had almost an identical problem on our '93 525i. the middle section, in particular, would go nuts and appear to be spewing alien characters or messages.
after ruling out our 525 was not, indeed, receiving messages from ET, i bought a used cluster, cleaned all connectors, swapped clusters, and the problem went away.
i transferred the coding plug (kinda like a playstation memory card) from the old cluster to the used cluster and mileage and all came right over, no problems....
now, with 5 speeds!
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