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Author Topic: Instrument Cluster Gauge Stepper Motors & Odometer + Illumination Lights  (Read 3634 times)
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Camelhmpz
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2003 Pontiac Aztek


« on: February 27, 2016, 11:52:24 PM »

This is a write up for repairing the Odometer Bulb in the Pontiac Aztek, this should apply to all years 2001-2005

You will also see where the stepper motors are located and where the remaining illumination light bulbs are located (there are SIX in total not counting the odometer illumination lamp).  You will know it's the bulb in the odometer display if you can see the odometer in the right natural lighting.

There is no reason to purchase an entire new gauge cluster because your odometer is no longer being illuminated, gauges are not lighting up in certain spots, gauges are acting up- like not resetting back to ZERO.  You can purchase stepper motors on places like eBay very inexpensively.  You need FOUR for the Aztek.  You also need some 4.7MM T5 mini bulbs for the illumination, and odometer display bulbs (it takes SEVEN bulbs for the basic repair, but get at least a pack of TEN just in case cause there are THREE other indicators that use these too).  Perform this repair at your own risk, I am not responsible for any accidental damage you may cause.


TOOL LIST:

13mm Socket with a 6" extension on a 3/8" Drive Ratchet
T15 Torx
Phillips Screwdriver
Desolder Wick or Desolder Gun (I prefer the gun, you can find them for about $10 on the net, saves a lot of time)
Soldering Iron
Solder
Painters Tape
Marker/Pen
Q-Tip
Rubbing Alcohol

 
 

Removing the console is relatively simple, there are just a few steps that shouldn't require much illustration.

GETTING THE CLUSTER OUT:

Step 1

Remove the two phillip screws from the drivers lower kick panel on the bottom, the top snaps out with a few gentle tugs, unclip the air bag connector off the panel and untwist the courtesy lamp from the panel and get it out of the way.

Step 2

Remove the cup holder liner closet to the rear of the Aztek, there is one screw here, remove it, and gently tug up on the entire cup holder/gear shifter trim, rotate it to fish it around the gear shifter handle.  Place it out of the way.  (NOTE: There is also a bulb for the gear indicator you can replace while you are in here.)

Step 3

There are TWO T-15 screws holding the radio trim bezel on, one on the lower right and one on the lower left, after those are removed, gently pull the radio bezel off and place it out of the way.

Step 4

There are FOUR 13mm nuts/bolts holding the steering column up, loosen the two bolts nearest the firewall, and remove the two nuts located under the steering wheel.  The right one has a wire strap with it.

Step 5

Now there are THREE T-15 screws holding the passenger "handle" in, the top, bottom (which are visible when all panels are on, and one on the left center that you will see once the radio trim bezel is removed.  After these are removed, you can slowly start to tug the entire panel off, it just snaps on/off.  With the steering wheel lowered, you should not have any issues removing it.  If you have a DIC or HUD you have to unsnap these wires also.  You can now place this panel safely away.

Step 6

There are just 4 phillips screws holding the instrument panel in, unscrew those, then pull the panel far enough out that you can unplug the cluster.  Place one of the 13mm nuts back up on the steering wheel just to keep pressure off, just hand tight it a few turns.  Once out, there are no more tools required to take this cluster apart.  Unsnap the front, careful not to let the trip odometer spring fall off the long button, then unsnap the rear which shows the board.


GETTING TO THE CIRCUIT BOARD


Step 1

Place some easy to remove tape on the face of the cluster and mark the locations that the needles stop all the way down at, they most likely will NOT be on the "0" or the last line on each gauge.  SEE PHOTO




Step 2

Gently pull up in the center of the gauge needles, do not bend the needles or break the needles.  Some people have used a kitchen fork (you can google stepper motor replacements and see the needle removals there).

Step 3

Flip the board back over, lift the circuit board up gently, there will be a slight amount of resistance but do not pull too hard.  After it is loose, you should see up to THREE ribbon cables connected to the board, if you do not have a DIC you may only see TWO.  Unplug these from the smaller circuit board inside the housing.





Step 4

You can now desolder the lamps and/or stepper motors.  I would recommend just replacing all the stepper motors and illumination lamps while you have this apart.  There are not that expensive and will be great preventive maintenance.  










INFO*
The stepper motors only fit back on one way, so there shouldn't be any confusion placing the new ones back in.  Make sure they sit back FLAT to the board. To replace the SIX illumination lamps (see the ones marked on the PIC) press a hot soldering iron next to the lamp on the corner that is soldered to the board, press your finger against the bulb, using light pressure in the opposite way, and in just a second the one corner will pop up off the board, repeat on the opposite corner and the bulb will now be removed.  Make sure you are removing the correct lamps.  The LEFT and RIGHT signal and HIGH BEAM bulb are also this type of bulb and can also be replaced using this method, the other indicator lamps are NOT this style.



