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Discussion Starter #1
Hi to all. This is my first topic so go easy on me. Decided to take the cluster out and take it apart to change the WHITE needles color to RED. Also noticed that the illumination SMD's are white so If I'd left it like this, newly RED painted needels will look PINK. So decided to change the stock WHITE smd's to RED ones. Powered the cluster up = they all lit up. Great. Started to put the cluster together and the needles in. Thats where the problem is. Upon applying power to the cluster from ignition, all 4 needles would "jump" a little, then perform a sweep test, and then maybe 90% at a time go back to the oryginal position. When turning ignition to OFF, the neddles jump again, and the illumination fades away like i should. Now i have an experience changing smd's and working on gauges, either analog or digital with stepper motors. Never had that problem. So decided to reseat the neddels and no luck. After a while, tought that only thing i changed was the white to red smd's. I say why not. I went and took the newly installed smd's (2 of them) that illuminate the water temp. gauge. Installed the oryginal white ones, put the needles back on and now only 3 of them except that one (water temp) will act up during startup and shut down. Teted in multiple times and same results. So I changed all the red smd's to oryginals ones. Put the needles back on. Pwered it up and the problem CAME BACK to all 4 needles... I checked for mechanical issue like needles beeing to tight or rubbing on something. Thats NOT the case. Im going to continue troubeshooting it till I ll get some results... Any out there had same experience before??? Im going to post a video shortly so You guys have a visual feel of whats going on. Thanks and I will kepp You updated.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I know the needles may be off a little its just temporary for the video. Also there is no smd's that illuminate the needles. Took them off just to see If it would make any difference.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
My brain is in Overdrive...what the hell is going on with this thing. I know now that smds dont make any difference. I confirmed that in the car and on my test bench acts exactly the same. I also noticed that before when I had to take the cluster out (to mount boost gauge) when I pluged back in the car the SECURITY led started to blink which is correct. Now with this problem when I plug it in either into the car or into my jig, all 4 needles are "jumping" for few seconds and then they stop... What to do...what to do...any ideas???
 

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id say the factory plugs are a little more involving than powering it up with 12 volts. dont mess something up. it might not be grounded properly as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That was my concern too, but just recently I tried it in the car and acts exactly the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Tried that, no luck...It almost looks like it has to do something with how deep the needle shaft is pushed in...Im not sure but at this point I would consider every option...
 

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hi valdee, i was curious about what process you went to remove the needles. when i had the cluster apart for my tpms light delete, my first attempt at the DIY was going to be to remove the LED that lights the TPMS light. when i finally had the cluster out and halfway apart, i noticed that i could not separate the halves because the needles that go into the gauge motors would not come out and i felt like i was about to break a $370 cluster in attempt to remove the needles to separate the halves.

what process was used to remove the halves, is there a c-clip or process or sufficient force to remove? the FSM states that at no point should they be removed because of lack of ability to recalibrate and hence i left it alone. this might be your problem and you should be happy that you've gotten it to do what it is doing now, i think.

i would also think that it has to do with the specific amount of the needle inserted and that the cluster was at the proper angle when initiated (won't operate properly facing upwards or down) but you said you tried this in-car, too.

curious. look forward to your reply. thanks!
 

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ps - your second video is great and the first i've seen of this car's cluster completely broken down. this is great information and insightful to see the SMD layout. thank you for your willingness to do so and share. i just hope you're not out a cluster in the process. also interesting to note is that the cluster retains its mileage count accurately without translation from the ECU - i suppose from the on-board microprocessor or "brain board" as some call it. good stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
lol...i guess Im a guenie pig... Anyway like I said, I did work on several clusters and not one of them I had this issue. To remove the needles = old trick with two dinner knifes praying it out...They came out like any other needles. Im not an expert but I dont think it has to do with calibration because the needle shaft can be left in the motor and just the needle itself can be removed. So its just a matter to putting it back to read the correct value. So far I noticed that depends how far You push the needle shaft in, the sweep can be super silent (almost no noise from the steppers) or You can hear it little more (def the wrong way). What a project i got myself into...But its just me...ALL ABOUT DETAILS...lol my next step is to take the steppers out of the board and inspect them inside. Beacuse from the outside it sure looks like there is a gearbox. The needle shaft does not align with the shaft from the stepper motor...maybe something there after i pulled the needles. As to the cluster not working at certain angle I dont think that is an iussue. One thing that makes me crazy that last nite I had the water temp needle working corectly (first post). It was either a crazy luck or this thing is reversible...Anyway im getting back on it...Any more ideas would be SUPER... will take more photos tho...just for future lol ???
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well you can call it a small step forward. Another theory proved that this can be fixed lol...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wow I got the two small needles dead solid no jumping at all. The rpm one hast just tiny small jump and the speed one even smaller. But overall im amazed. Came down to just the way u push the needle shaft to the stepper motor. I have played with each one for qiute a bit. Im going to tweak the other two so its PERFECT. Then putting it all together and NEVER doing it again lol...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Every single light on the cluster comes from surface mount led. If you want to replace one, you have to unsolder one and solder a new one on that spot. No more lightbulbs that you could just simply unclip.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So I got the rpm needle to work right. Down to one...speed needle...its just pure luck...taking it out and putting it in...houndred times...remind me not to do it again...to be continued. . .
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ok im done...But never ever im doing this again...I guess the trick is to get the needles off the shafts without moving them even slightly from the motors. That being said good luck to any of you trying this.
 
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