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So over the past winter I did some work to my gauge cluster, I added mk4 needles with red backlighting, along with some nice blue gauge overlays, and re-bulbed the rest of the cars button and switches to match.

In the process, I managed to break my tachometer and speedometer needles, and they needed replacement, so I went through it once, and the speedo replacement worked, but the donor tach was bad, and always dropped ~800 rpm lower than it actually was.

Yesterday, I went in and tore it all up again, and decided that I'd make a DIY incase anyone was wondering about how to replace gauge cluster motors and what all is needed.. Hope this helps someone out and makes their life easier. The benefit to repairing as opposed to replacing is that the cluster stays original to your car (correct mileage and the like)

#### YOU CAN RUIN YOUR CLUSTER IF YOU ARE NOT CAREFUL SO TAKE YOUR TIME AND BE PATIENT. IF YOU RUIN ANYTHING WHILE DOING THIS I AM NOT AT FAULT.####

TIME REQUIRED
- About 1-2 hours, depending on your experience with this sort of thing.

REQUIRED TOOLS // SUPPLIES

- Broken Gauge Cluster
- Donor Gauge Cluster
- T5, T7, T9 TORX Jeweler-type screwdrivers (Nice kobalt sets are available at lowes, about 13 bucks)
- Soldering Iron (lowes : 15 bucks - if you go for a butane one, be sure to pick up some extra fuel)
- Desoldering Iron (not REQUIRED however, HIGHLY recommended. it's well worth the ten bucks i spent on it at radioshack)


Left to right : Soldering Iron, Screwdriver Set, De-Soldering Iron

So from here we can begin disassembling the two clusters.

Figure [1] : Gauge Cluster.

Congratulations, you should have two gauge clusters infront of you! You are about to embark on a mystical journey that will keep you on the edge of your seat for weeks!!... or maybe are about to spend 2-3 hours at a workbench...

Figure [2] : Begin Disassembling.

The back of your clusters should look like this (minus the tape). The yellow highlights show placement of Eight (8) - T9 TORX screws that need to be removed. Remove all of these screws, and place them aside.

Once all of the T9's have been removed, gently pull the front off of the cluster (lens and black plastic pieces - they come off as one, DO NOT pry them apart)

NOTE : I Highly recommend keeping everything you remove from the two clusters in separate containers. Being organized will reduce the likely hood of losing parts!

Figure [3] : What you should have in front of you post [2]

This is what you should have in front of you now. Two separate pieces. The yellow highlights are there to point out a ground/12V connection (used for lighting) so be careful.

Note : When handling circuit boards and the like, ensure that you are grounded. It is possible to short out components if you are statically charged.

Figure [4] : Removing the Circuit Board Backing (white piece) part 1

There is a little clip that is holding the white backing onto the chip, push the little clip over, and lift up on the board. See next step before trying to yank the board off.

Figure [5] : Removing the Circuit Board Backing (white piece) part 2

Flip over and you'll see that the two wiring harness connectors have little tabs holding the backing to the board, pop them over, and carefully slide the board off of the backing.

Figure [6] : What you should have in front of you post [5]

You should have 3 pieces in front of you now, the lens/cover, the circuit board and gauges, and the white plastic backing.

Now is where things get a little more involved and messy, patience is REALLY important. MAKE SURE YOU ARE GROUNDED

Figure [7] : Removing the Needles VERY CAREFULLY

This is what I would consider the most difficult step. You can easily break or damage the donor motor (or a good motor in the receiving cluster) if you rush this. Take your time, and twist the needle around as shown, while pulling the needle up. BE PATIENT.
-You can rotate the needle around as much as you like, going past your redline, will not hurt it.
-You do not need to remove the temp/fuel needles (unless replacing one of those too) You'll see why in the next steps.
-DO NOT just pry the needles straight up and off. You WILL destroy the motor. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!!!

Figure [8] : No needles on my cluster! (post [7])

Circuitboard, gauges, no needles.

Figure [9] : Removing the black plastic and gauges! part 1

The yellow highlights show the next set of Eight (8) TORX bolts to be removed. Use your T7 TORX screwdriver to remove these.

Figure [10] : Removing black plastic and gauges! part 2

The yellow highlights show some little plastic tabs and the backing of the fuel/temp gauges. carefully pop the little tabs through their holes, and push the three connectors for the gauges through. push evenly on all three gauge connectors, they come out easy if you're careful and push evenly. Keep in mind you have to do this for both sides, they are identical. your gauges should now be separate from the circuit board.

Figure [11] : oh the parts and pieces! post [10]

well now you have a buttload of parts that just came out. It's pretty straight forward, but i tried to color code it just so you had an idea of what goes where. In the picture, keep in mind everything will reassemble from the top down (gauges -> screens and plastic bits ->board)
- Blue : displays, these may fall apart when you take the gauges off the board, that is just fine. They go back together. When re-assembling put them together and back inside the gauge portion, it's easier to do that then try and set them up on the board.
- Orange : buttons, these are for your clock/odometer. Same tip as the displays for reassembly
- Yellow : Speedo/Tach needle motors. What you're after!

