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Volkswagen Jetta, Golf, GTI: 1993-1999, Cabrio 1995-2002 (A3) vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working


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Last Post: Sep 2, 2014 8:14 PM Last Post By: BobD
flex

Posts: 6
Registered: 09/24/06
vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Sep 24, 2006 9:39 PM
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I've just put my vr6 up for sale and all of a sudden the speedometer and tachometer stopped workin. talk about timing. is this a wiring problem or does my cluster need to be replaced.
BobD

Posts: 1,821
Registered: 11/29/04
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 7:19 PM   in response to: flex in response to: flex
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Flex,
Turn the key to the "ON" position (Not start).
Do you see either the speedo or tach needle vibrating?
(Or both?)

When you are driving the car, does the odometer add up?
flex

Posts: 6
Registered: 09/24/06
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 5:56 PM   in response to: BobD in response to: BobD
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When I turn the key to the on position the speedo vibrates and then stops. It also does this when I turn the key off. this problem is intermittent. When the promblem is present the speedo never stops vibrating and does not move pass 0 and the tach doesn't move at all but never vibrates. everything else works fine i.e temp gauge, fuel gauge. I have not checked to see wether or not the odometer is adding while in this state because i let the car rest for a few minutes and it comes back on line. Read your discussion with gdub22. Hope you can help.
thanks
BobD

Posts: 1,821
Registered: 11/29/04
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 7:22 PM   in response to: flex in response to: flex
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Flex,
Your problem is different than gdub22's.
I'm guessing your odometer will add up.
Your cluster needs to be serviced.

The quickest fix is to replace the cluster.
The odometer will be different.
If you get a new cluster, ensure it's for a Vr6, otherwise the RPM will be wrong.

BobD
flex

Posts: 6
Registered: 09/24/06
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 7:26 PM   in response to: BobD in response to: BobD
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Is this type of cluster problem something you can fix
flex

Posts: 6
Registered: 09/24/06
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 7:32 PM   in response to: flex in response to: flex
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I would hate to have to change the cluster with a new one because as you said the odometer would read 0 if new or most likely well over 100k. I only have 99600 km on my golf
BobD

Posts: 1,821
Registered: 11/29/04
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 9:36 PM   in response to: flex in response to: flex
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Yes, I can fix it.
I thought since you were selling the car, you would want a fast turn around.

What year is the car?

I can email you the specifics, contact me at:
a3clusters(a)hotmail.com

BobD
gadfam5

Posts: 14
Registered: 09/29/06
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Sep 29, 2006 6:58 PM   in response to: BobD in response to: BobD
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Hi, I just bought a '95 GTI with high miles but in great shape. It has the same problem mentioned in your conversation from a few years ago. The seller said the speedometer and Tach were not working when he bought it 4 years ago so he bought a new cluster and had it installed. He said that after a while it stopped working as well while all the other items in the cluster work fine. He said that occasionally it starts working for a short time but then quits again. It has not come on in the 2 days I've owned it. What can you tell me about a fix? Thanks, Joe
mic182

Posts: 34
Registered: 07/30/03
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Sep 29, 2006 11:50 PM   in response to: gadfam5 in response to: gadfam5
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I have had a problem with my speedo and gas gauge not ready correctly.... I cleaned the ground under my battery tray ( this was on a 97 A3)( just remove battery and the metal tray under it and clean both grounds) and its been about 3 weeks now that everything is still working. and before I couldn't drive 5 ft without something reading wrong...
gadfam5

Posts: 14
Registered: 09/29/06
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Sep 30, 2006 4:29 PM   in response to: flex in response to: flex
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Any luck fixing your speedo/tach issue. I just bought a 95 GTI VR6 that has the same issue and would appreciate any help. Is there an electronic sending unit that sends info to both the speedo and tach. I pulled the instrument cluster out and everything looked fine on that end.
BobD

Posts: 1,821
Registered: 11/29/04
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Sep 30, 2006 8:10 PM   in response to: gadfam5 in response to: gadfam5
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Joe,
Turn the key to the "ON" position, and don't start the car. When you turn the key on, watch the tach & speedo needle. Do either, or both vibrate around zero.
Then turn the key off.
Take note if either or both keep vibrating for a few seconds.
If you are seeing either needle vibrating around zero as mentioned above, then it's the cluster....nothing else.

