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Old 04-21-2015, 10:49 AM   #1
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2003 Itasca Horizon Dash Removal

Local tech says the warning buzzer on my rear air gauge is caused by a lose wire on the back of the gauge. I need to remove part of the dash to access it. It's the raised part behind the steering wheel that contains all the gauges. Has anyone done this? Pictures? It sounds pretty easy, two screws on the side and about five on top, but I just don't want to get into something without knowing what to expect. Any help appreciated.
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Old 04-21-2015, 12:58 PM   #2
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My rig is a 2004 but I think it is very similar. I have to remove two screws on the left, two screws on the right, and about 5 screws in the front (toward the windshield). The dash lifts right off.

It is very flexible so sometimes it takes a couple of tries to get in re-installed so that the holes line up.
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:01 PM   #3
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My rig is a 2004 but I think it is very similar. I have to remove two screws on the left, two screws on the right, and about 5 screws in the front (toward the windshield). The dash lifts right off.

It is very flexible so sometimes it takes a couple of tries to get in re-installed so that the holes line up.
Thank you very much, skigramp! On mine there are only two screws on right side and then the five on the front. I guess I'm wondering what comes up with it all. Does the rear-view monitor stay in the part you are lifting up, along with all the gauges, etc? I'm a little intimidated because I don't want a bunch of wires coming lose in order to fix just one!
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:49 PM   #4
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Madrona, Only the cover comes up, the instrument cluster stays put. If you have a rear camera speaker on the left side of the cover will need to unplug it to completely remove the cover. We had a 03 Journey DL
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:37 PM   #5
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Madrona, Only the cover comes up, the instrument cluster stays put. If you have a rear camera speaker on the left side of the cover will need to unplug it to completely remove the cover. We had a 03 Journey DL
Good tip, Grant, thanks! Yes, there is a speaker over there so good to know.
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:48 AM   #6
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I agree with the prior responses regarding the removal of the dash cover however I hope that the tech was correct in his diagnosis of a loose wire. My experience on my 2000 Horizon was a faulty "black box" in the engine compartment that caused the buzzer and false air pressure display.
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Old 04-22-2015, 11:01 AM   #7
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Agree with bsamole; I think it is a cold solder joint in the black module in the engine compartment. Seems to me if a wire were loose on the back of the gauge, that would interrfere with the gauge or buzzer from working, not causing buzzer to sound.

In any case, the shroud comes off the instrument panel as described in this thread, and you can see what it looks loike when removed, in one of the pics in my "project nearing completion" thread, further down the page. (mine is an '02 but I think it is the same as '03)
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:05 PM   #8
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Same issue with my 03 Journey DL. And it indeed was that "black box", official name i believe is the VDC or something like that. I drove home with that buzzer going on and off intermittently from Florida to NY, right around Virginia, I reached under dash and pulled wires out before I lost my mind from the buzzing noise!
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:35 AM   #9
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I did get the cover on the dash removed, easily, thanks to responses in this thread. I did not find any loose wires. I guess it's the "black box" as suggested. What I didn't mention in my original post is that the rear gauge was flipping wildly between 0 and 130 lbs. Maybe that is what made the tech think it was a loose wire. Not sure what my next move is, probably take it in and let someone else fix it. I'm not taking that engine cover off, looks like a PIA. Thanks for all your responses and help.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:36 AM   #10
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Google "VDC Freightliner" and you will get hits on numerous posts on this issue. Bottom line is about $500 for a new VDC plus installation or $0 to fix the cold solder joints yourself. On my 2000 Horizon the VDC is located on the forward firewall. The forward engine cover is held in place with three bolts. To verify the VDC is faulty remove the engine cover have someone sit in the drivers seat with the engine running softly hit the VDC if the buzzer/gauge reacts then the VDC is most likely the cause of the problem.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:51 AM   #11
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Well Gang,
Yep, the "Black box" some of you, including the OP are referring to is the "VDC" or, Vehicle Data Computer. That unit, is basically a collector, for all incoming information from the engine ECM, Trans TCM and, ABS module, if so equipped. And, as many of you have found out, it also is a receiver for air pressure, from the air system on the coach.

It has what's called air transducers in it. Meaning, the receive the air pressure from the two systems, i.e. front and rear. Then, it translates that air pressure into electrical signals, to be sent to your gauges. Well, as has been stated, many VDCs in the past, have developed faulty solder joints in that are of the transducers.

Many folks, including some on here, have had good luck in removing the box, locating the bad solder joints and, re-soldering them, then a re-install.

That box was later replaced, in the early '04 models with what's called the MMDC or, Multi-Module-Data-Controller. It basically does the exact same thing as the VDC did only, much more advanced. And, the MMDC was/is located in the front of the coach, not the rear. The MMDC has had way less issues than it's older brother, the VDC.

Anyway, OP, if in fact your issue is the VDC, and it sounds as if it is, yes, you can attempt to re-solder those connections yourself. It's not rocket science. You just have to take it slow and be careful. It's a printed circuit board you're working on, not a skateboard. Good luck and, do report back if you've had good luck in finding and repairing the issue.
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Old 04-24-2015, 05:11 PM   #12
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Madrona, if you are not confident enough to resolder the internal printed circuit board solder joints yourself, you could take the VDC to a local TV/radio repair technician, or even a local 'ham' radio club, and ask them to do it. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes if they are familiar with PCB soldering.

