GM Classic Gauge Cluster Repair

Published in the November 2017 Issue September 2018 Feature Rick Sosebee


Some GM Classic gauge clusters from 2001 to 2007 experience issues related to the stepper motors that control the needles. These small electric motors can begin to act erratic and even fail completely, leaving the speedometer and other gauges reading incorrectly. They can even stop giving readings altogether. Obviously, this can be a terrible situation, especially for diesel truck owners who rely on their gauges to monitor their engines. Lastly, as is common with many components with surface mount technology, solder joints can crack, causing intermittent connection. This could cause the entire cluster to quit working, or a dim/intermittent display screen. The good news is that there is a reliable source for replacement parts and numerous companies are willing to repair the cluster issues.

Our 2004.5 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 4X4 began to have problems with its speedometer reading and the needle eventually stopped moving at all. Not long after this problem the oil pressure needle began reading from the opposite side of the numbered gauge, starting at 120 and turning counter-clockwise to the lower numbers. I knew I needed to get this fixed quickly so I called my friends at Merchant Automotive, “The Duramax and Allison Experts,” for some advice. Merchant Automotive carries the correct and most up-to-date replacement stepper motors for all of the 2001-07 GM Classic gauge clusters so finding the most reliable part just got easier. They also offer the cluster bulbs for your backlighting repairs on their website as well.

If you can solder well and understand the dynamics of these kinds of repairs then you can most likely repair this yourself. Unsure of just how to go about this on my own set of gauges, I sent the gauge cluster up to Merchant Automotive for repair. This is not something they normally offer as a service, but are considering it as an option. Eric Merchant himself agreed to do so to help us help you better understand just what has to be done. They have a specially-built electronic testing table that allows them to plug in and correctly test for failures as well as ensure their gauge clusters are operating properly. Here is one thing you should know: your vehicle can still be driven without the gauge cluster installed if you happen to need it during the repair, although some may not recommend it.

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