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RivNut

Dark instrument panel

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I'm hopping over here from the Riviera Owners forum because the Riviera and Reatta are so similar in many aspects and I know that if there's an answer for my question, you guys will have it. 

 

I drove my 90 Riviera to the auto parts store today to get some new wiper blades.  When I went back out and started the car, my entire instrument panel went black except for an "Error" message on the screen and the "Electrical problem" idiot light came on.  Everything seems to be working fine. The radio comes on, the power antenna goes up and down as I turn the radio on/off or turn the ignition on/off. Signals work, brake lights work, twilight sentinel turns on headlights, doors being opened activate interior lights. When I press the TEST button, I can see everything that should be working plus all of the idiot lights.  Any suggestions as to where I start or what I need to be looking for will be appreciated. (I think the 00 is the digital speedometer but it remains 00 while I'm driving.)

 

Thanks,

Ed

 

IMG_20191022_213359098.thumb.jpg.6529680c030ea0e80ceba26ba2f3744e.jpg

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)

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Ed looks like your Instrument panel is going bad. One thing to try is to remove the panel clean the contacts and replace. If that doesn't do it buying another is in your future. [Or use your GPS for speed calculations].

 I have one extra with a rebuild sticker, but am reluctant to sell it. If it was an '88/89 I would have one to sell.

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Ed,

Daves89 is spot on...do what he's recommending.  If you end up needing a replacement instrument panel cluster (IPC), try Marck Barker, Jim Finn, (contact info is in the Reatta Resources & Quick Reference Guide within this forum).  Removal and installation is ezze-peeze. 

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I think Dave is right about the instrument panel going bad.   The following is from a how-to guide on my website. It mentions the key as possibly being the problem. You might want to check that.

 

The dashboard goes dark and Speedometer shows 00 and the word ERROR comes on. The orange idiot light also comes on showing "Electrical Problem". This is a common problem that is usually caused by one of three things: A bad connection at the dash, a bad key switch, or a bad dash unit.

First clean the key and spray some cleaner in the switch. Try another ignition key. If that did not fix it, remove the dash unit and make sure all of the contacts on the back of the dash unit were tight and clean.

 

You might find this helpful:  Digital Dash Panel [IPC] Removal - '90 & '91 Models

 

 

Edited by Ronnie (see edit history)
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I watched the video and whoever is behind the camera made it look too easy.  I've had the facia off a couple of times but don't remember having to unplug anything from it.  Do the two harnesses in the video go to the light switches?  If so, the light switches in my '90 are part of the dash and not part of the facia.  Just last week, I  had the facia off so I could get at the filter that has the colors and names for all of the idiot lights. It had been installed backwards.  When the lamp for Low Washer Fluid would light up, I would read Security as if it were in a mirror.  Removing that cover to flip the filter took more screws than removing the cluster will take.

 

After cleaning the contacts with some Electrical Contact Cleaner should I put some Dielectic Grease on the terminals?

 

Thanks for the help.  I'm hoping this cures my problem.  Kind of strange. When getting on the highway this morning and "nailing it" the instrument panel lit up and stayed lit till I got home.  Turned off the engine, waited a few seconds before restarting it, and the lights were out again.

 

Ed

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)

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I have never used grease in that application. Under the hood yes, but not in the instrument panel. JMHO

I have had the a similar experience many, many years ago and I found I could press the large connecter on further from under the dash area. It was a pain to get to, but I used a long screwdriver to give it an extra nudge and the problem has not reoccurred in a decade and a half. The original cluster was replaced when I bought the 1990 in 1994 as it died when I went for a test drive, imagine that. The solution above was with the replacement cluster several years after I bought the car.

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Good news that means it is just a bad connection and usually not inside the cluster. May be able to reach behind an wiggle but suspect easier to pull the cluster out a few inches.

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Yesterday I pulled the cluster, thanks to DAVES89's excellent video, sprayed both the cluster and in in-dash plug with an aerosol Electrical Contact Cleaner, then reinstalled it.  It came just to tease me then went black again.  At least long enough to give me a chance to check the fuel gauge.  I drove it around for a while and it intermittently come on then go back off. 

 

My next question: Is just spraying the contacts enough to clean them?  Or should I be doing something more.

 

There are three 1990 Rivieras in different pick-n-pulls around town.  The website price for an instrument cluster is $26.99.  Would it be worth it to pull a couple of clusters to have as backups or 🤞perhaps find one that works before sending mine in to be rebuilt?

 

Thanks, Ed

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Ed,

If the pick n' pulls have any sort of money back return policy, I'd buy all three at $26.99 ea and test them on your Riviera. You might get lucky and one or more just might work.  I've never seen such a cheap price, working or not.  I believe your current one is definitely on its last legs...but keep it for cosmetic parts.

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They are $26.99 but I'll bet they are not there. But give it a try as that is a great price.

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I must be living right.

 20191026_121833.thumb.jpg.059aceb32ea96fc6dee5f3e66050edef.jpg

I took the picture outside and I've yet to put the cover back on.

 

The pic-n-pull @ Muncie was having a sale.

 

20191026_122045.thumb.jpg.64936d2d540fb73b6baaae602212e607.jpg

Edited by Ronnie (see edit history)
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Ed,

Boy! Did you make out!  Congratulations!  The prices for an IPC on eBay are well over $100 ...some over $200.

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When I was at the pic-n-pull on 12th Street, Kansas City, KS I saw an 89 Reatta (red) on rebuilders row for $1995.  There was no one around at the time to ask about it.

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Out of curiosity, does anyone know what part of the IPC tends to go bad?

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