tech at work


Volvo XC90 instrument cluster self repair

Recently we purchased a 2003 Volvo XC90 because we needed more space for our family 🙂

There is a well known problem on Volvo XC90 instrument clusters (also called DIM / Driver Information Module) - they have connectivity problems on the circuit board. Most of the time there will not be any function on the DIM. If you push the left button very hard, the displays may work for some time. The LCD display says "SRS Airbag Service urgent" which is a common issue on almost any Volvo model produced around 2003. This message is caused by the Airbag/SRS module which detects an interruption of it's connection to the airbag warning lamp. If you read the car's error codes there can be several errors regarding canbus communication.

Our car also had a non-functional DIM at the time of purchase - we already knew this. Several companies in Europe offer instrument cluster repair services for about 200 Euros, but as electronics geek I thought about fixing this problem by myself. I bought a cheap SMD rework station on ebay.

So I fixed my DIM and can now offer a step-by-step procedure on how to successfully repair your own instrument cluster.

But be warned: Any modification of your car's electronic components can cause several malfunctions which can have massive impact on your car's security. I just give you an idea, where the problem can be located on the circuit board. If you decide to follow my instructions, you will do it on your own risk! I cannot be held responsible for any undesired outcome of the described modifications.

  1. Prepare your workspace. You will need a set of different screwdrivers, a torx T20, a SMD rework station, a soldering iron, desoldering braid, fluxing agent and very good illumination.
  2. Disconnect your car's battery which is located in your trunk. Take a look in your owner's manual for detailled intructions. If you remove your instrument cluster without disconnecting your battery, the car's electronics components will not power down and drain a severe current. Your battery can be completely empty in several hours! If you need to lock your car in the meanwhile, try following procedure: Unlock, get in the car, lock all doors, just open driver's door, disconnect battery, remove cluster, lock driver's door using the key 🙂
  3. Take the T20, remove the two screws on the inner top side of the plastic cover, loosen the upper plastic cover on the "neck" of the steering wheel, pull out the rest of the plastic cover part. Your DIM is mounted with 4 screws - remove them. Take care that you do not drop your screws - finding them again behind these plastic covers is very difficult. A magentic type of T20 tool can be useful. Remove the green connector on the back side of the DIM.

  4. Remove the lamps and any screws on the back side of the DIM
    2     3

  5. Take a flat screwdriver and gently unlock the plastic cover parts, first the orange ones to remove the transparent one, then the red ones to remove the black part. They are located all around the DIM, I just took one photo 🙂
  6. If you removed all screws on the back, the four meters can easily be pulled out.
    5   6

  7. Remove the remaining white plastic housing.
  8. Resolder the following orange highlighted sections using the hot air SMD rework device - I put some flux on the IC's legs and heated them until the original solder got fluid again (If you never used a hot air rework device before, a little practice on old computer parts may be helpful - I blowed one of the parts away and searched for about 10 minutes before I realized that it's still sticked to the voltage regulator's heatsink - a pair of good eyes can be also helpful...)78
  9. Reassemble the DIM - be careful when putting the meters back in, if you miss those springs your meters will not work and the springs will be damaged! Connect the DIM to your car, reattach the battery and test it... Maybe you need to rework some more of the SMD components on the back side.
  10. You will need to take your car to a Volvo dealer to delete the SRS airbag error codes. Or you can buy a Volvo VIDA DICE device and do it by yourself. If you need detailled instructions on how to do this, please contact me.

If you are located near Innsbruck, Austria I can also fix your DIM or delete the car's error memory if you want 🙂


Some people reported that resoldiering worked great but only for some weeks, then the problem reappeared. Try to resolder the small green parts around the motorola chip carefully (red color in the photo). On most of the boards the problem will be permanently fixed.

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  1. solder all your highlighted areas and reinstalled works like new!!! thanks for the pics

  2. I am in the process of attempting your fix. Do I need to resolder or simply heat the legs of th IC’s?
    If I have to resolder, should I apply solder paste? Also, does the resin around the legs melt away with heat?
    Looking forward to fix this.

