Symptom: Gas gauge and heat gauge on mid 80ies to mid 90ies Nissans fail to move altogether.
Solution: The water temp gauge and the fuel gauge on the instrument cluster of mid 80ies to mid 90ies Nissans were both attached to a regulator on the backside of the cluster. Simply put, the voltage regulator makes a more even voltage output and thereby suppresses a certain range of fluctuation.
The Nissan manuals for several vehicles, such as the late 80ies Sentra, the 240, and the Pathfinder all state the I/O Voltages to be 12v over 8v, so I am guessing the procedure is the same for most vehicles from that era.
1. Buy a 12 v / 8 v voltage regulator from your local electricians shop. The one I found was a micro IC unit for under 1 € (I think it was close to 80 US cents)
2. Buy or rent or find your trusty solder iron.
3. Remove the instrument cluster from the vehicle. Now this part might be a little tricky. On the Pathfinder I worked on a lot of additional cables and switches for extra lighting and other gear were hindering this operation quite a bit. In the end, remove the outside plastic cover (mine had a few screws and a few snap ons around), then remove the screws holding in the actual cluster, then remove the cable connectors from the backside carefully before pulling it out all the way.
4. Heat up your soldering iron and have a cup of tea.
5. On the top right corner of the backside you will find three cables running into a square bit. That is the old likely broken voltage regulator. Remove the screws:
6. Wiggle the thing out of its place and look at the attached cables. They are color coded as follows:
Yellow: 12v / IGN
Blue: 8v / output
7. Cut off the cables from the old regulator. Carefully spread the left and right pins on the new regulator outwards for more spacing. Now solder them on as follows:
8. Let the solder cool a little, then reattach the screws, like so:
9. Reinstall the instrument panel and give it a try. Mine was bone dry, but the temp gauge went up after running it for a moment:
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