No gauges on 97 TJ

SteveM

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Ok need some help.

97 TJ Sport that my son and I are working on. Tach and Speedo used to drop out occasionally but a smack on the dash would fix it….but now we’re getting no gauges at all.

Things we’ve done:

—Confirmed that both fuses (glove box and under hood) are fine.
—Checked the wiring around the under hood fuse panel for cut / broken wires. Found none.
—Did the cluster test and all needles dance and all the lights come on.
—Gauge illumination works fine.
—Pulled the cluster. Cleaned the pins and gave them a 1/4 twist.
—Confirmed that the cluster wiring is putting out 12v constant / switched and has a good ground.
— Pulled the cluster harness from its frame and seated it firmly into the cluster. No joy.
— we did swap the cluster illumination bulbs to some LEDs from Amazon and recently installed a double DIN radio. Both of which work fine.
— and no error codes on my OBDII reader.

I’m thinking that I need to install a pair of jeep tj cluster connector part # 05016261aa, but I can’t find them in stock anywhere!
(local jeep/chrysler) dealer says they discontinued that part in 2019. :(

Your thoughts please if I’m on the right track here and any ideas where I can purchase a cluster connector part # 05016261aa would be most appreciated.

Thanks!

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hear

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There's another thread about gauges on the front page right now, with some advice about things you can try. Sounds like the cluster itself is fine based on the results of the self test. The gauges are fed from 2 wires in C1 (pins 1 & 2). The power is supplied from C2, but it sounds like that is working fine, which probably means that the grounds are fine too. I think I would focus on pins 1 & 2 in C1.

Are you able to get any live data on a code reader from the OBDII port? Those same 2 wires feed the OBDII port, so we might be able to determine where things are breaking down if a code reader works.

(ignore the red highlights, it's from a different thread)

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carrotman

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I have this exact issue, following. I noticed that its all the gauges that drop out, not just the tach and speedo, just the other gauges stay put rather than going to zero.
 

hear

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I'm troubleshooting a bunch of this mess on my friends Cherokee, but it appears that the flow is basically this: oil press/water temp/fuel level/volts/speedo/tach all have some sort of sending unit that gives it's signal to the PCM. The PCM then sends a twisted pair (VT/BR + WT/BK) over through the firewall. Somewhere in there is a splice that sends that twisted pair up to the instrument cluster and down to the data link connector (aka OBDII port). Looking at the pinouts on the connectors, all the gauge data is on that twisted pair. So it comes down to ether no signal being sent from the sender, the PCM not sending a signal to the twisted pair, signal not making it to the cluster, or the cluster not being able to read the signal.

Of course it's pretty easy for grounds to go bad that would have an effect on gauges as well, either the sender ground or the cluster ground. If you do the instrument cluster self test then you can verify that your cluster ground is probably ok. Or even if you just turn the key ON and see the startup test cycle run.
 
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SteveM

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There's another thread about gauges on the front page right now, with some advice about things you can try. Sounds like the cluster itself is fine based on the results of the self test. The gauges are fed from 2 wires in C1 (pins 1 & 2). The power is supplied from C2, but it sounds like that is working fine, which probably means that the grounds are fine too. I think I would focus on pins 1 & 2 in C1.

Are you able to get any live data on a code reader from the OBDII port? Those same 2 wires feed the OBDII port, so we might be able to determine where things are breaking down if a code reader works.

(ignore the red highlights, it's from a different thread)

1673026833602-png.389643

Thanks! - Read through that post just now. Will have a look later tonight and report back!
 
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SteveM

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Thanks! - Read through that post just now. Will have a look later tonight and report back!

Ok, My son and I did some more investigating tonight.
OBII reader showed no codes but we did screenshot the data stream - (see images below).
We also checked the ground in the Drivers footwell. All looks clean and we have continuity from the cluster plugs. (see image)
We also tested each pin in the C1 and C2 Cluster plugs for voltage and Continuity to ground and got very different results than what is listed. (see image / notes below)
Worth nothing that this is a 97 and we do not have Gray/Green plugs but rather Gray/Black plugs. The harnesses look OEM. Is there a different pin out diagram ?
As usual any help is appreciated.
Thanks!

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Shandara

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When it comes to grounds looking clean is not always enough. I helped a friend that was having issues with tail lights in a car. The ground looked good no corrosion or dirt. However polishing up the connector and bare metal with emery cloth corrected the issue and resolved some other issues they had and not mentioned prior to me looking at it.
 
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SteveM

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When it comes to grounds looking clean is not always enough. I helped a friend that was having issues with tail lights in a car. The ground looked good no corrosion or dirt. However polishing up the connector and bare metal with emery cloth corrected the issue and resolved some other issues they had and not mentioned prior to me looking at it.

Fair point. I'll remove the drivers side footwell ground again and give it a good cleaning w/ some 400 grit sandpaper.
 
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SteveM

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I have some great news!
The culprit was these POS LED dash illumination bulbs!
I have no idea why but when I swapped them out for a different set all the gauges came back!
Needless to say I've removed all of these LED bulbs and put the old style incandescent bulbs back in.

My son would like to run blue LEDs. I'll do some searching on the forums for recommendations.
Thanks again everyone that replied....

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L J

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SteveM

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Jerry Bransford

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I actually prefer the standard incandescent dash lights over any LEDs I've seen installed there. Every LED dash light I ever saw was noticeably harder on my eyes. I have LED lights here and there on my TJ but I won't install them everywhere.
 
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SteveM

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I know in other applications, it is important to put the LEDs in proper orientation for + and - or they won't work. Could they not be installed correctly?

Nope. If the polarity is reversed they dont light up at all.
Just really odd that we installed them - everything was fine and then this cropped up a few days later.
 

hear

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Nope. If the polarity is reversed they dont light up at all.
Just really odd that we installed them - everything was fine and then this cropped up a few days later.

I have LED's in my 97, no issue. I think I have one installed backward, but I don't have any issues in either case.

I've been running LEDs in the dash and HVAC control of my '06 for many years now without issue. I don't know if the '97 would somehow be different, though.
The 97 always be's different.
 
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SteveM

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Thanks for the recommendation! Will order some and report back if they work!

Sad to report that the "bulb" portion of the LED is too large to fit in the hole where the old bulb used to be :(

...and our no gauge issue is back. Not sure where to go next. Will do some more reading.....