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Old 12-30-2004, 05:14 PM   #1
Trunk_Monkey
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World Rally Blue

Default Interior Color Change Tutorial: Gauge Cluster

Gauge Cluster Color Change Tutorial (Without Removing Needles)

What you need:

8 (.2)Lamp Covers CLICK ME
4 (.12)Lamp Covers CLICK ME
Philips Screwdriver
Sandpaper (220) or Nail Polish Remover
Procedure:
Drop down steering column to lowest position:
Unscrew the two philips screws holding the black trim around the gauges(red circled), then pull the surround towards you to release the two clips at the bottom(blue circled):
Slide out the surround by the side of the steering wheel as shown below:
There are 3 philips screws to be removed (circled red)
Pull the cluster towards you, then push the top of it away from you so it's laying on its back, then slide it towards you, if you have a boost gauge, you might need to push the soft rubber surround down to get the cluster out, dont be scared.
Now remove the three green clips in the back of the cluster, try not to cross them over or mix them up, but they should stay in place well.
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Last edited by Trunk_Monkey; 03-25-2005 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 12-30-2004, 05:14 PM   #2
Trunk_Monkey
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With the cluster out, put it on a clean table and remove the clear plastic cover, there should be clips holding it in (8 clips - circled red), then remove the black spacer piece (5 clips - circled blue), slide off the black face cover.
After these steps are done it should look like the picture below:
Cut several strips of 100 grit sandpaper into 1x8" strips or so.
Here's a time when you need to borrow a hand for about an hour. What you are going to do is slip the sandpaper behind the thin gauge face and move it back and forth like two lumberjacks sawing - while the helper is pushing down from the top on spots that need to be sanded. The back of the gauge face is covered with black paint with a thin green film under that, you need to sand through the black paint and the film, you only need to sand under the numbers you want to show up. Check your progress by bending the gauge face and shining a light down the gap, if it lights up white you got rid of the film, if its green you didnt. If anyone has questions just ask, I can't think of a better way to explain it at the moment.You need to get over the fact that you will need to gently move the needle pointers out of your way when you are sanding, for the speedo at 180 MPH; for the tach 12k RPM. Also, the fuel and engine temp wont move super freely, thats normal, you can still slowly push them out of the way and back when your done. My best tip is just take your time! Below are some sanding positions you might want to try:

Notice that there are little black rings under the gauge needles, if they pop up, it makes it easier to slip paper under it, just make sure you push them back down before re-assembly. You know there down if the needles move easily - as if in a liquid. All they really do is hold the thing face against the frame of the gauge, they come on and off really easily, the picture below is an attempt at showing them.
When they are popped up and with sandpaper under, the peach thing is your finger or something you are using to apply pressure from the top, make sure the rough side of the paper is facing you.
Now you need to unscrew the bulbs from the back (6 bulbs - circled red) and put new little bulb covers on them, usually 2 on each bulb.
Reverse order of install to put your car back together.
Note: This will reset your tripometer, not odometer.
Note: This may sometimes take more than one bulb cover to get the desired color, on a side note, I tried blue using the lamp cover method, it came out a little too teal for my taste, the red color spectrum works far better.

Modification of your car involves risks and may void your warranty. I can not be held responsible for the modifications you consciously decide to undertake nor the results of doing so. If you believe anything is incorrect in this post or you have something to add please PM me.

Last edited by Trunk_Monkey; 03-25-2005 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 12-30-2004, 05:31 PM   #3
Kontradictions
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thank you! Where did you get your bulb condoms?
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Old 12-30-2004, 05:33 PM   #4
Trunk_Monkey
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Its all linkied! Click on Lamp Covers in the "Things You Need" section.

Radio and HVAC: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=690333
Gauge Cluster: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=690378
Key Ring: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=690308
Factory Boost Gauge: Coming soon
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Old 12-30-2004, 05:54 PM   #5
migs76
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you should have all 3 threads stickied.
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Old 12-30-2004, 05:55 PM   #6
Trunk_Monkey
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Thanks ^ that makes this entire day of doing them worthwhile.
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Old 12-31-2004, 02:20 AM   #7
WRXGuyInUSA
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Dude... you rock....
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Old 01-01-2005, 04:06 PM   #8
Trunk_Monkey
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They got stickied in electrical and lighting, if anyone wanted to know.
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Old 01-01-2005, 08:42 PM   #9
gerbs
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wow sweet, i think this kinda gave me the confidence i needed to do this mod... :P

*orders bulb covers*


except one thing -

Quote:
There are little black rings under the gauge needles, if they pop up, it makes it easier to slip paper under it, just make sure you push them back down before re-assembly. You know there down if the needles move easily - as if in a liquid. The picture below tries to show these little rings but its hard to show.
where are these little black things you speak of? i can't really see them clearly in the pic provided up there. i'd rather not touch the needles at all.. but if it makes it that much easier, can you explain a little bit more on where they are, and how/where to lift them up, or whatever? and then how to put them back.. i'm a tad confused :P
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Old 01-01-2005, 08:57 PM   #10
Trunk_Monkey
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Youll need to touch the needles anyways to move them out of the way, so before you start be at peace with that fact, dont worry the needles move freely. Heres the ring I was talking about:

It just lightly clips the face onto the surface so it wont come up and impair the flow of the needle. You can pry it up with a screwdriver if necessary but it will come up when you start slipping sandpaper under face of the gauge. I'll edit it to include this pic, thanks for telling me that part was unclear. I want these tutorials to be as simple as possible to encourage people like you to do what they want with their car, so if anything else is unclear, I made a mistate on something, or even if spelling is off please inform me of it.

