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How to: Cluster Removal/Install - Plus Gauge Removal!

Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:06 am
by ten2doyle102
Well, I decided to make a little write up on the removal the the gauge cluster in our cars. Removal is fairly simple and only took me about 1 1/2 hours from start to finish. I recently picked up a Euro cluster from a member on the tech so I wanted to put it in. Your notice that the Euro one is already installed, but that's because I put it in last night, but forgot that the econometer was a fubared! :evil: So out it comes again for me to swap the gauges around.

What you'll need:

Assorted Phillips Screwdrivers
Needle nose pliers
Small hands (I don't have these, it would just make things easier! :) )

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Ok, let's get started! :)

It's not necessary, but will make things ALOT easier if you remove the steering wheel. I have a MT1 wheel, so removal is simple. If you have an air bag wheel, its a bit different. First things first, undo your battery! I like to live on the wild side, but its a smart idea to do this since you don't want it popping! Also, make sure you know your radios code if you have the stock BMW radio in it as they have a security feature on them. There are two small screws located on the backside of the wheel that need to be removed. Once they are off you should be able to pull the airbag off and you'll see a small orange plug on the back, pull it off. Make sure that the tires are pointed exactly straight in line with the car and remove the steering wheel. In order to get the wheels off in our cars, you have to use a 22MM socket for the nut but you need to lock the wheel (remove the ignition key), loosen the nut, unlock it (turn key to on position), pull the wheel off.

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Once you have the wheel off, look at the top of the knee bolster. There are 3 bolts that hold the top up on it, remove them.

(1) screw toward the pass. side of car
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(2) screws towards the drivers side of car
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Next is the removal of the trim underneath the cluster. Its a PITA to get out but it is possible. This is also where I say it is nice to have small hands! Inside the dash, there are (2) small aluminum nuts with knurling on the edge. This is what they look like.

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I tried to get a picture of them inside but damn it’s tight in there! :) When you reach inside, just feel along the inside of the dash toward you, and you should find them. There’s one on each side of the column.

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This is what the trim piece looks like after it’s removed. Its pretty flexible, but it can still break so be somewhat gentle. It’s not easy but it will fit between the steering column shroud and the cluster with a little bit of finagling. You may be able to remove the shroud, but I chose not to.

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Next is the removal of the last trim piece. It surrounds the cluster and is held by 6 screws.

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Once they are removed, pull the piece out and set it aside. With that removed, you'll see the last (2) screws that actually hold the cluster itself.

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Finally, 11 screws and 3 nuts later, it's ready to come out. I just grab on to the two tabs shown in the pics above and pull forward rolling it toward you and laying the cluster, face down on the column. Again, it's gonna take a little finagling, but it'll come out.

Now that its out, this is what you should see.

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Remove the three large plugs (blue, white and yellow ones) and the two little lights that are wired to the blue and white plugs. In my case, There wasn't a green plug on the cluster I got, but the old US one had one. This is what they look like.

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In some cases, nothing may be plugged in to this, but mine did. I think the cruise control is wired through this. This is what the plugs might looks like

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And that it! Re-installation is exactly reverse as what the removal was! :)




Part 2 - Gauge Removal

I had a faulty econometer in the cluster I had gotten so i needed to change it out. This is what I did to do it.

Here's a pic of what it starts as.
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To remove the board and the gauges from the front, there are (9) screws that need to be removed. They are located around teh perimeter of the cluster, and a few in the middle.

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Once the front is removed, this is what you'll see

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Next to remove the gauge you want, turn it back over, and removed the screws as needed. The side with (3) is the tach and the side with (4) is the speedo. I needed the tach off, so I unscrewed the (3) screws on the left.

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Once they are off, the gauge should just pull off. Becareful not to bend any of the prongs which are located on the side of the gauge inside some slots. You can see the slots in this pic.

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I needed to replace the gauges, but I had only had a extra US tach, so I needed to swap the faces as well. First, gently pull up on the needle and remove it, then unscrew the tiny flat screws and remove the top face. Remove the lower face's screws and remove the face as well. The same goes for the other gauge too.

sorry its rotated :oops:
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And thats it! then installation is the reverse!

I hope that this helps out people! :) Also, it should be know that I had little experience dicking around with the internals of the clusters, but I got it to work no prob! :)

Re: How to: Cluster Removal/Install - Plus Gauge Removal!

Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:14 am
by M20_fever
great write-up, sticky for you.

Re: How to: Cluster Removal/Install - Plus Gauge Removal!

Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:24 am
by ten2doyle102
Yay! :)

Re: How to: Cluster Removal/Install - Plus Gauge Removal!

Posted: Sat May 02, 2009 11:51 pm
by Lames
lol, funny thing is I did this today,... my car still doesnt have the cluster in it. I'm just kinda feeling out my speed,.... :) Great job!

I didn't take off my wheel though and it came out pretty decent, but I did have to man handle a little.

Re: How to: Cluster Removal/Install - Plus Gauge Removal!

Posted: Sat May 02, 2009 11:54 pm
by Yoshi
man I don't do half that. I leave the steering wheel in lol

Re: How to: Cluster Removal/Install - Plus Gauge Removal!

Posted: Sun May 03, 2009 2:43 am
by ten2doyle102
Like I said, It's not necessary, but I did it to make it easier.

Re: How to: Cluster Removal/Install - Plus Gauge Removal!

Posted: Sun May 03, 2009 4:11 pm
by Lames
I think it's good you added it all in there. You did an awesome job man!

Re: How to: Cluster Removal/Install - Plus Gauge Removal!

Posted: Sun May 03, 2009 8:25 pm
by ten2doyle102
Thanks! :)

Re: How to: Cluster Removal/Install - Plus Gauge Removal!

Posted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:48 am
by sylissimo
Thanks needed this.

Re: How to: Cluster Removal/Install - Plus Gauge Removal!

Posted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:07 pm
by M20_fever
Thats why we're here! ;)

Re: How to: Cluster Removal/Install - Plus Gauge Removal!

Posted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:40 pm
by ten2doyle102
Glad I could help!

Re: How to: Cluster Removal/Install - Plus Gauge Removal!

Posted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:23 pm
by beatyed
The green wire used by the cruise plugs into the back of the Cluster. Which of the three "slots" does it plug into? They are all the same size and I dont see any labels.

Re: How to: Cluster Removal/Install - Plus Gauge Removal!

Posted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:49 pm
by joecrotch
crap i use to know this. let me look for my spare cluster.