View Full Version : Gauge cluster electrical problems

12-24-2005, 02:36 AM
Hey, has anyone here ever experienced a problem with their e36 gauge cluster where the speedometer, tachometer, and gasoline gauges all just turn off and their needles drop to zero at random while driving? Well I do, and I'm scratching my head over figuring out what's caused it. The problem will happen while driving or at a standstill, and is completely random. The warning lights at the bottom as well as my highbeam indicator still work when the problem is present so this is unique to the gauges themselves. I know it's not snow because I had this issue 1 day before our first big snow fall, so I'm sure it's a loose connection somewhere or a short. When they do come back, all the warning lights light up at the bottom, the same as they would when you start the car, except i'm still driving so the car obviously never turned off :) Just wondering if anyone has experienced this in case there's somewhere I haven't looked yet.


Justin e36
12-24-2005, 03:06 AM
Common problem. Your gauge cluster circuit board is dying. It can also happen during moments of extreme condensation where it board shorts out.

Rule of thumb:
- If it is only 2 gauges, (fuel + tach, or speedo + temp) it's a fuse / circuit.
- If it's an individual gauge, the gauge is dying. (can be replaced).
- If it's 2 or more, then the gauge cluster itself is dying and will need replacing. I'm sure it's just something small on the board that is dying, but I don't know anyone who has managed to isolate the problem yet.

12-24-2005, 04:05 AM
You need a new cluster. Same thing happened to me and I had mine replaced at the dealers for $800 under warranty about a year ago. It was brand new, I later found out how easy it is to do this in the driveway, 3 screws and pull the connectors and bulbs...

12-24-2005, 05:20 AM
yes its common problem, I had same problem and replaced it with used unit.
However I was contacted by a member in this forum who could have fixed it for less then 100 bucks I think.

12-24-2005, 12:47 PM
My friends 94 318is does the exact same thing. At least now I know what to tell him.

12-27-2005, 06:13 AM
Ok, if i replace my cluster though wont it show the wrong odometer information?

12-27-2005, 09:38 AM
Yes it will. You have to record the old #;s on the back of the new one. I wrote mine aswell on a peice of paper and taped it in the owers manual so i could tell how many KM's were on the car when i went to the dealers or to renew my plates.

Justin e36
12-27-2005, 05:12 PM
or you can take it to the dealership to get reprogrammed based on the KM stored in your ECU.