If you were in this area, I would do it for you. Maybe someone on IRV2 in your area, can help.
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Old 04-24-2015, 11:11 PM   #13
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It doesn't take much confidence to apply a soldering iron and re-flow a little solder. I've done that on many projects over the years. I don't want to get into the engine compartment. It's just not my thing anymore.
However, just in case I get in the mood, which isn't likely, is the box marked VDC? Is that how I will know I've found it? Bsamole says on his 2000 model it's on the forward firewall. I assume that means, in my case with the headboard at the rear of the coach, the forward firewall is at the foot of the bed?

Oh, and while I'm at it, when I had the dash cover removed, I found a black box marked something like "vehicle security system." Since I don't know of any security system in my coach, I'm wondering what that box is?
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:57 PM   #14
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Yes, the forward firewall is a the foot of the bed. As best that I can recall the box has two air line and some other electrical connection(s). My fault was with solder joints for the air lines.
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Old 04-25-2015, 02:07 PM   #15
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Madrona, please keep us posted and let us know how you get it fixed. I have the same issue on my 2000 Horizon. I'm just trying to get up enough gumption to pull the VDC and repair it.


I've found that a place in Mansfield, Texas distributes the transducers that go in the VDC. I believe they're an updated model now, but should fit. I don't want to replace them, if I can fix the VDC by repairing solder joints, but I wanted to know where I could get the transducers in case one of them was bad.
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Old 04-25-2015, 04:24 PM   #16
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On the top of this page is a blue bar. User CP, Register, Files.....
Take a look in files, under electrical. you will find VDC repair. there is a wealth of info in that area!
OR go Here iRV2 Forums - Files - VDU/ VDC Repair


Thanks to: Jim Godward and Jim Epting. (Uploaded by hitechal)

Download the file to your PC.
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Old 04-25-2015, 09:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Madrona View Post
It doesn't take much confidence to apply a soldering iron and re-flow a little solder. I've done that on many projects over the years. I don't want to get into the engine compartment. It's just not my thing anymore.
However, just in case I get in the mood, which isn't likely, is the box marked VDC? Is that how I will know I've found it? Bsamole says on his 2000 model it's on the forward firewall. I assume that means, in my case with the headboard at the rear of the coach, the forward firewall is at the foot of the bed?

Oh, and while I'm at it, when I had the dash cover removed, I found a black box marked something like "vehicle security system." Since I don't know of any security system in my coach, I'm wondering what that box is?
Madrona,
You've been given some good advice here. The box (VDC) you're looking for is approximately around 6"x6"x 1" thick. And, also like stated, it will have a pretty good sized, electrical plug with around maybe 15-20 wires on that one plug. And, it will have two, around 3/8" air hoses coming out of it. One will be for the front gauge and the other one will be for the rear. 99.999% of the time, those air hoses are held into the box with a "pinch" collar. To remove them, you have to push in on the collar, and that will release tension on the hose. Then, while holding in the collar, just pull out the hose. No tools are needed.

But, be prepared some SERIOUS NOISE AND A TON OF AIR, being released when you do that. The electrical plug will of course, come right off. You are then free to remove the box and take it to the bench for re-soldering. Good luck.
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Old 04-26-2015, 10:36 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by rgvtexan View Post
On the top of this page is a blue bar. User CP, Register, Files.....
Take a look in files, under electrical. you will find VDC repair. there is a wealth of info in that area!
OR go Here iRV2 Forums - Files - VDU/ VDC Repair


Thanks to: Jim Godward and Jim Epting. (Uploaded by hitechal)

Download the file to your PC.
I've read and dowloaded this file with instructions for repair. I may indeed give this a try in a couple days and will report back. For some reason I can't read the thread, just this one document. Says I don't have permission? Thanks for the link!
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Old 04-27-2015, 03:06 PM   #19
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I found the little ba*%#rd!

My engine cover consists of two parts that look like steps. I removed the lower step which would be the front of the engine and it wasn't there. I removed the upper step and can barely see it, mounted to what would be the back of a stair riser if these were stairs.. I wouldn't call this the forward firewall because it wasn't under the lower step, but still, there it is. There is hardly any room to access it. If I completely remove the bed I could, but I'd rather not.

As suggested by bsamole, which was an excellent tip, I had my wife sit in front of the gauges with the engine running while I tapped on the VDC. BAM! The gauge malfunctioned and the alarm went off. That's the culprit, alright.

I'm going to see if my grandson feels up to it, he's skinny with long arms and he's a mechanic!

I'm also going to search for a replacement on eBay or somewhere, just in case. I want to be ready to go with everything I need so this can be a one step fix, but I will try to solder and re-install before making any replacement.

I took a picture indicating it's location in case it helps someone else.

Really, all the helpful tips in this thread are right on the money and really appreciated! Thank you, all.
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Old 04-29-2015, 12:09 PM   #20
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Happy to help, good luck.
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