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Old 12-21-2010, 09:29 PM   #1
president2024
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Default Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

Hello,

I have been trying to figure this problem out for a while and could really use some input. My instrument panel needles on my 2007 Saturn Aura XE had been flickering for a while. Now they are just dim and never are bright like they should be. All of this happened when a headlight went out. I don't know if this is a bulb issue or something electrical, considering all the needles flickered and went dim at the same time. I know it's a small issue, but it surely is annoying.

Any advice? I appreciate it!

-Jason

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Old 12-22-2010, 01:08 AM   #2
greenman
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

You could have a dealer check it out with a tech 2 but I'd suspect a bad IPC board. The schematic would help. Recycled IPCs are available on ebay "Aura instrument".

Last edited by greenman; 12-22-2010 at 01:17 AM..

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Old 12-22-2010, 03:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

Forgot to add: its a vacuum fluorescent display, no replaceable "bulbs". I know Lexus had this same problem for years. Yours is the first I've seen for the Aura/Malibu IPC. I could be wrong. Cars are very complex these days.

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Old 12-22-2010, 06:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

I don't like that one bit. Complex means expensive lol. It probably wouldn't be worth it for me to replace the entire instrument panel considering it's a small issue, but if I decide to, what's the best way to get that out of there? Thanks again for your help.

-Jason

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Old 12-23-2010, 02:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

Quote:
Originally Posted by president2024 View Post
I don't like that one bit. Complex means expensive lol. It probably wouldn't be worth it for me to replace the entire instrument panel considering it's a small issue, but if I decide to, what's the best way to get that out of there? Thanks again for your help.

-Jason
If it were my problem, I would probe a dealer's service manager for any free info I could cajole out of him. Some are knowledgeable & helpful. Some are dicks. It's a crap shoot. You would need to refer to the service manual (worth every penny) for the R & R.

also FYI: replacement IPC's have to be reprogrammed by a tech 2 (which only dealers have)

Maybe it's worth getting an extended warranty if plan to keep it.

Also, when you say they're dim how dim? Would you post a picture?

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Old 12-23-2010, 12:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

I'll probably take it to a dealer and see what info I can get. I'm not sure if a picture would be able to show it, but the needles aren't visible during the day, but you can easily see them during the night. Thanks again for your help.

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Old 12-23-2010, 01:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

if turn turn headlights tomanual insteadof auto (to make sure they are off) does this help?

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Old 12-23-2010, 04:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

OP:
On my 09, when I turn the key to the run position, the needles go hot to 100% brightness. Do yours?

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Old 12-23-2010, 05:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

Also, have you tried turning the dimmer switch up & down on the chance that the BCM is getting bad input from it? (The BCM controls the VF display)

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Old 12-23-2010, 08:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

Hello. The dimmer knob does make the already dim needles even dimmer to the point where there is no light (only visible during the night). Turn the auto lights off does not change anything.

I will post back once I get word from the repair shop.

-Jason

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Old 01-18-2011, 02:13 AM   #11
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

There appears to be an issue with '07 IP clusters. At least that's what I interpret this to mean:

Service Information
Document ID: 1853047
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

#05-08-49-009D: Exchange Program - Saturn Aura, ION, Relay, SKY and VUE Instrument Panel Cluster Ordering Process - (Aug 4, 2006)


Subject: Saturn Aura, ION, Relay, Sky and VUE Instrument Panel Cluster Ordering Process


Models: 2005-2007 Saturn Relay

2007 Saturn Aura, ION, Sky and VUE



Attention: Fixed Operations Manager, Parts Manager, and Technician



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This bulletin is being revised to add models and model years. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 05-08-49-009C (Section 08 -- Body & Accessories).


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The purpose of this bulletin is to inform Saturn Retailers of a parts exchange program for instrument panel (IP) clusters. The IP cluster has been designated as an exchange part. By working closely with our retailers and technicians through the parts exchange process, the GM team will gain a better understanding of any field concerns that may develop.

