Instrument cluster swap and/or Trip Odometer repair!

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SoobyToo58
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:35 am
Location: South East PA

Instrument cluster swap and/or Trip Odometer repair!

Post by SoobyToo58 »

I'm looking to swap out a used instrument cluster in place of the original or possibly repair the Trip Odometer because my A & B Trip Odometers do not reset and I like to use these features often. I'd like to know if doing any of this will change or reset my vehicle mileage odometer reading or cause any problems with that.

Does the instrument cluster itself have some kind of memory in it where the vehicle mileage is stored or is that information stored somewhere else in the vehicle?

Will swapping instrument clusters give my vehicle the vehicle mileage of the instrument cluster donor vehicle?

I recently saw an identical smashed up instrument cluster in a salvage yard Subaru wreck. Someone had smashed up the instrument cluster trying to remove the whole dashboard. I think it was an early 2000s Outback. I figured it was busted up anyway and I was curious so I pulled it apart and broke into it and saw that at the end of the reset button, which is the long thin black plastic rod or plunger that goes into the face of the cluster, there is a tiny (less than a 1/4" square) electronic component with a tiny rubber push button on it that is soldered onto the instrument clusters green electronics board. The black plastic (plunger?) button that you push to reset the trip odometer presses the button on the electronic component with the tiny rubber push button on the electronics board!

Sorry if I'm being very wordy here but I wanted to explain all this correctly to avoid confusion and so anyone reading this will know exactly what I'm talking about.

I'm no old hand at these things but I have successfully done some small electronics soldering before and I'd like to know if I should just change out the electronic component with the tiny rubber push button on the existing cluster or swap the whole cluster?

Will swapping instruments clusters mess up my vehicle mileage readout? Will it zero out the readout?

I'm worried that if it gets messed up or changed in any way that it will be a big problem if I ever sell the vehicle.

Will removing the existing cluster, replacing the tiny rubber push button and reinstalling the existing cluster cause an irreversible odometer problem?

I don't want a future potential buyer thinking that I screwed around with the odometer and lowered the real vehicle mileage.

Is there some sort of procedure when swapping the instrument clusters, aside from disconnecting the battery, that should be followed to avoid any potential odometer problems?

Is there some sort of safety procedure when changing the tiny rubber push button on the electronics board that should be followed to avoid causing any electronics or odometer problems?

Are there procedures to follow to avoid shorting out the board and causing irreversible problems or anything like that?
ZUBAJA
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Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: Instrument cluster swap and/or Trip Odometer repair!

Post by ZUBAJA »

I have the same problem, and a similar post here somewhere. What I know so far: This seems to be a somewhat popular problem, but no posted solution (other that speedo replacement). The accumulated odometer mileage WILL stay on the replacement speedo. if you put it in your car, this is the mileage people will see. SOME STATES have a place on titles or registrations to accommodate replacement speedometers (last mileage - replacement mileage) However - some states will also flag your title "mileage not accurate" (like this really matters on a 15+ year old and 200K miles car :roll: )
I can also tell you the reset happens because power (memory power) is interrupted from the odometer (disconnect your battery and it resets). I was not successful in spraying contact cleaner in the back of my speedo. There are places where you can send your speedometer and have the accumulated odometer mileage altered to match yours. IIRC, it is around 100-150 for this service.
My plan: tomorrow, I'm hitting the boneyard. I'm primarily after a gray dash to replace my black one (HOT!!!!!). I hope to score a speedometer with slightly higher mileage than mine, and when I get close to that, I will swap. Hope this helps. Dennis
ZUBAJA
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Re: Instrument cluster swap and/or Trip Odometer repair!

Post by ZUBAJA »

So the latest on the speedometer / odometer / trip reset deal. Ain't gonna happen. I pulled a cluster at the boneyard this morning. Opened it up and pulled the speedometer. The odometer module stayed with the cluster. It turns out, the odometer is a separate unit and is soldered in by about 10 pins to the back of the circuit board. Now you MIGHT be able to swap circuit boards - but you might not. What I DID find is the reset button may (note MAY, I didn't think to check into it that far - that's when my work called me out there :roll:) well, it may be that the reset switch can be replaced. Sometime this weekend, I will pull my cluster and see. I'll post more pictures then.
cluster with speedo removed.
cluster with speedo removed.
IMG_1184.JPG (132.16 KiB) Viewed 584 times
back side of speedometer
back side of speedometer
IMG_1183.JPG (123.78 KiB) Viewed 584 times
ZUBAJA
Scoobytruck Master
Posts: 181
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: Instrument cluster swap and/or Trip Odometer repair!

Post by ZUBAJA »

I didn't make pictures because I got caught up in what I was doing :oops:. I DID manage to get the trip reset / Trip A-B working though. You have to pull the cluster (the flasher plug is a bear to get released). You disassemble the cluster (there are little tabs that must be released to get the lens, black bezel, and the inner and outer inside (white) covers off. To remove each (any) gauges, there are two little metal tabs (on the back side of the circuit board) that have to be bent out and the gauge pulls right out. In my earlier picture, I show the black reset button. It can be removed, or it comes off with the white cover. You need to access the circuit board. Under where the black button went is a small switch box that is soldered to the circuit board. It is about 3/8 square and has a gray rubber boot in the center). It is at the lower right corner of the odometer module. There are 4 solder joints on the back of the board that hold this switch in place. If you want to do it REALLY right, find an electronic supply and get a new switch and solder it in. You could also get a switch from a cluster in a boneyard (check to make sure it works right first). I powered up about 4 different cars in the yard to verify the resets worked - all did, but I didn't get any because I hadn't figured out about the switch yet.
What I did (try at your own risk): The switch has a little gray rubber boot. I pried the boot out, and cleaned the contacts inside and the inside of the boot and did the best I could to get it back together (couldn't get it all the way back in the groove). I put it all back together and it worked.
Hope this helps someone. If you have any questions, ask here and I will try to help. When I can, I will get back to a boneyard and get pictures of all of this. I will also take a battery powered solder gun and get another switch to do it right this time. Dennis
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