Figure [12] : Motor Removal

Remove the two (2) - T5 TORX screws. These are highlighted in orange.
Remove the solder - The motor is now only being held on by 4 soldered connections. use your de-soldering iron to remove the solder (duh). Be careful, if you leave heat on for too long, you might pull up the circuit boards copper trace (metal inside the board) This is very bad. The circuit board will be useless if you do that.

Figure [13] : Pull that sucker out!

so now your motor should be free. You may have to give it a slight tug to get it out, but it should come out pretty easily. If it is stuck in there and you cant get it out, check for any solder you may have missed.

Figure [14] : Free motor! (post pull out [13])

Motor is out!

Repeat the steps for your remaining cluster, and then re-solder the motors back in. Again, be careful while soldering, if you apply too much heat you can ruin the boards copper trace

Once that's all done, just follow the steps in the reverse order for re-assembly! Before closing up the final screws however, you need to reset your gauges

RESETTING YOUR GAUGES
In the above process, your gauges have become inevitably become messed up and need to be re-set. This is done manually, and is really easy.

Swing the (tach and speedo) gauges around counter-clockwise until the needle lines up with the zero mark on the tach and speedo. The needle will spring back clockwise a hair. In the next pictures, you can see where the tach/speedo needles should align after being re-set. As for the temp/fuel gauges, you swing these suckers around just past the zero. They will not spring back as the tach/speedo did. See pictures for the correct alignment.





Sorry for pic quality on those, the lens from the donor was a mess...

After alignment, just put the lens back on and plug er back in! I would recommend going for a quick test-drive before putting all the trim back over the gauge. That stuff is a pain to remove!

If you're looking to add some flair to your cluster, you can follow this DIY to light your needles. Thanks bluedevilcabby! : Link to DIY

Final Result!:beer:






Good Luck! Feel free to PM with any questions!
 

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imo, this is prolly one of the best results i've seen of interior lighting mods.
good work man :thumbup:
ayo Bacon, holla at me man! ;)

edit: Brad u still have the White GTI u were working on?
 

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Looks nice. I never really liked the MkIV red/blue combo, but you pulled it off nicely.

How did you do the HVAC controls? EL lighting?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
imo, this is prolly one of the best results i've seen of interior lighting mods.
good work man :thumbup:
ayo Bacon, holla at me man! ;)

edit: Brad u still have the White GTI u were working on?
Thanks! I believe the same, if not it's very similar to the red jetta Dutchsider sold a while back.
I've never owned a white GTI... have had my black 98 GLS for six years. wrong brad perhaps?:beer:

Looks nice. I never really liked the MkIV red/blue combo, but you pulled it off nicely.

How did you do the HVAC controls? EL lighting?
blue backlighting, same material as the gauges. put in a piece behind the HVAC controls, and then painted the spots i wanted red in fluorescent orange (on the back of the black trim piece)

desoldering iron? Why have I never heard of this, ad why do I not own one yet? :(
I have no idea. they are awesome. It's more or less a soldering tip with a hole in it that goes up into a solder sucker... get one if you do anything like this often... http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062731

Nice one Brad! Somebody should sticky this ish. :thumbup:
thanks dude, looking forward to autocross this weekend

Thanks dudely, I'm going to need it :banghead:
Good Luck on finals, i have 2 huge projects and 3 finals next week :(
 

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ahah sorry man, yeah u might be right.
either way, double props to good lighting mods and work.
how did u get some of the things to look orange?
like i can see the detail on the window switches, the arrows are half orange/half red.
the LCD's on your odo are orange - dope. :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
ahah sorry man, yeah u might be right.
either way, double props to good lighting mods and work.
how did u get some of the things to look orange?
like i can see the detail on the window switches, the arrows are half orange/half red.
the LCD's on your odo are orange - dope. :thumbup:
Actually, everything is red, ill get a few pics tonight....

I threw a blanket over my car and I couldn't quite cover all windows so some of the extra light messed with my camera I think

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk
 

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Hey maybe a stupid question but i took my cluster apart to change it all to red and i didtnt read this and i pulled the needles so that the motors are all screwed. the cars a vr6 but i have a 2.0l cluster would the motors work the same?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hey maybe a stupid question but i took my cluster apart to change it all to red and i didtnt read this and i pulled the needles so that the motors are all screwed. the cars a vr6 but i have a 2.0l cluster would the motors work the same?
heh, until about a month ago I wouldnt have been able to give you an answer. Yes, the 2.0 motors will work as long as you use the VR circuit board you're fine!

As far as I can tell, if you keep your gauge overlays paired with their circuit board, you shouldn't have an issue.
 

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Found this in a search and was wondering how he did the climate controls with the part blue / red lighting setup? Especially the temp control, that is awesome!!

Does anyone know?
 
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