If a customer comes to the retailer with IP cluster concerns, please follow the repair information and diagnostics found in the Instrument Panel, Gages, and Console sub-section of Service Information (SI) or the appropriate Saturn Service Manual. If your diagnosis points to a fault with the IP cluster, obtain an exchange IP cluster as follows:

U.S. Retailers: Please call one of the following authorized Electronic Service Centers (ESC):

AER Technologies (AEL) , Brea, CA: (714) 871-7357 or (800) 321-6970

AJR International, Inc (AJC) , Elmhurst, IL: (630) 832-0222 or (800) 232-3965

Autocraft Electronics (AED) , Carrollton, TX: (972) 466-6200 or (800) 336-3998

Instrument Sales & Service, Inc (ISS) , Kent, WA: (253) 796-5400 or (800) 666-5469

Model Electronics, Inc (MES) , Spring Valley, NY: (201) 961-6200 or (800) 433-9657

Specmo Enterprises (SED) , Madison Heights, MI: (248) 307-2570 or (800) 545-7910

Techni-Car, Inc (TCT) , Oldsmar, FL: (813) 855-0022 or (800) 886-0022


Replacement parts are usually shipped out within 24 hours, and a pre-paid return package label will be included for returning the original part. By returning the original part, you will avoid a significant non-return core charge. Insert the Core Authorization Form when returning the original part. Please follow the instructions on the paperwork included with the replacement unit for proper handling procedures.

The IP cluster will be shipped to the facility free of charge. You will not be invoiced for the IP cluster. Therefore, the IP cluster is not to be sold to the Customer Service Order (CSO).

Canadian Retailers: Replacement IP clusters must be obtained from an authorized Canadian Electronic Service Centre (ESC).

Ordering Information
When ordering through Electronic Service Centers, the following information is needed to process retailer order(s):

• Retailer telephone number (preferred) or Dealer Code

• Account number (this is the ESC’s internal profile number)

If an account number has not been established, the ESC will create a new account number or "profile" of the Saturn Retailer.

• IP cluster part number currently in the vehicle

- The part number can be retrieved with the Tech 2® scan tool.

- If the IP cluster has been removed, the part number is listed on the label of the IP cluster.

• Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), mileage, and delivery date

• Repair Order (R.O.) number (this corresponds to the Customer Service Order [CSO] number)

• Description of issue

The retailer will receive a Core Authorization Form and an Order Form. The Order Form is for the retailer’s records. The Core Authorization Form is the document that should be returned with the original IP cluster unit; this form is NOT an invoice. The Core Value, Reman Price, and Estimated Freight are listed for non-warranty transactions.

NON-WARRANTY TRANSACTIONS will require a Purchase Order (P.O.) number for the retailer to process the order. (The retailer issues a P.O. to purchase the unit from the ESC and then bills the customer.) All other steps are the same.

Warranty Information
For vehicles repaired under warranty, use:

Case Type
Description
Labor Operation Code
Labor Hrs.
Admin.* Hrs.
Net Item** Amount
Net Item Code

VW
Cluster Assembly, Instrument - Replace
N4180
Refer to applicable Electronic Labor Time Guide
0.2 hr
$20.00
M


* Instrument Panel Cluster Exchange Program administrative allowance

** Instrument Panel Cluster Exchange Program part allowance

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Old 08-03-2011, 08:05 PM   #12
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenman View Post
...replacement IPC's have to be reprogrammed by a tech 2 (which only dealers have)
I want to correct that mistake: The IPC requires no programming at all. The mileage is maintained by the BCM.

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Old 08-01-2014, 01:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

I know this is a really old thread buuuut:

I'm bringing my 2007 Saturn Aura in for service under the CarMax extended warranty. I have the same problem as the OP, only my needles have stopped glowing.

The warranty covers parts that fail but doesn't cover things like bulbs. From what I can gather this means that, being a VFD it isn't a "general/expected maintenance" item and theoretically they should replace it under warranty.

