Instrument Gauge Face Install
Compliments of myFordFocus.com Forum Member: MMI-ZX3
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Small flathead screwdriver
- Needle removing tool (recommended)
- 7mm socket
- Needle nose pliers (optional)
Time to complete: 2 hours
- Remove 3 screws from top of bezel.
- Gently pull bezel outwards. It is held in by 5 clips. Two at the center bottom, one on each end and one to the left of the coin tray.
- Remove the plug from the hatch release by pressing and holding the top of the connector and pulling it out.
- Remove the rubber cover that connects to the steering column. It is held in place by 5 rubber clips molded into the rubber. Just tug on it from the edges and they will all come out. I tucked this piece up and under itself to keep it out of the way.
- Remove the 4 socket head screws holding the cluster in place using a 7mm socket on a nutdriver. The nutdriver is a lot easier than trying to fit a socket wrench in there.
- Pull the cluster forward and you will see two tabs holding the face onto the cluster. There are 2 on the bottom as well. Using a small, thin flathead screwdriver pry each tab up and out. The whole face and cover will now come right off.
- Before doing anything else you are going to have to mark the needle location. Start the car and let it run to full operating temperature. Now mark exactly where the temp, tach, and fuel gauge needles are on the face. Make sure the car is at its lowest idle speed. I used a gold hobby paint pen with a very small point but a colored sharpie should work too. Just make sure it is something that will show up on the black and is about the same thickness as the tip of the needles. The speedo is a little tricky and I will discuss this later.
- Pull the cluster out and to either the left or right to where you have access to the back. Disconnect the plug by pressing the white tab down and pulling the black lever over it. This will push the plug out slightly. Now pull the plug completely out. You will have to wiggle it a little to get it out but don't worry. Nothing else is holding it in.
- Take the cluster inside or into a clean working area. Somewhere you can sit down and work with it.
- This step is probably not necessary but I did it just as a back-up: Hold the cluster straight in front of you as if you were looking at it in the dash. Let the needles rest where they want and then mark those spots.
- Lay the cluster down on a flat surface. Now remove the three needle stops. You can do this by hand. Just gently pull them upwards wiggling them a little as you do. they should come right out. If they are too much trouble to do by hand just use a pair of needle nose pliers. Be careful as they are only plastic.
- Now for the needle removal. I HIGHLY recommend using a needle removal tool. Most of the better kits come with one. If not the shops that sell them should have them available. Place the tool under the needle cup away from the needle itself. You can turn the needle to get better access under it. VERY GENTLY pry up and back. Just like a shoe horn. Do this with all four. I laid mine out just like I removed them just in case there was a slight difference. this same procedure can be used to remove the trip meter reset.
- Now it is time for the removal of the original face. Find an edge and gently pull it upwards. Slowly peel it back and all the way off working from one side to the other. Lay this aside.
- After the old face is off remove the residue left on the clear face. I used alcohol, cotton swabs and my fingernail. Do not saturate the swab and do small areas so there is no chance of liquid getting down inside the cluster and causing damage. This step is probably not necessary but I did it just to insure proper adhesion.
- You are now ready to apply the new face. Peel back the backing and line the face up with the speedo and tack needle holes. When they are lined up let the ends rest. Do not press down yet. It may take a few times to get it perfectly lined up. Once it is lined up get a tissue or t/p and rub all across the face, pressing down as you do. Make sure to get the edges and all around the center. Do this until you are sure it is completely adhered. Looks real purdy..LOL
- You can now replace the needle stops and trip meter reset by press them gently down into their respective holes.
- Now for the fun part. Needle installation. Take the cluster and the old face back out to the car. Plug in the cluster. Just push the plug in and pull the black lever back over. Start the car and again let it get to full operating temperature. Again make sure the car is at its lowest idle. Using the old face line up the fuel needle exactly where the old one was. Make sure not to move it while pressing it in. When you are sure you are comfortable with it's location press in. Now shut the car off and start it back up. It should go back to the same location. If not use the needle remover and repeat the process. It may take a few times. When it is right do the same with the tach and temp. Make sure each needle to shut the car off and start it back up to make sure it goes to where it is supposed to.
- I learned the speedo the hard way. I figured if I let it rest against the stop it would be right. Well after road testing it with a friend doing the same speed it ended up being 5 mph over. What I did is found a nice straight road. I had my friend go exactly 25 mph. I distanced myself in a steady pace behind by counting the lines in the road. When she hit 25 and held it she put her flashers on. While maintaining speed I lined up the needle and pressed it in. Just to be sure I lead this time doing 40 with her trailing. I didn't tell her how fast I would be going. I got it right the first time. Make sure to do this on a back road. One that is not heavily traveled. I don't recommend doing it on I95 doing 80mph LOL. This process was a pita but it was necessary.
- After the needles are in their proper position you can reassemble everything by reversing steps 1-6. You now have some badass white face gauges staring at you.
The only problem I ran into is I forgot to make sure the hatch release plug was clear before putting the cluster back in. Luckily I discovered it after only putting only two screws in. All in all this was a pretty fun mod with no headaches.