I had intermittent gauge problems and various dash lights coming on for no good reason. I thought it was the instrument cluster at first. I was lucky enough to have a buddy that had a spare cavalier cluster to try! It didn't help.
I eventually discovered that I had a bad ground.
It finally made sense that it seemed to happen more when reversing or turning. What happens when we reverse or turn. A reverse or signal light turns on! Big current draw from the lights over a bad ground (high resistance) causes a large voltage drop. This means the electronics in the cluster don't have a high enough voltage to operate correctly. (Can you tell my background is electronics!)
Anyway, check the negative battery cable. The main cable had another cable crimped to it and bolted to the chassis. On my car the crimp had broken and was only resting on the cable.
I soldered the cable to where it was crimped and I haven't had any problems since.
I hope this helps someone!
Friday, March 19th, 2010 AT 1:15 PM