B4 Cluster Repair - Individual Gauges


Registered Vendor , w/Business number
May 25, 2001
San Antonio, TX
'97 Passat Wagon 410K RIP
- 'Racheting' noise coming from cluster on powerup
- Needles don't always 'zero' on powerup
-- Powerup includes removing/replacing fuse 21 - usually resets cluster to zero...until it doesn't...
- Needles may move to and beyond full-scale and stay locked there...like the temp needle sitting on the fuel gauge needle

No change in these symptoms after cleaning grounds, replacing/testing sensors, verifying wiring from sensors to ECU and from ECU to cluster.

A huge thanks to Chris Bell for his MFA Cluster write-up!

My cluster went thru some 'challenges' as I restored 'Project Passat'. The car was full of broken wires, dirty grounds, faulty sensors, and had a weak battery. Some of the usual cluster issues were noted - blinking lights, odometer and/or clock resets, funky tach readings, etc.

The last remaining cluster issue was the tempermental temperature gauge that got worse over time. Sometime it would reset to zero, sometimes it wouldn't. I started doing regular 'fuse 21' resets to zero all the gauges but in the end, the temp gauge didn't get any lower than about 220 degrees, and spent most of its time pinned to the fuel gauge pin - full clockwise. ( I was coasting in this picture - everything's working perfectly except the temp gauge.)

I got a cheap cluster from the 'Vortex. I followed Chris's fantastic instructions to disassemble and reassemble the cluster, and swapped the temp gauge motor to my cluster. Works perfectly!

The red circles are the four printed circuit board pads that hold the motor on the board. The red circles on the back of the motor are the pins. The blue circles on the motor are the plastic pins that locate the motor on the board. The larger one is melted a bit to hold the motor before the pins are soldered. You may have to trim this plastic a bit to pop the motor off the circuit board once the pins are desoldered.

I can't confirm it, but I think the Swiss-made desoldering wick which came home from England a very long time ago helped. There's no sign of VW certification on the wick, however, so use it at your own risk... ;)

It's good to have a silent cluster that reports what's really happening again!
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