How to replace your stepper motor - Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum

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Old 12-04-2008, 10:50 PM
CHAVEZ CHAVEZ is offline
2009 Acura MDX
White Other AWD
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Central OH
Posts: 349
How to replace your stepper motor

Due to the number of PMs I receive on how to replace a stepper motor I figured I may as well post the how-to. Let me know if you have any questions or issues.

How to Replace Gauge Cluster Stepper Motor
If the needles in your gauge cluster flutter, stick, or stop working you may have a bad stepper motor.
Dealerships want $400-$700 to replace the whole cluster, but you can replace just the motor for around $10.

Time: 1-2 hours

Cost: About $10 for 1 stepper motor (part: X-C5-168 or X-25-168)

Stepper Motor/s
Phillips Head Screwdriver
9/32 Socket
Soldering Iron

Step 1 (Remove dash faceplate)
Follow the instructions found in the following link to remove the dash faceplate:
You will need to unplug all the wiring harnesses for lights, 4-wheel drive, and rear wipers.

Step 2 (Remove gauge cluster)
You will now be able to access the gauge cluster. Remove the 4 screws holding the cluster in place and then unplug the wiring harness.

Step 3 (Disassemble cluster)
The cluster is constructed from 3 pieces which are held together with clips. Remove the front clear cover by unfastening the clips.

You will now have access to the gauge needles.
Place tape at the end of each needle.

Turn each needle counter-clockwise until it stops as shown below and then mark off the location on the tape with a pen. If you do this, you should have no issues with calibration when you reassemble.

Once you have your positions marked, turn each needle counter-clockwise until it breaks free from the shaft. Then use a fork to pry each needle off. It will take a little force, but just be slow.

Unfasten the remaining clips that hold the back cluster cover in place and remove. You will then be able to pull the circuit board off.

Notice the 6 stepper motors, each about the size of a quarter.

Step 4 (Replace stepper motor)

On the reverse side of the circuit board you will need to desolder the 4 points that are holding the motor on. These are easy to determine as they stick up a bit more.
Heat the solder and use a solder-sucker to remove the solder. If you don't have a solder-sucker, you can have an extra hand pry at the motor from the other side as you heat.
**Just be careful not to heat things up too much as this is a circuit board and you can harm other components if not careful.
I was replacing my speedometer motor, so I desoldered the following points.

Once the old motor is off, make sure the holes are clear of solder and put your new motor in.
Resolder your 4 points and place the circuit board on the back cover. Fasten the overlay piece back on now.
Now press each needle back on in the 12 o-clock position. Then turn each needle back to your mark on the tape. If you miss the mark just keep turning counter-clockwise until you come around again.

To test things out, plug the wiring harness back to the cluster. You should immediately see the needles jump down and then up to the original 'zero' points.
Make sure the needle for your new motor moved. You should really test this out first before reassembling everything to make sure your needles go back to their original points.
Typically, the gas gauge needle is a tick or so below empty. My RPM gauge was also about 100 rpm under zero at the rest position, so I made sure they were exactly in the same spot after I plugged the cluster back in.
Yours may differ slightly.
Once you determine your needles are correct, just snap the clear plastic cover back on the gauge.

Step 5 (Reassemble)

Attach the cluster back to the dash and reassemble the dash in reverse order.

You are done!
'04 TB LT
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Old 12-05-2008, 03:36 AM
billdaman billdaman is offline
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Thanks for this, very nice work!
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:03 AM
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Chevy-TB-lover Chevy-TB-lover is offline
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Awesome How-to!!!
good job!

One of the LED gods around here!
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Old 12-05-2008, 01:35 PM
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rbarrios rbarrios is offline
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lots of people here will love you for this....
2013 Equinox-3.6L DI- Best MPG 35
2010 Traverse-3.6L DI Best MPG 31.3
2003 Trailblazer LS 165,000 miles- Best MPG 24
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:24 AM
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bolacha bolacha is offline
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Good stepper motor brands?

Well it's time for me to replace my stepper motor on my Tach, and my oil pressure guage which pegged out today (engine on ~100psi, engine off ~60psi). Are there any brands of stepper motors that I should be looking for and/or try to avoid?
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Old 12-18-2008, 12:30 AM
mudracer mudracer is offline
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2002 Chevy TrailBlazer LT
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I was curious. Are the lights in the instrument cluster plug in or solder in? I have a few burnt out and would like to replace them.
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Old 12-18-2008, 06:27 AM
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Blazernut Blazernut is offline
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You must solder in some new ones. And pick some funky colors while you are at it. Some guys go red or blue.


Let's get a Meet going!
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Old 12-22-2008, 03:09 PM
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trailballer trailballer is offline
2004 Chevy TrailBlazer LS
silver 4.2L I6 4X4
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just a quick tach shakes when it moves. doesn't move smooth at all. somtimes (about once a week) it will read off by 1 to 2k rpms? is this the stepper motor or somthing else?

it seems that everyones does somthing different but i am just wondering. thanks
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Old 12-22-2008, 05:23 PM
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srtoperator srtoperator is offline
2004 Chevy TrailBlazer LS
Summit White 4.2L I6 4X4
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Location: Bellevue, Ne
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How do I calibrate the needles if my tach is already dead and just points south all of the time?

Good How-to. I will be using it as soon as I get my hands on some stepper motors. Also what kind of bulbs does the dash use? I was thinking of replacing them with some LEDs.
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Old 12-22-2008, 05:28 PM
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gordinho80 gordinho80 is offline
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Originally Posted by Blazernut View Post
AGREED!! This needs to be an article!
Mario - My Build!
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