new to soldering: stepper motor replacement


Sep 27, 2007
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I have a 2003 Yukon Denali, and the stepper motor for my battery gauge has died. I would like to do the repair myself. Based on the research I've done so far, I'm leaning towards replacing all 7 stepper motors while I have the instrument cluster out. Not sure if I'll bother with the bulbs.

However, I have zero experience soldering/desoldering so far.
To get the hang of the skill before attempting the real repair, do you have recommendations for practice kits?

I actually have an unused Weller WLC100 iron that's been sitting in my garage for the past ~5-10 years.

I'm guessing I should also buy the following: <is this wire too thin?

Any thoughts/guidance/tips are greatly appreciated.


New Member
May 17, 2015
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North Carolina
I'm sure you have long since fixed this problem, so this is for others with the same issue....

Replacing stepper motors can be scary at first if you not adept at soldering, but it is actually pretty easy to do. First, do not use some old solder gun thats been sitting in your tool box for years! When you buy your stepper motors, also buy the solder kit for this task. I consists of a fine tip solder gun, a small coil of the recommended solder, and most importantly a "solder sucker". As you heat up the solder joints on the old motors, this will remove the melted solder so it doesn't spread and make contact with other points on the memory board. This is critical. With just a little practice, you'll get the hang of it and will replace the motors in no time. I did mine in less than 1/2 hour and I was taking my sweet time about it.

It doing this scares the bejesus out of you, you can send the cluster into a company that will completely rebuild it for around $125. The clusters in these vehicles are crap due to the cheap solder used in the Mexican factories where they are made. Problems will become more severe, like mine that would turn on and off repeatedly, and drain the battery. Get it rebuilt and don't pay a dealership to replace it for $500!!! They are ripping you off and just making money for the dealership!

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