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A few days ago, the 'tick-tock' sound that normally indicates that a turn signal is active disappeared from my car. A number of other sounds disappeared at the same time - the lights on with driver door open chime, the single-side parking light chime, the 4 way flasher chime, etc.

I know that these sounds are generated within the instrument cluster. I also know that the instrument cluster is very expensive, about $1,000 to replace the whole cluster. I did a bit of investigation and found out that the Touareg owners have also encountered this same problem, and have come up with an inexpensive fix - just replace the tiny little speaker that is inside the instrument cluster. The challenge, of course, is to find a new speaker.

A quick search through eBay found several North American vendors who were offering the exact OEM speaker - but for about $85 !!! Changing the search criteria on eBay so as to search vendors worldwide (rather than just in North America, which is the default if you are visiting eBay from North America) found an eBay vendor in Germany who sells the exact same OEM speaker for €9.99 - about $13. Shipping from Germany to my home in Canada is another $13, for a total of $26.

The eBay listing I purchased from is here: Touareg Turn Signal Chime. That listing was made by an eBay seller by name of relumax_de (relumax underscore de). This company has an eBay store, it is here. eBay listings come and go, so, if the above links do not work, here is the website of the company: http://relumax.de/. There's not much information at that website either, so, for future reference, here is the name and address of the vendor:

Herr Werner Schindler
Relumax
Neuburger Strasse 169d
D-86167 Augsburg

Anyway - I ordered the little speaker, and paid with Paypal, and 5 days later (that's darn fast for international shipping), the part arrived at my home on Vancouver Island. It was carefully packaged and in perfect condition. I was impressed - a fair price, and fantastic service.

The Replacement Speaker


The only unanswered question was whether or not it would work in a Phaeton instrument cluster. Because the same speaker is used in the Touareg and Porsche Cayenne instrument clusters, and those two cars are very close relations (electronics-wise) to the Phaeton, I figured it would. So, I took the car apart today to install the new speaker. It worked, I now have my turn signal sounds back, and I am a happy person.

Here's how to go about replacing the speaker in the instrument cluster -

First, you have to remove the instrument cluster from the car. This is not a particularly difficult job, it took me about an hour (working leisurely) to do. You will need a Torx 20 and Torx 25 screwdriver to get the instrument cluster out. You will also need a very short Torx 20 to get access to two fasteners under the steering wheel, and finally, you will need what I think is a Torx 10 to take the instrument cluster apart.

You will also need a trim tool (a 'bone'), and a small hook to help ease the instrument cluster out of the instrument panel. That's pretty much it for tools - it is a simple job.

IMPORTANT - DON'T OVERLOOK THE ACTIONS IN THE NEXT TWO PARAGRAPHS!
Before doing anything, unlock all the doors on the car, and open the trunk lid. You won't be able to do these actions once you remove the instrument cluster.

Lower the steering wheel to the lowest possible position, then fully extend it outwards. Finally, rotate the steering wheel so that it is in the centered (straight ahead) position, and engage the steering wheel lock so that it is held in the straight ahead position.

Start the disassembly process by removing the two plastic bezels from around the switches on either side of the instrument cluster. Use the trim tool to gently pry these bezels off.

Remove the two bezels


Once you have the bezels off, remove the two fasteners that hold each switch assembly (left and right sides of the instrument cluster) in place.

Remove the two fasteners holding each switch in place


Swing each switch assembly inwards, towards the center of the instrument cluster. The repair manual instructions are not too clear about this, but the picture below shows what to do - the same concept applies to the switch panel on the other side.

Pivot the switch assemblies towards the center of the instrument cluster


Unplug the Electrical Connector


Set the switch assemblies and the four fasteners (two from each side) off to one side.

Next, you have to open the lower fuse panel (using the release handle that is in the driver footwell), and remove two fasteners from below the steering wheel. This is where you will need a stubby screwdriver, there is only a few inches of space available.

Removing fasteners under the steering wheel


Remove the small part that these fasteners held in place


Now you have to wiggle the frame of the trim piece that surrounds the steering wheel free. It is held in place by a couple of snap-lock fittings on each side, so, be patient when you are attempting to wiggle this free - eventually, it will give up and snap out of place.

Remove the larger trim piece around the steering wheel opening


Next, remove BOTH fasteners on either side of the instrument cluster opening. The repair manual states that only one should be removed (the forward-most one, closest to the instrument cluster), but I found that it was easiest to proceed if I removed both of them.