BobD
DubRider

Posts: 8
Registered: 09/07/06
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Sep 30, 2006 10:31 PM   in response to: BobD in response to: BobD
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everyone having the same issue. most of the times it's just a ground problem. if you take out the cluster inspect the connector and look for any broken solder joints, if everything looks fine then take a look at your plug. see if it's loose, if not then pull out the fuse box and make sure that the 2 14 pin plugs are tight.
keep on checking the fuse box and look for plug Z2, that's the ground cable for the fuse box, make sure that it's connected tight. move on to the engine bay and disconnect the battery and unmount the battery tray and remove and clean the ground cable under the tray. next remove the engine cover and inspect the grounds connected to the head. clean them out and reinstall.
you might also check out the ground terminal above the fuse box on the a pillar wall.
I had the same problem as everyone else, i found the white plug on the cluster with the 2 clips broken. i replaced the harness but you can buy the plug at the dealer if damage. after installing the new harness i started diagnosing the dimming light on the cluster. i clean all the mentioned grounds and that solved my problem.
also if your coolant lever warning seen to be coming on ramdomly and your cooland lever is fine, a bad ground it's the cause.
check your grounds and save a lot of money, cluster cost a lot of money.
BobD

Posts: 1,821
Registered: 11/29/04
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Sep 30, 2006 11:32 PM   in response to: BobD in response to: BobD
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I have now repaired 30 VW clusters.
There are various issues.
The 2 common issues are either:

1. No response from Tach and Speedo.
This has always been an internal issue with the cluster.
In my experience, this is not a ground issue.
The odometer will work which indicates the speed signal is fine.
If your car starts, then the RPM sensor is fine.
You will know if you have this problem because either the speedo or Tach needle vibrates around zero when you turn the key to "ON". Not a ground issue.

2. Speedo reads improperly, Fuel gauge swings with vehicle speed
There are a couple reasons I have come across for this problem.
The cluster has a few dieletric caps and these caps have either failed, or on their way. Dieletric caps look like cans.
I have worked with two folks on this issue in particular.
In both cases, the problem was solved when they replaced the cluster. Both clusters were sent to me for repair.
I replaced various caps.
I want to add that I took these cluster and placed them in my car. The issue was present in my car as well.
When I changed the caps in these cluster, I then drove around for a week with them in my car to verify I fixed the problem.
I returned the clusters to the owners and all was well.


In both cases vehicles grounds did not fix the problem. But I usually recomend people clean up two ground locations found in the engine compartment, just incase.
One thing I do recomend is that people do not open their clusters and start soldering away. This is not a wise thing to do unless you have experience in this field. Reheating solder causes more damage especially if you are doing what they call "touch up". Google the words "eutectic bond" and understand the problems of reheating solder.

zach238

Posts: 1
Registered: 10/01/06
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Oct 1, 2006 12:50 AM   in response to: BobD in response to: BobD
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Hi BobD. I noticed that you seem to be very familiar with the specific problem of the speedometer and tachometer not working in volkswagens. I have this exact problem in my 1997 Jetta. The speedometer and tachometer will occasionally not work, and when they do this, the odometer still counts up like normal and the speedometer needle vibrates at zero. Tachometer sits dead at zero. Fuel and temp. always work fine. Digital clock and odometer work fine. Can you help me with this problem?
BobD

Posts: 1,821
Registered: 11/29/04
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Oct 1, 2006 1:45 AM   in response to: zach238 in response to: zach238
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zach238,
In short, the problem is the cluster.
You may notice a pattern with the clusters performance.
For ex. You may notice that when the cluster does work try shutting the car off and start it right back up. The cluster may not work. Most folks experience that the cluster works when it's cold, or basically at first start of the day. There are a couple of reasons why the cluster does this. There are a few components inside the cluster that are in question.

When a cluster is in good working order, it performs a small test every time you turn the key to the "ON" position. What the clusters microcontroller does is it runs the tach & speedo needles to zero. And like I said, if the cluster is in good working order, this happens in a split second, and you don't see anything.

If your cluster is faulty:
Let's say there is something wrong with the speedo side of the cluster. Turn the key to "ON", and you will notice the speedo needle vibrating around zero. Thats because the microcontroller is driving the speedo needle to zero over and over and it's waiting for a response. But it never gets it, so it doesn't run the speedo becuase it's faulty. The cluster can't run the speedo at this opint becuase it would display the wrong speed.
The only thing I find strange is this. If the RPM side is working fine, the cluster doesn't run it either. I'm not sure why the makers of the cluster (VDO) did this?
In short, if the speedo doesn't pass the start up test, then neither the speedo or the tach will run. And vise versa.

