Bad gauge cluster draining battery

Discussion in 'Interior' started by tooeasy, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. tooeasy

    tooeasy Member

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    2003 Tahoe LS. All gauges (Including speedo and tach) were dead on start up on Saturday, Jan 4, 2019.

    PRNDSL was also flickering rapidly. Drove truck for about 8 miles, it sat for an hour, all gauges worked normally for return trip. Checked the fuse for IPC/DIC, it was okay, but installed a new one anyway.

    On Monday, all gauges were dead again on start up. Drove vehicle a few miles, all warning lights flashed in concert at approx 4 second intervals for a couple of miles, DIC scrolled before settling on “Service Brake Booster”. (No brake problem has been detected.)

    Went to start it Wednesday and the battery was nearly dead and starter would only click.

    Charged battery with my booster charger, started vehicle, gauges remained dead.

    On Friday same thing happened and again on Saturday. Made sure battery was charged,

    battery checked okay with load tester, and charging system checked at 14.4 volts.

    Removed cluster. Drove vehicle approx 10 miles with several restarts, no problem.

    Started vehicle Sunday with cluster removed, truck started easily, so it seems the "dead" gauges were somehow drawing the battery down. While the cluster was out for repair, battery was fine.

    Sent the cluster off for a rebuild, reinstalled it and it worked for the first day, about a 15 mile ride.
    The next day when I started it the gauges made chunking noises and the needles jumped up and down, and then they all died again. And sure enough, it sat for a couple of days and the battery is dead.

    So my question is, does anyone know of any issue that can cause the gauges to fail like this?

    The truck runs fine with the cluster removed, and the battery doesn't discharge.

    The only electrical modifications I've done to the truck is replacing the interior lamps with LEDs. and a Kenwood stereo when I got the truck two years ago. I've noticed that a few of the interior lights have been flickering, but this has been happening for six months or more, so I can't see a connection with the gauge problem.

    It seems to me that there must be something causing the gauges to fail, rather than just failing on their own just because that's what they do.

    FWIW, the cluster was replaced at the GM dealer in 2009 (at a cost of $485) long before I got the truck.

    Anyone have any ideas?
     
  2. Doubeleive

    Doubeleive Supporting Member

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    no there is nothing external that would cause the cluster to take a crap they just do, flickering interior led's would be a separate issue either replace them or sometimes if the tabs on the connectors are not tight they may flicker most aftermarket interior led's don't last long so always buy extra's and replace them as needed.
    I would send that cluster back to whoever repaired it and have them fix it right or exchange it
     
  3. adriver

    adriver Full Access Member

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    Was that when it was -50 degrees up there, or something ridiculous like that? (just throwing out ideas).
     
  4. tooeasy

    tooeasy Member

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    Yeah went from -4 degrees to 48 above in 72 hours. Crazy.
     
  5. tooeasy

    tooeasy Member

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    Just keeps getting odder... after a week of dead gauges, everything came back when I started it this morning.
    What the heck?
    Started it again this afternoon and the gauges came on then went off repeatedly for 1-2 minutes before deciding to stay on for the rest of the day. ???
     

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