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Instrument cluster disassembly - the clear part

DR1665

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Oct 19, 2005
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I pulled the dash out of 195 the other weekend. I'm probably gonna flock it before it goes back in. In the meantime, I've got the instrument cluster out and apart with the intention of refurbing the needles a la the awesome write up here in the How-To section. In my travels on Search Utility Airlines, I came across wicked awesome boost gauge between the speedo and tach goodness that I think I'm going to attempt for the race car while it's apart. Ah, hell. I might as well ditch the 19yr old incandescent bulbs, with their tacky green and orange condoms for 114 surface mount white and red LEDs. That should do the trick and run me about $30 (LEDs are in transit now). Don't worry. I'll do a full write up.

In the meantime, I'd like to hear some tricks on separating the clear lens on the front of the panel. Reach through the steering wheel and tap on the instrument cluster. That's the one I'm talking about. It looks like it attaches with a number of snap posts like elsewhere on the assembly, but these don't even look 100% aligned from the factory and I'd rather not do up a killer LED conversion, only to set it behind a busted ass lens.

Ideas? Is there adhesive in there? Do you push down and through or up and back? How did you do it? Thanks!
 

curtis

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Clarksville TN
Get the cluster out then unscrew the trip odometer post. lefty loosey then just push the tabs and pop it off no glue. having a drawer full of flat hard screwdrivers helps but just a bunch of bamboo bbq sticks would work. just something to hold the tabs down, even a series of toothpicks could work. Then as for the needles use two pry bars on either side and pry up with even pressure. Put something soft against the gauge surface its scratches easily and you'll always notice it if you do. don't even touch it with your fingers or it will leave a mark. Especially don't wipe it with windex and a paper towel. Use pressurized air to clean the dust and thats it.
 

cheekychimp

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I thought I showed how to do that in the how to /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dunno.gif Pop a tab, stick a coin or screwdriver in the gap to stop it springing back, then carefully move on to the next one.
 

maroonmetallic

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central WI
I'm pretty sure he is talking about separating the clear lens from the actual black gauge bezel.
Sorry I can't help on that aspect.

-Shawn
 

cheekychimp

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Oh Right! Yeah I think that's going to be a lot more difficult and I can see why he is concerned about breaking the lens. I think there is also a good chance that some sort of adhesive 'is' involved.
 
Last edited:

toybreaker

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Apr 30, 2006
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Quoting curtis:
Get the cluster out then unscrew the trip odometer post. lefty loosey then just push the tabs and pop it off no glue. having a drawer full of flat hard screwdrivers helps but just a bunch of bamboo bbq sticks would work. just something to hold the tabs down, even a series of toothpicks could work. Then as for the needles use two pry bars on either side and pry up with even pressure. Put something soft against the gauge surface its scratches easily and you'll always notice it if you do. don't even touch it with your fingers or it will leave a mark. Especially don't wipe it with windex and a paper towel. Use pressurized air to clean the dust and thats it.



^^^This

If you are going to pull the needles, one way to get them back on clocked correctly is to gently hop them over their stops, and then note where the spring tension takes the needle as it unwinds. Put them back on in that clocking, hop 'em over the stops, and you should be good to go.
 

fivestardsm

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Middle, Michigan
Quoting Hertz:
I think they're welded together.



Actually they are not welded together. It comes apart in the same way as mentioned above, just with a couple different tabs.
/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif
 

DR1665

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Quoting cheekychimp:
Oh Right! Yeah I think that's going to be a lot more difficult and I can see why he is concerned about breaking the lens. I think there is also a good chance that some sort of adhesive 'is' involved.



Aye. This.

(And I suspect there might be some glue involved. Well, at least what appears to be decade old Dr Pepper or something.)

I've got the entire thing apart aside from separating the large clear lens from the black trim piece that snaps into the main cluster box. Needles off, gauge faces off, clear light diffusers out, all of it. I just want to find a way to get access to the trim piece that overlays the gauge faces before I resume the multiple screwdriver method with increased prejudice. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Thanks
 

RayH

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NJ
For removing the gauge needles, I recall a regular kitchen fork worked pretty well for levering the needles off their posts. Just make sure you don't bend the posts as you pull the needles.
 

DR1665

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Again, no trouble at all getting the needles, gauge faces and diffusers off the cluster. Just trying to remove the large clear lens that goes on the front. Thanks.

Here's what I'm working on at the moment...

 

fivestardsm

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Middle, Michigan
Quoting fivestardsm:
Quoting Hertz:
I think they're welded together.



Actually they are not welded together. It comes apart in the same way as mentioned above, just with a couple different tabs.
/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif



I should apologize here, I was mistakenly thinking you were refering to the clear bezel cover over the intire face of the guages. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
 
Last edited:

Specter

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Apr 20, 2008
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Karachi, Pakistan
Quoting DR1665:
Again, no trouble at all getting the needles, gauge faces and diffusers off the cluster. Just trying to remove the large clear lens that goes on the front. Thanks.

Here's what I'm working on at the moment...





I am very much interested in the result you get, do update us.
 

DR1665

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Quoting fivestardsm:

I was mistakenly thinking you were refering to the clear bezel cover over the intire face of the guages. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif




Um, I was. So it's welded? Or not. There's a lip in most places and plenty of decade-old Dr Pepper in there. I can't tell. Don't want to break the clean lens that goes across the entire gauge panel.
 

DR1665

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Iowa City, IA
Well, a little progress this evening. Didn't mess with the clear lens, but spent some time trimming away material that interfered with the LED strips. I ended up snapping one of the strips, but it should be simple enough to solder the leads back together. All in all, it's looking pretty good! Once I know the LEDs fit okay (I've got two strips behind the tach right now), I'll take it all apart and make the electrical connections.

Sweet.

 
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