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Dash LCD Panel Electrical Problem


mls1990

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Have a 1990 Reatta that is randomly indicating "Electrical problem" on the dash on a very frequent basis. I think the culprit that started this problem was actually a leaking door seal on the passenger side. I have fixed the door seal, but I found a comment from a guy who said that he cleaned all of the connectors under the passenger seat after noticing the door leak and it fixed the dash problem! Something about the dash LCD panel needs very tight tolerance on the voltage being supplied and the wires route under the seat?

When I press my "dash test light" it always shows the dash as working. I am pretty sure I am going to find some corrosion and rust under this seat. Since cleaning the connectors is a low cost approach to trying to fix the problem, I thought I would start there. Since the problem started this past summer, I noticed that it is worse in the summer than winter. In fact, right now, it works most of the time which makes me think this could be humidity/corrosion.

It is pretty tight under the seat so my question is should I de-install the passenger seat to do this or just stand on my head for awhile? Has anyone taken a passenger seat out? Am I on the right track as well for this sometimes bizarre electrical problem? Can anyone confirm that in fact wires under the passenger seat could impact the dash LCD panel?

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Welcome to the forum!! I'm having a little trouble understanding exactly what you are saying your problem is. IF you are getting an error that only says "Electrical problem", the problem may not be in the LCD panel. It may be telling you that there is another electrical problem with the car. I'm not familiar with the wires under the seat affecting the dash panel.

I would recommend checking for any codes stored in the computer and report back here with the codes.

Here are a couple of links that might help you:

How to read computer codes on '90-'91 model Reattas.

Dash panel and CRT problems

This should get you started on your way to fixing your problem.

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To try to further clarify the behavior:

I will be driving down the road and the instrument panel will go dark and there is an indicator that says "Electrical Problem" that is the only thing that lights up. A few more miles down the road, the whole instrument panel comes back on as it should, working perferctly. I can drive 20 miles with the instrument panel working perfectly or can barely get out of the driveway before it goes dark. Sometimes it will quickly flicker back and forth. I cannot drive more than 20-30 miles without it at least going out. It doesn't matter if I hit a bump or not.

Thankfully, it always comes back on for some indeterminate amount of time so I can see how much gas I have and how fast I am going! My logic is that because it goes back and forth it is a connection issue rather than the instrument panel. My buick dealer de-installed the dash and claimed to have checked the connections to the instrument panel. Of course, no one left in the service department had ever worked on a Reatta.

Thanks for your help, and I will run the diagnostics and report back.

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From what other '90 and '91 model owners have reported here, it still sounds like you have a problem with the connector on the back of the instrument panel. If you are mechanically/elecrically inclined you should try cleaning the connections again. It couldn't hurt.

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Guest daveagain909

take out the instrument panel (not that hard to do) then clean the connector on the back of the instrumnt panel and spray with contact cleaner. do the same with the other part of the connector in the dash, then slide in and out a few times then see what happens. I would try this first before changing anything.

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1) I looked under the seat and the wiring appears to only be for the electric motor of the seat so that is a wild goose chase.

2) I looked at the CRT discussion article you sent and the "ERROR 00" is exactly what mine is doing.

3) I can't get the diagnostic codes because I think they show on the IPC and it is out right now. When I hold the off and temp buttons I see the lights come on the heater but nothing on the IPC because it is dark. I am pretty sure I did it right.

4) The CRT discussion indicates another key and cleaning it, which I don't have. Can I get one made for it still? What kind of cleaner am I to use?

5) I can't find my torx screwdriver so am going to get one and will remove the IPC and hope I don't screw up.

6) I did request the PDF manual so maybe it will help too.

Thanks again and at least the forum has me headed in the right direction which can be a significant part of the battle.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Thanks again and <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="text-decoration: underline">at least the forum has me headed in the right direction</span></span> which can be a significant part of the battle.</div></div> Really "heading you in the right direction" is all we can do. We can't fix it for you. smile.gif

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Is the LAN loop connector in place ? The one that goes over the ALDL connector by the parking brake and says "Do not Remove". Also a Scan tool will be able to read codes even if the IPC is not working.

BTW all of the ground splices are under the carpet at the back of the driver's seat (if LHD)

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1) Thanks for the correction on the ground wires. Come to think of it, I didn't catch which seat they guy was talking about. My leak is on the passenger side, which is why I looked there. There was a lot of corrosion under the passenger seat. I never sit over there and rarely have a passenger in the car, so I never noticed the leak. Unfortunately, I don't think I have stopped the leak.

2) I called the Buick dealer and they are going to make me a new key once I bring it into them. They said there are 16 different variations and they have to "read" the key electronically. I am going to make three keys if this works in case they disappear in the next few months.

3) If the key works, or I can start it such that the IPC works, I will record the codes. I have other electrical issues to resolve once I get past this one but I will post a new topic on those.

Thanks again for your prompt replies and answers.

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Leak could still be the problem - if car is shut with soaked rug that could create a very high humidity condition inside and play havok with all the internal connections.

This is why I usually leave the roof vent open even when parked and all of the time in the garage.

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Well, I can't believe my luck but it appears that a different key has actually fixed my problem! I need to drive it some more for the final verdict but the "ERROR 00" problem hasn't occurred after using the new key. I can't say thanks enough to the powers that sponsor this forum, the users of the forum and the Reatta Owners Journal! I really thought that I was going to have to part the car out without an operational IPC and they appear to be very difficult to find! I am the original owner and so I was having trouble parting with the car after owning for nearly 19 years. This is the first major issue that I have had with car in all my years of owning.

Two more points to make though. I now realize that there is a discoonect between the forum and the Reatta's owner journal website. A search on the forum doesn't bring up the Dash documents that are on the Reatta Owners website which contained my fix. So, any newbie like myself needs to use both.

I also now need to use the leak fix proposed on the reatta owners journal to stop my leak. The car set outside in the rain yesterday and the carpet is soaked on the passenger side which I do believe has caused some other serious electrical problems. Good advice from Padgett on leaving the windows cracked if possible. The leak issue looks very difficult to fix completely. I will be posting more electrical issues in the very near future that I believe are caused by the extreme humidity that may have been in the car for at least the last year. I am now ready to read the codes with an operational IPC.

Thanks again and hope my documented problem helps someone else. Buy some new keys while you can!

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