Gauges dont work

Tiny
GUCCIBASS
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • 155 MILES
I started my van and none of my gauges work
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Saturday, November 13th, 2010 AT 8:11 PM

23 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Start by checking under the dash. Make sure the wiring harness to the cluster is tight and connected. If that is good, you may have a bad cluster. Power will need to be checked to the cluster, ground as well.

Read the guide below on using a meter for testing

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-use-a-voltmeter

The wiring diagrams for the instrument cluster are attached below
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Sunday, November 14th, 2010 AT 7:00 AM
Tiny
JANESULLY
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 DODGE CARAVAN
Six cylinder front wheel drive automatic 175,000 miles.

My instrument cluster is not working. It has been an intermittent problem for the past two years. Now it has been off for two weeks. I am getting Code P0743 and P0140 scanned.

I know that P0140 is an oxygen sensor. Is the P0743 related to the instrument cluster? P0743 says it is the torque converter clutch/solenoid circuit. Do you think replacing the instrument cluster circuit board would fix the problem?
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
JACK42
  • MEMBER
Not likely. Those two codes are not related to each other or the instrument cluster. Do you have power at all the instrument/gauge fuses in the fuse block? If so the cluster may be bad or the board as you suggested. If no power, the ignition switch may be the cause.
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
GWOLKING
  • MEMBER
Does your vehicle have ABS? If so, when the panel is not working, does the ABS warning light come on and stay on full-time?

If so, I just recently solved the same problem on my 1998 Grand Caravan Sport. For about a year or so, the instrument panel would occasionally go dead (just the odometer and gauges panel illumination worked, as did the various warning and indicator lights in the strip above the panel except as noted below), but could be brought back to life with a well-placed thump on the dash with a rubber mallet.

Eventually, it quit working completely. Any time the panel was dead, the ((ABS)) warning light was on full-time while the engine was running. Sometimes the check engine light would come on, but would eventually go out on its own. I had the codes checked once at AutoZone. They said it was complaining about the EGR system, but the engine runs just fine. I am not positive, but I suspect that the error codes were a just side-effect of the malfunctioning panel.

As it turned out, the problem was caused by a poor solder joint on the instrument cluster circuit board, where the socket for the chassis wiring connector is attached to the board.

If you have already had the thing apart far enough to get the panel out. Try just wiggling the connector around with the ignition switch in the "run" position (second detent) and see if you can get the panel to light up. I got mine to the point where merely tapping the side of the connector with my fingertip would make the panel kick in and out.

Note: With the panel disconnected, you should read twelve volts on the pink lead in the chassis wiring connector with the ignition key in the "on" position. If not, the problem lies elsewhere.

If so, and you know how to use a soldering iron, you should be able to fix it yourself.

1. Remove the Phillips-head screws that hold the protective cardboard panel on the back of the module and remove the panel.

2. Remove the Phillips-head screws that hold the board in place.

(Note: All of these screws are the same size, so no worrying about which one goes where. It's been a while since I had it apart, but I believe there are a total of twelve screws, six for the protective panel, six for the board itself)

3. "Carefully" remove the ribbon cable from the connector at the bottom center of the circuit board. It should just pull straight out of the socket, but be careful not to bend the thing around too much once you get it loose.

4. Snap the board out of the module so you can get at the back side of it. (There are spring-loaded connectors on board that snap over the pins on the backs of the gauges just pull the board straight out the back of the module).

5. On the back side of the circuit board, touch up all of the solder joints that connect the chassis connector pins to the board. Reheat them just enough to get the existing solder to flow and apply a "very small" amount of fresh rosin-core solder.

(I am assuming that you know what a proper solder joint looks like no "blobs" or "whiskers").

Caution is the word here, do not apply too much heat or the circuit traces will peel away from the board. Allow each pin to cool before touching up the next.

6. Snap the board back into place over the pins on the gauges.

7. Reconnect the ribbon cable at the bottom.

8. Replace the screws that hold the board in the module. Finger-tight is plenty, you are putting metal screws into plastic holes. You do not want to either strip the holes or crack the board.

9. Reattach the protective cardboard panel.

10. Connect the module to the chassis wiring harness and test it before you screw it back into place in the vehicle (i.E, save yourself the hassle of wrestling it in and back out again if it does not work!). The odometer should turn on at the first detent of the ignition switch, and the gauges should come to life at the second detent.

10. If the panel works, the ABS warning light should go out, and the check engine light may go out after you've started the engine a couple of times. Mine did, and has not come back on since. If you want, read the codes and reset the light, then wait and see if it comes on again.

Good luck!

Greg.
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
MAYAROXBY
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 15,000 MILES
All my instruments went out, all fuses look ok. What could this be and how can I fix it?
Thanks!
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
It could be a few things. First, check the easiest things. Make sure the plugs in the rear of the panel are tight and in good condition. Next, if all looks good, then you need to have the BCM tested.

NOTE: Have you checked the fuses under the dash and the ones in the power distribution box under the hood? I believe there is a 40amp fuse under the hood that takes care of the inst panel. Also, just to make sure I understand, the gauges stopped working and not just the lights. Correct? I worked on one yesterday that the right parking lights didn't work and none of the dash would light. I found a shorted wire to the right front signal / parking light and fixed it. Then the signals worked but no dash lights. After replacing a 15 amp fuse for the right parking lights, everything started working. Nothing is mentioned anywhere about the two circuits being tied together unless you spend an hour looking at schematics. And I still don't understand why there has to be 2 circuits (one for left and the other right) for the park lights. They don't make things easy.

Let me know what you find.

