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Greg A, Master Troubleshooter
Category: Pontiac
Satisfied Customers: 6041
Experience:  Working with Electronics & Cars for 25+ Years
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1999 Pontiac Montana: console..temperature, MPG, compass, etc. failed

Resolved Question:

I have a 1999 Pontiac Montana. The information console that shows temperature, MPG, compass, etc. failed off and on for a few days before finally dying. At the same time, the radio display failed. The radio works just fine. The display can be read if you shine a light on it or if the sun hits it just right. I went to the dealer to have the console repaired. They said it was fine - and it was again but only lasted one day. The cost to replace it is over $400 with parts and labor. I suspect that the console was reset when they plugged the electrical into their computer system. What do you recommend for the console and could the radio be related?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Pontiac
Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.

Hello & Welcome,

 

Have you noticed that these failures occur more when the lights are on, or when the lights are off (like at night)?

 

Thanks

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
They are complete failures now. What baffles me is how the console worked while at the dealership and for about 24 hours after.
Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.

Hi again - Sorry for the delay.

 

I am wondering if the Information Console (call the Driver Information Center) is having the same failure as the radio - that is - it is working but there is just no lighting on it.

 

I have noticed that the same circuit is being used to drive the displays for both the radio and the DIC. Here are the schematics with that circuit highlighted in each.

 

graphic

 

graphic

 

What I would do is check out that dimming connection coming from the dimmer, which is near the headlight switch, and see if you can make it change by moving the dimmer wheel.

 

Please let know what you find.

 

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX

Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.

Hi again - Sorry for the delay.

 

I am wondering if the Information Console (call the Driver Information Center) is having the same failure as the radio - that is - it is working but there is just no lighting on it.

 

I have noticed that the same circuit is being used to drive the displays for both the radio and the DIC. Here are the schematics with that circuit highlighted in each.

 

graphic

 

graphic

 

What I would do is check out that dimming connection coming from the dimmer, which is near the headlight switch, and see if you can make it change by moving the dimmer wheel.

 

Please let m

e
Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.

Hi again - Sorry for the delay.

 

I am wondering if the Information Console (call the Driver Information Center) is having the same failure as the radio - that is - it is working but there is just no lighting on it.

 

I have noticed that the same circuit is being used to drive the displays for both the radio and the DIC. Here are the schematics with that circuit highlighted in each.

 

graphic

 

graphic

 

What I would do is check out that dimming connection coming from the dimmer, which is near the headlight switch, and see if you can make it change by moving the dimmer wheel.

 

Please let m

Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.

Hi again - Sorry for the delay.

 

I am wondering if the Information Console (call the Driver Information Center) is having the same failure as the radio - that is - it is working but there is just no lighting on it.

 

I have noticed that the same circuit is being used to drive the displays for both the radio and the DIC. Here are the schematics with that circuit highlighted in each.

 

graphic

 

graphic

 

What I would do is check out that dimming connection coming from the dimmer, which is near the headlight switch, and see if you can make it change by moving the dimmer wheel.

 

Please let

me
Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.

Hi again - Sorry for the delay.

 

I am wondering if the Information Console (call the Driver Information Center) is having the same failure as the radio - that is - it is working but there is just no lighting on it.

 

I have noticed that the same circuit is being used to drive the displays for both the radio and the DIC. Here are the schematics with that circuit highlighted in each.

 

graphic

 

graphic

 

What I would do is check out that dimming connection coming from the dimmer, which is near the headlight switch, and see if you can make it change by moving the dimmer wheel.

 

Please let me know what you find.

 

Thanks, XXXXX

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The dimmer switch has no effect on either item. Are the diagrams showing fuses that might need to be replaced? If so, can I do that?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: I still need help.
Hoping that Greg A will get back to this question.
Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.

Hi again - sorry for the delay - I was traveling today.

 

The Dimming control would only have an effect if the lights are switched on, so it would be best to test that in a darkened condition.

 

Since the dealer could not get the system to fail, I would at least inspect the fuses shown in the schematics. Sometimes there is dirt that gets in there causing a poor contact. I would check both the Park LP fuse first.

 

If you have a multimeter, I would also check the signals coming into the DIC and radio to see if they are changing when the dimmer wheel is moved.

 

Please let me know what you find.

 

Thanks, XXXXX

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
First of all - under the hood or on the side fuse panel. Second, how do you test with the multimeter. Third - How do you clean the contact or should the fuses be changed/
Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.

