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Thread: '87 442 gauge issue

  1. #1
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    Default '87 442 gauge issue

    I've been trying to pinpoint why my gauges in the rally pack don't work. I checked the engine harness, which was ok, and got power to the gauges circuit at the fusebox. I pulled the instrument cluster, and with the help of the chassis service manual I bought, checked the C1 connection for power. Only current I had was at the tach connection. The schematic shows a pink/black wire running from the fusebox to the cluster, with a splice in between. Looks to me like the problem could be at the splice. Only thing is, it's a little difficult to get to without pulling the rest of the dash apart. Might be time to find another harness, so when I pull the dash, I can put another one in without having the dash in pieces for days (or longer). The cluster wasn't too bad to pull, but the rest of the dash looks like it could be a job to pull. Like I said, when I pull this, I'd like to do this all in one day. Any thoughts?

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    Junior Member DrRansom442's Avatar
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    Have you checked to make sure you are getting FULL voltage? Those gauges can be awefully picky. I've had cars with charge issues not move gauges at all. Also grounds are known issues (especially tach errors/non-function).
    3 time A/G-body owner
    86 Cutlass Salon 307/200-4r (salvaged May 04)
    87 Cutlass Supreme 307/200-4r (stolen Oct 04)
    81 Cutlass Calais 260/350 (purchased Nov 04)
    never thought I'd say "I miss the power of a 307"
    fixed that with an Olds 350/200-4r

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    I could check at the fusebox, but I'm not getting anything at the connector for the instrument cluster. I'll check the voltage at the fusebox and get back with you. BTW, I do have current at the tach connection.

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    Checked the voltage at the fusebox, and I get approx. 11.9 volts at the gauge circuit, and 12 volts at the power seat circuit (just for comparison). I know that normal voltage should be 13.8 volts. Let me know if you see a problem. Also going to check the instrument panel ground...looks like it is in a suspicious place, near where the splice would be.
    Last edited by Oldsie; 12-30-2010 at 05:03 PM.
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  5. #5
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    Checked the ground connection (removed, cleaned), but no change. Still no voltage at C1. Looks like I'll need to pull the dash at some point, in order to get to the harness. Probably should get another harness to replace the old one while it's out. Will do this sometime in the near future. Will keep you posted on the results.
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  6. #6
    Administrator 88hurstolds's Avatar
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    The cluster circuit board connection usually comes loose or becomes corroded, you'll have to pull the cluster out and clean the connections to the cluster circuit board and make sure the cluster seats securely to the connectors when you put the cluster back in, they can be pickey sometimes...
    Lightning Rods repair service:CLICK HERE
    Seller Feedback:CLICK HERE
    1988 H/OCA Advisor
    88 H/O #1 of 4
    88 CSC White/Claret - T-tops
    88 H/O Triple Black
    87 442 Black/Gray - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Claret - T-tops
    85 442 White/Sage
    84 H/O Aero Commemorative #2199 - Sunroof
    83 H/O #2400 Sand Gray - Sunroof
    83 H/O #1607 Sand Gray - T-tops
    83 H/O #727 Maple
    "Keep them Rockets lit!"

  7. #7
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    Thanks, I'll check that...still wondering about a harness issue, since I don't seem to be getting power at the connector (tested each contact...only one that had voltage was the tach connection). Could I be missing something somewhere?
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  8. #8
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    Checked the connections...they looked clean, no corrosion. Going to pull the dash and harness in the near future.
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  9. #9
    Administrator 88hurstolds's Avatar
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    I have the same problem in my 83 Hurst, my guess is the connection at the fuse block, that's where the pink/black (#39) wires are all spliced from (s203).
    I have a dash already out of the car with the harness exposed, I'll take a look at the routing for you and snap a few photos so you know what your dealing with before you start tearing your dash apart. Believe me it's a large undertaking and this could very well just be an issue at the fuse block.