Joe
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
MAYAROXBY
  • MEMBER
Thanks! I will check. Or have my husband check!
Thank you!
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Let me know what you find. Also, most of the vans have a cover over the fuse panel under the dash. THere are two plastic clips / screws. Just turn them a 1/4 turn and the will come off.

Joe
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
CARWARS247
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
1998 Dodge Caravan 3.3L engine: The instrument panel (gauges) are not working. That was the condition it was in when I picked it up from a shop about 2 hours ago. It took three weeks for this shop to find the fuse box- "one that works, " and when they told me it was running (today) I went and picked it up just to get it out of there. Anyway, I am trying to research this issue, and any help would mean the world to me!
Thank You!
CarWars247
p.S. One more question: are the gauges in a 1998 dodge caravan all ran in one fuse, or separate fuses?
If separate fuses, would it be more common or rare that all gauges in dash would go out at once?
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
They get power from different areas. The most common problem is a bad cluster.
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
CANADIANJOHNB
  • MEMBER
  • 1993 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 137,282 MILES
The dashboard gauges on my Caravan do not work (speedometer, RPM, oil, gas, and battery). All the other electrical is fine. I tried the fuses but that's not the problem. Also, at one point they came back on when I started the van only not work the next time I started the van after that. This makes think that there is a loose connection somewhere but I just don't know where to look.
Could it be something simple that I can take care myself?

With thanks,
John
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
LEGITIMATE007
  • EXPERT
Well it mostlikely one of two things, either the connection behind the gauges is loose, or the body control module has a bad connection at one of its leads, I ve experienced both of these possibilites, with my own and with a customers.
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
BIGMACSC1
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 295,000 MILES
I have a 96 dodge grand caravan es. When I got it the speedo, tach, fuel, temp, and odo gauges did not work. Then on the way home they all started working. Today they worked while I was driving around town and then I parked in my driveway and went to leave again later that night and none of them work. I have checked all the fuses on the drivers side inside and out. Am I missing some fuses somewhere? Also the radio works and I get static from the speakers when on am/fm. When you turn the power to it on and off I can here a clicking noise coming from the fuse panel under steering wheel. Please Help.
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
CH112063
  • MEMBER
You may be. Under the hood is a power distribution center. You may find a problem there. The ground for both the radio and instrument panel are in the center of the dash, back behind the radio, and next to your left foot is a trim panel, there is a ground there and in the same place on the other side. If you can find out which relay or module is clicking, it may be that also. So there are 5 spots to look. And if you use a 12 volt test light and ground its clip on any good piece of steel or frame, it will light. This is a power test. If you put your test light to 12 volts, it becomes a ground check. If you find the clicking relay or module, write down the color of the wires, and let me know. Remember, when checking for grounds with a test light, the key should be off, so be careful as you may blow a fuse in one of the two fuse locations. 1. Where you already looked and 2. In the power distribution center, a black covered box, under the hood. Is this a Dodge radio?
In the power center number 2, I spoke of, there should be a couple of spare fuses and relays, so you have them. Need a 12volt test light to test for power or ground. This is the least expensive way to test an automotive circuit. And the only way, to make sure a fuse is good, and has power.
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
AM and FM can both be intermittent on the Alpine-built cd / radio without cassette. I've repaired a lot of them. The repair is permanent but it's definitely not a do-it-yourself repair.

The Mitsubishi-built cd / cassette combo can develop intermittent FM only; not AM. These are also a complicated repair, but once repaired, it won't ever act up again. These problems stem from automated manufacturing techniques.

Besides what ch112063 mentioned, the connector pins on the back of the instrument cluster can work loose. Soldering them to the copper circuits is an effective repair.

Caradiodoc
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
GARYCH
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 215,000 MILES
I have a 1997 Dodge mini-van with 215,000 miles. The instrument gauges stop working completely. This includes the temperature, fuel, tachometer, speedometer, and odometer. Sometimes it's a combination of the above, or all at the same time. Sometimes it's only a few seconds at a time, but lately they stay off for hours (or days). What's going on?
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
That's typical of what happens when the insane engineers take a simple, reliable system and add a bunch of unnecessary computers. The main suspects are the Body Computer and the instrument cluster. If you have Chrysler's DRB3 scanner, you can access the gauge cluster and run the gauges up and down. If that works, suspect the Body Computer. If that doesn't work, suspect the cluster itself.

Before you replace the cluster, remove it and check the connector pins for loose connections on the printed circuit board. Soldering them will solve a lot of intermittent problems.
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
JIMSJOB
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 DODGE CARAVAN
Electrical problem
1997 Dodge Caravan 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 288k miles

My dash guages quit working
no speedo tack, mileage, cruise
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
PAJ1130
  • MEMBER
Most likely is your intrument cluster is bad. Best way to easily test and verify is to firmly smack the top center area of the instrument cluster ( may need to vary the location or smack more than once). Chances are if the gauges come back, it is the cluster. It still could be the cluster even if the gauges don't come back. Mine stopped responding to the smack down treatment after a couple of years and I finally had to throw in the towel and replace the cluster. It really is not a difficult task, only took about 30 minutes in the driveway to do. Good luck!
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)
Tiny
LADYIRONSIDE
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 DODGE CARAVAN
Electrical problem
1997 Dodge Caravan 6 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 156K miles

We changed the right front signal light bulb now the gauges as stated don't work, checked all the fuses they are fine, the ABS LIGHT AND ALARN SET LIGHTS are on can this process be connected?
Thanks
Carole
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Monday, November 19th, 2018 AT 6:13 PM (Merged)

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