Last edited by Trunk_Monkey; 01-01-2005 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 01-01-2005, 10:05 PM   #11
Trunk_Monkey
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Added another pic to help explain the sanding process and the popped out ring.
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Old 01-02-2005, 12:00 AM   #12
gerbs
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awesome, i get it now... those pictures also helped me understand the 'one person push down with your finger while the other person sands back and forth' idea. (i wasn't sure that there was another layer of plastic directly under the black gauge face.

more questions:

1. So the entire time we're sanding the speedo, it'll have to be in the '180mph' position in order to fit the sandpaper in? Why is this?

2. Pretty often you see the threads when people break their needles.. Those threads scare the crap out of me, ... I guess the risk is when you try to take the needles off, correct? You're saying moving them around isn't a risk at all?

3. does the needle actually stick out that far with the ring off, like in your pictures?
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Old 01-02-2005, 12:45 AM   #13
Trunk_Monkey
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1: No that just seemed to be a good out of the way spot not covering any numbers, so you can push everywhere.
2: I couldnt imagine breaking it just moving it around, they are stronger than they look, like I said just take your time, link me to one of those needle breaking threads, I'd like to see what they did wrong.
3: Thats way outta proportion, just take it out and look at it, if you get freaked out come back here and ask, it'll all come togther when you actually see it.
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Old 01-02-2005, 01:00 AM   #14
Kenji815
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wonderful guide i can't wait to try it.. i have 2005.. i hope it will be pretty much the same..
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Old 01-02-2005, 02:01 AM   #15
AK_2002_WRX
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are you gonna do it to your boost gauge? i have the factory gauge pod and would like to make em match the STi's gauge cluster...
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Old 01-03-2005, 02:13 PM   #16
OCrex
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This might be a stupid question but instead of sanding the film off, could you spray a little carb cleaner on a paper towel and rub the film off? Do you think this would disolve or eat up the plastic?
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Old 01-03-2005, 04:18 PM   #17
Trunk_Monkey
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Im not familiar with the effects of carb cleaner on plastic, the film is plastic and its sort of sandwiched in plastic, so the carb cleaner couldnt really differentiate between the two. Sanding is definately the best way, its not that hard, I did it without an extra hand with a screwdriver in my mouth pushing down from the top

BTW, I will do within a week, hopefully :
Boost gauge
Cruise and fog buttons
Clock(when I find a better way)
Window buttons (maybe)
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Old 01-03-2005, 09:16 PM   #18
AK_2002_WRX
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keep us updated. id like to see how the boost gauge comes out.... then i can do the boost gauge, volt, and oil temp
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Old 01-03-2005, 09:20 PM   #19
Skell
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hey, trunk is there anyway you can see what kind of "MM" space there is between your needles and the gauge faces? maybe that might help some people thinking theyve broken their clusters by removing their needles..

maybe take a ruler or something and measure the gap??

*just a crazy idea that popped into my empty head*

you could maybe re-use one of the sandpaper diagram pics..
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Old 01-03-2005, 10:25 PM   #20
Trunk_Monkey
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Dont pop out your needles, I cant imagine them popping out on their own, they take ALOT of force to pull off. The tach and speedo should move extremely smoothly, while the fuel and temp should be harder to move. But to answer your question I'll take out my gauge face again, I'd guess it's about ~1.5mm (from the base portion fo the needle), BTW make sure your ring comes back down.

Thanks for all the imput so far,
Jerry
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Old 01-04-2005, 03:27 AM   #21
hail2theTheif
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do you know by any chance if this will work with older version cars such as my 01 RS? seems like it would be the same. also....for the hvac was there any green film on the back there or just bulb covers?
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Old 01-04-2005, 04:00 AM   #22
King Fish
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anyone figure out how to do the 05?
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Old 01-04-2005, 09:54 AM   #23
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Nice write up ... Thanks ...
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:49 PM   #24
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Is there a thread/write-up on how to change the color of the factory boost gauge? I will be very interested in that as well. Thanks.
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Old 01-04-2005, 04:11 PM   #25
Trunk_Monkey
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Seems to me that thats the #1 request, so I'll put it next on my to do list, Ill try and get it up within a week for everyone, really swamped with work, sorry.
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