cluster.
Good luck.
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Old 05-22-2008, 06:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Boy do I feel you pain, I am having the EXACT same issues. Needles not working but the info panel still functioned. I went through all the stuff everyone suggested on here sans the soldering to no avail. So I ended up pulling it and sending it to a professional in North Dakota who specializes in VDO clusters.

He ended up not being able to fix it. He said one of the four needle motors was bad and that when one doesn't work, none work. He basically told me that the cluster needs to be replaced and I believe a new MB cluster is over $1K.

Sooo with that in mind, I have always wanted a data logger and code scanner. So I bought the Scan Gauge II and it provides all the info you need and acts as a code reader/clearer to boot. My gauges work one out of every 5 or so cranks and so I got used to reading the scanner mounted right on my cluster in the times it doesn't work. Shoot I look at the ScanGauge even when the needles do work! It can be used in any OBDII car and I love it. I also love the price of $169.

Some on here may call me crazy but it was an inexpensive fix and I am totally addicted to all the other variables and functions it can do.

So if you are ok with it sitting in your cluster, you won't be disappointed. I can disconnect it anytime and use it on my other cars too. Good luck
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Old 05-23-2008, 01:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have a spare cluster that everything works on if you want to use it for parts. It was out of a 1999 E55 and all I pulled the AMG faces and needles off of it. I am not sure of the miles on the odometer. You can talk your dealership in to resetting it to your actual miles. PM me if you are interested.
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