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I need some fresh ideas on an electrical issue that I am having with a 1998 Sebring Convertible. I purchased the car needing some transmission repair. It still drove like it should, but the front pump in the trans whined, badly. The tach was also reading backwards (the needle went down when accelerating, and up when you let off the gas). I am not sure of other gauge funtions at that time. I attempted to drive it before repairing it, and made it almost 50 miles before the trans went out. In the process of limping home, I got a "no buss" reading in the odometer spot, and it would not shift out of second gear.
I took the car to my transmission guy, and he rebuilt the trans and replaced some electrical parts in it. He explained that the trans was not communicating correctly with the Body Control Module, which had given me the "no buss" message, and that the BCM was probably what the tach issue was as well. The trans was working correctly after repair with the existing BCM, but tach was still backwards. Not wanting to spend $575 for a new BCM, I got one in a salvage yard and swapped them. The car drove home properly with the replacement BCM, but the tach was still reading backwards. And my car now had 16k more miles on it than before.
Five or so miles of driving later, the tach just started working, and continued working another ten miles or so home. I thought that maybe it was a dash cluster issue, and not the BCM that was affecting the tach, and I wanted my mileage correct on the car. So I re-installed the old BCM to see what would happen to the tach. After installing the old BCM, I had no gauge function at all-no spedometer, tach, gas gauge, or PRNDL readout. Confused, but figuring that the old BCM really was possessed, I put the replacement back in. But still no instrument readings. The car starts & drives properly, turn signals, radio, lights, and heater controls all work. The dash cluster fuse is good. I am stuck on what do look at next. I can get another BCM to try it out, but I have a feeling my problem lies elsewhere. Any thoughts????
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It could be a bad instrument cluster, but swapping parts as a diagnostic method can get expensive. You might consider biting the bullet and taking it to the dealer. They can (for a fee of about $85) hook up their DRB III readout unit to communicate with the computer and see what's going on. The freebie readout at Autozone won't be able to read the body computer codes.
Then the question will be how to fix it? The dealer likes to replace expensive modules with nice new ones, and they always seem to want to start with the most expensive things first. Given the age of the vehicle, you probably will want to decide for yourself where to get parts that the dealer's diagnostic work suggests need replacing.
OK, now I am really puzzled! Yesterday I decided to drive the car to work, even though I had no spedometer, tach, or gas gauge. Imagine my suprise when the dash cam back to life while backing out of my driveway! It stayed on an functioned properly the entire way to work, about 32 miles. Great, right? Well, when I left to go home, I had no dash readouts, again. Only this time, when I turned on the right blinker, the left flashed on the dash, and vise-versa. Also, the spedometer and tach would "jump" with the blinker arrow flashes. After making a short stop, I restarted the car, and once again got the "no buss" message in the odometer area. This morning, I still do not have dash function, but the no buss error message is gone. Any thoughts???
Maybe there's a bad ground to the dash cluster. The tach dropping when the blinker light comes on makes me think that. You could try pulling out the cluster and cleaning all the contacts on the connecting wiring. Then try hunting down a ground strap for the dash and cleaning that connection. If you can do the labor yourself, it could be an inexpensive solution.
Some of the other sites for Stratus and Neons have had similar issues with dashes.
The things were all soldered poorly for the most part when manufactured. These solder connections are pointed out and when re-flowed with new solder and flux they clear up many and sometimes all the issues your experiencing. If you can not solder, or don't know someone who does, then you may have to go to a junk yard and pick and pull. Sometimes you find one even worse so its to your advantage to solder them up and be done with it.
Word of caution though, if your not a person with electronic experience you will trash what ever is wrong with your board. So I would recommend getting someone who is.
I even thought that some place on the web you could send your dash board and have them completely repair it for less then the price of a new one but they do it on a bench with a signal tester and get everything functional before returning it.
Let us know what you find out!
If it was easy someone else would be doing it!
Success!! I now have gauges. Saturday, I was out searching the local self-service salvage yards for a fender for a 1999 Breeze and noticed a really clean 2000 Cirrus. After removing the fender, I noticed that the dash & gauge layout was just like my Sebring. But it had fancier looking numbers/letters and chrome rings around the gauges. So I pulled it as well. I had planned to re-solder the connections on my old cluster, but decided to gamble the $20 on the used part. I now have all gauges reading properly, including the tach, and it looks a lot classier than the plain black stock gauge panel. I did add a few twist-in bulbs to the panel that were not in it, but the wiring on the plugs was identical. Of course, this was after I ran out of fuel on the way to the salvage yard, on the interstate, but that's another story....