How-To: SRT-4 or R/T cluster install with E-brake light fix.

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Mattdog
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How-To: SRT-4 or R/T cluster install with E-brake light fix.

Post by Mattdog » Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:03 pm

MattDog wrote:I wrote this on the .ORG but thought i'd donate it to you guys too since your a 2G forum :wink:


Well about 3 weeks ago I got off my butt and put my RT tach cluster into my non-tach base model. Here is what I learned plus the ebrake light fix I came up with.

Tools required:
Phillips screwdriver (#2?)

Getting the dash apart:
First open up your front doors and pull the a pillar covers off. Take a Phillips screwdriver and take out the screw on each end of the dash where it would meet with the door (on the sides of the dash). Next drop your steering wheel with the tilt wheel and push up on the dash cover where it sticks out just above the cluster. The dash cover should begin popping off. Work your way across the front of the dash till you can lift it up. Then lift and slide the dash cover off. Now take the 4 Phillips screws out from around the cluster and pull it out. If your like me and drop the cluster screws down the dash, you might want to take the cover just below the steering wheel. There are 2 screws on the bottom of the panel and the top just simply pops off. This makes it a lot easier to put the screws back in the cluster anyways.

Reinstall is the opposite of what you’ve just done. Be sure and tuck the a pillars under the rubber seals from the doors.

Installing the cluster:
Get out your choice of tach cluster that you’ve stored face up to prevent damage to the needle motors. Determine the options that your car has and install/deinstall the appropriate options such as abs or traction control. Take it out to your car and slide it into place. Turn the ignition on and examine the option lights and see what works correctly. Then start the car up and do the same thing. Some people such as myself have found that the ebrake light functions correctly when the ignition is on but not running and when the car is running the light turns on and stays on. AFAIK everyone just takes the bulb out but as an engineer to be, I like stuff to done right or as close to right as it can be without making it overly complicated.

The Ebrake light fix:
The ebrake light problem appears to be a software problem but as a hardware guy I know that there is probably an easy fix. This fix involves cutting the led drivers output and bypassing it. Something that you could probably do at home.

Tools required:
T15 torx screwdriver
Soldering iron
Solder
6-12” wire
X-Acto knife
Silicone
Digital multimeter

In the 1st gen neon’s, the ebrake light works by connecting a simple switch to ground (think of ground as the negative terminal on the battery) to light a light bulb whose positive wire is fixed to +12Volts. In the 2nd gen neon’s, they got a little more complicated. They still use a simple switch connecting to ground on the ebrake handle to drive the signal to the cluster but the similarities end there. The 2nd gen cluster being digital receives the signal into its microprocessor and through some magic outputs the signal to a led driver chip which connects the ground side of the LED to ground. The positive side of the LED is connected to positive (+12V) through a current limiting 620-ohm resistor. It doesn’t care whether you connect the ground to turn it on with the actual ebrake switch or the driver chip driven through some sort of logic from the ebrake switch. What I’ve done is cut the driver chips output signal thus disabling the clusters control and soldered a wire from the LED’s ground side directly to the ebrake switch input into the cluster.

First take the cluster apart by placing it on its face and taking the T15 torx screws out on the rear cardboard cover. Now take the T15 torx screws out of the electronics board and disconnect the odometer connector. Pull the electronics board out and place the cluster out of the way face up. Do not leave it on its face unless you plan on replacing it as the resistance oil in the needle motors will drain out and you will end up with jumpy, wiggly needles.

This is the general board layout. You'll notice the white wire, this is what the mod should look like.

Note pics are purposely left left large to show detail.
Image

Now were going to disable the stock ebrake light setup by cutting the trace from the output driver chip to the led. Grab your X-Acto knife and cut the trace driver output chip (see pics). Be sure you actually cut it. Don’t be afraid to almost grind at it with the knife (I do it all the time when cutting traces on the custom 1st gen clusters). Just be sure not to cut any other traces. If you do, you need to fix them or whatever they connect to will not work.

Cut like this. The pin you want is the 4th pin up. To be absolutely sure, follow the trace back over to the ebrake LED (it goes through the board)
Image

Image


The reason we are cutting the trace comming out of the driver chip and not the cluster input is that I thought the cluster sounds an alarm when you try driving with the ebrake on. I wanted to leave this active. Mine doesn't seem to do this but I'm not quite sure if neons were equipped to do this or not??? Our 2004 town and country van does this... or atleast I think it does :oops:

An alternative method would be to cut the actual ground trace at the LED. You may need to follow the trace around including through the board to the other side. Just make sure that when your done modding the cluster that the trace is actually cut.