  3. So all my dash turns off ..but if I push hard the leftside stick ..Will go on ..but if I let go will go off ..

  4. I have a problem with my DIM of S60, the audio alarm doesn’t work.
    Where is the buzzer/ speaker located in the DIM?
    Thanks in advance.

    • It’s the round blue part in the center of the PCB!

      • Is it alright to take that out? Will it screw up anything else if I do? I don’t understand why they put it in there to begin with.

        • I think it will not cause any problems if you take it out.
          You can try that and just put it in again if it causes problems.
          But you will not have any audible warning if soneone is not buckled up or a door is open or you are running out of fuel…

  5. I have a problem with my DIM of S60 2003y, fault “SRS airbag sevic. urgent”. Which chip can influence this error?

    • The “SRS Airbag service urgent” error is triggered whenever the airbag module recognizes the airbag warning LED in the instrument cluster is not working. Maybe your instrument cluster (DIM) suffered from a short power glitch because of the problems described in my post. You can reset it using DICE/VIDA programmer or ask your dealer to do it for you. When it appears again your DIM may have some bad solder joints and you have to fix your DIM. As far as I know the SRS-System is working normally even when this error is displayed.
      But please have your vehicle diagnostics checked anyway because the SRS system is very important for your security!

  6. Thank you for the instructions. I have resolderef the board and it is alive now but I have the “SRS Airbag Service Urgent” message constant on the board and not able to reset it. Another problem is I cant open the tailgate door lock with the remote! , my question is do I need to have the error reset at the dealers shop to get this fixed?
    Thanks, Johann

    • Hi Johann,

      The “SRS Airbag Service Urgent” is triggered by the airbag module. It recognized that the warning light in the instrument cluster is not working properly. If you have DICE/VIDA you can reset it by yourself or ask your dealer to reset it. When your cluster is working properly, the warning should not occur again. If you are located near Innsbruck, Austria I can also reset that warning for you 🙂
      I don’t think that the tailgate lock issue is related to your dash repair work. Here you can find some additional ideas what to do.

  7. Hi my name is tavone and I’m having the same problem with my Volvo 2003 Xc90 my dashboard is out and the SRS airbag service urgent comes on if I press down hard on the left and for a long time my truck said check stop lamp and I never did cause I thought it was the brake light but they was working fine. What should I do?

    • It seems like it’s the same problem on your 2003 Volvo: bad solder joints due to PCB production changing to lead-free soldering.
      If you have experience in soldering SMD electronics, you may repair your instrument cluster easily by following my tutorial. If you are unsure, better take it to a repair service, it may cost between €150 and €200 (just have a look on eBay), some shops will also give you warranty on the repair. If you are near Innsbruck, Austria you could also bring it to me and I can fix it for you 🙂
      If you have any questions – feel free to ask!

  8. Hello, I followed your instructions and had success with the airbag issue. The DIM work great for about a week and now
    the problem has returned. My question is, do you know what area of the DIM is causing this? I am a little nervous about resoldering the entire board too many times. I may create problems that I don’t have. Thanks. Tim

    • I found out that on some boards the voltage levels are strange – even after resoldering. That is caused by bad joints on the small green devices near the Motorola controller. I will upload another pic to clarify what I mean. Resolder them very carefully and your problem may be solved forever 🙂

  9. Thank you for this extremely helpful technical information! I have a question about the disassembly of the Dim. Although I have tried unsuccessfully. The four meters will not easily pull out. They appear to be being held down by the indicator needles.


    • If you have removed all screws on the white backplane, the meters can be pulled out. Maybe they go a bit tight but the screws on the back are the only ones which hold the meters in place.

  10. I should have mentioned, my car is a 2003 v70 base model.

    Thanks again.

  11. I’m trying to get the instrument cluster on my S60 powered for testing purposes (gauge moment and such). Do you have or know of any CAN message data that does this? Simply supplying the cluster with 12V does nothing, so I’m assuming it is CAN bus related. I’m looking at a cheap Arduino solution, but without the CAN IDs necessary I’m out of luck.

