Introduction: DIY: Finally! How to Repair a GM Instrument Cluster at Home - Speedometer and All Gauges. for Silverado, Tahoe, Yukon, Suburban, Sierra, H2, Avalanche and Other 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 Chevrolet GM Vehicles.
In this tutorial you'll learn how to repair a sticky, stuck, jumpy or dead GM speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, oil pressure gauge, volt meter, water temperature gauge and transmission temperature gauge.
The parts and tools needed are available here: GM Stepper Motors
If after reviewing the procedure you decide you'd rather have it done for you with lifetime warranty and free shipping you can get that done here: GM Gauge Repair If you have problems with your 03-06 GM cluster that aren't covered by this tutorial you can email here to find out your options: GM Cluster Problem Questions
Step 1: How to Remove a Chevy GM Silverado Instrument Cluster
After pulling off the trim bezel by hand (they have no screws on most models, they just pop off by pulling firmly.) you'll find a few 1/4" screws holding in the instrument cluster. Remove them and you will then be able to angle the instrument cluster out. You may need to tilt the steering wheel down and move the shifter down to make room.
There will be one electrical plug in the back. You remove it by squeezing the tabs together and then pull back firmly while wiggling. It can be seized in place, pull and wiggle firmly and it will break loose.
Step 2: Removing the Clear Plastic Lens
Next up you'll need to remove the clear plastic lens. You'll need to use a small tool to pry out on the tabs while pulling up on the lens assembly to remove it. Work your way around one tab at a time, you can insert a pencil or similar item between the lens and the body to hold them apart while working your way around.
Step 3: Removing the Needles the Right Way
Ok now you'll need a few pieces of masking tape and a pen or marker. Rotate all the needles counter clockwise gently until the come to a stop, they should all stop at or just below the zero marks. Now make a pen mark on the tape just below the top of each needle. This will be important when you put it back together to maintain calibration so don't skip this step.
Step 4: Needle Removal
Now that you've made your calibration marks firmly rotate each needle further counter clockwise a few inches. You'll be rotating the needle around the motor's shaft so there will be some resistance especially at first. Don't worry, you won't break the needle if you keep your fingers near the base of the needle and away from the tip while you do this step.
Now pry upwards with a needle removal tool or even a fork, try to pry straight up and not at an angle, the needle will slide right off the motor shaft. Remove all the needles.
Step 5: Removing the Back Case and Circuit Board
Now pry outwards on the tabs of the back case to remove it, similar to how you removed the front lens.
Now you can simply lift out the circuit board. In the final pic you can see 7 white stepper motors you'll be replacing.
Step 6: Motor De-soldering and Tools You'll Need
Ok you're now ready to remove the old gm stepper motors and replace them with new ones.
Tools you'll need:
- Solder iron (not solder gun, they're too hot)
- De-soldering bulb
- Pry tools
- GM stepper motors (one for each gauge, replace them all while you're in there!)
Use the de-soldering bulb and the solder iron to suck off the old solder on each of the four pins of each motor. Do not get it too hot for too long or you can damage the circuit board. Now you can pop the motors off the front of the board once all the old solder has been removed. If it's they're too difficult to remove you need to suck off more solder.
Step 7: Replacing the Old Stepper Motors With Your New Ones
Now you simply need to pop your new GM stepper motors where the old ones were, they will only install in one direction so you don't have to worry about mixing them up or getting it wrong. Make sure you get the correct part number when you buy your stepper motors (see link above for correct parts). Then you use the solder and iron to solder on a small amount of solder to each motor's pin. The solder should flow on smoothly, quickly and cool to a even shiny finish if done properly.
Place the circuit board back into the white center housing and snap on the black back housing. Now slide each needle back onto the shaft of each new motor being careful to slide it on smoothly and straight down not at an angle, to prevent bending the motor shafts. It doesn't matter what angle the needle is pointed at this step but, to make it easy slide them on pointing roughly at the 12:00 position.
Finally, rotate each needle counter clockwise until the tip of the needle points right to the mark on the masking tape that you made in a previous step. Remove tape and snap clear lens back on making sure to line up the odometer selector stalk. Clean the lens before installing if needed.
You're now ready to re-install the cluster and test our your gm instrument cluster repair job!
Step 8: Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What if I have light bulbs out too?
A. This is the perfect time to replace them, you can get the correct bulbs along with the stepper motors here: GM Instrument Cluster Lights they simply solder onto the board.
Q. What if I'd like blue LED lights, is that hard to do?
Q. Where can I buy the right parts to do this job?
A.You can get the correct fitting factory parts in a convenient DIY kit on Amazon here: GM Stepper Motors
A. Blue LEDs are very easy to install if you have the right ones made for 12V applications, you can get the right ones here: 12v Blue LED bulbs
Q. What if I have problems with the PRNDL shift indicator screen or the odometer screen?
A. Those problems are more advanced than my instructable covers, for options on having your screens re-done by a shop see here: PRNDL and odometer screen repair
Q. What if I replaced a motor and that gauge still doesn't work?
A. Probably what happened is the circuit board got too hot during the old solder removal causing damage to the board. See pic of a damaged board. This can still be fixed but you'll need a shop to do it.
Q. What if I'd like blue or white needles?
Q. What if my whole cluster intermittently goes out at the same time, all the gauges and lights go out except the check engine light?
A. If you're having this intermittent power failure you'll need a shop to repair the cluster, info here: Gauges randomly die at same time
Q. What if my odometer says ERROR?
A. Again that's something a shop would need to look into, see my links above.
Q. What if my needles are off a bit after I start up the vehicle?
A. In that case you'll simply need to unplug it, take the clear lens back off and rotate the needle counter clockwise until you get the needle to point right at the zero mark when it's plugged in and the key is ON. Make adjustments to the needle a little bit at a time (while unplugged) until you get it to point right at the zero mark. You may need to go 360 degrees counter clockwise all the way around stopping at the point you need to get it just right.
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