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Gas gauge and temp gauge not functioning properly

Old 10-17-2018, 06:15 PM
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Gas gauge and temp gauge not functioning properly

1987 TURBO 4runner... gas gauge and temp gauge on digital cluster not working...
gas gauge flashes on and off for about 30 seconds then goes blank.... temp never lights up...
both had been hacked by previous owner and put pillar gauges... temp works, but he's gauge is not accurate...
I'd like get back to factory gauges or in this case light bars...
any help is appreciated
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:21 PM
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I have only seen a digital cluster in pictures, never in person.

Do you have a Factory Repair Manual? There are testing procedures listed for both the senders and the digital gauges themselves.

If not, I can scan some of the pages from my 1987 Factory Repair Manual. The pictures in the manual help you understand how they want you to test each circuit.

Since you said the previous owner hacked the wiring for gauge pods, you may have a "rats nest" of wiring that may need to be sorted out.

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Old 10-18-2018, 02:16 AM
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I'd like to see those, specifically any thing related to to digital dash testing I don't recall seeing those in the 88 manual. I just had a quick look again, may have overlooked it, and didn't find anything.
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Old 10-18-2018, 09:06 AM
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Update after driving this morning...
the oil pressure scale works, it goes from 2 bars at idle to 7 on highway conditions...
the fuel scale flashes about 20 seconds then goes blank
the temp shows 1 bar out of 10 ...
my analog gauge shows 180°
tach works great
boost scale works great....

Last edited by 87-4runner; 10-18-2018 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 10-18-2018, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 87-4runner View Post
Update after driving this morning...
the oil pressure scale works, it goes from 2 bars at idle to 7 on highway conditions...
the fuel scale flashes about 20 seconds then goes blank
the temp shows 1 bar out of 10 ...
my analog gauge shows 180°
tach works great
boost scale works great....
Double check the ground and power inside the dash. I don't remember if the cluster has a flexible board or is FR on the back, it's worth checking everything there is firm and clean..

Is the fuel gauge flashing FULL ?
Fun fact, these digital cluster use VFD not LED.
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:29 PM
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Yes it flashes full... of I'm driving it flashes on and off/ full for about 3 miles then stops flashing and goes blacked out... never flickers or lights up again in anyway till the next start.... does it every new start, and only then..
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Old 10-20-2018, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by 87-4runner View Post
Yes it flashes full... of I'm driving it flashes on and off/ full for about 3 miles then stops flashing and goes blacked out... never flickers or lights up again in anyway till the next start.... does it every new start, and only then..
That is some type of error indicator I believe, mine will flash if I overfilled the tank thus the question..

You had a pillar guage so most likely someone has swapped the digital fuel level sender for something else. From memory the digital dash uses a reveresed signal level, I don't recall which is which, one type the resistance increases the other decreases with the fuel level.

Poke around in Charles' threads pretty sure he had to change the sender in one of his threads.

You may be having a similar issue with the oil pressure sending unit. Go thru the wheel well curtain, snap a picture and do some electrical checks there on it.
EDIT, oops just rolled out of bed.. You said temperature guage, that ones in the middle of the intake below the cold start injector.

Last edited by Co_94_PU; 10-20-2018 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 10-25-2018, 10:21 PM
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I will post up the test procedures for the digital cluster from my 1987 Factory Repair Manual tomorrow and see if I can help explain how the digital cluster is supposed to function.

I remember that some of the procedures require a test wiring harness Special Service Tool (SST).

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Old 10-28-2018, 08:21 AM
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Gas gauge

I’m restoring an 87 turbo and had the same issue with the fuel sender. Dropped the fuel tank and took it out, and it was rusted, seized up, and some of the resistance wires were broken. There’s no new replacement for them available, so you have to find a good used one (I’ve never seen one), or fix the one you have. Hopefully you can just clean it up and it will work, there is a testing procedure in the FSM. if not there are a few places that can repair them. I sent mine to Tri-Starr in NY and they fixed it for $150. Just google “fuel sending unit repair” and you’ll see your options.
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Old 10-28-2018, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Greedy View Post
I’m restoring an 87 turbo and had the same issue with the fuel sender. Dropped the fuel tank and took it out, and it was rusted, seized up, and some of the resistance wires were broken. There’s no new replacement for them available, so you have to find a good used one (I’ve never seen one), or fix the one you have. Hopefully you can just clean it up and it will work, there is a testing procedure in the FSM. if not there are a few places that can repair them. I sent mine to Tri-Starr in NY and they fixed it for $150. Just google “fuel sending unit repair” and you’ll see your options.
thanks greedy...
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Old 10-28-2018, 02:28 PM
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I've got a turbo that I'm considering buying that has a bunch of issues like this one. Parts are tough to come by here in Virginia.
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Old 10-28-2018, 02:30 PM
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Yeah, lots of carry-over from the 22re, but there a few parts that are hard to find. PM me if you are looking for anything specific and I’ll let you know if I have it or know where to find it.
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