This error is common with many early GM trucks, the problem is with the stepper motor, the small device which controls the needles. GM replaced these older units with a more robust longer life unit in later models. The repair process is to remove the front face of the dash, then remove the 4 bolts that secure the speedometer, then take off the covers and needles and desolder the bad components and resolder the updated x27-167 stepper motors. Do NOT get the ones in the black plastic case, only use the white case items that look like the image below. Also, please do NOT replace the steppers yourself if you are not familiar with soldering, it is very easy to damage the board and when you do it may or may not be salvageable.
If you want to save a few dollars, I replace the stepper motors for $50 plus shipping. This includes replacing all the motors, checking all the lights and recalibration. Most commercial companies charge around $150 or so as of this writing. Please use the Contact page above to send me a message. I also change the faceplate to a different color, change needle colors, change the lights to LED and repair boards that have been damaged previously by using too hot of an iron or just mishandling. I can also swap mileage chips from one cluster to another and also repair some components at the board level. Again, contact me about these other services for cost.
I have a few tips on the removal process…….
- Place some blue painter tape over the top of the speedometer eyebrow to prevent scratching. There is a large metal clip behind the dash panel, when it pops off, there is a good change you could scratch things.
- Use a hair dryer and warm up the left and right sides of the airbag to allow the dash face to come off easier. Some people remove the airbag before the dash so that there is no interference, but accessing the bolts to the airbag is a real PITA. The front face of the dash will slide over the airbag, the hairdryer just makes it a little easier.
- Once you have the dash face off, use a dremel and remove the 2 small protrusions on the left and right side of the airbag hole to make it easier to reinstall the face and to allow future removals easier.
- Reinstalling the 4 bolts for the cluster might be made easier by using some painters tape or a magnet on the socket to help retain the small bolts during reassembly.
Great how to on repairing the speedometer here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWELz904fj0
SSR dash removal – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaAPQLXWbKU
Installing is reverse if removal.
Below is an example of burned out solder pads on a speedometer. I received this from a client that attempted to replace the stepper motors himself but the soldering iron he was using was too hot and ruined the traces. Where the dark patches are should be silver pads to connect to the stepper motor connections. I was able to reconnect the traces from the stepper motors to the board and get things working again but is very time consuming.