You can use your digital multimeter to check and see if you have a connection or if you don’t. Every multimeter has an ohm scale; if you measure the trace or wire and its connected good you should measure pretty much nothing (usually fractions of an ohm). If the connection is open like the trace that you cut, it should measure infinite ohms (open). Some multimeters have a connection checker that beeps when there is a connection and don’t beep when there’s an open. They usually read ohms at the same time. Do not use one of those light bulb connection checkers. If you have one, do your self a favor and throw it out. I know I’m getting off topic here but the problem with these is they draw enough current to toast most digital logic circuits. An alternative for those people who don’t want to spend $20-30 on a basic digital multimeter would be to use a led with a series resistor (low current draw).



Now we need to do the actual mod. We will be connecting a wire from the ground side of the ebrake led to pin 22 on the cluster connector. If you place the cluster board connector side up, connector on the side away from you pin 22 is in the row of pins closest to you 5 pins from the right. I checked the pinout for several 2nd gen cluster years and pin 22 appears to remain the ebrake pin. Over the years the electronics board layout did change, probably in the 01 to 02 era. My 01 circuit board has large surface mount IC chips, my 02 has small ones and the 03 SRT cluster that I had here has small chips (smaller probably = cheaper) as well.

If somebody would like to volunteer there 02+ tach cluster board for the mod and pay shipping both ways (~$30) I’ll do the mod for free at my convenience to take pics and add to the how to.

I soldered a wire right onto the edge of the surface mount resistor shown below. Be sure and solder the side by the connector or this mod will not work properly. It’s a tight spot to solder in, you might want to flip the board over and solder directly to the back of the connector pin where it’s soldered into the board. That might be easier to do for most of you people. The other end of the wire gets soldered to the led’s ground. (see pics)

Solder like this. I did trim the side of the led off to make it easier to solder. Your actual LED's in the cluster will vary by the options installed in your car.
Image

This is where the other end of the wire gets soldered.
Image

A better pic...
Image

I like to secure my wiring with a couple of dabs of silicone. It helps keep the wires from moving and potentially coming unsoldered. I’ve always used this in the 1st gen clusters that I’ve built and never had wiring come loose or wires breaking. You can use your basic bathroom silicone in the red/gold squeeze tube from home depot.


Now put the cluster back together. Be sure to plug the odometer in. The modified cluster is now ready to be installed in your car.


Heres a pic of the new RT tach cluster just before dark.
Image

Here are all my options lighting up. Look at the possibilities on the left. Looks like I have room to build that custom shift light/economy shifting rpm/throttle position ect... circuit :)
Image

For you electronics guru’s you can use the same sort of concept to wire a shift light into your cluster on one of those unused bulbs.


If there’s something that I’ve missed or there’s something that’s unclear please let me know.

srtjesse
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Post by srtjesse » Sat Apr 07, 2007 10:31 pm

cool good job
Image

2004 white dodge neon 2.4 DOHC swapped
2004 red dodge neon srt-4 gone :(
2000 flat black plymouth neon 2.0 DOHC swapped gone :(
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SOKADAO954
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Post by SOKADAO954 » Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:38 am

it made so much faster when i did for my old r/t and then no won my 00 i pulld off the entire top of the dasha nd pulled the cluster out made it so much easier now besides pulling the lil bulb out my cluster is srt4 but abs ligh on ny toughts??
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|Danny|
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Mopar65
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Post by Mopar65 » Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:31 pm

I got the red X's!!!

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excon
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Post by excon » Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:18 pm

:withstupid:
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danman132x
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Post by danman132x » Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:30 pm

Pics are gone here too. The host must've deleated them
2003 Dodge Neon R/T

Image

http://myspace.com/danman132x

occasional demons
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Post by occasional demons » Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:52 pm

They've been gone for a while.
Bill
dblsg wrote:ya'll a bunch of post whores
Seriously people, this is 2019 not 1920.
2001 Neon ES MTX with '02 R/T PCM
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occasional demons
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Post by occasional demons » Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:08 pm

http://forums.neons.org/viewtopic.php?f ... &p=2021617

Not all the pics are there but it is better than what's here.
Bill
dblsg wrote:ya'll a bunch of post whores
Seriously people, this is 2019 not 1920.
2001 Neon ES MTX with '02 R/T PCM
Help support 2GN!

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Haganracing
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Post by Haganracing » Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:04 pm

I fixed my brake light problem, took the bulb out :D
occasional demons wrote:So maybe a FuzzyDanteHagan sammich might just beat a FuzzyHagan. :-k
Danteneon wrote:My advice is to fight those urges and enjoy the fact that you have both X and Y chromosomes. And an SRT. And your hand. You don't need a girl.

occasional demons
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Post by occasional demons » Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:00 pm

Holy dust encrusted bump!

Someone actually posted about that the other day, so it is semi relevant. :rofl:

Yeah, I pulled the bulb too. The proper way is too tedious for me. Plus I would scrap my cluster.
Bill
dblsg wrote:ya'll a bunch of post whores
Seriously people, this is 2019 not 1920.
2001 Neon ES MTX with '02 R/T PCM
Help support 2GN!

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