Would be nice

my friend’s 86 Toranado has no dash lights and it’d be nice to see how fast he’s driving - which I think is way too fast!! The speedometer is digital, so he doesn’t know how fast he’s going, and whatever else is digital on the dash I do not know. Also, the car battery only stays charged for 2 days. And he’s put in a new altinator, new battery, and new altinator plug. what gives?!

To own a car that old you have to know something about cars and care enough to look after it. It would seem your friend does not fit that category.

The digital displays on these cars were flukey when they were new.
After 23 years, I would not expect much from one of these units.

That being said, your friend needs to take his car to a well-reputed auto electric specialist for some intensive diagnosis. A good auto electric diagnostician can likely resolve the charging system issues, along with a replacement display unit from a junkyard.

What “gives” is that your friend apparently doesn’t car about his car…or his safety. The car can be fixed, but not the attitude.

If your friend decides to fix it, have him/her post and we’ll try to help…after giving him/her a good long safety lecture (we do that here as a free service).

A cheap man’s solution(these days) to speedometer is getting a low budget GPS receiver. Added bonus of directions and or knowing where you are.

The electrical issue sounds like a potential drain somewhere in the electrical system. I would take it to an electrical specialist shop for auto’s.

Here is a good article for chasing down the causes of battery drains: http://www.aa1car.com/library/battery_runs_down.htm

There were factory Technical Service Bulletins (in 1996) which listed 25 repair facilities (AC Delco Service Centers) authorized (by Oldsmobile) to repair digital instrument panels. Cost: $432, net. How many are repairing them, today? Don’t know.
A person could ask to have their digital speedometer/odometer repaired, by calling this repair facility: VDO-Yakazi Corporation, 980 Rrooke Road, Winchester, VA 22601.
A possible repairer is a TV/Stereo repair shop, or a computer repairer.

As a back yard method to determine if there is a voltage drain on the battery, disconnect the negative cable from the battery, charge the battery, and then lightly touch the cable end to the battery post.
If you see a noticeable blue spark there is a draw in the system. Time to start pulling fuses to narrow it down.
If any spark is faint yellow then that’s the clock and nothing to worry about.

As to the digital cluster, this is a prime reason why you couldn’t give me one and I’ll take analog any day of the week.
Back in the 80s Subaru used digital clusters for a while and this led to a lot of overjoyed car owners when told their dead or erratic temp or fuel gauge, speedometer, etc. meant an 1100 dollar cluster replacement.

Short of sucking it up and spending the money to have the cluster repaired (if possible) the only other option is to make a homemade cluster using something like aftermarket gauges and LEDs. It’s not difficult but does take a little bit of engineering.
Just got done building an instrument cluster for a hot rod car to replace the chronic gauge problems the car was inflicted with from the factory. And it was chronically bad analog gauges. :frowning: