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My battery died after 7 years the other day. The car ran normally in the morning, but when I went to start it at lunchtime, there was just a short clunk as the starter tried to engage, but then the battery died. It's the original battery in my '97 C280 and I was surprised it lasted this long.

Anyway, I called roadside assistance and they came out and put in a new battery. Then the tech started the car and the instrument panel went nuts. The tach, speedo, gas & temp gauges all are pinned at their highest reading, and the outside temp gauge shows 135 degrees. The odometer and trip odometer are still correct.

We tried to reset it by pulling the instrument cluster fuse and then reinserting it, but the gauges just returned off-the-scale when we replaced the fuse. The tech thinks the instrument cluster needs to be replaced, which I'm sure will be very expen$ive.

Any theories or suggestions before I take it to the shop? I'm wondering if perhaps the battery sent a surge through the electronics as it was dying. I know that the tech didn't do anything that could have caused the problem because I watched him replace the battery.
 

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Anything is possible. I just replaced my battery and alternator in my '97 and on the way home from my shop my downstream O2 sensor decides to pass onto sensor heaven. I don't really think these two items are related, but it is hard to say. It's possible there was a little shock sent through the system when the battery connections were taken off or reconnected. This theoretically could have taken out your cluster. This is a big dollar item. I would not be so quick to say the tech did nothing wrong. If the positive was disconnected first or reconnected last it could be the cause. The cluster worked before they worked on your car, now it doesn't. I hate to throw a fellow professional "under the bus" here, but it isn't your fault that you instuments do not function.
 

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i do believe its the Non Volatile RAM in the instrument cluster that has lost its marbles.
my E320 lost a portion of its memory and wont register 70mph plus

get it reprogrammed
 
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