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    1997 bmw 740i cluster problems

    I just bought a1997 Bmw 740i and the cluster doesn't show the digital readout ...so I have no idea what the mileage is....I got a 1998 cluster to replace it, but when I tried, it didn't work.....is this a computer problem? A fuse problem? Did it matter that the new cluster was a year older? I really like the car, the engine is in great condition, but I'm on a fixed income and am really hoping this can be fixed without emptying my wallet....any ideas?
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    Member No: 185180 mayorchuck is an unknown quantity at this point mayorchuck's Avatar
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    I only check this forum once every few months as it's pretty much dead. You should go over to one of the more active forums, such as bimmerforums.

    Did your original cluster had a separate box attached to it? They were phase into a one piece unit during the 97 model year. If so, that is where the mileage/data is stored. If it was a single unit without the detachable module, you should be able to plug another cluster in. The mileage will be wrong and there will be a tamper dot next to it. That involves coding and such but it should be reading the mileage.

    If you are getting no lights whatsoever, you may have a wiring issue. Need more info. What works on the cluster, i.e. warning lights when turn key on? You can check Fuses 18 and 41 in the ebox. (under hood on passenger side firewall)
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    Instrument cluster problems

    There really are two possible problems with your instrument cluster, I had the same issue with my car. first check the back lighting globe. If the one behind the odometer display is Kaput, you will not be able to see the display.

    The other problem is more onorous, there is a ribbon cable at the back that connects the main housing to the lower display strip. the plastic clip that holds the the connections of the ribbon cable tight eventualy warps with age and the contact pressure is lost.

    If only your odometer display is out, my guess its the first issue, you have a blown globe.

    The 2nd possibility is a difficult proposition, the age of the car dictates the plastic of the instrument cluster going brittle. You can buy a pixel repair kit that includes a new ribbon cable and foam pressure strips. Not so easy to fit, the housing clips will brake, its very easy to damage the anologue guage movements whilst fitting the kit. Unless you have a specialised stand to support the instrument cluster, chances are you will damage the guage movements.

    If its a pixel/ribbon cable issue, and your cluster has a seperate detachable module fitted to the back, it should plug straight into your replacement cluster and there will be no coding issues.

    Custers fitted with an internal module are a different proposition. Buying the right 2nd hand cluster can be money down the drain. First the cluster has to be coded to your car otherwise it will not work. Until you do that, you will have no idea if the 2nd hand cluster you purchased is any good.

    Every major electronic module on the E38 is coded to the car, its not just a case of swapping modules, they have to be code matched to work. All of the calibation settings, including the unique code number assigned to all the modules installed in your car, have to be accessed and then downloaded into the cluster ECU. Until this is done, the cluster will remain dead as a post.
    Last edited by E36E38; 09-06-2014 at 10:44 PM.
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