    • I got my DIM powered with 12V for testing purposes, to check the gauges you may need to simulate the complete vehicle. I have seen videos where a kind of CAN-record/replay device was used to check the DIM, but I think it will be rather complicated to do this from scratch. For me it was easier to test the cluster in a real vehicle 🙂

  12. Some of the bulbs in my S60 DIM are burnt and would like to know where I could get replacement ones for them or if you know what the specifications are so that I can find replacement ones. BTW, your instructions for dis-assembly are very good. thanks

    • It also took me some time to figure that out. You can just carefully pull these bulbs out of their plastic sockets. These bulb types are very common and can be found in every car parts shop. Just be sure to reinstall bulbs with same specs. As far as I remeber they have different wattage.

  13. Hello. After i resolded, Then all of my three displayes on the panel dissapear. (The trip display, the clock, and the info) but i can see the background light shows on the displays. Do you know which components that makes this problem?

    (Volvo V70 2003)

    • Hi, please reassure that the resoldering has been done properly. I had the same issue in the beginning, when my resoldering skills were not so good. Take a good magnifier glass or if you can use a microscope it would be even better. Check every single solder joint on the three big ICs, especially the YAZAKI and the EPSON chip. Try again to resolder again more carefully. Let me know if you need anything 🙂

  14. Hi, I have a Volvo V70 D5 2002 with I had a professional to resold like you have described. But it is still not working. All the meteres are out of funktion, and you can only se all the displays very faint or smoe times not at all. The indicator for long lights are the only one working. Is there an other part of the board that should bee resolded?

    • I had to try the described resoldering procedure for several times. At first I wasn’t keen enough to heat it up until the solder got fluid. Resoldering the green parts around the motorola chip very carefully may fix your issue. You can also use a regular soldering iron for that if you have one. Good luck!

  15. have a XC90- 2003, the SRS light came on and then eventually the dash completely failed. had friend based on your site re-solder DIM… all came back and working except cannot clear the SRS warning, the fault still shows 00D4 lamp indicator fault?? is there a certain chip we need to resolder ?

    • The 00D4 error code is indeed that code which indicates a “connection issue” towards the srs warning LED. That code may come up whenever the DIM looses it’s power for a minimal amount of time. Another possible explanation is that your SRS system really detected a problem with your airbags. If your DIM does not show any visible problems and that error keeps popping up after clearing the errors with VIDA/DICE frequently, please have your dealer check your airbag system.

  16. Great Article! i am motivated to fix mine now and get rid of this stupid irritating malfunction,
    my car dashboard stops working if i park my car outside in a hot day, and guess what i live in dubai!!!

  17. Hello. Did you ever have problem only with running clock after repair ? … I repaired a few but one is constantly gave running clock from time to time.


    • I didn’t have that problem. I think the OKI chip is responsible for displaying the time. If there’s any kind of oscillator around that, resolder it. You may also check that button which is used to modify the time setting – maybe there’s a short-circuit responsible for the running clock issue. Good luck!

  18. Hi Flo, I am going to give this a shot in a few weeks. I was wondering which brand/make 852D rework station you purchased and the approximate heat and air settings you used to re-flow the solder on your DIM. Also, what air tip diameter did you use? Thanks in advance.

    • I think these rework units on ebay are all the same. I kept the air on minimum and took a medium sized air tip. Temperature was about 290°C for the smaller parts and 320°C for the big ones. Good luck!

    • Thank You for taking the time to document your experience with the Volvo 03 XC90 DIM repair. I have the same vehicle and had the SRS error message for close to year along with the orange triangle trouble indicator. Also the occasional running clock issue. I have been planning on repairing it after reviewing your site for quite some time and had made the purchase of the soldering work station and a scanner to reset the error codes. This last weekend I was forced to take the plunge and make it happen as the whole DIM module had the digital displays scramble and analog meters lock up. I followed your instructions with only paying attention to the indicated components. Bottom line the the repair was rewarding with 100% success after 4-5 attempts to reset the SRS message fault.
      Thank You once again, you probably saved me over $1,000 dealer cost.

      paying attention to the components you have noted. Bottom line the repair went well and I am

  19. Hi Flo ,first sorry for my bad english. I have a problem with info LCD only /just pixels somtimes or darkness/. Is it possible the problem to be in the flat cable. And can be replaced only the cable ,not the display. Thanks !

