89 SSE electrical issues and more - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 09-16-2002, 10:59 PM   #1
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Default 89 SSE electrical issues and more

Hey guys--nice site!
I have an 89 Bonneville SSE-which I love--it has the digital compass and driver information center--and it doesn't work! Every once in a great while--doesn't matter if I hit a bump or driving on a smooth road-the displays will light up. mostly it'* the compass. It can stay on for a second or a few minutes--no pattern to it. I've tried to trace wires, relays--but I'm lost. I have the factory service manual but it'* a bit confusing to me.
Anyone have the same problem? The display screens are fine--seems like this car has some electrical issues too.
Also--seems like I'm throwing a code for my trans-forgot what code--seems like it'* not going into overdrive-rpm'* get pretty high, and I do all highway driving(175 miles roundtrip) in the factory manual says it could be the torque convertor or the switch. anyone have these problems too?
Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-17-2002, 01:03 AM   #2
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First off, try re-connecting the multi-connector on the back of the cluster. Bonnevilles are infamous for this cluster connector loosening off it'* base & causing problems like this. I've had to re-connect mine about once per now now.
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Old 09-17-2002, 05:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeathRat
First off, try re-connecting the multi-connector on the back of the cluster. Bonnevilles are infamous for this cluster connector loosening off it'* base & causing problems like this. I've had to re-connect mine about once per now now.
I've done that a few times already--taken the cluster completely out-w/no results.
There'* a spot under the dash on the passenger side-right behind the glovebox-I've moved relays around(all good)and checked all fuses. There'* a fuse marked for the driver convience center-has no power going to it, so for giggles I ran power to it--the display didn't light up.
any more clues? When it does work it'* awesome!!
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Old 09-17-2002, 07:37 PM   #4
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I'll see if I can dig up a scematic of the dash cluster connector terminal. I've got one for my 92 & it helped alot.
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Old 09-17-2002, 08:49 PM   #5
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Believe it or not I have the factory manual for the car. I've been through that thing a million times, but I just can't get it. I'm not very good at reading schematics.
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Old 09-18-2002, 08:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonyrodz
Believe it or not I have the factory manual for the car. I've been through that thing a million times, but I just can't get it. I'm not very good at reading schematics.
Then first, look at the scematic for the cluster connector. Find out which terminal does what & test them for power when that function is on. This will determine if it'* a sensor or the cluster itself.
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Old 09-18-2002, 11:37 AM   #7
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I've looked on the trouble shooting end of it--I also checked the leads that'* supposed to be getting power--there'* no power at all coming from thos leads. I tried to jump power to them w/no results. I'm pretty sure the cluster is good tho. The leads that plug into the displays have no juice at all.
Ever run into this problem w/these cars before?
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Old 09-18-2002, 07:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonyrodz
I've looked on the trouble shooting end of it--I also checked the leads that'* supposed to be getting power--there'* no power at all coming from thos leads. I tried to jump power to them w/no results. I'm pretty sure the cluster is good tho. The leads that plug into the displays have no juice at all.
Ever run into this problem w/these cars before?
I would assume that the car was on & running at the time of diagnosis! Next see if there is power at the relays. I'm not sure where they are though. Most common places would be under hood in relay block or on passenger side under dash near kick panel.
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Old 09-19-2002, 12:23 AM   #9
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yep--car was running. How do you check for power at the relays? With a test probe?
I did move relays around--figuring if one was bad I'd be able to tell. I found relays on the pass side behind the glove box. Don't remember if I saw any under the hood.
Tonight while driving home everything flashed on for a split second--looked good! :(
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Old 09-19-2002, 01:44 AM   #10
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Hey guys, kinda related to the relay idea, if Tony has the underhood relay center, he might be suffering from a loose firewall passthru connector. Typical failure mode for a relay would not be what he'* experiencing. If the relay latched, it would most likely have held. Peak current draw happens when first energized. After latch, the current demand of the coil decreases, which makes it 'easier' to hold.

He doesn't likely have a short, no fusenpoppen (german for popping fuses), so most likely a loose/worn connection.

Tony, what I'd do at this point is get a friend (preferably bikini clad of the female persuasion on a very cold day) and have them shake and wiggle connections under the dash and under the hood, near the firewall at the passthru, etc., while you watch for results in the pilot'* seat.
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