Hi again,

 

I do most of my testing with a multimeter, set on the DC voltage scale so that I can read the voltage. The other probe (Common) is usually attached to a good ground point on the frame or engine block.

 

When checking fuses, I check both ends for power and that the voltage does not "jump around" if the fuses are wiggled.

 

The "Radio" fuse and the "Park LP" fuse are both shown as being in the Underhood fuse block, the "MALL/RADIO/DIC" fuse is shown as being in the side fuse panel.

 

If you test these fuses and find power at both sides (as mentioned above), there is no reason to replace them.

 

Please let me know what you find.

 

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX

 

PS. Did you talk to the folks at the dealer and ask them if they found or did anything to make the console work?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The dealership acted surprised when I asked them to check it out because it was working for them. I still think that when they had the car checked up to their computers that it turned it back on somehow. I'm having my husband read this and see if he knows how to follow your advice. If the fuses have power at both sides, does that mean that the console probably needs to be replaced? I'll get back to you asap.
Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.

From all you have mentioned, it sounds more like a loose connection to me. This is because it was going out over time, then failed, then worked again after the dealer worked on it. So I am thinking that the console is OK and that the bad connection needs to be found a repaired.

 

It is hard to say what they touched or perhaps wiggled to make it work. There is not really any "reset" procedure that is done for the DIC, except pressing and holding both buttons when certain things are displayed (like mileage & fuel used). But if the right inputs are there, I believe the DIC should work.

 

The schematics I sent just show the common signal that is used to set the brightness of the display - at least when the lights are turned on. And you mentioned that the radio works, but the display is not showing. I am wondering if the same thing is happening on the DIC.

 

Maybe you can try an experiment - that is turn the key on so that the mileage shows on the odometer, and then press the E/M button on the console. I believe if the console is working, then the mileage should change from miles to kilometers, and then back again when you press that button again.

 

Please let me know what you find.

 

Thanks, XXXXX

 

 

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

This has been dead for a few months now. I've tried to turn the display on. Nothing shows up on the console, so I can't try the experiment.

 

Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.
I was thinking of the Odometer display in the dash. When you press the E/M button on the console, the odometer may change from miles to kilometers. This would just prove that the problem is a "display" issue, and the rest of the functions may be working.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The odometer in the dash is an analog display, not digital.
Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.
OK - I must be thinking of a later year that has a button in the dash that rotates the display from the regular odometer to the "trip" odometer.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
My husband is on chemo and isn't feeling well tonight. I'm going to go ahead and accept your explanation but he doesn't have the stamina to check it out. If it doesn't work when he tries it in a few days, could we restart this conversation?
Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.

Hi again,

 

Please feel no pressure to accept at this time. I am just concerned that we can make some progress on this issue.

 

Yes, we can continue this conversation at any time. Just return here and let me know when you are ready.

 

Thanks, XXXXX

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Greg, We've checked the fuses and they are all fine. What next? Dumb question, but could it be a light bulb issue, and if so, can they be replaced in the information console?
Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.

Hi again,

 

The next step would be to check for voltage at the individual components - the Radio and the DIC - at the appropriate pins. You would have to get to those connectors and check against the schematics shown above to find what pins to look at.

 

As for a light bulb issue, it could be for the radio, if it has regular bulbs. But I believe the DIC display is an LED type display. Also, if the DIC display worked when the dealer checked it, and now it is not working (comes and goes), that would point to a connection type of problem.

 

Please let me know what you find.

 

Take Care, Greg A.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
How do you get to the pins? Especially the DIC?
Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.

To get to the DIC connector, you would have to remove the overhead console. It is not too bad to get to it, but you have to be careful not to disturb the headliner too much.

 

Here is a site that shows the overhead console of a similar model. It is from a different year also, but it should be pretty close to what you have.

 

Please let me know if this is something that you or your husband are capable of doing. I know I don't like working with my hands up in the air for too long.

 

Thanks, XXXXX

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'm not sure if he can do it, but we will see. Did you get the payment from the other day? I have multiple copies of the same original reply and I'm not sure if you received it.
Expert:  Greg A replied 5 years ago.

Hi again,

 

No - I haven't seen a payment yet. You should have an "Accept" button that you can click on to do that, when you are ready.

 

As for the multiple copies of one of my messages, I think there was a glitch in the system that caused that.

 

Thanks, XXXXX

Greg A, Master Troubleshooter
Category: Pontiac
Satisfied Customers: 6041
Experience: Working with Electronics & Cars for 25+ Years
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