GETTING TO THE ODOMETER BULB

INFO*
Chances are if you are removing this cluster, even for just the replacement of one stepper motor, or a couple other illumination lamps and the ODOMETER is currently working, all the messing around with the circuit board will likely blow this bulb too, so it is advisable to replace this along with the 6 other illumination lamps next to the stepper motors.







Step 1

There are 33 pins, simply desolder them and pull the entire display off by pressing in the two tabs and pulling it out.  Make sure to manually go over EACH PIN after you desolder and make sure it wiggles, if it doesn't remove more solder, it should be free moving so it pulls through with no resistance.  SEE PHOTO





Close Up





TIP*
Sometimes the solder does not want to wick up, or be sucked into the tool easily, I found ADDING fresh solder on the pin actually helps aid in removing the solder.







Step 2

Press a hot soldering iron next to the lamp on the corner that is soldered to the board, press your finger against the bulb, using light pressure in the opposite way, and in just a second the one corner will pop up off the board, repeat on the opposite corner and the bulb will now be removed.  SEE PHOTO







Step 3

Pull the old bulb from the base, it just has some little hooks under the base, pry them off with your nail and the bulb comes out.









Step 4

Place the new bulb into the old base, wrap the wire down the same little groove and trim the new bulbs wire to fit just like the old bulb, pressing it into the little "nook" under the base.





Step 5

I found it easier to place a new tiny dab of solder on the board where the old bulb was soldered into, then place the newly assembled bulb on top, hold down with your finger, and touch the soldering tip to the corner and let the solder flow to it, and the base should lay flat to the board and the one side should be soldered now to the bulb, repeat for the opposite side.





Step 6

Place the Odometer display back in the pin holes, it only fits one way, look at the plastic housing and count the pins to double check.  Press the display as far down as it will allow with light pressure, resolder the end pins first to hold the assembly tight and even to the board, then solder all the pins.

Step 7

When you are done, I like to take a Q-tip with a little rubbing alcohol and clean the new bulbs (do this on the odometer bulb before you reinstall the display).  This removes your body oil that may cause the bulbs to blow early, but allow the alcohol to dry before you reassemble.

Step 8

Reassemble the board, connecting the ribbon cables, place the needles back on, and rotate them around until you get back to your mark on the tape, make sure this is the actual resting point of the needle, it should not easily go below your mark, if it does, pry the needle up, place the needle on with it pointed much higher than your mark, then spin the needle slowly with your finger until you feel resistance (stopping point) and slowly get to your mark.

FINAL

Then you can reinstall the IP back in your Aztek, I like to plug the instrument panel in the do a systems check before I put the entire thing back together.  Check all the bulbs, and screens, and even check the functioning of the gauges.  When the key is on, the speedometer usually rests at 0, as well as the RPM.  Crank it up, and make note of the fuel and watch the temperature gauge.

Reinstall panels in reverse order.

Hope this helps, as this seems to be a common issue and people are being told it's not repairable and it's really simple to fix.  I've done this on three teks' now.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2016, 09:58:09 PM by Camelhmpz » Logged
ryan1825
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2016, 03:47:33 PM »

This needs a sticky for sure. Is there a way to do this repair but use LED's instead of the T5's?
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Camelhmpz
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2003 Pontiac Aztek


« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2016, 09:07:22 PM »

This needs a sticky for sure. Is there a way to do this repair but use LED's instead of the T5's?

You can, but you will need to have some resistors in place, which I am not familiar with but can be had all over YouTube.  Smiley

Thanks for your reply and welcome.
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evilram
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2019, 02:05:16 AM »

I just want to say Thanks  for the dash info and pics..  I'm going to replace my bulbs, esp. the odo is out.  All the gauges work except the gas is freaky, starts at full and later goes to empty, ( no in between) so I am assuming this is the float.  Been awhile, but I've done my own repairs on Corvette C4 digital dashes before but I'm getting old so wish me luck - will report back
Thanks again !  Joe.
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3:)
evilram
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2019, 02:06:06 AM »

I just want to say Thanks  for the dash info and pics..  I'm going to replace my bulbs, esp. the odo is out.  All the gauges work except the gas is freaky, starts at full and later goes to empty, ( no in between) so I am assuming this is the float.  Been awhile, but I've done my own repairs on Corvette C4 digital dashes before but I'm getting old so wish me luck - will report back
Thanks again !  Joe.
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3:)
Camelhmpz
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2003 Pontiac Aztek


« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2019, 09:01:35 PM »

Hope everything went smooth with your repair.  Thank you, glad I could help.
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