1985 Toronado digital dash totally obsolete? - ClassicOldsmobile.com


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Old September 13th, 2017, 06:07 PM   #1
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1985 Toronado digital dash totally obsolete?

I have a nice clean white 85 Caliente rust free, one owner, gas V8, astroroof, Bose, voice information, claret leather, and electronic instrument cluster. Amongst many other comfort and convenience features and accessories.

This damn dashboard is almost flawless. Some of the cleanest and thoroughly intact plastichrome, a supple crack free dashpad, a nice clean leather steering wheel, and the digital dash is acting intermittent. The fuel level potion of the cluster goes thru it's initial motions then blacks out. Interestingly enough when the cluster blacks out completely the "TURN LIGHTS ON" lamp illuminates outside of the cluster assembly entirely.

I've googled this several times all I get are proud owner and salesman photography.

I've inquired several repair places even companies that advertise older models. Been turned away every time.

An older friend who was owner operator of a licensed GM repair facility for 35 years and owned an 85 toronado brand new said GM had a extremely high core charge exchange program which they would waive for hand to hand exchanges in person, very early into the life of these clusters. But nobody services them or offers parts for pre 86 toronado electronic clusters online or on eBay.

Coincidentally I see no mention of 80?81-85 Cadillac Eldorado/Seville digital, or 80-85 Riviera digital online either. Are these all painfully archaic super analog digital clusters? Or have all the old GM electronics electricians retired?

The 1st gen Buick-Olds non Cadillac faceplate/buttons Bose Radio doesn't always want to play ball either. It tends to behave if it's not powered off completely. That's available rebuilt for 400$. The contact information has been hard documented for future. I don't see anything there except a fancy faceplate and an usual volume control shaft that eliminates front rear fade. I am not willing to take that leap until its last gun fires. The cluster is priority.
This shows the fuel gauges full time behavior. The cluster normally functions and displays speed accurately from my perception but the fuel gage never works just puts on its start up show and goes back to bed.

Last edited by Waylon1968GMC; September 13th, 2017 at 06:30 PM. Reason: To add photograph and a thought
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Old September 13th, 2017, 06:59 PM   #2
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Yes, they are archaic and no one services them. There is no demand anymore. Most of the parts are purpose-designed for that application so you can't just get components from Digi-Key. Frankly, few people collect these cars, so there is no market for parts or service. Good used will be your only option, I suspect.
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Old September 14th, 2017, 06:06 AM   #3
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You could try your local ham radio club.They always have someone looking for a new electronics project. If the fuel gauge does it's show on start up ... odds are it's something fixable. The display itself isn't dead. A call can't hurt.
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Old September 14th, 2017, 09:23 AM   #4
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Have you tried a local speedometer repair facility? Maybe they are few and far between. Our dealership has a local shop that we deal with. I looked up your cluster part number and ran it through Instrument Sales and Service, our GM repair facility. It came back invalid and said to call for assistance. I don't know if this is something they would repair or not.

Last edited by Oldsfan; September 15th, 2017 at 10:04 AM.
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Old September 14th, 2017, 06:21 PM   #5
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Have you tried a local speedometer repair facility? Maybe there are few and far between. Our dealership has a local shop that we deal with. I looked up your cluster part number and ran it through Instrument Sales and Service, our GM repair facility. It came back invalid and said to call for assistance. I don't know if this is something they would repair or not.
Thank you for doing that sir. I am aware most initial part numbers on this car have long since been superseded probably two or three times, as I believe in 85 this car was still employing many 7 digit gm part numbers. I do not know the current/last gm number for this cluster assembly but it would be interesting to know. If there is something you can do further please let me know I can provide any information you need. Money isn't necesarily an object with this speedometer endeavor as to me it's a big part of the "package" this car is riding on.

And as far as the cluster being not totally dead as the other individual typed, I completely absolutely believe that to be true. I bet it's some little resistor pellet or a ballast gets hot or something breaking a circuit. I just like I said have run out of 2017 "in the box" ideas and direction.

Thank you Folks
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Old September 15th, 2017, 10:08 AM   #6
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The catalog part number for your cluster, with option U52 digital cluster, is 25079216. GM part history shows it discontinued 04/1993.

I would try these folks on your own:

http://www.instrumentsales.com/

See how far you can get with them and report back.

Last edited by Oldsfan; September 15th, 2017 at 10:15 AM.
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Old September 15th, 2017, 10:30 AM   #7
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. I just like I said have run out of 2017 "in the box" ideas and direction.

Thank you Folks
That's why I suggested the Hams. They're very familiar with a huge span of tech, from tubes to microchips. And if they can't locally ... for certain they share the air with others who can.
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Old September 17th, 2017, 06:35 PM   #8
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I will contact the repair center suggested tomorrow. I got back an email from a polite gentleman who told me many internal service parts are discontinued for the first generation of gm clusters. He said he has heard of my position before in many early 80s GM he said it was usually Early 80s Riviera and Regal that have the problem. He said he apologizes as I'm first customer he's refused in quite some time.

If that's the case imagine a 10,000$ High end grand national with a dead digital cluster. Whoopie!

i don't know where to find ham radio guys around here Maine is kind of under a rock in some ways. I've been looking online. I don't have access to CB my last CB radio was almost 10 years ago and it was for work related purposes only. A lot of jabber jaw'rin' on CB around here.
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Old September 18th, 2017, 07:10 AM   #9
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The problem with digital dashes is that GM's engineering in that era was still figuring out how to make these things live in all environments and fix any problems encountered. The moisture and corrosion associated with a car gets inside these boards and eventually makes them fail (I'm not sure if they conformal coated these boards when new or not). A coworker of mine collects Buick Reattas and they have the same type of digital dashes with all sorts of electrical problems over the years. The only solution has been for him and his son to take the dash electronics apart, find the bad components, and re-solder new ones and new traces in the case where the circuit board has gone bad.

The good news is that it's usually not the LED display part that fails but the driver circuits for them. My coworker has said that most of the parts are still available or readily substituted. If you're handy with a soldering iron and circuit board repair, it's an option. Good used is your other. There's no one that I know of actively repairing these...
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