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Slowest 190e out here
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Discussion Starter #1
If your dashboard doesn't work, and you see a needle vibrating, this is what I did, it's very simple!

Tools needed: Soldering iron, 100ohm resistor

1.)Put your car in ignition and watch the cluster, if you see a needle (temp,fuel,speedo,rpm) vibrating, remember which one does it.
So, vibrating needle=faulty needle!

2.)Take the negative cable off the battery, take the dashboard out, I will not write the procedure now.

3.)Disassemble the dash, just take off front and rear cover so you can see rear end of PCB , be sure not to lose anything

4.)Use your fingers and move the faulty needle up and down, it should go smooth
Every needle is driven by this white stepper motor see pic:
stepper motor with gearbox:



6.)Anyway, the simple fix to it: solder the 100ohm resistor to this two pins on the stepper motor, as seen in pic:

IMAG0098_zps8635dac1.jpg Photo by m111920 | Photobucket (browse thru pics to see more)

7.)Carefully put it all together and reinstall everything in car, test it.

Explanation: that gears in stepper motor wears over time, as it wears, it's difficult for stepper motor to find needle's starting position, thus motor can't calibrate, even if other three needles are working properly, dash won't work till every motor is calibrated.

Resistor(alternatively you can use 1.2w bulb) helps the motor to stabilize and makes it work again with no problems. I had no problems after soldering the resistor more than a month, then I sold a car.

Glad if I helped! :beerchugr::beerchugr:
 

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'04 W211 E240, MY10 W204 C300
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Fortuitous of you to post this.
I'm banging my head trying to get this very problem sorted out without resorting to another cluster.
Buying another used cluster might end up with the same problem shortly.

I will give it a go.
It's the fuel gauge that's doing the vibrating. At power off the needle is not at the bottom position.
 

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Slowest 190e out here
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Discussion Starter #3
Fortuitous of you to post this.
I'm banging my head trying to get this very problem sorted out without resorting to another cluster.
Buying another used cluster might end up with the same problem shortly.

I will give it a go.
It's the fuel gauge that's doing the vibrating. At power off the needle is not at the bottom position.
Well, I guess that gear mechanism is physically damaged, but it's worth a try.
You can open the stepper motor and see if it's damaged inside, at this point it's not bad to give it a drop of cooking (thin)oil.

This method works for every car with VDO clusters, so, W202, W210, W140, W208, Wsomething..
 

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1998 C280; 1987 560SL
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446 Posts
Not trying to high-jack a thread, but this seems related. When starting my car (1998 C280) the needles all vibrate at zero for a few seconds and then all register simultaneously. On shutdown they go to zero and vibrate for a few seconds and then rest. Is this vibration routine some sort of testing that the ecu does on the cluster? Is my car normal - do they all do this?

Thanks.
 

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96 C220 & 99 ML430
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My gauges are intermittent, usually only having problems when it's cold (below 35*F) or very hot (over 90*F) but just the speedometer "vibrates" until they all come on one it sets itself. When they're working normally, they instantly come up to their values with the ignition on and instantly all goto 0 when turned off, although sometimes even when the gauges are working normally I notice the speedometer(the known problem gauge on mine) do some weird things while stopped.
 

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Slowest 190e out here
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Discussion Starter #6
Not trying to high-jack a thread, but this seems related. When starting my car (1998 C280) the needles all vibrate at zero for a few seconds and then all register simultaneously. On shutdown they go to zero and vibrate for a few seconds and then rest. Is this vibration routine some sort of testing that the ecu does on the cluster? Is my car normal - do they all do this?

Thanks.
I guess you should start from fuses related to dashboard(replace them with new ones) and clean the pins on connectors behind dashboard first, mine was preety gunked up, it seems that you have bad contact somewhere, lack of power or bad grounding.

