How to replace your stepper motor - Page 33 - Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum

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Go Back   Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum > 2002 - 2009 TrailBlazer/Envoy Tech > The 02-09 "How-To" and DIY Section

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Old 01-10-2012, 11:51 AM
donnie5336 donnie5336 is offline
Junior Member
2005 GMC Envoy SLT
Black 4.2L I6 2WD
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Louisville, GA
Posts: 19
Originally Posted by krazy3 View Post
I need to do the speedo stepper motor. Did you take the needles off all the guages and have them re-zero? I guess I don't understand why you need to do this if you are only replacing 1? Also, if replacing 1 like my speedo, it's on 40 mph now, so I can't mark it and put it on in the 12 o'clock and turn it back down to the mark, as the mark would be in the wrong spot.
For your first question, you have to mark and remove all the needles because they all have to be removed in order to get the faceplate off to allow access to where the actual motors are located.

And for your second question, think of it this way... When you turn the vehicle off, the computer "thinks" that all the needles are in their rest position (which is as far counter-clockwise as they will go when you turn them with a finger and not great force). This is the biggest problem I have seen with the defective motors is that they don't return to zero. Some gauges work, but they will stick somewhere half way up the guage when returning to "rest" position. So, if you turn all of your needles counterclockwise, regardless of where the bad ones are pointing now, they will each be in their "true" rest position, so this is why we mark the needle position here -- so that when we install a new working motor, and it is in it's rest position, we know precisely where the needle should point.

Hope that helps.
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:26 AM
steve24 steve24 is offline
Junior Member
2002 Chevy TrailBlazer LS
Majestic Red Metallic 4.2L I6 2WD
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: TN
Posts: 14
I went to Ebay to order stepper motors for my 2002 Trailblazer, but it tells me that they're not compatible with it. Is this right? Which steppers will work?
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:34 PM
Ken in MD Ken in MD is offline
Junior Member
2003 GMC Envoy SLT XL
Pewter Metallic 5.3L V8 4X4
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Keedysville, MD
Posts: 24
Update to my cluster___ post

Hey everyone, just wanted to let you know I was able to resolve my cluster problem. Remember I had tried to replace a few steppers and did a poor job soldering and ended up frying my cluster. I then odered a new cluster, but was in such haste I ordered one without the DIC. So I had to return THAT one, and the third time was the charm. I found one on ebay with DIC that had almost exactly the same mileage as mine. It is now installed, and all lights and gauges work fine. Wife is happy.

I was also happy I had that DIC back yesterday, because last night it told me "battery not charging" which is more info than a battery light would give me. I went straight out and had an electrical test, and glad I did - bad alternator (see my post on this). Its already replaced.

Only one weird thing about it this new cluster - the avg MPG does not change at all. Instant changes as it should but avg MPG doesnt. Any ideas on that? I know it came out of an '04, and mine is an '03, but my'03 cluster would update the avg pretty often. This one hasnt changed at all in about a thousand miles.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:00 PM
iceflow iceflow is offline
Junior Member
2005 Buick Rainier
Black 5.3L V8 2WD
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 44
Replacing stepper motor

I need a bit of help before I jump into this, I have the motors.
Need clarity on rebuild text..."Position each needle at the 12o'clock position, then wind ccw and stop at the tape mark. IF YOU MISS the mark carry on winding ccw until you come round to the tape mark again"

Don't these motors have a stop point in them? Can you actually spin them 'ad infinitum' around the guage faces?. How do they calibrate if that is the case?

Also.....anyone attempted this on a Buick Rainier 2005? The console removal instructions for the envoy and trailblazer don't look like they will work for the rainier. Just curious if anyone has attempted this on the rainier.

