Why change mechanics? You don't run to a different doctor each time you don't like the diagnosis, do you? Very often a diagnosis is a process of elimination, especially when computers are involved. Mechanics don't fix down to the component level like I did when repairing tvs, so very few of them know about the loose connector pins. All they know is they send the cluster out for repair, and it comes back working. Even when they DO know what to suspect, if they have your best interest at heart, they are not going to try to solder the pins themselves. There's a good chance they will solve the problem, but there's also a good chance it will still act up intermittently. All mechanics know they are held to much higher standards than doctors. If your vehicle isn't fixed right the first time, you consider them incompetent and run to a different mechanic who has to start the diagnosis all over. We keep going back to our doctor until he DOES come up with the proper diagnosis.
Because of that high standard, we do not repair alternators or starters. We replace them with professionally rebuilt units. I repair them on MY Caravans and I save a lot of money, but I'm putting new parts into old assemblies. There's a chance something else could fail a week later. All customers know is the repaired part failed again, and they're angry. Never mind the mechanic tried to save you money, ... You're mad. To avoid that, we replace assemblies at a much higher cost to you, but we can blame that on the cost of the part, and it takes a lot less time that we have to charge for.
I shared what the probable cause is of your intermittent gauges but not the whole solution. If your mechanic has good soldering skills he may attempt to repair the pins himself. If he is unwilling to take the chance, have him remove the cluster, then take it to a local tv repair shop, if you can still find one. Most were put out of business years ago by RCA and North American Philips, (Sylvania / Magnavox / Philips). If the gauges still act up, I'd start with installing a used cluster from a salvage yard. The problem here is there really isn't anything you can test. You have to just replace parts until the problem no longer shows up. That is the least effective way to make a diagnosis, but with computers, it's about the only way. If the used cluster solves the problem, you can decide if you want to send your original cluster to a specialty shop for repair. That will maintain the correct mileage on the odometer. If you still have trouble, the Body Computer would be the next suspect.
Wednesday, December 25th, 2013 AT 4:47 PM