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Old 02-09-2024, 12:25 PM   #1
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Broken tach/"hopping" needle - cluster swap question

Hi all - in the process of replacing bulbs in my cluster, I sorta removed the needles on all the guages thinking it was necessary (I know.. lesson learned).

Anyway, after it is all back together, the tach needle just jumps randomly, mostly only increases, likes it's unable to go counter-clockwise now. "Manual" adjustments to the needle and stuff seem to have no effect on "recalibrating it". I'm assuming I broke something in the motor or something.. I also have the 'worms' in one of the LCD screens, so figuring just replace the cluster is easiest now.

Couple questions:

1. Is it simply plug and play if I get another '00 Tiptronic gauge cluster?
2. Is the odometer and all that agnostic to the actual cluster used?

I might snag this one if it's plug and play: https://www.ebay.com/itm/186102035586?epid=2117512518&hash=item2b548bb482:g:esgAAOSwtN5lGErP

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Old 02-10-2024, 06:22 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofidleness View Post

I also have the 'worms' in one of the LCD screens, so figuring just replace the cluster is easiest now.

Couple questions:

1. Is it simply plug and play if I get another '00 Tiptronic gauge cluster?
2. Is the odometer and all that agnostic to the actual cluster used?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/186102035586?epid=2117512518&hash=item2b548bb482:g:esgAAOSwtN5lGErP
Unfortunately, simply swapping the cluster won't work. The odometer reading and the VIN are in the coding on an EPROM in the cluster. This information is also included in another electronic component (it may be the ECU, but I'm not positive.) When you start the car, the components compare the information. If the data doesn't match, I think the odometer reading on the cluster is blank.

You can remove the gauges from one cluster and swap them into onto the circuit board of your current cluster. That will resolve your problem with the gauge needles. It won't fix your problem with the "worms" in the LCD because the LCD is soldered to the circuit board.

I did most of the work you need to do when I swapped a 996 cluster into my car. You can read about that process here: https://986forum.com/forums/boxster-general-discussions/43017-carrera-gauge-swap.html

You can also solder new LCD's onto your cluster. This video shows how it is done: https://986forum.com/forums/boxster-general-discussions/43017-carrera-gauge-swap.html If you don't have a lot of experience soldering electronic components, you may want to find a shop to do the work for you.

I am assuming that you have the "old style" gauge cluster that was used in the 986 up to the 2001 or 2002 model year. If you have a later car with the "new style" cluster, some of my comments may not be applicable.

Good luck.
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Last edited by KevinH1990; 02-10-2024 at 06:25 AM.
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Old 02-10-2024, 08:34 AM   #3
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Awesome, thanks Kevin! Found a couple good writeups on the EEPROM reprogramming part. I have a programmer and software to do that (I hope - a perk of being a software developer lol).

Was hoping for a bit more of a plug and play swap, but I think this is manageable if all goes smoothly and I get my LCD screen fixed AND gauge fixed all in one go!
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Old 02-10-2024, 12:05 PM   #4
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When I replaced the face gauges on my Cayman and pushed the needles too far into their shaft, therefore the tach needle was acting the way you described, a repair shop told me to install the needle at the bottom of the scale (0..) and "push it Not all the way in" so does not drag against the face cluster, you may want to give it a try..

PS: push the needle all the way in, then pull it up a couple of mm

Last edited by Gilles; 02-10-2024 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 02-10-2024, 01:10 PM   #5
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I did try that at first, at various "heights" off the face, but no luck. I found that the "stops" full counter-clockwise and full clockwise seem to be WAY off from 0 and 100%. when I rotate the needle by hand until I get to a "stop", it's like in the middle of the range. super weird... sorta feels like a gear or something is off or a worm gear type thing is broken (since it won't "go down" when running, only increases until it dimes itself and then won't move anymore).
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Old 02-10-2024, 07:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofidleness View Post
Awesome, thanks Kevin! Found a couple good writeups on the EEPROM reprogramming part. I have a programmer and software to do that (I hope - a perk of being a software developer lol).

Was hoping for a bit more of a plug and play swap, but I think this is manageable if all goes smoothly and I get my LCD screen fixed AND gauge fixed all in one go!
I had not programmed an EPROM prior to starting my gauge swap. I was fortunate that another board member graciously offered to guide me through the process. If you have prior experience with EPROMts, you are in much better shape than I was and you should be able to handle this.

I wrote a detailed document that contains everything I learned during my project. The file size exceeds the limit for attachments on this forum.. If you want a copy, please send me a PM with your email address and I will forward the document to you.

While you are planning the work, I recommend that you consider installing a 996 cluster if you can find an affordable used one, After using my car with the Carrera 5-gauge cluster, the 3-gauge cluster in the 986 looks like Porsche went overboard cutting costs on the 986.
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Painted Bumperettes, 2004 (OEM) Top, Homelink integrated in dash with Targa switch, 997 Shifter, Carrera Gauge Cluster with silver gauge faces, heated 12-way driver & 8-way passenger seats, Litronics, silver console
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Old 02-17-2024, 09:13 AM   #7
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I got the used cluster in today from ebay. And wouldn't you know it... ALL 3 lcd'es have the "worms"... ugh.


I'm told I can swap the actual gauges out from it though to use them on my original cluster, which I would be perfectly happy with to be honest (my original has 1 lcd worming).


Wish me luck!
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Old 02-17-2024, 11:27 AM   #8
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Well, good news is, the new gauges swapped easily and work great!! So I'm still sorta stuck with my early-stages worming on my clock lcd, but I'm happy all the gauges are working again. And since I know there's a fix for that lcd screen out there, I can cross that bridge down the road if the lcd doesn't self-correct (like I've read some do) or if it gets so bad I have to replace it.

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