Delphi Automotive

When widespread instrument failure lead to a recall on more than 10 million GM trucks, Delphi turned to AER for help.

The Client

Delphi Automotive, a leading global supplier of automotive technology, desperately needed product support after faulty stepper motors used in production between 2003-2007 on GMT800 instrument clusters caused widespread failures, affecting nearly 10.5 million GM owners across the United States. Ultimately, due to safety concerns, the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) forced a mandatory recall on affected units between 2003-2005. Even after the recall, GMT800 series owners experienced issues and Delphi would require assistance with product remanufacturing for years to come.


The Challenge

Common symptoms of the faulty GMT800 stepper motors included incorrect speedometer, tachometer, and gauge readings. Delphi needed a remanufacturing partner that could promise fast turn times on the product, and get their customers back on the road with working instrument clusters. Since the failures were so widespread, part backorders were a common issue among Delphi’s 7 existing service centers. In addition, instrument cluster failure in GMT800 series vehicles was seasonal, with failures rates dependent on the weather, due to the expansion and contraction of the plastic parts. The cold months were a peak season for product failure, and lead to increased pressure on Delphi’s service center partners.

The Discovery

Delphi’s solution was to replace the faulty stepper motors in each unit, and fast. Depending on the GM truck model, there were 6-7 stepper motors in each unit to replace. AER’s technicians also performed preventative repairs on parts with a high failure rate, regardless of their workability, to prevent the unit from returning. Preventative repairs included resoldering questionable solder joints, and replacing illumination lamps which ran about 10 per unit. Finally, technicians performed cosmetic work, including scrubbing the units clean of dirt, debris, and any flux left over from soldering, and installing a new lense. By the time the instrument clusters left our production lines, they were remanufactured to better than OEM standards.

To accommodate the project for Delphi, AER acquired an entirely separate 54,000 sq ft building dedicated to overflow inventory and a new production line. During peak cold seasons, AER ran 3 shifts to meet 24 hour demand. Our dedicated support staff for the project increased from 6 employees, to 110. At the beginning of the project, AER ran a 26 foot box truck full of approximately 30 carts of repaired inventory every hour between facilities for testing, before moving the entire operation to one location. By the end of the project, AER had obtained 15 test fixtures, 30 test cables, and 5 vision boxes specifically made for GMT800 gauge calibration.

AER’s production lines were so efficient, there was a cluster coming off the production line every 45 seconds.

Kurt Kniepkamp

GM/Ford Instrument Cluster Production Manager, AER

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The Impact

Delphi trusted AER with important business for General Motors. The impact of our work on the GMT800 instrument cluster recall proved to be undeniable with over 1 million units successfully repaired during the tenure of the seven year project.

+1 MIL

Over one million units succesfully repaired.

24 Hours

Average 24 hour turn time on affected units.

1500 Units

AER handled up to 1500 clusters per day.

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