Remove two fasteners on each side


Once you have removed these fasteners, you can pop the tray in front of the instrument panel free. It is held in place by a spring-clip on either side of the steering wheel (in addition to the aft-most fastener). Stuff your trim tool in where the arrows are pointing in the picture below, and pop the spring-clips free of the holes they fit into. Be careful here - those holes are in the very thin horizontal trim strips below the tray, and those thin strips won't withstand much bending before they break. So, work patiently.

Stuff a trim tool in where the arrows are to release the shelf in front of the instrument panel


Once the shelf is loose, it looks like this


Now, use a Torx 25 screwdriver to release the two fasteners (one on either side) that hold the actual instrument cluster in place.



Coaxing the instrument cluster to come out of its recess underneath the binnacle is not easy. It's wedged in there pretty tight (it is a friction-fit), and there are no handles to grab onto. Eventually, I realized that I needed to pull it out, using a small tool that had a 90° bend at the end.

The two sets of pictures below show how to coax the instrument cluster aft, out of the binnicle. You will only be able to move it about half an inch (1 cm) at a time on either side, so, alternate working from side to side - don't try and hog it all out at once. It helps to get you in the right frame of mind if you first consider that it will cost you $1,000 if you bust the instrument cluster.





Don't try and pull the instrument cluster all the way out - the cables connecting to the back of it aren't long enough to allow you to do that. Pull the instrument cluster forward until you are able to tilt the top of it aft, giving you access to the cables. The photo below shows when you should stop pulling it aft.

This is about as far aft as it goes with the cables attached


Now tilt the top edge of the instrument cluster aft (towards you) until you have access to the two connectors on the back of the instrument cluster.



Reach in and undo the cam latches that hold the connectors in place. They are exactly the same as every other Volkswagen in the world.



This is what it looks like when the connector comes free. Note how the purple cam-latch has rotated counter-clockwise about 90° compared to how it originally looked, before starting to remove the connector. The other connector (the blue one) works exactly the same way.



Now, you can remove the instrument cluster from the vehicle and take it indoors. Have a clean, soft towel available to lay it down on.

It is surprisingly thin


This is where the speaker is located
The new speaker is visible in the upper right of the photo.


Start disassembling the cluster by removing the 6 screws around the perimeter of it. These screws cut their own threads into the underlying frame, so be very gentle when you put them back in at the end of the project - don't overtorque them. I think these are Torx 10, but I am not certain. I used a Torx 10 bit and it worked OK.

Remove the screws


Now, gently pry the clips free around the edge. There are 8 clips. The white part should pop up about a millimeter when you loosen each clip.



With the instrument cluster facing downwards on a soft towel (it should have been like that all along), lift the white frame (the rear of the cluster) free of the front of the cluster. It will be easy to lift at one end (the end without the speaker) and "apparently" difficult to lift at the other end. Don't worry about it being "apparently" difficult to lift at the speaker end - the friction is caused by the two pins on the circuit board pulling out of the connector to the speaker. You can see details of this in a photo a bit later on.

Lift the white part (back of the cluster) free from the front of the cluster


It might be that as you lift the white part free, instead of the white part (the rear cover of the cluster) coming straight up and free of everything else (the circuit board, the dials, the front glass, etc.), the white part stays stuck to the circuit board (this because the speaker connector did not release, because you didn't pull hard enough) and you wind up lifting the white part, the circuit board, and the dial face free of the front glass cover.

This is undesirable, but not the end of the world. The photo below shows what it looks like when this happens. To avoid this, pull more courageously on the end of the white part (the rear cover) to disconnect it from the speaker connector

This is sort of an undesirable middle step - try to avoid it


Once you get the back cover off (the white part off), it will look like this


Below, a photo of the old speaker still in place, and the new speaker ready to be installed


Once you have replaced the speaker, you now put the whole assembly back together. In the photo below, you can see how the two pins on the back of the circuit board engage into the connector on the (new) speaker. This is why you encounter resistance when you try to pull the speaker end of the white cover out of the circuit board, after having removed the screws and loosened the 8 tabs.



If the faceplate (front cover, with the round glass) came off during disassembly, the intermediate step after putting the white rear cover back on but before putting the faceplate back on will look like this. Note that there is a gap between the back cover and the front of the circuit board assembly. That is by design, don't try to squash it closed.



Finally, if the front cover came off during the disassembly process, put it back on. Resist the temptation to touch the dials, or the black face of the instrument panel, or the inside of the glass.



