I have a 96’ vw jetta and my gauges seem to have a mind of their own. In the mornings when I start my car, the guages work fine. Then after a few hours has passed none of them would work. I was told by the dealer that it sounded like the cluster was going bad. Im not sure what it is. Also when the guages are working my air bad and check engine light stays on, once the guages stop working, then those light are not on. What could this possibly be?
My best guess is a bad ground or two in the dashboard. In fact, I had this exact problem with my POS Volvo. Maybe this is endemic to European cars. ;-))
Instead of using the dealership, I suggest that you take the car to an independent auto electric specialist. There are not that many of these shops around, but a really good auto electric guy can probably find and fix the problem for FAR less money than the dealership would charge.
There very well could be a bad connection to the cluster. You could try reseating the connections to it to see if that helps. It sounds like a bad power connection somewhere to me. It may be before the cluster. Check for a loose fuse connection.