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Old 12-22-2009, 12:25 PM   #1
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Cleaning Gauge Cluster... How?

Hey all -

So, as stated in a previous post, the only gauges that work in my stock cluster are the clock and the voltage for the alternator. One poster stated I should clean the gauges, so I have taken them out and am ready to get to cleaning

Where to begin? I have attached three pics. The cluster is off my 90 YJ. I am guessing I need to concentrate on the copper contacts, correct?

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Old 12-22-2009, 12:33 PM   #2
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Yep. take out all the Lights and unscrew the bolts that hold gauges in place and clean the prongs that contact the printer circuit board. when you go to put it back in MAKE SURE TO DISCONNECT THE BATTERY I didn't and I fried the clock

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Old 12-22-2009, 12:37 PM   #3
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Now, what should I be cleaning all these copper contacts with? Copper cleaner, like you would use for general items?
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:38 PM   #4
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Oh, I ALREADY disconnected the battery Took out the stock radio, too, since I am getting ready to install an aftermarket one in there this weekend...
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:40 PM   #5
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I wouldnt use liquids, If it were me i would use like a tripple 000 steel wool if I could get to all the connections!
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:48 PM   #6
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use the least/mildest abrasive thing possible. a pencil eraser or even a piece of cardboard. remember, you're cleaning and not grinding.
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:59 PM   #7
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Okay, I have the lights out and the small nuts off of each gauge on the back. There is a diamond shaped black piece of plastic underneath where the small nut was for each gauge. None of them want to come off. Any special trick to get those off? I am pulling straight up on them, but they are not budging. I can tell they are holding the gauges in.
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:09 PM   #8
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Never mind... a little gentle coaxing from a small flat head screwdriver and they each came up and out

Now I have the plastic circuit sheet out, so I will find some 0000 steel wool and a pencil and see what kind of clean I can make this thang...
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:11 PM   #9
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What is the easiest way to get the cluster out of the dash??
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:21 PM   #10
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If you are talking about your 89 YJ, then there are six metal screws that hold the trim piece over the cluster, radio and heat controls. Once you have that off, the cluster is hold in by another four screws and the plug behind it...
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:36 PM   #11
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As a bio-medic tech I use a pencil eraser and a q tip to wipe clean .
That is what I use on a MRI or CT scan boards and my own 87 cluster when I first got it.

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Old 12-22-2009, 01:42 PM   #12
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The pencil eraser will probably work fine. Try that first, then spray contact cleaner on a Q-tip and wipe the connections. A THIN coating of dielectric grease may help keep conductivity up, too. Good Luck
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Old 12-22-2009, 05:00 PM   #13
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I have to say, the pencil eraser didn't seem to be doing much at all. The copper looked the same and I really wasn't liking the way it was coming up. I used a light touch and some 0000 steel wool and that did the trick. That cluster is cleaner than the day is came off the factory line

That being said... put it all back in, hooked up the battery and started her up. The clock worked (happy to see I didn't break it), the voltage was looking good and my oil pressure moved - so I may have gotten that one back

My gas gauge went to 3/4 of a tank, which is probably where it is - but I can't tell if that is really working until I drive it, because it acted funny while driving, starting, stopping, etc.

My water temp gauge didn't move Which, IMHO, is the most important one.

So... assuming I cleaned it properly and very well - and that the gauge itself is working - what should I be checking next in order to get my water temp gauge working?

Any help would be appreciated... I had a car seize on me once on the way back from MD in the rain because the gauge didn't work, so I really want this water temp gauge up and working correct.

What next?

Thanks everybody - - - - - -
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:23 PM   #14
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did you check the connector to the temp sensor? take it off. clean it. take a look. change the sensor.
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JUST PEE ON IT AND WALK AWAY.
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:26 PM   #15
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No, didn't check that yet. Guess I'll be pulling out the Haynes, finding where it is and checking it out tomorrow morning. I'll let you know - thanks navychief
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:04 PM   #16
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look right behind the valve cover just in front of the firewall. one wire. be good.
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TREAT EVERY STRESSFUL SITUATION AS A DOG WOULD.
IF YOU CAN'T EAT IT OR PLAY WITH IT,
JUST PEE ON IT AND WALK AWAY.
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Old 12-22-2009, 11:16 PM   #17
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Those printed boards suck too. A continuing problem might be traced to that.
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Old 12-23-2009, 07:00 AM   #18
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RedWrangler - man, I don't want to hear that! It looked good to me, though it would be hard to tell exactly when it's electrical, I suppose. There were no rips or tears and I had it shinning before I put it back in. I guess I'll work on the rest possibilities and see where it takes me.

Thanks -
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Old 12-23-2009, 11:10 AM   #19
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navychief - I don't think that's where it is. My coolant temperature sensor is (if you are facing the engine) to the right of the valve cover right at the end of the coolant hose, installed into the manifold area. Two-wire
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Old 12-24-2009, 07:50 AM   #20
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Sorry, Navychief - you are right. Apparently there are two sensors for the water temp. One that handles the gauge and one that relays info to the computer. Arrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh

Thanks -
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:13 AM   #21
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yes, one for the guage.........one wire and one for data to the pcm......up front two wire.

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TREAT EVERY STRESSFUL SITUATION AS A DOG WOULD.
IF YOU CAN'T EAT IT OR PLAY WITH IT,
JUST PEE ON IT AND WALK AWAY.
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