    • You mean the foil cable on the LCD? I don’t think that this is the problem. Try to resolder the EPSON-Chip carefully and your LCD will be working again soon 🙂

  20. Thank you for this tutorial. I work as a car mechanic in Sweden and my own car broke down srs-004D
    I knew that a resoldering was the trick, but not were you needed to resolder.
    Did exactly as you described today and it worked like a charm.
    I used a soldering station but i think a proper SMD station is the best.

    Thank You Sverker

  21. hi, can i use a hair dryer for the reflowing? i have a soldering iron but not a hot air gun and im trying to fix my sisters DIM.

    • I have no idea if a hair dryer is hot enough for that – I don’t think so. I also don’t think that you will be precise enough with your resoldering. If you just have a regular soldering iron with a fine tip, start resoldering the easier parts (like the green ones around the motorola chip). Just be careful about accidentially short-circuiting components with solder. For the three big ICs I’d really recommend hot air resoldering equipment. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask!

  22. Hi,

    Very useful this info. I am about to this kind of repair for a friend but not as described.
    After I looked closer to the PCB board from other places, I will suggest to NOT use a heat gun!!!
    Using a soldering station is not a skill that an average person could do it just after trying on some other board. You are at great risk to irreversible damage the components!!!

    Instead, all the soldering could be done with a good soldering iron with temperature controlled and with inter-changeable solder tips You will need a sharp pointy tip and one flat tip. It is by very far cheaper than a soldering station. During the soldering process DO use solder rosin on the chips (will explain later) but not much and if the chips terminals get soldered together will not be a problem, we will fix it at the end. First make sure you take the time to solder ALL solder points and add a little bit of solder rosin core on any solder point. Buy before two rolls of solder wick that it is cheap and it will help you to remove any excess of solder. By placing the wick directly on the chips terminals and the solder iron on the wick, the solder excess will be absorbed by the wick and leaving the right amount of new solder on the terminals. You may have to increase a little bit the iron temperature so that the temperature will penetrate through the wick up to the terminals to melt the solder and to be absorbed by the wick.
    The way I do this, is start on one side of the chip and after setting the wick against the chip terminals and the solder iron on the wick and pull the wick and the solder iron on all terminals from that side. The solder will be absorbed and leaving a clean and nice repaired surface. Do another chip side and let this chip to cool for a minute or two until getting to another side. Do not keep the wick and iron on terminals more than 4-5 sec. If the solder does not melt under the wick, the temperature is not high enough. Normally you will not stay more than two-three seconds in on the same spot.

    The chances with this method are more accessible to most people, just need to know some soldering techniques and it has less chances to damage even further the PCB board. At the end, inspect at least twice with a magnifier and under a good light that you have no short between any terminals.

    Make sure you work in a well ventilated area and have not electrostatics (mainly plastic) things or clothes around or on you. Some components on the PCB could get very easily damaged or partially damaged by electrostatic energy. If you do not have the proper antistatic tools, make sure you work on something such as a wood or cardboard surface, not plastic, not glass. During handling the PCB have a wire attached to a ground that makes contact with you all the time (wrap it on a finger or wrist hand). During the removal process from the enclosure have this ground attached to yourself and handle the board only from its sides.

    The root problem of these boards is way deeper and it is caused by environmental freaks. With the introduction of “lead-free” solder boards, many, many electronics have problems, laptops, tv’s, cars, all. Why?
    The solder is an alloy of tin and lead. The lead was considered poisonous (like we are tempted to open the electronics and like to lick the PCB boards!!!) thus was removed. The lead role in this alloy was to provide malleability, to not break. In some instances was added a tiny amount of silver (that is malleable but by far not as lead). In short, the companies who produces PCB’s were forced by aforehead mentioned freaks to remove the lead, thus producing PCB with solder joints that are very susceptible to break. That is the main reason that these boards have all these “cold solder joins”.

    And this is the reason that you must add solder rosin core to each solder point, you will infuse a little lead (the solder rosin still contains lead) that will make the solder point much more durable.

