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Buick Instrument Panel Cluster

One day I was driving our 2001 Buick Century Custom, and I noticed that the odometer wasn't lit up. At first I thought that a bulb was out, but this instrument panel cluster (IPC) is completely digital, so there are no bulbs. The odometer/tripometer is all LED segment displays. It wasn't until later I noticed that the transmission indicator was also unlit. This can be dangerous if you think you are in park and are actually in reverse and let off of the brake. My wife and I kind of just dealt with the absence of indicators for a few months until I finally got around to fixing it. 


1. Anytime I work on a vehicle, I am sure to disconnect the negative battery terminal. This little post wrench makes doing so a breeze.


 
4. Once everything is out of the way, the panel can be taken out. There were a couple of small bolts keeping it in place. 



7. This is the front side of the panel. The LED displays directly under the speedometer are not working.



10. This is the front of the circuit. The problem with the IPC is the cluster of resistors in the upper right corner.



13. With the resistors off, I cleaned the pads with some rubbing alcohol and put a drop of solder on each.

2. I had to take the front paneling completely apart to get to get the IPC out from behind the steering wheel. There were a lot of connectors...



5. The wire harness was on the left side of the panel, behind the oil temperature gauge. It was a bit tricky to get out; needle nose pliers were helpful.



8. This is the back side of the panel. There are tabs around the edge that lift up so the black piece comes off.



11. These resistors are completely spent. I barely touched them, and they broke clean off of the board.



14. It's OK if you screw up and have to bridge them like I did; the resistors are all in parallel anyway.

3. This tool is really helpful in prying out those plastic plugs that are used to hold a lot of the carpeted pieces in place.




6. Hopefully I remember how to put it all back together when I am done! For now, all of the small pieces are in a bowl. I take the IPC inside to work on.



9. This is the back side of the circuit. I had to pry it off the panel gauges a bit with a flat head screwdriver. 



12. There are four resistors that need to be replaced. Standard 1/4 Watt, 150Ω resistors should work fine.



15. Four parallel 150Ω resistors should have an equivalent resistance of 37.5Ω, so this looks good.