Instrument cluster

Andrew Sarangan

My check engine light has been off for a long time, not because there weren’t any error codes, but because the light bulb was burnt out. Replacement requires removal of the entire instrument cluster, and pulling the panel out. However, this is quite easy to do.

First the lower center panel trim has to be removed. This is held by a single screw hidden behind the ashtray.

Lower center panel screw

The panel can be easily pried out by hand without any tools. It is held by several clips.

There are two connectors for the cigarette ligher and a light bulb for the ashtray.

Electrical connectors

Once the lower center panel is removed, the two screws that hold the instrument panel trim will be exposed. Once these are removed, the instrument panel trim can be pried out easily. This is also held by a bunch of clips and pins.

The biggest challenge was unplugging the connectors behind the hazard flasher switch and the defroster switch. These switches only pull forward from the panel, and the connecting wires are pretty short, so removal requires inserting your fingers behind the panel into a tight space to wiggle the connector out.

Once the two connectors are unplugged, the entire instrument panel moulding can be removed.

This will expose the instrument cluster. The instrument cluster is a single enclosed unit mounted with four screws. Once the screws are removed, the panel comes out very easily.

There are two electrical connectors on the back of the cluster that need to be unplugged. Again, the wires are short and there is very little working room.

The backside of the instrument panel is an exposed circuit board. All of the black circles are light bulbs that illuminate various things. These are clearly labelled and are easy to identify.

The bulbs can be removed by simply turning them and pulling them out. These are glass wedge-based bulbs, also known as T (Tubular) style. The bulbs are designated by their diameter, with each unit representing 1/8″. The smaller ones are T1.5 (which are 0.1875″ diameter) and the larger ones are T3.25 (0.406″ diameter). The bulb can be pulled out of the plastic base, and a new one can be inserted.

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