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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
[tl;dr- seems I may have a problem with the cluster harness plug? Cluster came to life in my hands as I was removing it from the dash. Once in 17 years? See if it repeats.]

Took a drive the other night and discovered that my instrument panel has stopped functioning. I've done some basic troubleshooting what I've discovered is as follows:

Function: No gauge movement, No lights (backlights, gear indicator, info display, parking brake) except turn signal indicators and stock theft deterrent system light (though this lights, then slowly fades out. is the fade normal or is fast on/fast off the norm?) works. On the exterior- headlights work, parking lights work, flashers work (when using the 4-way hazards) though I'm not hearing the 'click-click-click-click' when the flashers cycle. My Engine Service light is typically off, but I'm assuming the problem applies there as well since nothing lights when I turn the key to position 1.

Fuses: all fuses in the under-hood panel have continuity when tested with a multimeter across the exposed test points on the top of the fuse.

I know the ground splices are suspect and I know the headlight switch is suspect- everything /seems/ to function there? The button turns on the bed cargo light and the dial switch seems to cycle between auto/parking/headlights correctly... the dimmer dial is working according to the (working) lights on the hazard button, heat/ac controls and the radio display.

Anybody have thoughts? A lot of my searches have led to problems that didn't quite start like mine, so thought I'd ask and see if anyone sees something I'm missing... I feel like the slow fade on the theft-deterrent light might mean something... like maybe supporting the bad ground hypothesis, maybe? I'm also looking for thoughtful testing tips like 'remove the cluster and test between pins X and Y of the harness with your multimeter'...
 

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Welcome to the Nation.

A new and different problem!! It appears that you have lost power to the Instrument Cluster. Recheck the 10A Cluster fuse in the fuse box. If you are sure that it is good (maybe replace it or swap with another), the next step would be to pull the cluster and check for battery voltage at the connector terminal for the Orange wire. There is an inline connector in the circuit, but it is difficult to access.

The ground for the cluster is G300 which is under the carpet under the driver's seat. If you have a test light, connect one lead to battery positive and probe the Black/White wire in the connector with the other lead. If the light illuminates, the gound should be good. I say "should" because that doesn't confirm that it will carry the current, just that the circuit is complete.

The gauges are controlled with the Data Bus circuit, but for them to function you need power to the logic board in the cluster.

Keep us posted.
 

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While you are in the area, make sure there hasn't been some water intrusion in the area of the left kick panel. That inline connector that I spoke of above (40 pin capacity) is in the cavity above the kick panel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the attention and advices.

Looked at the wires under the driver seat. Gave them a wiggle. Nothing.
Pulled the Instrument Cluster fuse and replaced it with new. Still nothing.
Flexed and wiggled the under hood ground packs once more. Keeping the streak.
Abuse tested the headlight switch for good measure. Perfect record.

Then... I collected tools and started removal of the cluster intending to check the orange wire as you mentioned... Got the bezel off (I hate press fit plastic parts... see: grille replacement), found two screws holding it in... found two more screws holding it in. Now... disclaimer... I know I shouldn't have, but I was doing all this with the battery connected and the ignition on accessory... but as I was removing the cluster to turn it around to get at the plug I felt it start to vibrate in my hand. Flipped to the front and was still surprised that I was seeing lights...

Got everything back assembled (getting those upper cluster screws back in was honestly about the hardest part- aside from the brain twister of trying to figure things out), plugged in my bluetooth ODB reader, cleared the codes (thankfully all BCM and voltage errors still) and gave it a test start.

Things seem back to good?
Thanks again :)
 

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That's good news!! It wasn't a waste of time because now you know how to remove the cluster. You did insure the connector was locked in place, right? Yeah the screws are a bit frustrating to install. I usually use a bit of masking tape on the screw heads to hold them in the socket.

Now, unless you found something that you know caused the issue, don't be too surprised if it returns. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Usually don't mind the time involved, more the wear and tear... like when I was reinstalling the cluster bezel and I almost broke the trip reset push rod because I didn't quite notice the path the bezel needed to follow to get under it before going back...

But counter to that idea- I also didn't intentionally fix it because I do want to see if it happens again... was it because it managed to giggle loose after 17 years... or is it maybe indicative of a growing problem. So I just pressed the plug to hopefully seat it better (I never actually unplugged the cluster) and if it happens again I'll know what I'm doing and to plug my hot glue gun in so it can preheat while I pull the cluster again.

That said- yesterday while driving this or associated issues showed themselves so I'll be continuing to keep an eye on things. (I had cluster function, but no lights (originally no lights, no functions) and it seems the issue extended into the fan selector (no fan on any speed setting but the A/C indicator light was lit) and lasted until I was about 20 miles down the road.
 

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You may be having more than one issue. Regarding the blower. If it is inoperative, at all speed settings, you could have a defective ground. If the problem was with the resistor module you would still have high speed.

Remove the air filter case in the engine compartment. Behind it, mounted on the fender wall, is a small black box held with one bolt, with a bunch of black wires going into it. Remove the single mount bolt and clean the box tab, both sides, and the fender surface at the mount. That box is the ground point for the blower circuit.
 

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After an hour with everything closed and the vehicle sitting in my garage
Disconnect the negtive battery termenial, and attach a mulimeter 10Amp test Red to battery Black to Black battery terminal

Having An Issue Also with cluster, I have 0.14 Amps draw when vehicle is off so every 2 days i need to jump my truck. When i pull the 10Amp Cluster fuse out the amp draw goes down to 0.7 amps on my meter. when i remove the TBC 10 Amp Fuse the mulimeter goes down to 0.0 Draw. Now i need help to determine if the Body Control Module needs to be replaced or could it be something else. Also where can i purchase a BCM and where can i get it programmed to the vehicle and the alarm in LOS ANGELES, if that is the problem to my vehicle.
 
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