How do I Remove the Instrument Cluster on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The instrument cluster on a Vehicles is your direct line into the operating components of your engine. It tells you how fast you're going, how much gas you have and how many revolutions per minute your engine is turning. Unfortunately, if one of the gauges stops working, then most likely the entire cluster needs to be replaced. That's because the individual gauges inside of the cluster aren't serviceable. So if you need to fix the problem, the entire cluster needs to be replaced with a new one.

Under The Hood:

 How do I Remove the Instrument Cluster on a Cadillac Deville Sedan?

Removal

Push the rear seat lower cushion toward the rear of your Deville while lifting up on it. Disconnect the wiring for the heated seat elements, if equipped. Lift the seat cushion and remove it from your Deville. Loosen the negative battery cable bolt, using a battery wrench. Remove and isolate the cable from the battery. Wait five minutes for the air bag system to power down before continuing.

Grasp the windshield pillar trim panels and pull them off the windshield pillars. Wrap some masking tape around the tip of a flat-head screwdriver. Examine the forward-facing air vents and find the retainers in the upper-right and lower-left corners of each vent.

Pull outward on the vent while pushing in on the retainers with the flat-head screwdriver. Remove all of the forward-facing vents. They are not interchangeable, so make a note of where each one belongs in the instrument panel.

Pry upward around the edges of the defroster grille to release the retainers. Lift upward on the rear edge of the grille, then disconnect the wiring harness for the sun sensor, if equipped. Pull the grille rearward and remove it from the instrument panel.

Remove the four screws that were hidden by the forward facing vents, using a nut driver. Remove the three screws hidden by the defroster grille. Lift the dash and tilt it so that it is parallel with the windshield. Disconnect any wiring harness connectors, then slide the pad rearward and remove it.

Remove the screw that secures the instrument cluster trim to the passenger-side trim. Remove the screws from the outside edge of the trim panel. Disconnect the wiring harness connectors, then remove the trim panel.

Remove the instrument cluster screws and pull the cluster rearward enough to access the wiring harness connectors. Disconnect the connectors, then remove the instrument cluster.

Installation

Reconnect all wiring harnesses as you go. Position the instrument cluster in the instrument panel. Install the retaining screws and torque them to 14 inch-pounds with an inch-pounds torque wrench. Install the instrument cluster trim panel and screws. Torque the screws to 18 inch-pounds.

Align the dash pad with the instrument cluster. Slide the panel forward. Align the rear edge of the pad with instrument panel trim, then press down to engage the retainers. Install the dash pad screws and torque them to 18 inch-pounds.

Align each of the forward-facing air vents with their respective holes in the instrument panel. Push the vents into the panel until the retainers engage. Guide the forward edge of the defrost grille into position, then lower, and press fit the rear edge of the grille.

Press fit the trim panels to the windshield pillars. Connect the negative battery cable to the battery. Tighten the nut to 13 foot-pounds. Guide the rear of the seat position. Connect the wiring harness to the seat heater element, if equipped. Lower the seat, then push down and toward the rear of your Deville to engage the retainers.

Drive to your local dealership to have the instrument cluster programmed to your Deville if you replaced it.

Items you will need

  • Battery wrench

  • Masking tape

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Nut driver set

  • Socket set

  • Torque wrench

 How to Remove an Instrument Cluster on a 1966 Corvette

Open the hood of your Corvette and disconnect both battery cables. This can be done with a ratchet or a wrench.

Open your glove compartment and remove the screws holding the glove compartment in place.

Pull the glove compartment out of the dash and set it aside.

Remove the lower air distribution ducts from the area revealed by the removal of the glove compartment. They should pull out.

Pull off the console's side panels.

Take out the screws holding the console to the instrument panel. They will be along the front of the console.

Pull off the radio knobs, washers, bezels and nuts. They will come off by hand.

Unplug the antenna lead-in, the electrical harness and the speaker connectors from the back of the radio.

Remove the attaching bolt on the lower right side of the radio with a box wrench or a ratchet and socket.

Turn the radio to the left and pull it out of the left side of the console.

Disengage the retaining clips on the instrument panel bracket by pulling downward on them.

