Cluster earth problem (common)

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bzchi
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It would appear that a common problem is catching up with the GTi's in their old(er) age. The symptom being that the tacho needle bounces around and the fuel and temp gauges read incorrectly. Other people have mentioned this problem but I thought I would add photos. If you see any glaring errors let me know (use this information at your own risk!)

I actually had an interesting addition to the problem. It appeared that the gauges read fine when the car was stationary, but when moving they would go crazy. This all relates back to the earthing of the cluster, so first thing to do is to inspect that the earth wire is intact (which I believe is behind the drivers side small quarter kick panel that locks into the door sil scuff plate).

Next step is to remove the cluster, a less than straight forward job. I won't cover that here but if you get stuck let me know and I can answer some questions. For the standard GTi MK3 steering wheel, the trick is the press the horn in and twist. Also make sure you have lowered the steering column all the way down to make removing the cluster easier. Another excellent tip is to remove the speedo cable from the gearbox end to give you enough slack when you take the cluster out to release the clip on the cluster (by squeezing). You will obviously be doing all this with your battery disconnected!

Right.. now getting down to the problem I am talking about, burnt out trace on the back of the cluster. I have personally seen 3 clusters with this issue now, so I think it may be a design issue.

A burnt trace on the back of the cluster looks like this
cluster.burnt.0.jpg
As you can see the trace/track is completely obliterated. From what I can tell, this trace/track is so thin that it fails before any fuse, or as also mentioned may be caused by a surge in the system and it is the weakest link.

To repair this Suzuki have made it fairly simple, as there is a screw contact for the earth., as circled here
cluster.burnt.1.jpg
When looking into the dashboard there are 3 plugs, the left white plug pictured here is the one you are interested in.
cluster.burnt.2.jpg
On this plug the earth wire is black with blue trace. It is in the centre of 2 other wires (one marked +, other F.. possibly dimmer will need to confirm). You will need to splice into this wire and run a new earth with an eyelet to the circled point on the PCB above. I spliced into this wire where it is circled below, and spliced rather than cut so that if I ever found a different functional cluster the OEM plug would still work.
cluster.burnt.3.jpg
I soldered approximately 10cm of wire of the same gauge from here into a crimped eyelet to connect into the PCB at the point shown above. The trick is to leave a decent length of wire because you need to be able to get the entire cluster out to unscrew the contact point, the longer the wire the easier it will be in future to wrestle with the cluster.

When using the eyelet on the back of the cluster, I bent it 90 degrees once I had screwed it in so that the wire is facing towards the front of the car when I put the cluster in. The PCB traces are fairly tight around the negative contact so I did this to make sure the eyelet does not short/contact on any other traces on the back.

Please note: this may not be the last of your problems. Once you have fixed this earthing problem it is likely that the next trace to go will be the positive one next to it. If this occurs carry out the same procedure for the positive wire. Here is a picture of a cluster that has burnt out both (not good I know, but just so people are aware it may happen as the positive trace goes very thin in this section).
cluster.2.burnt.jpg
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DeXtOrAu
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bzchi wrote:snip
+1 to add to "Technical FAQ-1986~99 Swift"
I have a GTI for a few reasons. The main one is because commonfalcons are like bellybuttons....everyone has one.
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Bhillboy
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i have replaced the entire cluster with a new one and it hasnt fixed the problem can somone help me out.
bzchi
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Do you have a burnt our trace on your cluster?

If not, it would be a better idea to create a thread with the details of your problem.

If the symptoms are the same, check your earths.
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The Dog
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bzchi wrote:I actually had an interesting addition to the problem. It appeared that the gauges read fine when the car was stationary, but when moving they would go crazy. This all relates back to the earthing of the cluster, so first thing to do is to inspect that the earth wire is intact (which I believe is behind the drivers side small quarter kick panel that locks into the door sil scuff plate).
My cluster was working fine before i changed my dash but now it goes up as i accelerate. I know that there is nothing wrong with the cluster but I have a feeling it is the earth you are speaking of behind the kick panel. Do you have any photos of what it looks like & where it is attached? It will be of great help. Thanks.
Shazlic
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The Dog wrote:
bzchi wrote:I actually had an interesting addition to the problem. It appeared that the gauges read fine when the car was stationary, but when moving they would go crazy. This all relates back to the earthing of the cluster, so first thing to do is to inspect that the earth wire is intact (which I believe is behind the drivers side small quarter kick panel that locks into the door sil scuff plate).
My cluster was working fine before i changed my dash but now it goes up as i accelerate. I know that there is nothing wrong with the cluster but I have a feeling it is the earth you are speaking of behind the kick panel. Do you have any photos of what it looks like & where it is attached? It will be of great help. Thanks.
Did you look at the original post?
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The Dog
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What original post? link please.
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markymark
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The Dog wrote:What original post? link please.
He is saying have a look at the original post by bzchi. It could possible be the same track on you cluster is burnt out.
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The Dog
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nah its not that. my cluster is perfect.
gerschy
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i had this problem and due to this thread i fixed it today :) thanks heaps for posting this thread up it was very helpful
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I had this same problem and I followed this procedure and now my temp gauge and rev gauge works fine but my fuel gauge is stuck past the full line. Any other suggestions? Sorry for the grave dig
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