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Help with Cluster

464 Views 9 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Newby.ben
I have created a problem with my 2004 w163 after changing the cluster lights to LED.
Everything was fine for a few days until the clock/gear display was flickering. I checked to see what the problem was and assumed the bulb was loose. It may have been because the bulb fell out as I was removing the socket. I got the bull out, reinstalled, and reinstalled the cluster.
Now all three; clock/gear, outside temp, and odometer are weak. I can faintly see the display and there are no pixel problems. It almost looks like the pixel lighting has reversed the normal display. The display has darkened pixels and the numbers have blank pixel, showing the numbers. I can’t remember how it was before when working properly. (Should it be blank pixels with darken pixels for the numbers l) Everything else with the cluster is working properly. I found out no power was at the circuit board for the lightbulbs in these displays. Any clue why there is no power to these three bulbs only. If I put 12v to one of the three bulbs they all three illuminate installed in the cluster. Voltage across these three bulbs was .726dc. Voltage on other cluster bulbs is 12.something DC.
I think these bulbs are on a can bus that supposed to give power when the door opens. I believe this bus is controlled by the BCU. This is above my electrical troubleshooting capabilities. Does anyone know if there is a fix for this. This is my daughters first car and I would like for her to be able to see the time and gear while driving.
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· W163 and General M Gremlin
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I have led bulbs in my 02 ML.
Had to dim them down; they were so bright bleeding across the display.

Check the simple stuff first:

Loose connector behind the cluster?,

Leds, I recall some or all have polarity, so they may need to be reversed?
Make sure the contacts are good, on those little connectors.
 

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2004 ML350 w163 base136,000 miles
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have led bulbs in my 02 ML.
Had to dim them down; they were so bright bleeding across the display.

Check the simple stuff first:

Loose connector behind the cluster?,

Leds, I recall some or all have polarity, so they may need to be reversed?
Make sure the contacts are good, on those little connectors.
Thanks for the advice. I have checked all those and have found that there is no power only on the board where those three bulbs insert. I’m trying to figure out where that power is supposed to come from.
 

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01 ML55
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490 Posts
Thanks for the advice. I have checked all those and have found that there is no power only on the board where those three bulbs insert. I’m trying to figure out where that power is supposed to come from.
Did you try installing the old bulbs and seeing if you still have the same issues?
 

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2004 ML350 w163 base136,000 miles
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have led bulbs in my 02 ML.
Had to dim them down; they were so bright bleeding across the display.

Check the simple stuff first:

Loose connector behind the cluster?,

Leds, I recall some or all have polarity, so they may need to be reversed?
Make sure the contacts are good, on those little connectors.
Thanks for the advice. I have checked all those and have found that there is no power only on the board where those three bulbs insert. I’m trying to figure out wh
Did you try installing the old bulbs and seeing if you still have the same issues?
Yes. Same issue.
 

· W163 and General M Gremlin
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16,075 Posts
If I recall, there is 1 maybe 2 locktype connectors that connect to the backside of the instrument cluster. Not sure which lead is power, but do check that all the pins are not bent and that they go in straight, into their proper pin hole for a proper connection.
 
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· Registered
01 ML55
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490 Posts
Might also want to use the same LED's that @khomer2 used on his car...I admit I dig the look of yours ...I need to replace a bulb in my cluster but I don't want to use LED bc of this reason (potential issues). I ran LED's in the overhead light on my ML55 and ran into all kinds of goofy issues.
 

· W163 and General M Gremlin
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16,075 Posts
A view of the backside of the cluster.
Are you sure the connector is properly connected?
With the bulbs, are you sure the bulb housing (twist sockets) that are not lighting up, are fully twisted/turned, for the contacts to make proper contact onto the terminal contact points on the backside of the cluster?
Try using some electrical contact cleaner (like deoxit or similar) on the contacts to make a proper connection

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2004 ML350 w163 base136,000 miles
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, if anyone on here understands wiring diagrams and circuitry, let me know if I’m on a possible right track.
First picture is the wiring diagram for the cluster. I think the circled part is the three lights in question. These three lights (second picture) turn on and off differently than the rest of the cluster and is powered directly from the battery through a power transistor (third picture). I am thinking of unsoldering this pt to see if it defective. I’m waiting on some pt I purchased so I can see if there Is a difference in the two. Is my understanding of the diagrams correct?
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