    My biggest hunch though is the ground, I discovered a rediculous 12 wire splice that soldered together and wrapped in electrical tape and grounds all the dash lights, gauges, cig lighter, light switch, clock, ADL etc... This ground has one tiny wire that gets grounded to the steering column support by one of those clips that is used to ground the console light.
    I was pulling the ground for the ADL connector when I removed the ECM and cruise from a previous Cutlass I owned and noticed a few starting to seperate from the solder connection.
    But if this was the case for you the tach wouldn't still be workin (even though according to the wiring schematic it shouldn't be if no power is coming from C1) but then again the circuit board on these clusters can easially get damaged, especially from the light bulb sockets which can cause cross circuit wiring.
    Lightning Rods repair service:CLICK HERE
    Seller Feedback:CLICK HERE
    1988 H/OCA Advisor
    88 H/O #1 of 4
    88 CSC White/Claret - T-tops
    88 H/O Triple Black
    87 442 Black/Gray - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Claret - T-tops
    85 442 White/Sage
    84 H/O Aero Commemorative #2199 - Sunroof
    83 H/O #2400 Sand Gray - Sunroof
    83 H/O #1607 Sand Gray - T-tops
    83 H/O #727 Maple
    "Keep them Rockets lit!"

  10. #10
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    Thanks a bunch! Will be looking for the pictures. When looking at the manual, looking at the back of the dash, the tach lead comes in at a different point, and the schematic appears to show it on a different circuit. As for the S203, am I correct in saying that it is spliced in near where C1 plugs into the dash, or is it closer to the fusebox? I have a picture in the manual, but can't get it to scan right now. I'll be watching for the pictures of your harness. Thanks!
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  11. #11
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    I believe I may have found where the problem is. When I took the dash adapter out, I began unwrapping the tape from the spliced area. I found some white corrosion under the tape, and the gray lead for the instrument lights was bare. It seems to me that, since I found one bare wire, and corrosion, there are probably more bare wires and corrosion in other places. Time to replace the dash harness, which leads to another question:
    I was at a salvage yard Friday, and found a V6 Cutlass Salon, probably 85 or 86. It appears to have the correct connectors for the gauge package (not with the car), but I'm not sure if the dash wiring is the same from 85-87. If it is, I should probably just pull the entire dash, since the dashpad is dry-rotted and cracking. May have to paint it, but it would save some trouble replacing it while the dash is out.
    Any thoughts on this?
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  12. #12
    Administrator 88hurstolds's Avatar
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    Any dash harness will work but some of the wires will need to be relocated in the cluster.
    Here's a good writeup on converting clusters:
    http://tech.oldsgmail.com/eint_rallye_swap.php

    I'd just replace the corroded wires if I were you, chances are the wire harness you find could have the same issues.
    No one makes new harnesses.
    Lightning Rods repair service:CLICK HERE
    Seller Feedback:CLICK HERE
    1988 H/OCA Advisor
    88 H/O #1 of 4
    88 CSC White/Claret - T-tops
    88 H/O Triple Black
    87 442 Black/Gray - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Claret - T-tops
    85 442 White/Sage
    84 H/O Aero Commemorative #2199 - Sunroof
    83 H/O #2400 Sand Gray - Sunroof
    83 H/O #1607 Sand Gray - T-tops
    83 H/O #727 Maple
    "Keep them Rockets lit!"

  13. #13
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    Just looked at the harness again, this afternoon, and discovered that someone had wrapped duct tape around a series of wires spliced together for a ground. Probably some corrosion in there. When I pull the harness, I will look for another splice, further down the harness, that connects the remaining wires for the C1 plug. I should find out early next week about an '84 Cutlass Salon that is to be turned into a stock car. I'm trying to get the harness, dash pad, and any other parts they don't want. I intend to locate the correct wires from the old harness, and replace the bad wires on mine. I'll keep you posted.

