Gages Problem - 1999 Jeep XJ


I have a 1999 Jeep Cherokee XJ Sport. It runs great but it has recently started to have the gages just quit. Most of the time the airbag light will come on when ALL the gauges quit. When this happens it still runs great but the trip computer on the dash stops working, gas, mph, tac, temp all stop working. Then with no explanation they will start working again. Sometimes it will stop/start working repeatedly. I do have the stock temp/trip/compass above the windshield and the trip on this still works all the time.????

It only has a 3.5" Rubicon lift, yellow top battery and a cb radio - for the modifications department.

I would greatly appreciate the help if someone has experienced a similar problem and how they fixed it.


Fauxverland Extraodinaire
My guages in my 1997 died due to a short elsewhere, but there were other problems associated too.

Try pulling the cluster and cleaning the connectors behind it (dash and unit connectors) and plugging it back in. Something might just be loose or dirty.



My TJ had similar syptoms to yours. Cleaning the contacts solved the problem. At least it is a cheap place to start.

Root Moose

Expedition Leader
Don't rule out that it is just a loose connection either.

When you pull the cluster you will be shocked how crappy the connection is between the cluster and the harness.


New member
I had the same problem in my '99. I went to the local dearlership and they pointed me to a TSB on the gauge problems. I picked up a new harness that was supposed to be spliced into the original, but I ran out of time to actually do the work. It never bothered me, as it only happened when it was really damp out and I just drove a little bit until it decided to work again!
If I remember correctly it was less than 10 bucks for the new harness.

Hope that helps! Good luck!


This is a well known problem. It is a bad connection behind the gauge cluster.

I just did mine about 2 weeks ago. Thing is everyone says to clean the contacts back there. But it's almost impossible to get at them.

I just put some dielectric grease in the sockets and put it all back together.

It seems to be different for everybody, but after mine would drop out, then come back on, I would get the CEL for about a week after and the transmission would no longer shift into OD. Then everything would be fine until the gauges dropped off again.

Black Dog

Makin' Beer.
Welcome to the club! My 99 Xj does it too, my old bosses 98 TJ did it, and my wifes old 2000 XJ did it. Its no big deal really, mostly just annoying. I find that when it does it (rarely) that if I just tap on the dash board above the gauge cluster they come back to life. The first time it did it to me was just a few weeks after I bought it, and I was down a fairly main road. I thought to myself "Oh *******! It died on me!" and I hit my breaks. When I hit the breaks the gauges came back to life.

b jeepin

welcome to the club

all of what everyone has said is correct, i have the same problem on my 01 xj wheeler, tap the dash or get in there your choice. mine usually dispays "no bus" when it looses contact and alway the airbag lights etc come on as well. good luck!:elkgrin:


New member
The TSB is very clear on what the problem is and what needs to be done. I followed it step by step for my 99 TJ a couple years ago and have never had the problem reoccur. It does require you to remove the gauge cluster, cut away the existing connector and splice in a new harness. I stink at soldering, but figured I was more motivated to do it right than a tech at the dealer might be. I practiced with some old wires on the work bench to get the technique down, and then painstakingly worked through the less than optimum dash environment to solder each wire correctly and wrap them in heat shrink tubing.
If you go the dealer route, ask to meet the tech and buy them a beverage. It is a tedious task.


alright I will try to pick up a new harness but pardon by small knowledge base....what is a TSB???:confused:


TSB - Technical Service Bulletin. It is put out by the manufacturer when there is a common problem regarding a vechicle. Usually only when the vehicle is somewhat new and in warranty periods. It is meant to save time troubleshooting at the dealerships.

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