    Have a good time!

  23. worked great! you’re a genius

  24. I have a 04 v70R. The circuit board is very different. Do you have any knowledge with these?

    • I adapted your directions to my situation. I had to do it twice. Second time I ran around the board with the hot air flowing solder where there was solder to flow. What ya? It worked. Thank you so much for your help. I really do appreciate what you have done here.

    • I’m sorry, I just fixed my ’04 XC90 board and shared my experiences here, but I doubt that your PCB has similar issues with lead-free solder joints gone bad 🙂

  25. Hi, some questions in case anyone could answer.
    In a volvo S60 cluster (year 2003)

    The pin 1 is 12 volts, pin 14 is GND but the cluster does will not turn on only with that. Anyone knows if some CAN-BUS message must be sent between pins 2 and 3?

    Why the DIM when is tested out of the car, after turning on it also is giving a SRS fault Urgent message?

    Is the DIM storing the SRS lamp fault message or it has a SRS lamp self-test on the DIM even when the test is done without connecting it to the car?

    Is the SRS error lamp faulted message also stored on the SRS unit or only on the DIM or both?


    • Hi Mark,

      I’m sorry, I did not try to send any CAN messages. The error SRS-00D4 (lamp faulty signal) is not stored in the DIM, it’s stored in the SRS module. These errors are raised when you turn on the ignition without any or with a broken DIM (whenever the SRS module is not able to turn the DIM warning light on).
      You can reset that error after you successful repaired the DIM using VIDA/DICE or ask your dealer to clear it.


  26. Used your technique on 2003 Volvo XC90 2.5 AWD w 191,000 to solve flicker problem with left side text screen (shows avg. mpg, act. mpg, etc.). So far its working great!

  27. Hello, if someone would dismantle mileage please tell me TR4 that is second to display on the left.

  28. Hello Flo.
    Great article.
    I did send my cluster to Hungry for repair. Now I got it back and I have SRS Service Urgent indicator warning on. I have no ide if this was on before the repair. I bought the car with bad cluster.
    I have connected the car to VIDA/DICA but there is no fault code.
    Do you have any idea on what that can be? Is it defection in the cluster or can it be the Clock Spring Ring? Sometimes when I have changed between the radio stations using the button on the steering wheel, it starts “automatically” to change between stations….and sometimes the left turn signal doesn’t come on
    Best Regards, Brynjar

    • Hi Brynjar,

      The SRS warning is raised whenever the car does not have connection to the SRS warning light in the DIM. This is a common issue that appears whenever the connection to the DIM is faulty. Just reset the error codes using VIDA/DICE, when your SRS and SRS light works and the DIM connection is ok it should not reappear.


  29. Thanks for your excellent description. I just completed the resoldering on a 2002 V70 which had a DIM that went dead after driving a few miles. After sitting a few hours it worked again for a few miles before dying. I followed your description and it now works great. I also used a hot air SMD station which worked great. I have not been able to erease the SRS fault message with my VIDA DICE, but maybe there is another problem with the SRS. VIDA shows both SRS problem communicating with light and high resistance for driver side side impact bag. I had this issue before the DIM died.

    • Hi Roland,

      If the SRS-00D4 keeps reappearing the DIM may still have connectivity issues, it took me several attempts before the resoldering was good enough for the srs warning to keep off.
      You should have that driver side bag warning checked, because that error does not seem to be related to the DIM problem and can have severe impact on your protection in case of a crash.


  30. Hi there,can i ask you,if you have this problem with a dim,can you still drive your car?

    • Hi Adrian,

      If the DIM is faulty and does not work from time to time, you can still start and drive the car, although I would not recommend it.
      Depending on your country’s laws it may even be illegal to do so.


  31. I’m not understanding this… I did the resolder, everything worked for a few minutes and now nothing. My electric windows, radio, interior lights, door locks or alarm work any longer. In fact, my blinkers, interior lights also do not work any longer or go on and off. What do you think??

    • I’m sorry that it did not work for you.
      Maybe you made a mistake while resoldering. Please re-check your PCB very carefully for shorts.
      If you cannot find any shorts, try to resolder again. Also check the car’s fuses.