This is what it looks like when the job is done


Installing the instrument cluster back in the car is simple, just reverse the procedure for removing it. Some suggestions:

1) After you have connected the two big connectors to the instrument panel, start the car and confirm that everything works. That way, if you have to re-seat a connector, you won't have to take the whole thing apart from the beginning.

2) Be alert to the position of the two little wiring harnesses that fit onto the switches on either side of the instrument panel. It is easy to forget about them and have one of them disappear behind the instrument cluster. Use some masking tape to hold them in place, out of harms way.

3) Don't overtorque fasteners when you are putting everything back together. Generally speaking, finger-tight is sufficient.

4) Be gentle and take it slowly when re-fitting the bezels over the switches on either side of the instrument cluster. The snap-fasteners on the bezels are very tiny and break very easily.

The car will generate a whole flock of fault codes as a result of having removed the instrument cluster. Most of these are along the lines of "Control Module in Instrument Panel On Comfort CAN - No Signal/Communication - Intermittent". You can safely disregard them all, and safely clear all of them without further investigation.

Total time for everything - removal, speaker replacement, re-install - about 3 hours.

Regards,

Michael
 

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I did a postmortem on the speaker that I took out of my instrument cluster.

The speaker is of fairly simple construction - it has two sides to it, both of which are made of clear plastic, and a small speaker coil inside. In addition to being sealed around the outer perimeter, the front face of the speaker coil is attached to the front plastic covers with a very small amount of adhesive about 50% of the way out from the center of the speaker. In the picture below, you can see a dome in the middle - it is around the outside edge of that dome that the dome (which is, in effect, the speaker 'cone') is glued to the speaker coil below.

It appears to me that the adhesive affixing the center portion of the top plastic cover (which also forms the vibrating surface, the 'cone' of the speaker) has perished - either dried out, or the speaker has vibrated long enough to just fret the adhesive away - and as a result, the speaker coil no longer is affixed to the cone, and therefore does not make any sound when the magnetic assembly vibrates. In other words, it's not an electrical failure, it is a physical failure of the bond between the speaker cone and the speaker magnet.

On my car, the speaker failure was quite sudden - it worked fine one day, then failed in the middle of the next day.

Michael

The failed speaker
 

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Finally, here's a close-up picture of the replacement speaker (the new one).

If you are having trouble finding a vendor who sells this speaker for around $10 (online prices in Europe vary between $4 and $12, plus shipping), Google the speaker part number, which is F/BMS-3432 (skip the last two letters), and you should be able to find discussions in the European Phaeton, Touareg, or Cayenne forums with links to reasonably priced vendors.

It seems that this same speaker is also used in the Golf 5 series of cars, but I am not certain of that.

Michael

Speaker Part Number (disregard the 'LF' at the end)
 

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Really really useful write up Michael. Much appreciated. But I hope I never need it!
Regards

M
 

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Awesome tutorial, Michael. Thanks. Just head and shoulders above the Touareg ones. Goes to show where the quality people are.

:)

On our Touareg, the agony of the old speaker took a year or so. I got the impression from the Touareg forums that sudden death of the speaker is not common.

Our Phaeton's speaker is still going strong.

I was not aware that Cayennes were also losing their binnacle speakers. And here I thought that Cayennes used their own instrumentation? So the Cayenne binnacle is also a Touareg part? It is known that other components such as the Cayenne radio are heavily Porsche-branded ("Porsche PCM"), even if made by an outside contractor such as Blaupunkt, Siemens, or Becker.

It was interesting to see from your extreme disassembly just how much wider than the bezel the LCD screen actually is. Goes to show where the idea for later Phaeton binnacle MFD redesigns came from.
 

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Hi Michael,

As you know from my thread from three and a half years ago: Instrument Cluster Backlighting Dim or Failing [TOC] , I had to replace my instrument cluster TWICE! Once for this very broken speaker issue, and once for failed white backlighting ("wash" lighting). Fortunately, both cluster replacements were covered by warranty.

Anyway, I was wondering if while you were devising this ingenious and elegant fix for the speaker problem, might you have formulated a similarly clever approach for fixing the backlighting issue? For those who might have suffered, or will suffer that same failure, it would be great if cluster replacement were no longer the only option.

Best regards,
Ron M.
 

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Don't mean to hijack the thread but there will be a day when someone's backlight for the MFD in the binnacle fails and again VW's answer will be... get a whole new cluster for $1000.

Apparently this issue is happening to Touaregs more and more (just like the speaker issue manifested there before it came to Phaetons which typically get driven less).

Well, people have found that instead of a whole new cluster, all you need is voltage converter 8 948 411 102 R2 (made by Bosch) or equivalent. This piece is also located inside the cluster, just like the speaker.