What do you guys think? It seems plausible but it's a $50 fee if they do find it's just a "bulb". It seems obvious but I'd love a little reassurance, what do you think?

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Old 08-01-2014, 07:00 PM   #14
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

i dont think thats just a bulb. common problem. mine quit lighting up at around 50k. sold it with 81k. just got used to them not lighting up.

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Old 08-01-2014, 07:05 PM   #15
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

might be better to just get a reconditioned cluster or used from junk yard. just put it in and mileage will automatically read the higher of the two mileages so make sure new panel has less so it will be right.

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Old 08-02-2014, 04:36 AM   #16
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

I've been going over the forum and reading up on past threads and came across this thread a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully this thread will shed some light on your current issue.

2007 Aura Instrument Cluster Problems

...
2008 AURA XR
Ocean Mist
Sunroof
Loaded!
Built: 07/19/07

2008 SKY RL
Silver Pearl
Black on Black
6 Disc w. Monsoon
Chrome Wheels
4 Pedals
GMPP Turbo Upgrade & CAI
Built: 09/20/07

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Old 08-02-2014, 01:18 PM   #17
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyAmazing View Post
I know this is a really old thread buuuut:

I'm bringing my 2007 Saturn Aura in for service under the CarMax extended warranty. I have the same problem as the OP, only my needles have stopped glowing.

The warranty covers parts that fail but doesn't cover things like bulbs. From what I can gather this means that, being a VFD it isn't a "general/expected maintenance" item and theoretically they should replace it under warranty.

What do you guys think? It seems plausible but it's a $50 fee if they do find it's just a "bulb". It seems obvious but I'd love a little reassurance, what do you think?

i've no idea the terms of your warranty but it's not just a "bulb" issue. u need a new cluster.

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Old 08-07-2014, 09:28 AM   #18
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

Thanks for all of the replies!

To onefunkar:

If it comes down to it I will take care of it myself but failures that aren't "general maintenance" are covered under my warranty so in the event that it did stop working, they should replace the whole thing with a new one.

To gpartrid:

That did help a lot because that's the exact same problem I'm having. I hadn't seen the panel come off so I didn't know exactly what to expect so the pictures were especially helpful. If I have to end up doing it myself, it won't be so bad.

to greenman:

The terms of the warranty are more or less that they fix any mechanical or electrical failures that aren't "general maintenance" or physical damage. The guy I spoke with on the phone was unfamiliar with my car I think, so he was trying to do me a favor by suggesting it was just a bulb.

I brought it in to get looked at (due to my air compressor problem as well) and this Technician isn't the same person I'm used to dealing with. So, when he called me back to tell me the compressor was bad, he mentioned that the IPC isn't covered.

He then amended what he said (because I told him that no, it wasn't a bulb and that yes, it was covered). He said that due to the fact that the dimmer switch was loose in the housing (one of THEIR technicians broke it a few repairs ago) that he thought it might be a wiring problem and that's physical damage so it isn't covered. From what I can tell from these threads that's very unlikely. I didn't know that at the time but I still told him it was unlikely because the dimmer switch has been loose for years and the problem just came up.

I can now also tell him that this is a common problem with Saturns and that it needs to be replaced.

He did call me back the next day to say the needles came back on suddenly (after they messed with it and then covered the daylight sensor). I know that would make the whole dash light up (and possibly the needles a little bit) but I'm afraid I'm going to get the car back and they're still going to be dim, he just sounds like he's trying to get out of doing the work.

If that's the case, of course, I'll be scheduling another appointment and being a little more involved in convincing this fellow that he's mistaken. Usually I'm able to go in and talk to them but this time I had to do a night drop and I've only spoken to him a little bit on the phone. If this keeps up, I'll be going down there to have a word.

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Old 08-07-2014, 05:57 PM   #19
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Default Re: Instrument Panel Needle Lights Flicker

"I have the same problem as the OP, only my needles have stopped glowing."

I took your statement literally & my answer was based on it. Now you seem to be saying something different regarding the symptoms.

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