Instrument Cluster Removal and Refurbish

updated 10/02/2008

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Courtesy of Jeff Caplan, Damien in Sydney (RHD notes) and Lenny D.


Taking out your instrument cluster in your E12 is really a simple task. It shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes to remove and re-install if all you are doing is swapping out a gauge, changing a lightbulb, cleaning gauge contacts or installing a new odometer gear. You can even use this time to change the color of the display.

 Step 1

Remove the kicker panel to gain access under the driver’s side of the dash.


Step 2

Unscrew the knob (A) and remove it from the track it is sitting in. This cable holds the cluster in tight to the dash. It sits in a metal track mounted to the frame of the car.

Step 3

Unscrew the (2) bolts (B) that are holding the steering column to the frame. This will drop the steering wheel down out of the way so the cluster has room to clear.

Step 4 (left hand drive vehicles)

Unscrew the speedometer cable. On automatics or manual vehicles, the cable will always have a link under the rat’s nest of wires to the left of the steering column. Simply unscrew the cables and pull apart.

Step 4 (right hand drive vehicles)

Unscrew the speedometer cable. The connection is underneath the air vent in the centre of the dash. Simply unscrew the cables and pull apart.

Step 5

 Very gently push from behind, guiding the speedometer cable and hold down cable through so they don’t get caught on anything. The cluster should come out about 5 to 7 inches at this point. NOT ALL THE WAY!!! Don’t force anything. If it isn’t moving, one of the cables is catching on something. Take your time. It should almost fall out.


Step 6

There are a few wires you will have to pull to disconnect the tach and other gauges. They should stay in the correct location after you disconnect them but make a note for re-installment.

Peter's note: "According to my factory wiring manual, terminal #31 is ground (brown wire), terminal #1 is signal (black wire), and terminal + is power (green/white wire)." I can't be sure the above photo is correct 1/17/2004

  Step 7

Use a small screwdriver to remove the appropriate gauge you want removed. It’s pretty self-explanatory at this point. Make sure to inspect your odometer gear. If yours looks like this one, split, your odometer is probably not turning. For information on replacing this gear, go to my website:


or click on the photo below and it will take you there.


Noisy fuel or temperature gauge?

Lenny D writes:
"I was plagued with the dreaded "1/4 tank" then... blink...on comes the yellow light for years.
Tried everything. Finally decided to snoop further and remove the nut from the fuel gauge that is ground and the mount for the gauge to the assembly that mounts to the cluster. This is what I found. As described above, there are two tangs attached to the gauge assembly. Clean them. I like Peter's method of a Scotchbrite pad. It cleans them, polishes them, but doesn't hurt them."

"Then I took some 400g wet/dry and wrapped a sliver of it around a toothpick to clean the holes the tangs plug into that are part of the gauge itself. Use a long enough piece of paper to reach fully inside the length of the hole. Very important! - I found more oxidation in the holes than on the tangs. Clean up the removed oxidation, I used some Caig 'DeOxit', a spray cleaner that leaves a residue to inhibit further corrosion to clean and protect. Problem solved...after all these years. Here is the pic of the disassembled fuel gauge. (The nut is on the threads just to keep from losing it, this is my spare.)"

"BTW, while you're in there with the cluster out, do the coolant temp gauge as well, it's exactly the same."

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