  32. Thanks for this wonderful info👏🏼
    My question is, after the dashboard light goes off, my 2004 Volvo XC90 will no move well or like its not selecting gear properly, If I switch off the ignition and allow it rest for some 20mins it will work good again, after driving it for another 15mins the dashboard light goes off and won’t move well again.Does your DIM solution solve that too?
    Please help on this.

    • Please find someone with VIDA/DICE to read out your car’s error codes properly to track down the issue.
      Sounds like you have problems with the transmission (too less/old oil or electronics failure).
      I don’t think that the problems you describe are related to this specific DIM problem in any way.

  33. i hope that you can help please. i have just had the dim unit replaced by a volvo dealer, £743-00. my car is a 2001 v70 s. the problem i have and the garage is failing to explain is a message on the dashboard. it says , engine management needs a service. this is not the regular message saying service is required. every time you start the engine, and then goes off after a short while, i have explained to the garage, but no answer to this , first they said it was the brake pedal sensor. now they are saying it is the clutch pedal sensor, and they are telling me it has a master cylinder leak, there is no evidence of this , no fluid drop in the reservoir, brake pedal not spongy ,etc. i can’t get a sensible answer about the message

    • The _only_ way in doing proper diagnostics in this case is connecting VIDA/DICE and reading the error codes.
      The message after replacing the DIM is “SRS warning urgent”. Any other error messages may be related to the engine itself.
      Especially if the engine shuts off after a short while instead of going to limp mode there must be something really wrong.
      Please have you car checked by a volvo dealer or anyone who is capable to read _ALL_ error codes using volvo’s diagnostic tools.

  34. Is there a schematic layout available for this PCB ? Would help focussing on particular issues we all encounter.

  35. Great info. Have similar issues. Is there also PCB layout / schematics publicly available on the internet ?
    My indicator lights only works after 20-30 min of driving

    • Sorry, I also do not have any schematics :/
      When your indicator lights work after 20-30 minutes driving it may still be a bad solder joint that has contact after the PCB gets warmer during use.

  36. I am an experienced electrician, and working on these small ic chips that close without heat sinks makes me nervous.

    I only have a problem with the illumination level of the info displays on the mph/km and rpm gauges being very weak and intermittent to illuminating properly.(2004 Volvo XC90).

    Does anyone happen to know the source of my problem: loose connector location, bad solder joint location?

    Since my dash is mostly functional I am reluctant to air heat or resolder all the chips you went through.

    Congratulations to the author and the people who have done this repair successfully. In my book, anyone who could do this repair is rather skilled.

  37. believe me people this is NOT hard to do I did it and it works GREAT thanks!!!!!

  38. Hi Flo,
    first of all: great repair instructions, thanks for that!
    You also mentioned that you could reset the SRS error, so I’m guessing you also have a DICE unit and the VIDA software.
    My question is: Did you ever use it to program your DIM or any other electronics module?

    I’m just curious because I can barely find any information on how this is done in detail. I know there is a subscription of a Volvo service required and I have to pay for each software-transaction, but that’s all.
    I want to install a newer/other DIM to my car to get rid of this problem… after fixing it multiple times 🙂

    Viele Grüße 🙂

    • Hi Erik,

      I’m not sure what you mean with ‘program’ the DIM unit – if you want to load new software in your electronics modules you’ll definietly need a Volvo service subscription.
      If you just want to change some settings and view/reset error codes of any control unit in your Volvo, just go for one of the ~100€ DICE units which can be found on eBay.

      My VIDA version was included with the purchase of my DICE unit, but VIDA may also be available as DVD image on some torrent sites.
      Just keep in mind that you need a WindowsXP machine to run it – I successfully used VMware Player and Virtualbox for that.

      If you want to use another DIM unit, please save yourself some troubles and talk to a Volvo dealer before doing that.
      I did not try that and I think it may cause problems if the software versions are different.

      My DIM unit is working without any problems since I fixed it and wrote this little how-to 🙂

      If you have questions – feel free to ask 🙂

  39. Thank you for helping out, fantastic information.

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