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Instrument Cluster Removal Instructions

Old 03-02-2018, 09:10 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: GA, USA
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Instrument Cluster Removal Instructions

I searched the forums in order to learn how to disassemble the dash enough to extract but gauge cluster for cleaning but couldn't find any definitive step-by-step help with photos. I did manage to find one YouTube video from a Japanese gentleman and a few guides on radio removal that managed to get me through it. I figured that, if nothing else other than for my own benefit when I take it back out later, I would post the photos of what I had to do to get the instrument gauge cluster out of the dash. Be aware, I am no professional and this is at your own risk. Airbags could go off or you could break your trim pieces or something. Also, forgive my photography... I was short on time and used my old smart phone camera. You might also notice my photos seem out of order... they are. I am re-ordering them to make this more straight forward as I did it completely by experimentation and had to backtrack several times. Next time I'll make a video to better explain it all in the right order. Also note; this guide is done on a USDM car. If you are somewhere that uses RHD cars, this might work, just look in a mirror. The Japanese video I followed was from a RHD car but the principals all worked in the end.

I was trying to get the cluster out to clean this:

I don't know how or why something got on the 'gauge' inside the plastic housing since it was there when I bought the car last summer, but I finally got a rainy day to play with getting it out.

Step 1: Pull off this panel on the outside of the driver's side dash. The weather stripping needs to pull out to make this easier, the panel only has clips holding it but it can be pretty tightly held on.

Step 2: Undo this 8mm bolt inside that panel. This allows you to pop down the left side of the driver's knee bolster.

Step 3: Pop out just the left side of this knee bolster panel thing. It's got a few clips but if you took out the bolt it should come down fairly easily. I didn't have to pop the right side of it off, I'm not sure if there is a bolt to hold that in. Be careful if you decide to completely remove the panel.

Step 4: You want to pop this guy out. I didn't get a picture of it, but it has a screw that holds it in. It will be pretty obvious, it's just to the right side of the cupholder. In this picture I popped off the silver trim garnish piece but I don't think you have to. Once your screw is out, you just pull like the dickens and eventually it comes out. Be careful not to break those little vent grills, they seem flimsy.

Step 5: Pull off this trim piece that surround the gauge cluster. It's only got clips so work those fingers out and pull hard, being careful not to scratch the plastic of the instrument cluster as you pull it out from behind the steering wheel. It may also help to have the steering wheel adjust to the farther out and down position while doing this job.

Step 6: Pull of this silver trim garnish piece from around the center vents. This photo isn't the best, but I think you can see which piece I am referring to. It too is only held by clips.

Step 7: Next, go ahead and pull out that whole vent assembly. I don't know that you really had to take off the trim in the last step but I couldn't seem to get this to turn loose with the trim on. Anyhow, this only has clips and is pretty tightly held in. The whole assembly should come out as shown in my photos.

Step 8: Moving down to the center console, we need to pull out the panel with the 12V, HDMI, and USB ports to make access to the bottom of the radio. There is a screw that holds it in, as well as a few clips. Once the screw is out, put it carefully out and remove 4 connectors. The clips holding the connectors are a bit of a pain but you should be able to figure out their push tabs with enough fiddling.

Step 9: It was very helpful to remove the glove compartment. You can squeeze the top corners with it open to allow it to open further (and dump out everything inside) before gently tweaking the rear corners so they pop loose of their mounts. They simply push and pull off on little clips.

Step 10: With access to the bottom of the radio, you'll next remove the 3 screws that hold it in. I believe they are 8mm but I mostly used a phillips screwdriver where possible. When removing the bottom screw be extra careful not to drop it when pull it out or you may have to do like I did and remove the entire center console to fish it out from the dark void around the transmission. The first two bolts for the radio are right on top, below the vent holes (they are all 3 dark colored). The bottom one, though, is rather tricky to see. If you wedge your head in the hole where the glove box usually lives you can look at the bottom/back of the radio for a small metal bracket. The screw comes into the bracket from the bottom. Use a long extension on your 8mm or a long screwdriver through the hole where the 12V/HDMI/USB was to access it.

This last photo is looking up from the 12V/HDMI/USB access hole. Looking in from the glovebox will be from the side and you won't be able to see the screwhead directly. You have to look for the metal bracket coming off the radio.

Step 10.5: With the three bolts out of the radio you should now be able to pull it free. It has several clips as well, just be careful as there are about 10 connectors plugged into the backside of the radio. Also, note that the entire shiny black panel is being removed here. 2 of those 10 connectors actually plug in behind the hazard lights switch and the passenger airbag indicator. The other 8 (maybe 9, I'll mention more on this in a moment) plug into the radio.

The largest connector, show in the picture below as being on the bottom right just below the fan, has a weird clip securing the connector. It is pictured in the last photo for this step below. Basically the while plastic clip has a tab that needs to be pushed down while pulling it outwards to swing it around. It'll make sense when you play with it. The rest are typical pinch and pull out connectors.

More on that 8 or 9 connector point... in the photo below is the connectors I plugged back in when reinstalling the radio. I didn't take a photo before disconnecting all of the connectors (Yeah, I know, not super useful!) and when I plugged them all back in 1 was 'missing'. I couldn't find it anywhere so I assume that it is for navigation which my car doesn't have. If not, and I completely missed something, please let me know!

Step 11: It should now be time to pull the gauge/instrument cluster out. It has three screws that hold it in. As with the other electronics panels, be careful when removing it as there are wires connected. It has a single connector to remove. When pulling it out be careful not to scratch it or the steering column cover plastic. It should be rotated facing almost straight down and pulled out towards the passenger side.

With any luck when you get it out you'll find it looks like someone's kid has drawn all over it with crayon. I'm not sure what any of that represents though.

(Here are a few shots of the back of the cluster for anyone curious. Be careful if you remove the back cover of the cluster as there are wires for a small speaker. If you unplug it, (it pulls straight up pretty easily) be sure to plug it back in. I didn't (forgot, oops) and now my turn signals, door chime, and headlight indicator noises don't work. I'll fix it eventually.)

If you need to take the front of the gauges off like I did, the clear plastic tabs pop out fairly easily.

That's basically it! Reinstall is reverse of removal, just be sure to pop all the clips back in secure and make sure you plug in all of the connectors.

If there are any questions, hit me up and I'll try my best to answer!

Old 03-02-2018, 05:31 PM
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Thank you so much for writing this up and sharing it!
Old 03-02-2018, 05:54 PM
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Nice write-up. Thanks.
Old 03-02-2018, 07:23 PM
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Edmonton, AB. Canada
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I've removed the instrument gauge a few times. All you really need to do is:

1. Cover steering wheel with soft cloth

2. Pull on plastic surround.

3. Use a Philips screwdriver to remove the one screw on the top, and the 2 screws on the bottom.

4. Gently roll forwards. You might have to angle it a bit.


I'm not sure where I got the instructions for this. It may have been youtube.
Old 03-02-2018, 11:23 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Illinois
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Following for future reference..
Old 03-03-2018, 10:28 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: GA, USA
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Originally Posted by Action Jackson View Post
I've removed the instrument gauge a few times. All you really need to do is:

1. Cover steering wheel with soft cloth

2. Pull on plastic surround.

3. Use a Philips screwdriver to remove the one screw on the top, and the 2 screws on the bottom.

4. Gently roll forwards. You might have to angle it a bit.


I'm not sure where I got the instructions for this. It may have been youtube.
I tried to get by with pulling just the trim around it but couldn't get it to squeeze out past the cup holder or radio trim. Next time I take it out I'll try doing it your way to see if I can't wiggle it out with a bit more effort.

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