My gauges are intermittent, usually only having problems when it's cold (below 35*F) or very hot (over 90*F) but just the speedometer "vibrates" until they all come on one it sets itself. When they're working normally, they instantly come up to their values with the ignition on and instantly all goto 0 when turned off, although sometimes even when the gauges are working normally I notice the speedometer(the known problem gauge on mine) do some weird things while stopped.
Then this is solution for you.

It's normal for (damaged) dashboard to vibrate at shut-off as calibration step comes after you turn off the car too, not only at starting it.
 

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'04 W211 E240, MY10 W204 C300
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Did the required works.
First put the resistor in this way

It didn't work.
Then put resistor in this way. Used Multi meter to compare resistance of stepper motors

Now we have this.


All Hunky Dorey

For those interested.
(a) The outside temperature gauge reads +36.5 degrees Celsius (about 97 degrees F.). Sorry to those folks in the Northern hemisphere - that is the real outside temperature.
(b) The engine temperature gauge is a little high. I have the engine idling with the AC on. The front fans are operating. The temperature gauge never goes above this figure - even though the outside temperature may reach +45 degrees Celsius (115 degrees F) plus
(c) Odometer is in Kilometers - 227,000 traveled.

Even though I have installed this "fix" or "patch" it's not a solution for the ultimate problem. I will need to get another instrument console with low K's on it.
 

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'04 W211 E240, MY10 W204 C300
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For those with Right Hand Drive cars.

You don't need to remove the steering wheel to remove the instrument cluster.
If you set the steering wheel to straight ahead you can use the console pulling tools to pull the console straight towards you until it's out of the binnacle.

There are two connectors to remove from the back of the cluster.
Turning the steering wheel towards the right door together with the console and the latter will handily come out.

You can see the connector at the rear of the console. The latch is held in by a catch. Depress the catch to release the latch horizontally and the connect comes straight out.

When taking the console apart be wary of these two rubber contact strips. If you forget to put them back in you need to redo the removal replacement job.
 

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Slowest 190e out here
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Discussion Starter #12
@Ivanerrol
Nice post, I'm glad to see it works!

Note: Now it's clear to me, your first soldering job didn't work, as the gas gauge works "anticlockwise" unlike others gauges so you are soldering to another two pins this one! :beerchugr:

Mine is an LHD and I didn't take my steering wheel off, it is kinda hard if you have huge fingers but it's possible.

I was offered for a brand new instrument cluster for like 100€ but I wanted to keep original car mileage with no funny business, I'm very sorry I didn't cover the entire tutorial as I didn't took any pics at a time.
 

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'04 W211 E240, MY10 W204 C300
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Brand new instrument cluster in Australia has been priced from a dealership at AU$2,300.00
That's US $1,800.00 at today's rate or EU$1600.00

Still works fine after installation. First time, every time.

Thanks for the tip. :goojob:
 

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1999 ML320
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It works! :D
This resistor trick fixed the instrument cluster of my 1999 Mercedes ML320 for good. :thumbsup:

I had a vibrating needle on the RPM gauge. It used to happens always on startup and shutdown, vibrating for about 5-10 seconds before stabilizing. Very annoying, because the other gauges do not work until the RPM needle stops such vibration.

As reported by Ivanerrol, you should install the resistor on two oposite terminals of the faulty gauge.
Do some testing. If it doesn't work, choose the other two oposite terminals.

The only change I did on this procedure is using a 150 ohm resistor, instead of a 100 ohm.
With 100 ohm the needle seemed a bit erratic, doing some "jumps" on faster movements, for instance, during a sudden acceleration.
Got no jumps with the 150 ohm resistor, but it takes about half second lag to set the needle to zero on startup. After this almost imperceptible lag, it works fine.
Probably a 120 ohm would be better, getting no vibration and no lag, but as half second doesn't bothers me, I'm not willing to disassemble the whole cluster again only for that.

Anyway, thanks kristijan920 and Ivanerrol for the tips! :bowdown:
It really works.
 
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