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1997 Dodge Grand Caravan Question: Dashboard guages intermittenly work

 

Question

jackryan, 3.3L V6, Marshfield, MA, August 29, 2009, 08:30
 Rookie

My fuel, speedometer, engine temp, odometer, etc lighted guages cut out sometimes while driving. The dash lights stay on. If I bang on top of the dash above the steering column they more often come back to life. Otherwise when I pull over, shut the car off and bang the top of the dash again they usually funtion normally. What possible causes and remedies do you think? In case it matter the caravan now has 293,540 miles on it. Thanks.

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  • Answer #1

    Bret Bodas from RepairPal Test Shop, September 25, 2009, 10:49
     Master

    Well you sure are getting your monies worth out of your caravan!
    Did you find out what was causing the dash gauges to stop working?
    Have you hit 300k yet?

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    jackryan, September 25, 2009, 12:36
     Rookie

    I'm getting ready to change the oil shortly as it is just hitting 295,000. Still haven't figured it out but 300,000 will be here soon. Then another oil change.

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  • Medium-star Best Answer
    bpeat October 14, 2009, 06:39
     Rookie

    This is a common problem with 1996-2000 Caravans. The fix is to disassemble the dashboard, remove the instrument cluster and resolder the connectors between the two circuit boards on the cluster. Usually you can see a black ring around one or more of the pins going through the circuit board. This is know as a cold solder joint. This means doing some dis-assembly of the cluster too. It may sound hard to do, but it is a lot easier than shelling out hundreds of dollars to mechanics who can't find the problem. Having a Philips head screwdriver (+), soldering gun and a bit of solder, the job took me (not a mechanic) about 1.5 hours to do this from start to finish. It has been over a year now with no problems with the gages.

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  • Answer #3

    Visitor, August 06, 2010, 09:01

    I Had the very same problem. I did try my best to resolder the circuit board connector. Did not fix the problem. Went to junk yard and got another guage set. Everything aok.

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    Visitor, August 06, 2010, 10:16

    I eventually did take the dashboard apart and it was actually more simple than I thought it would be. I replaced the cluster and kind of straightened out the wiring harness. I didn't find any breaks in the soldering connections. I put it all back together and it just passed 316,000 miles and guages are working fine. It cut out once again but all I did was again take it all apart and spray the connections/plugs with contact cleaner, wiggle a few wires and put the dash back together. I'm at about a half hour from start to finish for the whole repair. After you do it once it is a piece of cake to repeat. I'd get another guage set but I hate to lose my milestone miles. But I would go with your fix if necessary. Thanks.

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