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Old 11-17-2005, 01:25 PM   #1
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Default Gauges / possible battery cable problem

First of all, 91 LE I bought back in August. No major problems, and I knew the original purchaser.

It started Monday, when I went out to start it and got nothing. Everything seemed to be working ok, lights were bright, inside was all lit up, just no cranking from starter. I'd get the single click then nothing. The battery'* only 6 months old. Damn, I thought, it'* the starter. I called my friend over, after calling work, and he banged on the starter while I turned the key. Nothing.

So, I purchased a starter for 85 bucks with the core charge. Before I took the starter out of the box (I so did not want it to be the starter), I searched the forums to see what other people would suggest could be the problem. Someone suggested getting the battery load tested and seeing if the battery cables were corroded. I looked, and sure enough, there was major corrosion on the battery cables. So, I started to remove them, and the positive bolt was all chewed up and stripped. Had to use vise grips and have my friend sit on the battery to get it loose. I used coke to clean the corrosion off and they looked nice and shiny. I got the negative cable on fine, then put the positive cables on the battery and tightened it up with the vise grips. Car started on first crank. No problems. Returned the starter.

But now here'* my problem: That night, I started the car and noticed the turn signal indicators were slightly lit. I hadn't noticed that in the daylight. I turned on the lights and the bright indicator came on (bright lights were not on), none of the other dash lights came on, the turn signal indicators lit up brightly, and all the gauges went to zero. Car still ran fine, but obviously I wasn't going to drive at night like that.

I called my father, and he said that maybe the cables weren't tight on the battery. I've got them as tight as I can get them. I also noticed this morning that the only gauges that seem to work are speedometer and the tachometer. Temp, oil, voltage, and fuel gauges all seem to not behave by any sense of normal operation. The temp gauge will goo all the way past the danger zone when the car is started then never return until the car is turned off. The engine isn't even warm.

Do I have a crossed wire somewhere? Do I need to replace the battery cables?
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Old 11-17-2005, 01:32 PM   #2
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Considering the gauges and functions that are out, I'd say you have a bad connection behind your cluster that needs to be cleaned, or a bad ground somewhere common to all those.

Start by removing your cluster and cleaning the connections. Instructions are in Techinfo if you need them.
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Old 11-17-2005, 01:39 PM   #3
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Ok, I'll try that. Doesn't look TOO complicated, a nice project for my day off.
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Old 11-17-2005, 01:53 PM   #4
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It'* really quite simple to get the cluster out. Should take a first-timer no more than 30-45 minutes to free it up.

If you're a bit more ballsy, some of us take the cluster apart very carefully, layer by layer. Simply taking it apart and putting it back together can clean the contacts enough to get things working again.

Some cluster problems are board-related, rather than just the master connection.
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Old 11-17-2005, 02:34 PM   #5
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The board related issues we've seen so far seem to be concentrated on the 92-95 models, however it could apply to any cluster.

I'll add that this sounds cable related as well. Clean the cables at the starter and all grounds off the negative cable first. The corrosion you saw is probably at both ends of both postive and negative cables.
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Old 11-22-2005, 12:05 AM   #6
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And I'll chime in that battery cable corrosion usually wicks through the entire cable, so just making the cable ends shiny will only help for a very short time, you'll want to replace the positive cable at the very least. (I realize you also have a cluster problem.)
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