Pull the center instrument cluster out far enough to access the wires on the back side of it.

Disengage the electrical connector from the back of the cluster. It should pull out.

Pull off the steering column cover.

Take off the nuts holding the steering column to the dash bracket. They'll be along the top and may be removed with a box wrench or a ratchet and socket.

Take out the screws holding the lens to the bezel along the top and bottom of the cluster.

Slide the lens out of the bezel and set it aside.

Take out the screws holding the instrument panel to the cluster. They should be clearly visible along the side of the cluster.

Pull the instrument cluster toward you, put not all the way out. You must pull it forward just enough to access the cables on the back.

Unplug the wires on the back of the cluster. They should come out when pulled by hand.

Remove the instrument cluster from you Corvette.

Items you will need

  • Ratchet or wrench

  • Flathead screwdriver

 How to Remove the Instrument Cluster in a Jeep Wrangler

Remove the screws holding the lower driver's side trim valance on. Remove the valence and set it aside. Once the valence is removed, you should see the lower screws that hold the instrument cluster.

Pry the top trim piece from the dash. It is held in place by friction and should pop off. Set it aside. This should reveal the upper screws that hold the instrument cluster.

Using the steering wheel tilt lever, lower the steering wheel to its lowest setting.

Remove the screws holding the instrument cluster to the dash. Pull the cluster straight out to separate from dash.

Disconnect the two wiring harnesses connected to the back of the instrument cluster. You have now removed the cluster from your Jeep Wrangler.

Items you will need

  • Flat head screwdriver

  • Phillips head screwdriver

 How to Remove the Instrument Cluster in a Ford Explorer

Unscrew the two Phillips-head screws from the bezel that goes around the gauge cluster, using a Phillips-head screwdriver. Gently pull the bezel off the dashboard, exposing the gauge cluster assembly.

Unbolt the gauge cluster from the dashboard, using a 1/4-inch ratchet, extension and socket. Place the bolts to the side for use in reinstallation.

Pull out the gauge cluster with both hands, holding it securely. Adjust your grip so that the cluster is in one hand, and disconnect the harnesses leading to the cluster with your other hand.

Items you will need

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

  • 1/4-inch ratchet, extension and socket set

 How to Remove an Instrument Cluster on a Bonneville

Pop the hood. Disconnect the negative terminal on the battery with an open-end wrench. Pry out the trim plate around the instrument panel using your hands, then pull it up and towards the back of the car.

Tilt the steering column down with your hands. Remove the screws holding the steering column filler to the dashboard using the Phillips-head screwdriver. Then remove the dimmer and twilight sentinel control knob from the headlight switch. Unplug the cigar lighter plug and then pull the panel away from the dash.

Unscrew the instrument cluster from the dashboard using the Phillips-head screwdriver. Twist the cluster around so you can reach the connector on the back side. Unplug the connector and pull the cluster from the dashboard.

Items you will need

  • Open-end wrench set

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

 How to Remove an Instrument Cluster on a PT Cruiser

Remove the air filter housing cover, located in the engine compartment, by loosening the intake duct's clamp with a screwdriver and then releasing the cover's two spring clips, in order to gain access to the car battery.

Disconnect the negative cable from the car battery by loosening the black cable clamp nut. Use a wrench with an insulated handle for extra protection.

Pry off the trim caps for the A-pillar trim pieces. Pull out the heater/air conditioner control knobs, remove the power window switch and then unscrew and pry off the dashboard's center trim bezel.

Remove the screws for the instrument panel top cover with the screwdriver; disengage the clips along the cover's rear edge, using a flat-bladed tool; lift the rear edge and slide the cover to the rear to remove it.

Remove the left-end cover and knee bolster--grab the bolster at the top, pull it back sharply and rotate it out. Grab the instrument cluster bezel by the sides and pull it out to remove it.

Remove the instrument cluster's mounting screws (two are located near the bottom corners and two are located on the sides, near the top corners), using a screwdriver, and then separate the cluster from the instrument panel.

Disconnect the electrical connectors from the back of the instrument cluster and remove the cluster from the car.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Screwdriver

  • Flat-bladed tool