Most of you that have been following Lady's progress over the years have come to realize that my mods provide either increased functionality or improved reliability. BUT.....(and notice that was a BIG BUT)......every now and then you gotta do something for your Jeep (especially if she is a Lady) that falls outside of the performance and functionality arena. That is what this mod is all about. Lady has faithfully provided me with more than 3 years of off-roading pleasure. She has never left me stranded on the trail and only rarely needs the winch to get me back home. So, this mod is being done purely to dress her up and make her feel like the Lady she really is. So, don't give me no crap about "those perddy gauges" because you know it will come back around to you and you'll be fixing a blown u-joint on the trail while I sit and watch! [insert biggest grin here]
Saturday morning arrived and I headed off to the north end of town to meet up with Jim, the guy that is JeepWhiteGauges.Com. Jim and I met by chance when I responded to his post on the local e-mail reflector. We chatted for about 20 minutes on the phone and he explained the what and why of his request to install a set of white overlays on my TJ instrument cluster. The plan was to install the overlays at his place (he has lots of room in his garage to work on a Jeep....unlike mine!), document the steps, and take some photos to fiinsh up his install instructions. Jim did his work from a '97 instrument cluster that he got from somewhere. He is a YJ owner and so had not previously had the opportunity to take a TJ dashboard apart in order to remove the instrument cluster. That is where I figured into the equations.....one TJ and its owner that was willing to give it a try.
With that out of the way, let's get started on the project. First step is to get the gauge cluster out of the dash.
First, remove the two screws that secure the dash panel in
place. Once these two screws are out, you can pull the panel straight
back. There is a rubber boot that allows the headlight switch knob to pull
through the panel without the need to remove anything else.
Next, remove the plastic defroster panel from beneath the windshield. This plastic panel is held in with clips (no screws). Put your fingers between the panel the windshield and pull up and back on the panel. Work the panel loose from the mounting holes and you move from one side of the Jeep to the other.
With the defroster panel out of the way, you can gain access to the three screws that secure the top of the instrument bezel in place. This bezel must be removed before you can gain access to the screws that hold the instrument cluster in place. Note the use of the stubby screwdriver. It is most handy to get these screws out.
Two screws, one in each lower corner of the bezel, must also be removed. Once you have removed these two screws, you may slide the bezel off of the instrument cluster.
Don't give up yet...you are almost there! Remove the four screws that hold the instrument cluster in the dash. When these screws are removed, the instrument cluster is free to be removed. The two large multi-pin electrical connects that secure attach to the back of the panel are attached to the dash too. You will feel some resistance as you pull the cluster towards the steering wheel. This is normal and is just the connectors way of letting you know that you are separating them.
OK...that is it. With the electrical connectors now apart,
continue removing the cluster from the dash. Set it over on a clean
surface and grab something cool to drink. You are one third done and it is
time to celebrate!
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