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Hi!

I've got a problem with my c280 (w202, 1994, automatic).
A few days ago most of the gauges and LCDs in the instrument cluster died :(
The only gauge that works is the oil temperature gauge. Fuel, speedo, rpm aren't moving at all. The clock, distance and thermometer LCDs are also completely black and not visible. All the red and yellow service lights (ABS, SRS, etc.) are OK. The backlight for the gauges works.

I've been told that probably some chip inside the cluster got broken and that I need to replace the whole thing. This is quite expensive and hard to find (especially for the 280 model). I haven't found any topic about broken chips inside the instrument clusters, so I'm looking for a second opinion :)

- Does this sound familiar for you ?
- How come the chip got broken, but the oil temp. gauge works just fine ?
- Is the instrument cluster replacement a simple plug-and-play or does the new one need to be (re)programmed or something ?

Thanks a lot for every clue!
Cheers!
 

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95 C280, 89 300E, 94' E320 Coupe, 91' 560SEC
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1,095 Posts
You mean Engine Temp gauge? Have you searched the W202 section about sticky needle syndrome? I did a Write Up about it a year or two ago as well as replacing the bulbs in the back. of the clock and stuff. So in the daylight the lcd digits aren't even faintly visible? Reason I say that is that only the mini1.2w bulbs and small 2w are fine but your mini 2W bulbs are out.

But it does sound like the cluster is shot though if the LCD's are completely out. Just in case give this a shot

Follow the write up in removing the cluster and feel the needle of one of the dead guages if it feel like its stuck to the resting pin lift the needle like RPMs as if its reading 4000RPM.

It wouldn't hurt to try. If you don't know what you are doing then it might hurt because you might break something.

There are websites that do gauge cluster repair for MB's btw
 

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1998 c230 170K
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Yes, another cluster would have to be programmed to match mileage, however if you found another working cluster it would work but not show the correct mileage. If you plan on keeping the car till it dies, who cares, but if you were to sell it then that would be a problem concerning the correct mileage. (obviously illegal)
You may want to try to pull the cluster and clean the needles, there are many posts on this. The instrument cluster problem is an ongoing issue
There are dielectric capacitors on the board, they usually deteriorate before a chip goes bad, but due to heat they will eventually fail too. If you take apart the cluster as I have you will discover what I am referring to. If you find a capacitor that is disfigured or oozing then you at least found one problem. I would check the harness plug connections as well, sometimes a loose connection there can cause problems vs. something more complex. B
 
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