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Old 10-24-2017, 07:42 PM   #1
PrestonIII
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Default Instrument Cluster swap

I have 2 instrument clusters for my '94 SL2, and neither has a working odometer. I am thinking of purchasing a used part from a '91 in a wrecking yard that has an oil pressure gage in it. Are the 2 clusters compatible?

I have seen 2 different posts in here about compatibility. One says it's plug-n-play drop in with the addition of the extra wire for the oil pressure gage, and the other says that the wiring in the harness plug will need to have the connectors moved around to make it work (as well as the extra wire added). Of course a new oil pressure sensor for the engine will need to be swapped in.

Does anyone know which is correct? Has anyone done this swap? What is the correct answer?
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Old 10-24-2017, 11:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Instrument Cluster swap

Go with whatever Low Saturn actually posted years & years ago. I don't remember the switching pins around part...but I do remember the need to add the wire for the oil pressure gauge (the cluster will work fine without it, just the gauge won't).

It's only ~$25 for new odometer gears and about 10min of work once the cluster is out of the car. Just don't go 2 steps more and reset the odometer to something lower than actual & try to profit from that scam...lol
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: Instrument Cluster swap

One of the main reasons why the Oil Pressure Gauge was dropped after the first two model years was that Saturn found that they were not really all that reliable. Many issues with customers returning to the Dealerships reporting that they were getting faulty readings from the Oil Gauge reporting either too high or too low of levels.

For what it's worth. With the fact that you would be pulling a 25+ year old cluster from a JY car- it may or may not work properly- and then there is the additional knowledge of above as well.

Your call- but there was a reason why they were not in later models of the S-Series.

If you are just trying to get the odometer working again, just put the new gears into the odometer box in the cluster. $25.00 and you are good to go.

OdometerGears.com stole my write up, almost verbatim; that I wrote here back in 2008 in replacing the internal gears- and it's been on their website for years.
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Last edited by 2NDSOUT; 10-25-2017 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 10-25-2017, 05:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Instrument Cluster swap

I want my odometer working so I can monitor my fuel economy. But I also like the idea of the oil pressure gauge, and I happened across an older car in a scrap yard here with the oil pressure cluster.

I will be buying a NEW sensor, so that should squash any weird or eratic readings that may have plagued the original ones.

It all seems easy enough, even if I have to move some wires around. I'll cut the harness connector out of the scrap car for contacts and wire color codes.

I would just like a definitive answer as to the facts.

Oh, and btw, my car is also a '94 Homecoming Edition, though my mirrors have been replaced and are black now instead of the pearl white. My car is immaculate, with ultra low mileage (49K), though I can't be sure what the mileage is with the odometer not working. I'm also missing the front floor mats. It seems that my car has spent a LOT of time in a garage not being driven.
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Old 10-26-2017, 01:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: Instrument Cluster swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
OdometerGears.com stole my write up, almost verbatim; that I wrote here back in 2008 in replacing the internal gears- and it's been on their website for years.
B@$tards. As an engineer and a victim of it myself, I hate people who copy other's work for profit...
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Old 10-26-2017, 03:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: Instrument Cluster swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by colonelhogan44
B@$tards. As an engineer and a victim of it myself, I hate people who copy other's work for profit...
I have often wondered from time to time about whether or not it would be worth my time to get them to give me a by line on their website...or at least a small percentage (3-5%) of proceeds for S-Series Odometer Gears that they have sold.

Edit: This is my 7100st post!!!
...
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99 SL

94SL2 260K Miles
1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
2/15

Always
94SC1 340,501 Miles
Org. Engine/Auto Trans
2/97-10/08
Gone 3/12

92SL1
05VUE
91SC

Last edited by 2NDSOUT; 10-26-2017 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 10-27-2017, 11:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: Instrument Cluster swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
I have often wondered from time to time about whether or not it would be worth my time to get them to give me a by line on their website...or at least a small percentage (3-5%) of proceeds for S-Series Odometer Gears that they have sold.

Edit: This is my 7100st post!!!
Hey, congratulations!

May want to send a PM to Charlie. There might be some user agreement that anything posted here becomes the property of Saturnfans. I think that is fairly standard for internet forums. In any case, Charlie is reasonable and perhaps both of you can work out something.