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Old 01-30-2012, 09:08 PM
iceflow iceflow is offline
Junior Member
2005 Buick Rainier
Black 5.3L V8 2WD
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 44
Soldering advice

Many moons ago I worked in a factory building circuit boards. Do not attempt the repair without buying a solder sucker. Without one of these tools you stand a good chance of burning up a component. Solder sucker, not braid or anything like that.
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:50 PM
crider4_6 crider4_6 is offline
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2006 Chevy Other
Summit White Other 4X4
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: seneca mo
Posts: 1
stepper motors

where do we get them at web site or somethin
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:21 PM
Craig17 Craig17 is offline
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2004 GMC Envoy SLE
Graphite Metallic 4.2L I6 AWD
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Freeport, Bahamas
Posts: 2
Originally Posted by crider4_6 View Post
where do we get them at web site or somethin
I ordered the sucker from Radio Shack. I also ordered braid just in case, but didn't need to use the braid.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:27 PM
iceflow iceflow is offline
Junior Member
2005 Buick Rainier
Black 5.3L V8 2WD
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 44
Solder Suckers

Amazon, or Radio Shack will have them. They are only a few bucks. I have the one that has a spring loaded plunger with a button. Push plunger in, melt solder, put the sucker over the melted solder, press the button and the spring will release the plunger and suck up the solder. Then use a pair of needle nosed pliers to gently break any remaining contact bewteen the soldered pin and the circuit board.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:21 AM
iceflow iceflow is offline
Junior Member
2005 Buick Rainier
Black 5.3L V8 2WD
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 44
Buick Rainier / Olds Bravada 2005 stepper motor replacement

I'll just add a few comments from my experience.

1. These models do not require the entire fascia to be removed to get at the cluster. The cluster has a plastic shroud around it that is held in by four screws. Follow this link, but ignore the steps around screw removal by the cigarette lighter.

2. Both the shroud and the cluster will come out with a bit of care and rotation of the part. Do not, wrench, prise or force the assembly. They will come out of the dash. Take a picture of the orientation as you remove the assembly so you know the start point on reassembly. Drop the steering column to its lowest point and cover the steering column with a thin cloth so to prevent scratches.
3. The needle dials........This is how they are attached........They are a push, friction fit onto the motor spindle. Gently, rotate each dial counter clockwise to its motor stop point. You will feel the dial 'stop' as the motor hits it stop point. Mark with masking tape as per the excellent write up at the start of this thread. Now, you can continue to move the needle further counterclockwise, the needle will be rotating on the motor shaft at this point........the motor will not be's stop point will be where you marked the masking tape in the previous sentence. Ease / gently pry the needle off the motor shaft.
4. Soldering - . The objective here is a light touch. You are not welding up suspension springs. Remember you are saving yourselves several hundred bucks here so spend out on the following:
• Solder sucker with a spring loaded trigger. These are quicker to operate than a bulb device. Do not attempt this repair with braid. We are not soldering water piping……….(OK I’ll shut up).
• 15 Watt soldering iron with a pointed tip. Mains operated not battery.
• Needle nosed pliers.
• Thin solder
• Small soft brush (Dashboard detailing brush)
The objective is to touch the soldered joint just long enough to melt the solder on the joint then get the sucker over the joint and press the release button to suck up the solder. Two to three seconds on the joint should be sufficient. Then use the pliers to gently wiggle the desoldered motor pin to free the joint. Try to use the pliers to break the joint free rather than relying on the soldering iron over and over, this way you will greatly reduce the chances of burning up the board. These are very delicate boards. Use the brush to gently brush the area clean after all pins are desoldered.
When you seat the new motor and are ready to re-solder….touch the tip of the iron with some fresh solder, make sure there are no blobs of solder on the end of the iron. Then put the iron onto the motor pin and touch the iron tip with new solder into the joint. Do not blow on the soldered joint to cool it as this can cause ‘dry’ joints and continuity problems. Gently brush the area.
Reassemble as per earlier threads. Push fit the needles onto the motors and rotate CCW until motor stops, then continue CCW with dial until dial lines up with the masking tape marks.
Make sure all instrument cluster is clean, make sure no dust is inside the clear bezel before reassembly. Invisible Glass aerosol is an excellent cleaner.
Good Luck.!!
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Old 03-03-2012, 05:40 PM
Kopierguy Kopierguy is offline
Junior Member
Envoy GMC Envoy SLE XL
Silver Mist Metallic 4.2L I6 2WD
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Willis, Tx
Posts: 1
I just completed the replacement of the 6 motors that fail on the 05 Envoy. The total time from disconnecting the battery to closing the hood was 1hr 15min. I followed the excellent write up that Chavez did and the outcome was a total success. I did have the proper tools and I have prior experience replacing components on printed circuit boards. Total cost was $27 and change including state sales tax and shipping. Thanks again, without this site and excellent DIY, I am not sure I would have attempted this repair.
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