    BTW, for some reason, the link didn't work. It came up saying it was an attack page! Not sure why.
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  14. #14
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    The site is working now. Thanks for the link.
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  15. #15
    Administrator 88hurstolds's Avatar
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    Good luck!
    I've got the same problem in my 83 Hurst Olds
    Lightning Rods repair service:CLICK HERE
    Seller Feedback:CLICK HERE
    1988 H/OCA Advisor
    88 H/O #1 of 4
    88 CSC White/Claret - T-tops
    88 H/O Triple Black
    87 442 Black/Gray - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Claret - T-tops
    85 442 White/Sage
    84 H/O Aero Commemorative #2199 - Sunroof
    83 H/O #2400 Sand Gray - Sunroof
    83 H/O #1607 Sand Gray - T-tops
    83 H/O #727 Maple
    "Keep them Rockets lit!"

  16. #16
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    Got the dash out tonight, and started checking the wires. I looked at the pink-black wire that is ignition power for the gauges circuit, and found that it was spliced, as per the schematic, and it also had what looked like duct tape...lot of junk around the splice, which is probably why the gauges don't work (no power because of a corroded splice). I also noticed another set of wires that were also taped the same way. I have a harness from an '84 Calais. I looked at the harness, and it also has the same kind of tape on it. The weird part is that it still has the factory seal, along with a factory wire-tie, near the taped end closest to the fuse box.
    Did the factory harnesses come out with this kind of tape, or is it just a bad case of "gimme the duct tape...that'll fix anything!" ? Seems odd that both harnesses have the same kind of tape.

    FWIW, it's taken a bit longer than I hoped to get this done...just working on it when I can. Thanks.
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  17. #17
    Administrator 88hurstolds's Avatar
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    Yes the factory used that kind of tape. Ive seen it used on an 84 Calais harness before.
    I'm having the same issue with my 83 Hurst and most likely will just swap out the harness if the connections on the gauges aren't lose or the circuit board on the cluster isn't bad.
    Lightning Rods repair service:CLICK HERE
    Seller Feedback:CLICK HERE
    1988 H/OCA Advisor
    88 H/O #1 of 4
    88 CSC White/Claret - T-tops
    88 H/O Triple Black
    87 442 Black/Gray - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Claret - T-tops
    85 442 White/Sage
    84 H/O Aero Commemorative #2199 - Sunroof
    83 H/O #2400 Sand Gray - Sunroof
    83 H/O #1607 Sand Gray - T-tops
    83 H/O #727 Maple
    "Keep them Rockets lit!"

  18. #18
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    Since it looks like the other harness may have been taped the same way, I may have to repair the spliced areas. The CSM has a procedure on that. I won't know until I get into the other harness. Probably should check the connections for continuity. Either way, I'll have to clean those areas with contact cleaner. I'll keep you posted.
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  19. #19
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    Got the harness done, the splices repaired and soldered, the duct tape replaced, and the harness back in the dash. I put the dash back in, got almost everything hooked up, and tested the gauges. The circuit is working now :icon14: , and now I'm trying to get the cluster bulbs all working. I may have some bad sockets. Going to test some that are working (from where the idiot lights are) and go from there. Good to know that it's fixed...can't wait to see if it works when I crank it over. Should be sometime in the next week or so, as long as I can get the lights working...still have a lot of loose ends to tie up.
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  20. #20
    Administrator 88hurstolds's Avatar
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    Sweetness...
    I've got a fearful preminition I'm in the same boat.
    With the bulbs, check to make sure the socket connections on the circuit board are not cut or scored from twisting the sockets. This is a common problem...
    Lightning Rods repair service:CLICK HERE
    Seller Feedback:CLICK HERE
    1988 H/OCA Advisor
    88 H/O #1 of 4
    88 CSC White/Claret - T-tops
    88 H/O Triple Black
    87 442 Black/Gray - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Claret - T-tops
    85 442 White/Sage
    84 H/O Aero Commemorative #2199 - Sunroof
    83 H/O #2400 Sand Gray - Sunroof
    83 H/O #1607 Sand Gray - T-tops
    83 H/O #727 Maple
    "Keep them Rockets lit!"

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