Problem is whether you can show you were harmed by them stealing your words. Probably best you can do is to get them to cease and desist using your words, or to give you credit and a link to Saturnfans.

Actually, that may be the best route . . . if instead of having the directions on their site, they post a link to the forum and give you credit. That will drive traffic and revenue here while they make the same money from visits and sales.

IANAL, this is just my opinion and not legal advice.
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Old 10-27-2017, 01:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: Instrument Cluster swap

Saturnfans could probably show that it has harmed them...and then they could use the proceeds from the suit to throw some catered regional meet up parties!

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Old 10-30-2017, 05:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: Instrument Cluster swap

Here's a definitive reply as to swapping the SL instrument cluster with the oil gauge into cars that didn't have it.

As you might know, the "oil-gauge" cluster came in '91 and '92 twin cam cars. I'm not sure whether it came in the single cam cars. You would need to buy a matching oil pressure sensor, and pick up a connector to plug onto that sensor (get it from the car from which you got the cluster). You will also need to run a 2nd wire for that new sensor from the cluster. I imagine that the connector may not be available new any more, but I'm not sure.

The swap basics:
More than half of the electrical connections (there are 26 wires total) are in a different place in the instrument cluster harness-plug, therefore it WILL NOT directly swap into cars that it didn't come in originally. There are both power and ground in that harness-plug, and you'd likely burn something up once you plugged it in and turned the key!

If you did move the wires in the harness plug into the correct locations, the row of light bulbs across the bottom would not match up between the clusters, and lights would come on indicating incorrect messages, IE: the light might indicate "UP SHIFT" when it really might mean "Traction Control Active" or "ABS". THUS, you would have to swap the colored lens cover from your car's original cluster onto the oil-gauge cluster as you change the harness wiring accordingly. Is there a tool for removing the harness-plug contacts?

NEXT: Once you change the wiring harness connections around, you can no longer swap back to your original cluster without undoing all the harness changes you made.

In attempting this, I found that the original oil-gauge cluster that I acquired is quite "crispy" and the plastic has polymerized becoming quite brittle. I had to epoxy multiple places to repair the breaks. (I actually broke off one of the mounting ears).

I have the electrical/electronic skills to do this swap, but I wonder now if it's really worth the effort.

In the mean time, while I contemplate this swap, I was able to build a working odometer from parts from both clusters to put back into my car while I think about the swap.
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Old 10-30-2017, 08:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Instrument Cluster swap

Swap is not worth it as the ancient polymerized plastic will continue to degrade and the service life of the instruments is about all used up. As to a tool to remove individual contacts it depends on exactly which type of connector was used. If it is the same one used in later cars I think you are out of luck and would have to dig up a unused replacement connector and either the proper crimp tool or solder it all back together. The hardest part of this is ther is no room for all the tools required to do this easily in the car. Removing the entire harness to the bench is the easy way to do this. Te individual instruments more or less swap in the gen-1 and gen-2 up to the digital odometer so instruments can be replaced.

I would go looking for a 94 cluster that matches your car tachometer face. There are several places to go looking for one and they can be shipped. If you want an oil pressure gauge then plan on going aftermarket and the only on that I know that will actually function and last are the Dakota Digital products, not cheap either. An old mechanical oil pressure gauge is an option as well and may be cheaper and they do work.
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:46 PM   #11
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Default Re: Instrument Cluster swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrestonIII View Post
I want my odometer working so I can monitor my fuel economy. But I also like the idea of the oil pressure gauge, and I happened across an older car in a scrap yard here with the oil pressure cluster.

I will be buying a NEW sensor, so that should squash any weird or eratic readings that may have plagued the original ones.

It all seems easy enough, even if I have to move some wires around. I'll cut the harness connector out of the scrap car for contacts and wire color codes.

I would just like a definitive answer as to the facts.

Oh, and btw, my car is also a '94 Homecoming Edition, though my mirrors have been replaced and are black now instead of the pearl white. My car is immaculate, with ultra low mileage (49K), though I can't be sure what the mileage is with the odometer not working. I'm also missing the front floor mats. It seems that my car has spent a LOT of time in a garage not being driven.
Check your trunk, for the RPO codes, and you may be able to find the correct floor mats the car originally had.
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