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Join Date: May 2007
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Problem with 996 cluster install in 986

Hi,

I just picked up a Cluster from a 2003 996 C2 Coupe serial no 996.641.981.73.70C
I have a 2002 986S
I run into one strange problem:
AFter I installed the 996 cluster, the clock does not come on at all: All the digits are "dead", meaning I see nothing at all, no 12:00 or anything like this.
Is this normal or did I get a bad cluster?
The guy who sold it to me swears that the cluster was in perfect condition when he took it out

Everything else seems to work: RPM, Sppedo, Fuel (a little off), water temp, etc
car starts fine with the new cluster

Any ideas?

Thanks

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2002 Boxster S, seal gray (A/X, DE # 179), PCA GG-Region
Miles: 95k (car) / 46k (engine)
2009 Carrera 4S, PDK, GT2 seats, meteor grey
AutoX: 21 / Track days: 40
Old 05-02-2011, 10:28 PM
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no AM/PM only the backlight
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2002 Boxster S, seal gray (A/X, DE # 179), PCA GG-Region
Miles: 95k (car) / 46k (engine)
2009 Carrera 4S, PDK, GT2 seats, meteor grey
AutoX: 21 / Track days: 40
Old 05-03-2011, 07:06 AM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #3 (permalink)
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Nevermind, figured out what is is (but don't know how to fix it):
The electrical connection between the clock and the circuit board is bad (if you press real hard against the face of the gauge the digits come on)
In addition the voltmeter is bad.

Lesson learned (as Wayne already writes in his book): All the cheap clusters you can find on eBay are probably junk (as was this).
Waste of money (and time)
__________________
2002 Boxster S, seal gray (A/X, DE # 179), PCA GG-Region
Miles: 95k (car) / 46k (engine)
2009 Carrera 4S, PDK, GT2 seats, meteor grey
AutoX: 21 / Track days: 40
Old 05-03-2011, 09:47 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #4 (permalink)
coolcavaracing.com
 
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What is wrong with the voltmeter?

If it is only the clock that is bad, then you might be able to pass it on to someone else that does not need the clock
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Pål (Paul) - The Norwegian lost in Finland...
1978 911SC 3.6 | 2001 Boxster S Racing Car | 1966 912 based 911 RSR replica racing car (for sale!)
come and follow the Porsche Sports Cup racing fun and me at www.facebook.com/coolcavaracing
Old 05-05-2011, 09:47 AM
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you might want to check speedo/gauge repair shops. They might be able to rebuild/fix what you have for a fraction of finding a good used one.
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:53 AM
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Orangebox
 
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Hey Chris,

Just to give it a shot see what Palo Alto speedometer Palo Alto Speedometer: Repair, Restoration, and Sales of Automobile Gauges wants to repair it. They know what they are doing, and usually you have to pay for that. Might not be worth it, but worth a try.

Shaun
Old 05-05-2011, 01:11 PM
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Thanks,

I've called them and they told me that they don't do repairs
Yes, I was a bit surprised about this too

But don't worry I have Plan B
I keep it under wraps at the moment, but it would be cool if it works out as I hope it will


Quote:
Originally Posted by smcgeary View Post
Hey Chris,

Just to give it a shot see what Palo Alto speedometer Palo Alto Speedometer: Repair, Restoration, and Sales of Automobile Gauges wants to repair it. They know what they are doing, and usually you have to pay for that. Might not be worth it, but worth a try.

Shaun
__________________
2002 Boxster S, seal gray (A/X, DE # 179), PCA GG-Region
Miles: 95k (car) / 46k (engine)
2009 Carrera 4S, PDK, GT2 seats, meteor grey
AutoX: 21 / Track days: 40
Old 05-05-2011, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kroggers View Post
What is wrong with the voltmeter?

If it is only the clock that is bad, then you might be able to pass it on to someone else that does not need the clock
When you turn on the ignition the needle goes down all the way and vibrates like crazy for like 5 seconds
After that it shows around 8 Volt (even though the real voltage is 13.5).
Yes I tried to adjust the needle but it goes auto-magically back to the same state
__________________
2002 Boxster S, seal gray (A/X, DE # 179), PCA GG-Region
Miles: 95k (car) / 46k (engine)
2009 Carrera 4S, PDK, GT2 seats, meteor grey
AutoX: 21 / Track days: 40
Old 05-05-2011, 11:10 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #10 (permalink)
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Plan B: "When all got are lemons, make lemonade...."

So quick recap where we left off last time:
I got a used (cheap) cluster from eBay and even though it was advertised as pristine, it turned out as semi-junk with the following parts broken/non-working:
digital clock, analog speedo, voltmeter
I didn't get anywhere with the seller (who claimed that everything was A-OK when he shipped it) and figured before I go into a nasty dispute with the seller, let's explore all the options here.
And one more motivation was that I noticed that my cluster came from a C2 convertible, so at least I would not have to look for someone with a PIWIS to reprogram the cluster. So it was worth to look at more options.
So my next step was to contact speedo repair places and get quotes. Some of them don't repair VDO at all; the other's gave me astronomically high estimates.
So no luck here either.


