Have your gauges suddenly gone blank, or has your dash lit up like a Christmas tree? This is a common issue with the JK Wranglers, but our diagnostic will help guide you through the process of correcting it.By Brett Foote – November 18, 2015
This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).
There’s nothing more frustrating than an electrical problem, and the Wrangler JK is (semi) famous for one in particular. Many owners have experienced the frustration of a total gauge blackout, and sometimes even an error message. A “no bu5” message means that the vehicle’s computer isn’t talking to the gauges, but the source of the problem isn’t always the same. Keep reading and we’ll guide you through the process of finding as well as fixing the cause of your gauge failure.
- Battery load tester (optional)
Step 1 – Check your battery
The most common cause of gauge failure is a bad battery, but not necessarily a dead one, so the issue can be a bit of a surprise. The smallest drop in voltage from the battery can cause the TIPM to go crazy. First, try to disconnect the positive and negative terminals, wait 15 minutes, then reconnect them. Inspect your battery terminals and clean them if necessary. Start the Jeep and see if it corrects the problem. If not, you will need to put a load tester on the battery and see if the battery needs to be replaced. If you don’t have access to a load tester, many auto parts stores can test the battery for free.
Figure 1. A bad battery is the most common cause of gauge failure.
Step 2 – Check electrical connections
Various other electrical connections have been known to cause gauge failure, as well. One of which is the electric sway bar disconnect module. Other connections that can come undone are the grounds located in the footwells. Check these connections and ensure they are plugged in/bolted down securely, then try disconnecting them and reconnecting them. If this doesn’t correct the problem, move on to Step 3.
Step 3 – Check the TIPM
If your battery and connections are in good shape and everything is snug, your TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module) is likely bad. This is not great news since new ones cost around $280 and a dealership can charge more than that in labor to replace one, but doing it yourself is quite easy. Faulty TIPMs are also a common problem with the Wrangler JK, so replacing one can also save you another headache further down the road.
Figure 4. If all else fails, your TIPM is probably the culprit.