New SI Board - still no speedo or tach? - ***SOLVED***

Why do I have to unlock my doors through my trunk?
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New SI Board - still no speedo or tach? - ***SOLVED***

Postby blasphemy101 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:30 pm

Like the title says, after installing a new SI board (along with testing several other clusters/gauges/SI boards). My Speedometer, Tachometer, and Current MPG gauges (always reads 40mpg) still don't seem to be working.

Here's a slightly interesting detail: If I turn the key to ON (not starting the car), the fuel and temp gauges move to their appropriate positions. The Tach and MPG gauge needs, however, flick like they're about to start moving. If I turn the key back to OFF, the Tach needle will glide up to 1000-1500 RPM and then move back down. If I try turning the key back to ON shortly after turning it on the first time, the needles will not flick.

After installing the board, do the batteries need time to charge? It is a 13/5 Pin board with the stubby batteries. My car is a 1987 325is.

Thanks!
- James

***SOLVED***

The issue was the coding plug on the front of the cluster. I'm not sure if it was from the wrong kind of car, but after replacing it, my Tach and MPG gauges came to life. They still do that weird flicker a moment after I turn the key to OFF.

Important thing to note: The resistance I found on the main ground for the blue plug was not an issue. Careful examination (there are small numbers indicating the numbers of the pins on the plug) revealed that the plugs for my cluster are laid out OPPOSITE of what is indicated in the Bentley manual. I imagine this is just an issue in the manual, as the cluster I used was from another car entirely.

Thanks for the help guys!
Last edited by blasphemy101 on Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New SI Board - still no speedo or tach?

Postby M20_fever » Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:43 am

welcome to e3p James. Have you checked that the grounds are all attached?
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Re: New SI Board - still no speedo or tach?

Postby blasphemy101 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:42 am

Thanks for the welcome - I really like the layout :)

I used my multimeter to go through the ground check procedure outlined in the Bentley manual. Everything checked out, except when checking the blue connector to the main ground (using the continuity tester), I think my multimeter did read .10 (should have read 0). I'm a complete novice when it comes to electronics like this. Could this be a lead on my problem? The main ground under the steering column looks fine.

However, looking under the steering column, I found these disconnected. They're both female. Any ideas what they plug into and if it could cause my problem?

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[EDIT] I almost forgot -the wires on the left are: red/white, brown/blue, and brown. The wires to the right are red/green, green/brown(?), and brown(?) going from memory and the picture, sorry. The colors of the disconnected wires appear to correspond with some of the connectors on the back of the instrument cluster.
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Re: New SI Board - still no speedo or tach?

Postby Yoshi » Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:16 pm

I remember similar things being unplugged. I don't think all the stuff has to be plugged in. Left on, I think, is the door chime unit we all toss out.
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Re: New SI Board - still no speedo or tach?

Postby blasphemy101 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:31 pm

Okay, that would make sense. The car was my dad's and he wasn't a fan of things like that!
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Re: New SI Board - still no speedo or tach?

Postby 87e30 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:02 pm

Did you replace the (most likely broken) gears in the cluster? I've seen 2 gear kits from the same company. One has 3 gears for like $19 and the other has 4 gears for something like $34. They're not too clear on why there's 2 different ones, but I'm thinking the 3 gear one is only if your odometer stopped working, and the 4th gear is if other things like spedo stopped as well.

Yoshi wrote:I remember similar things being unplugged. I don't think all the stuff has to be plugged in. Left on, I think, is the door chime unit we all toss out.


Funny, I actually plugged my door chime unit back in when I realized the PO left it unplugged. Am I the only one who didn't toss mine out? lol
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Re: New SI Board - still no speedo or tach?

Postby AustinR » Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:54 am

87e30 wrote:Funny, I actually plugged my door chime unit back in when I realized the PO left it unplugged. Am I the only one who didn't toss mine out? lol

I didn't pull mine...but when does it chime? When the key is in the ignition and the door is open? Or does the key have to be in the "on" or "accessory" position?
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Re: New SI Board - still no speedo or tach?

Postby blasphemy101 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:41 pm

87e30 wrote:Did you replace the (most likely broken) gears in the cluster? I've seen 2 gear kits from the same company. One has 3 gears for like $19 and the other has 4 gears for something like $34. They're not too clear on why there's 2 different ones, but I'm thinking the 3 gear one is only if your odometer stopped working, and the 4th gear is if other things like spedo stopped as well.


Thanks for the suggestion. The previous owner of this cluster replaced the gears. There are different sets for the different makers of the clusters (Motometer and VDO). I believe one of the companys also used different gear sets with different numbers of teeth at different points.

In any case, broken gears in the speedometer would not explain my non-functioning tachometer. The flicking needle I'm getting suggests an electrical issue to me. I still haven't gotten to check out the resistance on the main ground for the blue plug...
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Re: New SI Board - still no speedo or tach?

Postby 87e30 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:27 pm

AustinR wrote:
87e30 wrote:Funny, I actually plugged my door chime unit back in when I realized the PO left it unplugged. Am I the only one who didn't toss mine out? lol

I didn't pull mine...but when does it chime? When the key is in the ignition and the door is open? Or does the key have to be in the "on" or "accessory" position?


Mine seems to chime somewhat randomly whenever the door is open. Not sure when it's actually supposed to.
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Re: New SI Board - still no speedo or tach?

Postby M20_fever » Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:04 pm

Don't know if it's related, but my cluster started making a clicking noise that I assumed was the gears going out, though the odo and trip still indexed. Around the same time my tach and economy needles started flicking intermittently. I haven't really looked into it yet, so keep us posted on your diagnostics.
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Re: New SI Board - still no speedo or tach?

Postby blasphemy101 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:38 pm

I'll be sure to update this as soon as I get a chance to check it out again. Theres about a month left in the semester, so I've been pretty swamped with schoolwork. I should be able to at least check out the ground this afternoon.
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Re: New SI Board - still no speedo or tach?

Postby blasphemy101 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:00 pm

Problem solved! I'll update the original post!
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Re: New SI Board - still no speedo or tach? - ***SOLVED***

Postby M20_fever » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:51 am

How did you figure it out? Good to know the Bentley is wrong, I'll have to note it in mine.
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Re: New SI Board - still no speedo or tach? - ***SOLVED***

Postby blasphemy101 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:21 am

Just on a hunch. I think I remember reading about someone having a similar issue and the code plug fixing the problem...The front of the coding plug popped off. When I tried to pull it out, both of the little clips on the sides snapped off. I just figured I would pop another one in, since I had one and voila. I checked all the connections, and rechecked all the grounds (once I realized the bentley manual was backwards) and they were all perfect. I'm VERY certain the coding plug was the problem. I even checked it against multiple sets of gauges/boards.

EDIT: Does anyone know of a nice, bright set of bulbs for the instrument cluster. Mine are really dull!

I've found a couple more electronic gremlins I'll be posting about SHORTly.
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Re: New SI Board - still no speedo or tach? - ***SOLVED***

Postby M20_fever » Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:20 am

I know some people replace the bulbs with LEDs, but no idea how or what kind. Maybe MVRK will chime in, he's good at that kind of stuff.
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