Instrument Cluster Repair

traintech55

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Hey everyone, I decided to make a thread showing how to repair a instrument cluster circuit board. Since this is my first time you may chime in with suggestions. Maybe some of the other guys can do something similar to help the new guys fix our lovely cars.
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This has been the curse on our beloved cars, weak pins at the back of the cluster. Very brittle and easy to break.

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This is what I used to replace the broken or bent pins. This is a 2 - 56 machine screw and nut. This is the same diameter as the pin, but much stronger.

First step, remove all of the broken pin from the circuit board. Work from the not printed side so you do not loosen the printed part from the board. I used a 1/16 drill bit in a vise grip to do this. DO NOT USE A POWER DRILL. Do this by hand.

Second Step, install the screw and nut, and tighten from the screw side so as not to move the printed circuit. (You can use some dielectric grease to help cut down on corrosion). You can do just one or like I did and replace all of them. Work very slowly and carefully.
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Here you can see the printed circuit board after all the pins have been replaced.

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Here you can see what it looks like with the harness plug installed. Hope this helps someone when you are up the river without a paddle at 10:00 pm, on a Saturday night.
 

Big_John

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That's a great repair. I've seen where guys have tried to solder/crimp new pins on and often it doesn't go well.

I'd use De-Oxit on the circuit board where the nuts contact it. Brush it on and tighten the nut. Cleans and protects the surface. If you wanted, some dielectric grease on the connector is fine, although my preference is the De-Oxit.

Good job!!!!
 

challenger

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Well done. Thanks for the write up.
I just the voltage limiter upgrade to my 1970 300 using a solid state voltage limiter and a heat sink. I soldered the leads to the circuit board and mounted the unit under the dash so I can get to it easily.
 

traintech55

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That's a great repair. I've seen where guys have tried to solder/crimp new pins on and often it doesn't go well.

I'd use De-Oxit on the circuit board where the nuts contact it. Brush it on and tighten the nut. Cleans and protects the surface. If you wanted, some dielectric grease on the connector is fine, although my preference is the De-Oxit.

Good job!!!!
Thanks John. De-Oxit is a product I have never used before but I have learned over the years to keep an open mind, you can always make something good better. I do appreciate the input.
 

traintech55

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Great repair! Did you use any Loc Tite on the threads? I could see those loosening over time from vibration.
No I did not, I didn't want anything to interfere with the contact between the nut and the printed circuit. I think a little solder at the base of the nut would be better, but I need a new iron.
 

HWYCRZR

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Now I know what to do when I screw up when putting my panel back together. My local Fleet Farm or MACs hardware (upper mid-west institutions) carries brass machine screws. Although MACs in their drive to modernize has quit carrying the oddball stuff.
Great solution and comments.
 

Knebel

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Brass screws, then solder the nut to the screw. Also, I'd put a brass or copper washer underneath.
 

live4theking

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Thanks John. De-Oxit is a product I have never used before but I have learned over the years to keep an open mind, you can always make something good better. I do appreciate the input.

The De-Oxit prevents corrosion and especially helps between dissimilar metals.

McMaster Carr has everything.

McMaster-Carr

You beat me to it. I have to place an order for work today with McMaster.
 

MrMoparCHP

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My concern here is that there may not be enough clearance on the housing for the heads of the screws not to short out.
Here is my 69 Polara housing.
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To guarantee that I didn't have an issue I cut a plastic insulator and taped it in.
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I chose to put a pigtail on mine with a Molex connector, no more pulling on the board.
2016-07-20_007.jpg



Alan
 

traintech55

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challenger

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Yup. A better mouse trap there.
Yanking off a connection that's been plugged directly into a 40+ year old automobile circuit board is a great way to ruin a day or twenty. That's why I changed the configuration of my voltage limiter . Plus I wanted to make it accessible. Generally speaking these dashes and instrument panels are not designed to be taken out and reinstalled. Like a lot of other parts on old AND new cars doing so usually breaks something made of almostunobtainium
 
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