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Hey All - let me start out by saying this is a great forum with a wealth of great people/information. You all have been a great help.

2004 6s ATX here. 53k miles and no major problems until recently....

I came one day, turned on the car. Engine, radio and headlights all started up fine....then I looked at my instrument cluster/gauges and noticed it was dead. Completely. No lights. No needle movement. Nothing. I checked the oil level and it was very low (not sure if that has anything to do with this though).

I put the car in D, tried to drive but it wouldn't move. Engine revs as normal but it drove like I had the car in neutral. I check the fuse for the cluster and its blown. I put in a new fuse and the car works ok for a bit (but CEL is on), but then it blows the cluster fuse again. I pull it over, get it towed to a local guy. He takes the cluster apart and says I have a short somewhere. He tried putting in a new fuse for the cluster but it keeps blowing. Everything else in the car except for the cluster is working as normal. Strange...

End result of the work is he says I had an oil leak (which I did as I saw some oil on the engine/belts) and he replaced the valve cover gaskets, rear housing gasket and the "platinum upper gaskets" (?). Claims that the oil leak caused some wires to short and its all cleaned up now.

Car runs fine for four days, but then I come out today and again - dead instrument cluster with the exact same symptoms. Mechanic now says the whole cluster needs to be replaced......(??) That seems kind of ridiculous. :huh:

Is there anything else you can think of here that could be the culprit? Would replacing the entire cluster really be the solution to this problem? Seems to me that the car is just going to keep blowing that fuse so long as the short has not been located....but maybe my cluster is malfunctioning because thats the only think that is f'd up?

Help/advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks.
 

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ya try replacing the cluster. They told me there was a short in mine and thats why when I turn on my fogs it tells me my brights are on. You can pick up a cluster for about 60 bucks off ebay.
 

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If you can get an instrument cluster for $60.00, do it. The time spent on troubleshooting the instrument cluster will far exceed that. If it is the meter IG fuse, then there is a multiple of load resistors and transistors that could be the possible cause.
There is a processor but no schematics (factory manual) for that to see if there are optical isolators or standard buffer IC's to isolate the unit.
You can troubleshoot the old one once you have the car back up and running with the new one.

DJ
 

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Let's determine whether it's the cluster that's blowing the fuse.

Replace with new fuse. Remove the cluster or leave it unplugged. Drive around and see if it blows the fuse again. Aside from not knowing how fast you're going, or whether you have your turn signals on or not, you can still drive your car. I've done it.

It's a bit strange to have the fuse blow out if you've never touched the cluster before. Just because the lights are off on it doesn't mean it's the culprit.

I have a 03/04 instrument cluster that I changed to blue lights. It was my test bed; I have a 2006 and can't use it properly - the turn signal lights don't blink and the odometer runs 2x faster. I'm willing to sell it to you as-is if you really need a spare cluster.

edit: it works on 03/04, just not on 06
 

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Ydrone, you have a point, I sometimes take what others have diagnosed as the real culprit. So, I looked through the schematics and found that it goes quite a few places.

Do you have power locks, this fuse also goes to pin 2B of the door lock module. (green/black wire)

It also goes through the range selector and TCM for your auto trans.

Your ignition coil, which also parallels through a niose capacitor. Shouldn't pass DC unless shorted.

IG1 relay power.

AT Main Relay power.

You could drive without the cluster as mentioned, you will get a code but ni big deal.

Cycle your range selector switch a bunch. Try keeping your foot on the brake and give a little gas to see if you have a bad mount allowing the engine to move more than it should causing wire chaffing and possible shorting.

removing the fuse and doing wire wiggle tests while ohmimh the circuit to ground.

DJ
 
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