Saturday, March 31, 2012

Audi A6 2.7T Gauge Cluster Computer Display Repair

The instrument cluster, gauge cluster, on my 2000 Audi A6 2.7T has been steadily losing pixels over time. If the car sat out in the hot sun, the entire LCD pretty much vanished and was unreadable.

The picture below shows what mine looked like (on a good cool day) vs the photo on the right of a perfect display:

After searching a little on ebay, I found out that you can purchase just the new LCD screen for about $60. I thought, surely if they're selling them on ebay, they must be pretty easy to change so I bought one (see next photo.) This was one of those mistakes for which you wish you had the benefit of hindsight.

Long story short, I found out that I can't solder a ribbon cable to a PC board and was left with a completely bright red center LCD display:

A little searching on the internet brought up This company specializes in repairing failed ABS modules and, to my delight, Audi gauge clusters. In fact, the picture at the top of this post is from their site.

First, drop the steering wheel all the way down and out.

I popped out my cluster by removing the u-shaped trim panel just above the steering wheel. It is held on by two spring clips on either side. Pull it straight out as bending it upwards may break the plastic tab that holds the spring clips.

Next you'll see two phillips screw heads above the steering wheel along the bottom edge of the cluster. Use a pretty large (#3) screwdriver as these are usually stuck. Use a magnet to make sure you don't drop them inside the dash.

Next you'll need to pull the cluster straight back by gently gripping the bottom edge and the two reset "sticks."Again, take your time and wiggle it until it slides forward.

Now, angle the cluster until you can get access to the 3 electrical connectors on the back (Blue, Gray, and Green.) Each of them has a little purple locking handle that you'll need to pry up with a small screwdriver. Gently pull them up and the connector will come right out.
Then, lean the cluster back and you should be able to work it out. Your dashboard will now look like this:
Now the easy part. Fill out the repair request on Module Master, ship it to them, wait a few days for them to receive it, fix it, and call you back with the total. They'll ship it back to you promptly (I got mine in two days.) It came in a big box with tons of packing, wrapped like a papoose, good enough to survive a 10,000 ft drop:
Reverse the steps above to install it (take care to open the purple handle on the connectors completely so that they will seat properly, the purple handle should close easily) and you should be rewarded with the following now perfect display. (My check engine light is another matter, the secondary air injection system pump is bad again) :

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