97 Buick Century - Burnt out Digital Transmission Shift Indicator for PRND123

4
1
3
Buick Ownership
1997 Buick Century Limited
When I recently bought this car, I noticed that the Digital Transmission Shift Indicator for PRND123 was burnt out. The previous owner despite other maintenance did not bother to repair it.

I received a quote of $400 to replace or refurbish it. A lot of money for something GM should not have poorly designed. That being said, I am still able by feel to tell what gear I am in.

What have some of you done in regard to a workaround for this faulty part?
 

hitshane

Buick Newbie
29
7
3
Saint Petersburg, FL
Buick Ownership
2005 Century Custom
I know some people will solder new LEDs (resistors)* on the circuit board or replace the cluster entirely. I had a 2000 Century that I could just take two or three fingers and tap it real hard and it would actually turn back on. Being as it's a 21 year old car in your case I wouldn't put any money into it (beyond mechanical and operational repair of course) unless I planned on renovating the entire vehicle to show quality.
 
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hitshane

Buick Newbie
29
7
3
Saint Petersburg, FL
Buick Ownership
2005 Century Custom
If you're going to do this and you have never soldered before watch a couple basic soldering videos...

You'll notice the guy in the video when he tries to solder the first resistor it doesn't stay. This is because you're supposed to lead/tin/pre-solder the contacts on the resistor first, the same way you would tin or pre solder wires that you intend on soldering together.

Always tin your leads before you solder... I would practice soldering a few wires together (scrap wire) so you know how to do it. Make sure you use rosin core Electronics solder, thinner is better... you don't need a fancy soldering iron...
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4
1
3
Buick Ownership
1997 Buick Century Limited
This sounds simple enough if one does the soldering correctly but removing the dashboard to get to the instrument cluster is one big pia. From what I have seen so far on YouTube, it is not just a question of reaching behind the dash and popping a couple of clips.

As far as Ebay, I see several people selling reman instrument clusters.

Too bad there is no way to install a manual shift indicator with just a pointer possibly backlighted.

I really believe GM should have taken ownership of this problem or developed a workaround as it might be a safety issue. Probably some designer felt like adding some fancy digital glitz at the time.
 
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