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Thread: No Instrument Cluster Lights

  1. #1
    E500E Guru emerydc8's Avatar
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    No Instrument Cluster Lights

    I seem to remember someone posting about this but now I can't seem to find it. All the lights in my instrument cluster, dash and center console are inoperative on my 94. All the gauges work (tach, oil press., speedometer, temp.). I checked the fuses in the engine compartment and they appear to be okay.

    Would it be safe to presume that the rheostat behind the instrument cluster has failed? Thanks.
    Jon D.
    1994 E420
    1995 E420

  2. #2
    Russian_Rocket Roma_500E's Avatar
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    Re: No Instrument Cluster Lights

    It is not fuse, I had the same problem . The problem is the bright adjuster on the cluster , you can shake it and you will see lights will come on.
    The issue is that there is corrosion or just bad connection. Take out cluster and fix this little guy .

    I was really shocked when everything stopped working but issue was simple.

    good luck
    Last edited by Roma_500E; 06-09-2013 at 10:38 AM.
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  3. #3
    E500E Guru emerydc8's Avatar
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    Re: No Instrument Cluster Lights

    Thanks. I will check that out tomorrow.
    Jon D.
    1994 E420
    1995 E420

  4. #4

    Re: No Instrument Cluster Lights

    Thanks. I will check that out tomorrow.

  5. #5
    I'm "special"! Jelmer's Avatar
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    Re: No Instrument Cluster Lights

    Oddly enough, on my trip to Hamburg I experienced the same issue. Fiddling with the pot meter didn't help, though.
    "But if you really must have the Porsche if you really must have a Porsche sedan you can buy a 500E and have enough left over for something air-cooled"

  6. #6
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    Re: No Instrument Cluster Lights

    Have this same problem - 92 500E that has been, sadly, in storage for several years. Been reading and I am about to pull the cluster. Expecting mouse nests or I don't know what. Will post results. Thanks to all for the motivation.
    Paul D. (offbyone)
    92 500E - Joyful Headache
    98 ML320 - Not my favorite toy
    80 240D - Still loved

  7. #7
    E500E Guru emerydc8's Avatar
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    Re: No Instrument Cluster Lights

    The problem was immediately evident. I rebent the rheostat wire so it was wedged into the solder joint and taped it down with a strip of Gorilla Tape. I may come back with a soldering iron at a later time (probably if it fails again).
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    Jon D.
    1994 E420
    1995 E420

  8. #8
    Russian_Rocket Roma_500E's Avatar
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    Re: No Instrument Cluster Lights

    Quote Originally Posted by emerydc8 View Post
    The problem was immediately evident. I rebent the rheostat wire so it was wedged into the solder joint and taped it down with a strip of Gorilla Tape. I may come back with a soldering iron at a later time (probably if it fails again).
    Is the rheostat bright adjuster ? it's kinda fancy word I am not aware of, lol
    500E 1 of 15

  9. #9
    E500E Guru mistermiata's Avatar
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    Re: No Instrument Cluster Lights

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_500E View Post
    Is the rheostat bright adjuster ? it's kinda fancy word I am not aware of, lol
    Yes Roma, the rheostat is the instrument cluster brightness adjuster.
    Andy
    94 E500
    (128k miles)....sold
    2000 Land Rover Disco (112k miles)
    95 Mazda Miata (104k miles)
    91 BMW 325i (140+K miles odo broken!)

  10. #10
    Russian_Rocket Roma_500E's Avatar
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    Re: No Instrument Cluster Lights

    Quote Originally Posted by mistermiata View Post
    Yes Roma, the rheostat is the instrument cluster brightness adjuster.
    I remembered this thread recently and touched my rheostat just for fun ... Haha all my lights shut off so turned left/right and light came back on ...

    I guess I have to take cluster out and see what's going on though feel lazy to do that .....
    500E 1 of 15

  11. #11
    E500E Guru mistermiata's Avatar
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    Re: No Instrument Cluster Lights

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_500E View Post
    I remembered this thread recently and touched my rheostat just for fun ... Haha all my lights shut off so turned left/right and light came back on ...

    I guess I have to take cluster out and see what's going on though feel lazy to do that .....

    Hah, lazy 036 owner. No such thing exists
    Andy
    94 E500
    (128k miles)....sold
    2000 Land Rover Disco (112k miles)
    95 Mazda Miata (104k miles)
    91 BMW 325i (140+K miles odo broken!)

  12. #12
    E500E Guru emerydc8's Avatar
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    Re: No Instrument Cluster Lights

    The connection in the picture that I taped a few days ago came apart. When I tried to solder it, the solder joint would not hold the first few times, so I had to solder it again and then hit the joint with a few drops of JB Weld. It seemed to work.

    In the process of repairing the rheostat joint, I caused the peanut light on the left side of the instrument cluster to fail. Luckily I have a box of assorted bulbs from 15 years ago and was able to replace it.

    After replacing it, I noticed the left side of the cluster was slightly brighter than the right, so anyone wishing they had brighter lights may want to give the bulb replacement a try rather than go directly for the rheostat replacement.

    The burnt out bulb in the picture had the following written on it:

    W3W 37R 0031 OS 12V

    I got it from AutohausAZ.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jon D.
    1994 E420
    1995 E420

  13. #13

    Re: No Instrument Cluster Lights

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_500E View Post
    It is not fuse, I had the same problem . The problem is the bright adjuster on the cluster , you can shake it and you will see hid xenon kits will come on.
    The issue is that there is corrosion or just bad connection. Take out cluster and fix this little guy .

    I was really shocked when everything stopped working but issue was simple.

    good luck
    Very nice very nice indeed.. Even I am facing similar problem and now I will try your way to solve it.. Thanks again.. WIll post soon
    Last edited by RogelioEstrada; 06-25-2013 at 09:57 PM.

  14. #14
    I'm "special"! Jelmer's Avatar
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    Re: No Instrument Cluster Lights

    This has been fixed with me, as well. My rheostat looked exactly as the picture posted above Took the mechanic 3 minutes to replace
    "But if you really must have the Porsche if you really must have a Porsche sedan you can buy a 500E and have enough left over for something air-cooled"

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