The tutorial is here:

http://www.clubtouareg.com/forums/f...r-broken-mfd-lcd-color-replacement-78946.html
 

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I've Got Sound! Click! Click! Click! Never Sounded So Good!

Hello Michael,

I just wanted to give a shout out and let you know that after I read your post about the speaker replacement in the instrument cluster. I ran into this problem back in October 2011 (see http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthre...art-with-list-of-2004-NAR-Phaeton-V8-Concerns )

Anyway thanks to your excellent instructions I switched out the tiny speaker today and "Walah!" I heard blinker click, and bells and chimes for the first time from my Phaeton and I am delighted! Thanks so much! :wave:

Deb
 

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one more thing

Thank you, Michael.
What a brilliant post! I understand that the work was done on a VW12 Phaeton. Have you, or anybody you know, worked on the same problem (chime speaker), but on a fairly early New Beetle (2001)?
Thank you.
George.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi George:

I'm not familiar with the 2001 New Beetle, but there is a forum here on Vortex that is specific to that vehicle, have a look there, you might find some useful information.

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
...A quick search through eBay found several North American vendors who were offering the exact OEM speaker - but for about $85 !!! Changing the search criteria on eBay so as to search vendors worldwide (rather than just in North America, which is the default if you are visiting eBay from North America) found an eBay vendor in Germany who sells the exact same OEM speaker for €9.99 - about $13. Shipping from Germany to my home in Canada is another $13, for a total of $26.

The eBay listing I purchased from is here: Touareg Turn Signal Chime. That listing was made by an eBay seller by name of relumax_de (relumax underscore de). This company has an eBay store, it is here. eBay listings come and go, so, if the above links do not work, here is the website of the company: http://relumax.de/. There's not much information at that website either, so, for future reference, here is the name and address of the vendor:

Herr Werner Schindler
Relumax
Neuburger Strasse 169d
D-86167 Augsburg
As of April 2014, there is a North American vendor who is selling the same part for $20. That vendor is 'MotoLegends', a commercial advertiser on the Club Touareg website. They also sell a 'kit' to replace the speaker for $65. The only difference I can see between the $20 speaker (alone) and the $65 'kit' is that the kit comes with printed instructions (for the Touareg, not the Phaeton), a couple of sound absorbent pads that are needed on the Touareg (but not the Phaeton), and a couple of plastic trim tools.

My suggestion to Phaeton owners is that if you need to replace the instrument cluster speaker, as outlined above in this discussion, you only order the speaker for $20, not the kit. Details are available at this URL:
http://www.motolegends.us/instrument-cluster-speaker-repair---speaker-only.html.

I don't know anything about this company (MotoLegends), and I am not 'recommending' them - I'm just listing them here as an alternative source of supply in case it is not possible or practical to get the replacement speaker from Herr Schindler in Augsburg.

Michael
 

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Instrument cluster display went blank

One morning my instrument cluster display suddenly failed to come on at all. Prior to this it had worked perfectly. My Phaeton has 108,000 miles on the car and is now 10 years old.

I priced a new cluster but hoped there might be a less expensive alternative. I ruled out a software problem as there had been plenty of time for a bug to occur.

Using this thread, I removed my instrument cluster and brought it to my local TV repair shop for some diagnosis. This may seem strange but this shop can repair most anything with a circuit board in it. They test all the components whether they be a capacitor to an integrated circuit chip. They said they would like to replace both transformers, a regulator of some sort and two eprom chips.

I suspect only one component completely failed in the display. Given all the components are 10 years old and are inexpensive to replace, it was prudent to replace anything that was not completely up to spec.

The parts took a couple of weeks to arrive (the chips came from China). While we were waiting for the parts, I replaced the cluster into the vehicle as the AC doesn't work without it.
After several weeks, the parts arrived and were replaced.

Problem solved.

Total cost: about $270 labor and parts.
 

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Hi,

Welcome to the forum. Thanks very much for posting that analysis. It is beginning to look as though we all need make friends with the local electronics PCB repair gurus!

Chris
 

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I installed one of the speakers from MotoLegends in our 04 Touareg this evening. It fit just like the original speaker.

-J
 

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Is it possible to pull a bulb out from behind the cluster? I want to pull the TPMS bulb. It's annoying

-John
 

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No, I meant the TPMS light on the speedo. It's up and to the left of the high beam light.
Bruce got the light on the MFD removed, but the light on the speedo won't go out.

-John
 
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