Introduction: Caprice Classic (1996) Digital Speedometer Fix

Picture of Caprice Classic (1996) Digital Speedometer Fix

Caprice Classic Digital Speedometer has GONE DARK!!
Now how fast am I really going?!
(OK so the picture shows it working, because I took the pictures after fixing the problem)

Sometimes it starts working again at random, most of the time its black.

Don't bother taking it to the garage. Don't fear having to completely remove the dash to fix it.

In about an hour (or less) you can fix it yourself, no need for parts, no special GM tools!

You will need:
T15 Torx screwdriver
7mm nut driver
soldering gun (optional)
solder (optional)
Petroleum jelly
rubbing alcohol
cotton swabs
napkins/paper towels
pose-able thumbs
1.5 elbows in each arm (or just one arm will do)
pillow

Step 1: Remove Gauge Bezel

Picture of Remove Gauge Bezel

Remove two screws with 7mm nut driver.
Pull bezel to remove (bottom has spring clips)

Step 2: More Screws!

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Remove gauge cluster screws (four) using 7mm nut driver.

Step 3: Remove Even More Screws

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Now remove the perimeter screws (eight) holding the gauge cluster lens.
(This step eliminates the need to remove the entire lower dash panel)
Then the cluster ring/trim
Then the gauge face trim.
Then the tinted speedometer lens

Then you can remove the cluster itself through the dash opening.

Step 4:

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Remove the shifter indicator clip from the steering column collar under the dash.

Step 5:

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Once the cluster is out:
Remove the four screws to remove the display.
Be careful it is actually made of GLASS.
Don't make them like that anymore.

Step 6:

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Once the display is out, flip it over.
There it is!
The little spring contacts has driven right into the solder contacts on the back of the display circuit board.

This loose connection causes the digital display to be faded or completely blacked out.

The next steps will be what I did to repair them. You could try just cleaning them or slightly sanding them but the material is missing and in my opinion the best way would be to build up the contact points to press down the spring contacts in the cluster base making a better connection.

Step 7:

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Adding solder to the contacts of the digital display.

Be careful when using a standard soldering gun.  For circuit boards it tends to get hot quickly (as you will see I accidentally overheated one of the contacts and it came right off! - it wasn't used anyway)

Adding solder carefully, contacts are not evenly coated and some built up quite a bit.

A smaller tip or soldering iron would be easier (but not necessary)

Step 8:

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Sand the contacts down with nail file.

Lightly sand contaminants off the spring contacts too.

All better!  smooth and flat (slightly raised) contacts

Step 9:

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Clean everything up with cotton swabs and alcohol.

Then a little petroleum jelly to prevent any future corrosion.

Step 10:

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Do a test in the car with the display and cluster to be sure its fixed.

Step 11:

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Installation is reverse of removal

digital display 4 screws

tinted lens

cluster trim face

cluster trim ring

clear lens then the eight screws to hold it all together

plus the four screws to hold the cluster in place.

then test it again.

Step 12:

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Don't forget the shifter indicator cable.

This is where you need the 1.5 elbow and pillow.

No sense in removing the access panel under the steering column, there's a steel bracket there blocking access.

Use the pillow, place it on the floor at the pedals.

Recline the seat fully.

get in the car upside down and place the clip on the shifter collar

Step 13:

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Back together and works great!

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