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Help - dash (rpm, speed, mileage) not working in 99 Accord

Discussion in 'Accord' started by sillysimms, Dec 1, 2007.

  1. sillysimms

    sillysimms New Member

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    I brought my car, 1999 Honda Accord, in to a mechanic yesterday to have a power steering fluid leak fixed. They also changed the oil. At the mechanics, the odometer stopped displaying. As well, the speed, rpm etc. (the entire dashboard) is not working at all. At least I should say, the dashboard was displaying when I brought the car in but when I picked it up, the mechanic told me he noticed the kilometres were not showing and he checked some things and doesn't know why. I soon realized it's the whole dashboard display not working.

    Please advise what could cause this. Could it have been something the mechanic might have done accidentally? Like loosen a wire or something, a quick fix? Or is it likely unrelated. The stereo was also asking for "code" when I picked the car up so it means the battery or alternator power supply had been disconnected. I've replaced the battery today as the car is a '99 and had the original battery but still no fix. This is the first time in more than 8 years I took the car to anywhere besides Honda and am wondering if I made a mistake.

    The mechanic says he didn't cause it but has no idea what is wrong with it and I should bring it to Honda. I've called them and made an appointment. I asked on the phone what it might be and he said he'll have to see it but most likely the instrument cluster has gone. Is this an expensive repair? Sounds like it. Is it possible the mechanic loosened a wire or something yesterday because it's odd that it happened at the same time the car was in the shop.

    This is a 1999 Accord with under 60,000 kilometres. I don't drive it very much but have never had any problems with it and dread the thought of spending thousands on it. Any help is appreciated. Thank you.
     
  2. BrutalB83

    BrutalB83 Brutal Moderator Moderator VIP

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    Well, it could be a loose wire somewhere, but I really don't know how the mechanic would have accidentally messed it up while he was working on the steering fluid leak. All the wiring for that stuff is behind the dash.

    The first thing I would do is buy a Haynes or Chilton manual (if you don't already have one), and figure out how to take the cluster out. Take it out of the dash, unplug everything on the back of it, and then plug it all back in, and turn the car on.

    If that doesn't fix it, then I don't know what to tell you. You might need a new cluster, and that will NOT be cheap from the dealership. I'd look for one on eBay. I bought a 94 Accord cluster on there once for $45. If you buy the whole assembly from the dealership you're probably looking at $300-$500.

    Oh, and by the way, putting in a new battery won't fix the radio lockout. You need to get a code from the dealership and input it into the radio in order to unlock it. I hope you bought that new battery more because you thought it would be a good idea to replace rather than as a possible fix for the radio. The condition of the battery won't affect the radio lockout.

    Like I said, try unplugging the cluster and then plugging it back in. If that doesn't work then I'd probably take it to the dealership and see what they have to say. Also, if they charge you for the radio code, I'd go back to that mechanic and ask that he reimburse you for the cost. He should have known that disconnecting the battery would trip the radio security.

    Honestly all of this seems kind of shady to me...
     
  3. sillysimms

    sillysimms New Member

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    Thanks for your reply. We're still deciding if we should take it back to the mechanic or to the dealer. We were hoping it might be a fuse, but the instrument panel fuse also controls the brake lights and the brake lights are still working.

    Yes, the car did need a new battery as it was 8 years old and still had the original battery. I'm not concerned about the stereo code as I can get that from the dealer. The reason I mentioned the "code" appearing on the radio was because it shows that mechanic had disconnected the battery for some reason while doing the repair. I've spoken to a few mechanics and they seem to think that it is likely that the shop noticed the odometer was not showing and unplugged the battery to see if it would reset. If the radio wasn't showing "code" I wouldn't have known that the battery had been unplugged. I don't necessarily think the mechanic did something on purpose, but may have done something accidentally. Someone has said "it's possible to accidently cross a wrench to the charge post on the alternator, which can fry random things". We may not know for sure. My husband drove the car yesterday and it overheated. He thinks it may need a new radiator cap. It is just depressing that this is the first time in 8 years the car needed anything other than an oil change and everything seems to have gone wrong at the same time.

    Thanks for you help and I'll update when I find anything else out.
     
  4. sillysimms

    sillysimms New Member

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    Update: My husband called the mechanic this morning to discuss this and he didn't call back so he went directly to the shop. The mechanic said it's as much a mystery to him as us. He thinks it was like that when we brought it in (which it wasn't). He also said they didn't touch or unplug the battery (despite the radio asking for "code". The car started when we first picked it up, so it had to die there or the battery was unplugged otherwise the code shouldn't be required). The car also overheating the first time we drove it. Although the gauges didn't work - we only noticed when steam started coming out of the engine.

    I appreciate your advice about buying a Haynes or Chilton manual and figuring out how to take the cluster out. If we were a little more mechanically inclined, we likely would have, but we were afraid of causing more damage!

    We had it towed to Honda. They've called. They have said the circuit board on the instrument panel has gone and needs to have the entire instrument panel/instrument gauges replaced. They don't know why it would happen in a car with under 60K but can't say the mechanic did something, they thing it's random. I think it's odd that it happened while it was at the mechanics, but there's nothing I can do about it.

    Regarding the overheating, they asked if I took the radiator cap off. My husband did after the engine cooled down to check the fluid levels. They said we should never take it off as it is dangerous. Then we realized they thought were had been driving with it off so we confirmed that we did not drive with the cap off. They said they noticed fluids in the engine but they drove it for a while and it didn't overheat. The fluids likely got there when the car overheated. I told them the displays on the dash weren't working so my husband couldn't tell it was overheating until it was already hot. They wanted to know how he knew it was overheating without the displays on the dash working so my husband said that steam had started coming out of the hood. He stopped the car and after it had cooled down for some time, he took off the radiator cap to check the fluid level. They can't figure out why it was overheating as it didn't happen today but they'll have the car for another 3 days waiting for the instrument panel and will drive it more

    The bill so far:

    $95 to diagnose the instrument panel problem
    $95 to diagnose the overheating problem (even though no solution found, we're still being charge)
    $201 for the instrument panel
    $144 for the labour

    They said if they can find out anything about the overheating they'll call and advise how much that fix will cost.

    Do you think it would be useful to ask to have the old instrument panel back when they replace it? We're allowed to request return of parts that are replaced in our province. Wondering if looking at it would shed any light on what happened? Should I request the old instrument panel or would it just be a waste of time?
     
  5. sillysimms

    sillysimms New Member

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    Update - got the car back. They actually didn't have to change the entire instrument panel, just the circuit board on it. Km's are reset to 0, with a sticker in the door showing what the mileage was before the change.
     
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