'99 Stratus - cluster dies randomly, need some help!



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Thread: '99 Stratus - cluster dies randomly, need some help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    '99 Stratus - cluster dies randomly, need some help!

    Oldest daughter's first car. 2.5l motor. Instrument cluster will go non-functional randomly. Never while driving, just after the car has been shut off, left to sit a while then restarted. Besides the instrument cluster not functioning, the wipers don't work and the keyless entry is dead as well. All the other accessories work fine when it happens.

    When it fails, the odometer will read a faint "0". Sometimes it will display the "no bus" message, but that's the exception to it reading the faint 0.

    Thought it may be the BCM/junction block combo, since more than just the cluster was inoperative. Found one at the salvage yard (same part#'s) and swapped it in today. No joy. Still fails.

    Using my GoogleFu, I see reports of truck and Durango owners of the same vintage having roughly the same issue though often with the engine shutting down as well. Common solutions are replacing the PCM, and/or the crank sensor. I don't think it's the crank sensor..

    Before I drop $200 on a flashed PCM, any input for what I may have overlooked? I've chased all the ground points to make sure they're good. All the battery connection points are solid and clean. Checked the connections at the PCM and they appear fine. The only thing that we came up with for possible related cause was that this all started after the solenoid pack failed and I had to replace it.

    Any input appreciated! Thanks!!
    -Doug

    '01 Town & Country Limited, 150K miles & still rolling
    '97 Saturn SL2

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  3. #2
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    Sorry for the late reply but I just caught this thread at the bottom of the page.

    Not to be a downer BUT...
    Anything on the BUS could be dragging it down.
    Wiring,cluster itself, TCM, ABS module,keyless entry,air bag module, PCM you get the point i'm sure.

    Did any TCM or PCM wires get disturbed when you did the sol pack?
    If you suspect its the PCM and since it does still run, disconnect the BUS from the PCM and try it for a few days. If the problem goes away buy a PCM. If it still does it move onto the next module.\
    Otherwise your going to need the problem to be active to pin it down.
    2013 TC Limited Black/Graystone Custom ordered 5/13
    Luxury non Stow & Go buckets, Tow and almost everything else. Lifetime Max Care warranty. Driven to 36 states so far.
    1994 Grand Caravan SE Sport, 3.3L, 351,000+ miles and counting. Original engine and trans. Bought it new and have driven it to 48 states. Now my daughters daily driver.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1994 Sport View Post
    Sorry for the late reply but I just caught this thread at the bottom of the page.

    Not to be a downer BUT...
    Anything on the BUS could be dragging it down.
    Wiring,cluster itself, TCM, ABS module,keyless entry,air bag module, PCM you get the point i'm sure.

    Did any TCM or PCM wires get disturbed when you did the sol pack?
    If you suspect its the PCM and since it does still run, disconnect the BUS from the PCM and try it for a few days. If the problem goes away buy a PCM. If it still does it move onto the next module.\
    Otherwise your going to need the problem to be active to pin it down.
    Ehh, I forgot about my post until today and decided to check.
    I had to move stuff around as-needed to change out the solenoid pack, which meant pulling the TCM to gain access. I've also replaced the Input Speed Sensor, since I had taken it to a transmission shop trying to get a Quick Learn done after the solenoid change-out to reset the shift points and the tech said he wasn't getting readings from it. But he also said he lost communications with the BUS several times while trying to do the Quick Learn and couldn't complete the process.

    Gut-hunch is it's the PCM, and I ordered a flashed unit today. Find out in a week or so if my hunch is right. That, or I'll be $180 poorer and still have a car that doesn't work right.
    -Doug

    '01 Town & Country Limited, 150K miles & still rolling
    '97 Saturn SL2

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  6. #4
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    Well, I'm $180 poorer.. Changed out the PCM today and same problem.
    Pulled all the connections from the PCM, TCM solenoid pack and connections in-between with no change.
    The only thing that's being constant now is if I disconnect the negative battery lead to the chassis mount and tap it to the post a few times, it will reset things and operate normally. Going to chase the grounds fed off that, namely the ground that runs to the transaxle case and the ground strap that shares the connection on the transaxle case and see if it's related.
    -Doug

    '01 Town & Country Limited, 150K miles & still rolling
    '97 Saturn SL2

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to douggro For This Useful Post:

    JC1(09-04-2016)

  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by douggro View Post
    Well, I'm $180 poorer.. Changed out the PCM today and same problem.
    Pulled all the connections from the PCM, TCM solenoid pack and connections in-between with no change.
    The only thing that's being constant now is if I disconnect the negative battery lead to the chassis mount and tap it to the post a few times, it will reset things and operate normally. Going to chase the grounds fed off that, namely the ground that runs to the transaxle case and the ground strap that shares the connection on the transaxle case and see if it's related.
    What do you meant by tapping the battery post?

    Try disconnecting the negative battery cable, then with that cable, tap the positive battery post a few times, then connect the negative cable back to the battery and see if that helped a little.

    Note: You can disconnect either side, if the negative cable doesn't reach the positive battery post, then try disconnecting the positive cable, just make sure your tools doesn't touch any metal part of your vehicle in the process.







    2012 Town & Country
    2006 Dodge Grand Caravan. 317,000 + Miles. -SOLD-
    Current Minivans I own.
    LEVY --UNKNOWN MEMBER--

  9. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEVY View Post
    What do you meant by tapping the battery post?

    Try disconnecting the negative battery cable, then with that cable, tap the positive battery post a few times, then connect the negative cable back to the battery and see if that helped a little.

    Note: You can disconnect either side, if the negative cable doesn't reach the positive battery post, then try disconnecting the positive cable, just make sure your tools doesn't touch any metal part of your vehicle in the process.
    Thanks for the response Levy.

    In that vintage Stratus, the negative battery cable goes to a threaded post on the left strut tower (the G100 ground point); a secondary cable runs from there to the transaxle housing to provide the main ground to the engine. So I'm disconnecting the negative battery lead at G100 and tapping it to its' post, and that seems to reset the electronics - until it goes offline again. To which there is no rhyme or reason - it does it whenever it feels like it, it seems..

    I'm beginning to think that there's a fault in the instrument cluster itself that's causing the problem. When the cluster is dead, I can run the self-diagnostic test and it appears to pass the tests. But when the cluster is "functioning" it WON'T do the self-diagnostic.
    -Doug

    '01 Town & Country Limited, 150K miles & still rolling
    '97 Saturn SL2

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