If someone has a situation where either the speedo or Tach doesn't work, then they have a completely different situation. They may be simply missing that signal.

Zach238, if you turn the key to the "ON" position, and you are seeing the speedo needle vibrating, then the fault is the cluster. The speedometer stepper motor is not responding to the microcontrollers home position request.
Turn the key off. I'm guessing the needle continues to vibrate for a second or two.

Basically you will need a new cluster. Unless you have the time and "know how's" of snooping around inside the cluster. You will need an EEprom programmer as well.

The clusters are fairly swopable. (Is that a word?)
Anyway, just be sure you get a cluster for a 4 cylinder and not a 6 cylinder, otherwise the RPM gauge will be 2/3 short in the reading.

Some folks get used clusters, and some have even sent me the cluster they just bought for mileage programming.
But then again others have sent me their damaged cluster just to be fixed. But sending me a damaged cluster means you'll have an empty dash for about 10 days.

Good Luck,
BobD

realfastbug

Posts: 11
Registered: 09/18/06
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Oct 2, 2006 1:08 AM   in response to: BobD in response to: BobD
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Just to give you another data point I have the no speedo/moving fuel gauge issue. I got a used cluster from a junk yard on ebay and it has the same issue. I also replaced the VSS which didn't fix it. I need to double check that the vss is sending signals and that they are getting to the right places.

Curious, is this issue always found on automatics? thats what I have. I haven't put much time into this other than reading as this tranny is on its last legs as well.

thanks for all the info!
BobD

Posts: 1,821
Registered: 11/29/04
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Oct 2, 2006 8:03 AM   in response to: realfastbug in response to: realfastbug
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realfastbug,
Can you answer the following questions:
-You have no speed signal at all? The needle sits at zero at all times?
-Is the Tach operating as expected?
-Is the odometer adding up?
-Are you finding the fuel gauge moves around with the vehicles speed?

I'm not ruling out automatics on this problem....just yet.

What year/model car do you have?
Where abouts do you live?
Does your car have any other electrical issues?

BobD
DubRider

Posts: 8
Registered: 09/07/06
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Oct 2, 2006 10:57 AM   in response to: BobD in response to: BobD
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bobD
my friend is having a problem with the mfa not working as well as the coolant warning flashing when the level is fine. he changed the coolant bottle thinking that the sensor was bad, that didn't fix the problem.
I tried to help fix the problem and checked for continuty between the sensor and the cluster and that check out fine.
could the cluster be going dead too ?
If it's the cluster could you fix it ?
pm me with an estimate.
BobD

Posts: 1,821
Registered: 11/29/04
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Oct 2, 2006 8:44 PM   in response to: DubRider in response to: DubRider
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DubRider,
"MFA"... Marine Fisheries Agency ?

What model/year is this car?

I know low level coolant sets of the coolant light, do you recall if anything else does? Over heat/high temp??

Did you try grounding the pins inside the coolant level connector? One of the pins is ground, so grounding both will be OK. Try grounding the pins before turning the car on.

These VDO clusters are pretty good. Well built.
But like everything else in this world.... nothing is perfect.

I'm not out to make money on these clusters I fix.
I usually ask for the cost of the parts and delivery fees home.

Can you guys go a week without the cluster?

BobD
andi28

Posts: 4
Registered: 06/07/06
Re: vr6 golf gen3 speedometer and tachometer not working
Posted: Oct 4, 2006 11:42 PM   in response to: DubRider in response to: DubRider
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Hi guys,

This speedometer problem seems to be quite common. However, mine has a little twist.
I have a 99 Jetta VR6 (new Jetta) manual, I bought it last October, and since February it's being giving me a hard time with the speedometer/odometer. At the beginning, as it didn't work, I took it to a repair shop, they said it's the speed sensor, changed it and then for a few days it worked. After that, it stopped again, then went back on, and so for a while, until about April until it stopped completely. Every once in a while the speedometer/odometer will work for a couple of dozen miles, and then stop again for two weeks. My guess is that there is some loose wiring but, as I am not too knowledgeable about this, wanted to check with you guys.

I want to mention that these are the only problems, the tachometer never had any problems, nor the fuel gauge and I never had problems starting the car. Any advice would be much appreciated.

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