Replacing Gauge Lights In Instrument Cluster

29 posts in this topic

Thanks a bunch for this write up. Only took me about 30 min start to finish since I didn't have to fiddle around with how to get everything apart. I had 2 of the green covers tear a little but got them back on ok. Pushing the mirror switch thru the front makes it so much easier.

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Are there any issues with the air bag while attempting to replace the bulbs?  I read that there might be.  Should the car battery be disconnected before attempting removal of dash parts?

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Do you know if those exact same bulbs would fit my 2001 626? (i would like to replace these with blue ones :))


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On 5/6/2010 at 10:56 PM, cbwallace said:

I had this entire tutorial/walkthrough written up and my browser crashed so for now, this is the abbreviated version. To prevent this from being lost in case my hosted pictures one day flake out, I have attached all of the photos in a pair of ZIP files.


T25 Torx Driver

11/16, 17mm or Adjustable Wrench

Bulbs (5 main bulbs are #194, 14 smaller bulbs are #73 bulbs)

Note 1:

The number of #73 bulbs in your cluster may be slightly different depending on what features your car has. Also, some people have called for #74 bulbs. These are the same size bulbs, but #74 bulbs are about 2.5x as bright and last about 1/10 as long (1,000 hrs vs. 12,000 hrs).

Note 2:

At various stages it may be helpful to raise or lower your steering column. This seems obvious but I think it's one of those "good lord how did I not think of that" features, so here's your friendly reminder.

1. Remove left dash panel. This panel just pulls away at the front and will swing out towards the door. You don't need to completely remove it as the torx screws you need are along the front edge of the dash.


2. Remove hood release cable bracket (wrench). You only need to turn the nut behind the handle a few times until you can turn the whole assembly and slide it down.


3. Remove 2 left-most torx screws. The lower screw can be hard to get to if you have a long T25 driver. I ended up putting a T25 bit from a universal screwdriver set into a 6mm socket and used a ratchet which was much easier.


4. Remove lower dash panel. This is held in by 3 panel clips (2 left of steering wheel, 1 right) so just pull forward and down firmly but gently. You don't need it completely off, just get the 3 clips to release and it will hang down enough to work.



5. Remove cluster trim. This means removing 4 torx screws. 2 right above the cluster and 2 on each side of the steering wheel that you just revealed by pulling the lower panel. This also means disconnecting all of the electrical switches in the trim panel. Most are easily removed by hand. If you have the 'Swing' feature on your center vents, you can use a small flathead to push down a tab on top of its connector. The hardest connector by far is the power mirror, but luckily you don't have to unhook this. If you are careful you can swing the whole trim panel over the steering wheel and lean it left of the seat, saving you the struggle of this stupid connector.

EDIT: As noted by XeNoMoRpH - a small screwdriver can be used to release the mirror switch harness, which would allow you to completely remove the cluster trim panel and set it aside.



6. Remove cluster. This is 4 more torx screws and the cluster will pull straight forward. There are 3 harnesses on the back that are easily removed by hand but mine were a little stiff so I had to wiggle them just a bit.



7. Replace bulbs. Here you can see the back of the cluster. The bulbs are all in plastic housings that require 1/4 turn to release or install. Some of the bulbs have colored "gel" covers on them which you can either (a) try to remove and install on the new bulbs, (b) replace with new gel covers which are sometimes available at parts stores or Wal-Mart, or © decide you don't care right now and just install the plain bulbs. I originally tried (a) but ripped one of the covers, got annoyed and went with ©. I don't think my cluster looks different without the gel covers though it has been a while since my lights went out. In any case, as you can see in the end it still looks normal without the gel covers.



8. Reassemble and marvel at your results.






Quoting this so that I can find it easily when I get ready to replace bulbs. Thanks for the write up, the workshop manual sometimes is difficult to understand. 

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