1997 Intrepid Instrument Cluster Shorting Out

I have a 1997 Dodge Intrepid with 106,400 miles. Recently the instrument cluster has been “shorting out,” but will resolve itself after several hours, with the “check engine” light remaining illuminated. Dealer says it will cost ~$900 to replace the cluster ($710 for “vintage” cluster, plus labor), but can’t guarantee that there isn’t another electronic or computer problem. Car is in otherwise very good shape. I am wondering if it is worth getting the repair done. Car has been to the shop to check all fuses, ground wires, etc. I have also taken the car to the dealer, but they have not been able to test the circuitry while the instrument cluster is out, since it always “recovers” after a few hours. Am considering taking it to the dealer when the cluster is out and have them test it right then and there. Do I get the work done and hope there isn’t another problem? Is this a common problem for this make and model? Will there be other electrical problems? Thanks!

This is a common problem with many Chrysler products of that era. The instrument cluster develops solder breaks, a result of the cheap manufacturing method that Chrysler used back then.

Rather than replace the cluster, many owners will attempt to repair it themselves. It’s not too difficult. Here’s a how-to video:

I’ve never had any problem with my 94 Chrysler, and haven’t heard of this being much of an issue on LH platform cars of this era. I think this is the first occurrence of this for this model of car that I’ve heard on this forum. FYI, the cluster is not likely made by Chrysler, but manufactured for them by a supplier. What exactly is the cluster doing? It seems to me that you could get a cluster pretty cheap from a boneyard or ebay, far cheaper than the quote you got.

This is indeed a well-documented problem for many Chrysler models of the '90s. There are many internet posts regarding owner DIY how-to repairs. The risk of buying a used instrument cluster is that it may well come with the same solder problems as you now have. Caveat emptor.

Thanks for the advice. New instrument cluster comes with a warranty, which is better than one from a junkyard. Oblivion is correct in that the part is no longer available from the manufacturer. Will have to investigate further on the price of this replacement.