Accord instrument panel

98 accord v6, when we first got it about a year ago the temp gauge was a little erratic. Sometimes it would stay all the way down (cold) after driving for awhile. You can take your finger and thump the plastic and it would jump up to normal. At first it was only temp, but now all gauges including gas level are not working. Odometer still works right but the speedo goes to about 45 and stays there. Thumping still makes the needles bounce around. Any thoughts?

You have a bad ground connection in the dashboard.
Now, the problem is locating it…

Kind of suspected that but was afraid to admit it to myself. I hate electrical problems. The car does have a lot of surface rust I guess you could say. Not rusted panels or frame, just all the bolts under the hood and parts like that are rusted. I figure somewhere is a ground wire that has rusted enuf to not ground.

You hate fixing electrical problems? Lots of folk feel the same way. That’s why there are mechanics who are trained to do exactly this job. Seek one out.

The problem could be with the power side of the circuit also. Try removing then reconnecting the connectors to the dash. It may be a simple dirty connection problem there.

Its not likely a ground problem, Honda uses a lot of redundancy in its grounds. Have you ever had issues with the AC evaporator drain? The computer is located below this drain. If you have had issues with this, I would pull up the carpet, remove the computer cover and unplug and replug in the computer connectors.

Most of the gauge inputs pass through the computer so that the computer can use the info for its functions. I don’t think the 98 went to the all digital dash yet, so the signals are still raw analog, just passed through the computer, not digitized by it like in later models.

Is the computer located on the passenger side? Only had the car about a year but haven’t had drain problems in that time. I tried unplugging the connectors at the unit and sprayed some contact cleaner on them. They were clean anyway and it did’nt fix it.

Keith, if that computer under the floor was indeed the problem would you be able to thump on the dash and make the guages bounce around and work somewhat? Not much on electrical things, but it seems unlikely. Could it just be the whole panel itself?

Thumping will make the gauges bounce. Now if it makes the gauges work, you didn’t say that before, then you are right, the problem would be in the instrument cluster itself.

My bad, I guess you did say that thumping the temp gauge makes it work. I believe there are three connectors on the back of the instrument panel, maybe one is loose. The alternative would be that the car was in a flood and the bearings in the gauges are going bad.

The connectors are clean and tight. I guess I’ll try to find a new or used cluster. Thanks to everyone for the input

Since it isn’t doing you much good at this point you might try opening it up and check for a something like a bad solder connection inside it. You might still be able to fix it. The trouble is most likely with the power supply circuit to it.