Hi Everyone! I just wanted to share my experience in trying to repair the Digital Climate Control for my 1993 VR4 and how everything is working now
I bought the car a few years back and it came with an extra DCC that had stopped working. The previous owner bought a newer one off eBay and it seemed fine. The air started smelling fishy not too long after I got the car. Eventually the display stopped working and some smoke came out of the dash. I turned off the AC and took out the DCC. It smelled like smoke and after taking it apart, I noticed that R38 was toast and some caps had leaked all over three diodes. I started surfing all the posts I could possibly find in this forum and on other sites. I spent a lot of time going through the wiki for ecu repair and sending PMs to people who have worked on these things and fixed some in the process.
I replaced the R38 resistor, the TR3 transistor, and a number of capacitors and diodes. I even replaced the control chip for the VFD. But the display had orange lines across the screen and the resistor would still burn up within 10 minutes of runtime. I read that it was near impossible to repair these things once that started happening. I spent over $125 trying to repair the two DCCs myself and didn't get anywhere (this included parts, supplies and tools). I know it sounds high, but I tried repairing both of my displays multiple times over the past year... The second one didn't actually have an issue with R38 burning up, but it still wouldn't turn on. I'm a tinkerer and enjoy this kinda stuff, so I didn't care at first. But I didn't see an end to the spending... So I searched elsewhere for a solution.
The seller repairs a number of other climate controllers and builds gauge clusters. The majority of positive reviews got me to purchase the service. I paid $80 and shipped ($20 USPS) both of my display units with the flat rectangular controller box as instructed. I asked them to pick the display that was in the best condition and repair it. Then send back everything I shipped them. They actually repaired both units instead! I don't know if it was an accident or not, but who cares! Now I have two DCCs that work flawlessly!
I opened them up to see what they replaced and couldn't tell for sure because they coated the board in a black insulation-like spray paint... This was a bit frustrating since I'd spent so much time trying to fix it myself and will never know what was causing the issues... But oh well, now my AC and heat work without a glitch! I'm just happy that I finally got this thing running again!
There are two other options as well for those who are tired of dealing with the screens dying. The first, and closest to a direct drop in is the 98/99 climate control. There is still some wiring that needs to be done but the unit bolts right into the dash, but the downside is that the units can be difficult to find and expensive. The second is a Diamante conversion which I am currently working on a complete plug and play setup that will include wiring harness that plugs into the factory harness and a mounting adapter/face plate that will allow the unit to bolt into the factory location and function like stock. The kit would likely not come with the Diamante unit, but they can be easily found at junk yards and online for under $50.
So, if you like the stock climate control and you have problems with it, look into the repair service. If you are tired of dealing with the stock screens dying, look into the other options I mentioned.
I really like the light up digital guy sitting in the dash. That's why I was set on getting it fixed. Hopefully these things won't blow for quite a while though. The repair shop did provide a Lifetime Warranty for what it's worth. I also really liked the fact that whatever they did to fix the display got rid of all the issues I was experiencing. I have no horizontal lines and no issues with blinking lights and no smoke! They also did a nice job of cleaning the boards so that terrible fish smell was gone.
Something I also forgot to mention was that the Oil pressure gauge in the car wouldn't light up when the old display was in. Once I removed the display, the back-light would come on while driving at night. If I plugged it back in, the back-light would go dim again... After installing the new display, all my dash lights are working just fine. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but maybe it was causing some unwanted noise in the wiring too.
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