So back to the forums, and here is where I had my breakthrough.
I found the following thread (look at page #2) Cluster Odomoter Removal DIY, mileage reset ! - Page 2 - Rennlist Discussion Forums

This helped me to figure out that a 996 cluster consists of the following modules (after you take it apart, which is actually pretty easy)
* the plastic outer shell
* the voltmeter and the oil pressure meter which easily detach
* the plastic back plate
* the main board, which is the brain of the unit (the mileage is stored here)
* the three main instruments: speedo, tachometer, gas/water temp, they are "dumb" instruments and just follow do what the main board tells them to do

So now after you completely disassemble a 996 cluster and a 986 cluster and put them side by side you can't help but notice that most units look almost identical

* the plastic shell - identical
* the voltmeter and the oil pressure meter which easily detach - they are (obviously) unique to the 996 cluster
* the plastic back plate - identical
* the main board - looks ALMOST the same, with the only tiny difference that it has two quick connects for the flat ribbon cables for the voltmeter and oil pressure meter (and of course the 996 board has the dot matrix display and he 986 board has the old school display)
* the three main instruments: speedo, tachometer, gas/water temp - almost identical, the only difference is that the 996 speedo goes to 200 mph and the 986 speedo only to 175 (more about that later)

So now let's review my problem again:
Besides the broken voltmeter (where I was able to get a spare one from a member of this board) all the other broken parts (clock and analog speedo) are all in the same module
So I said what the heck and transplanted the "speedo, tachometer, gas/water temp" module from the 986 cluster into the 996 and otherwise reused all the 996 cluster parts and put it back together

BINGO! Everything works!
I now have a 996 cluster with the two addional gauges and with the much cooler dot matrix display in the middle

Two small problems remain:
a) remember the 200 mph speedo from the 996 vs. the 175 mph speedo from the 986?
Yes, the main board still thinks that the speedo goes to 200 mph and therefore the analog speedo is a bit "behind", no biggie as I rarely look at it anyways
b) I now have the 3 main gauges with white/silver faceplates from the 986S while the two side instruments have black faceplates

I could fix both issues easily by replacing the three main face gauges with the black ones from the bad 996 unit (I actually prefer the black "Le Mans" look over the silver "Ricer" look)
I am just too worried that I will either break the needles or throw them off calibration when doing this...so maybe someone can share some tips here

But otherwise I am one happy camper now
I hope that this report will one day help someone who faces a similar issue

Happy Boxstering
__________________
2002 Boxster S, seal gray (A/X, DE # 179), PCA GG-Region
Miles: 95k (car) / 46k (engine)
2009 Carrera 4S, PDK, GT2 seats, meteor grey
AutoX: 21 / Track days: 40
Old 05-11-2011, 08:05 PM
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Orangebox
 
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Awesome! way to use your head and pull this off.
Old 05-11-2011, 08:32 PM
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Good result - post a picture will you. Interested to see how the silver and black looks together...
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Pål (Paul) - The Norwegian lost in Finland...
1978 911SC 3.6 | 2001 Boxster S Racing Car | 1966 912 based 911 RSR replica racing car (for sale!)
come and follow the Porsche Sports Cup racing fun and me at www.facebook.com/coolcavaracing
Old 05-11-2011, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kroggers View Post
Good result - post a picture will you. Interested to see how the silver and black looks together...
Sorry,

shortly after posting I found the following article Speed Yellow Gauge Faceplate - Articles which gave me enough confidence to change the faces to all black, so no more chance to take pics

Well the story actually continues here, I guess the article gave me a little too MUCH confidence:
Another lesson learned: Be EXTREMLY careful when removing the needles. If you pull too hard or don't apply equal pressure on both sides you will dislocate the very fragile and delicate cogs inside the "transmission" of the gauge (what drives the needle). The result will be that the needle is totally loose and the instrument will be useless.

Well you guess it: It happened to me. I had removed all needles very carefully using a "fork" tool from an interior removal kit. I even took a picture where the needles pointed before I took them off and carefully put them back on exactly the way they were after I changed the faces.
Nevertheless, for some reason the tachometer was now 2,000 RPM behind.
So I pulled this needle off again and put it back in, in the correct way and that's when it happened, CRACK

Short story: I now know more about 996/986 dashboard gauges that I ever wanted to. After completely dis- and resembling the tacho and the gears I got it working again, but believe me: I hope I will never have to do this again...
__________________
2002 Boxster S, seal gray (A/X, DE # 179), PCA GG-Region
Miles: 95k (car) / 46k (engine)
2009 Carrera 4S, PDK, GT2 seats, meteor grey
AutoX: 21 / Track days: 40
Old 05-13-2011, 10:32 PM
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