This Instructable shows how to disassemble the dash bezel and gauge cluster, remove it from the instrument panel, clean and polish the bezel surround, and identify the gauge illumination and instrument indicator lamps of the gauge cluster.
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The view of the dash, bezel and gauges before we begin
A look at the current mileage on the odometer, and the trip meter. Write down the trip meter mileage if you're keeping track of your gas mileage, as it usually gets reset from pushing the stem while moving things around.
Just look at all the dust accumulated on the lens and black bezel. It's way overdue for a good detail cleaning and polishing, isn't it?
Here we see the indicator lights lit with the key turned ON, as they would be just before starting the engine.
Begin the disassembly by removing the 2 screws beneath the hood of the bezel.
Use a thin ruler to work under the edge of the 4-way flasher switch surround. Gently work it upward on one side then the other.
The 4-way flasher switch popped free of the dash. The cable is a little short, but it's just long enough to allow you to move it to one side.
Squeeze the connector release clip buttons on the cable plug, and gently pull the plug free of the switch. Remove the screw from just inside the switch mounting hole. BE CAREFUL, don't drop the screw! Very hard to retrieve if it clatters down inside the dash!
Now we gently work the A/C vent side up using a thin screwdriver. Go slowly all around the edges, starting here by the A/C vent first.
Now slowly work the bezel hood away from the dash lip using the thin screwdriver. Use caution not to gouge or scratch the bezel surfaces.
A few notes on how to restore the bezel surround nice and shiny black like new again. Please do not use Armor-All or similar products for this job.
Once you have it out in the open, thoroughly clean it with a glass cleaner type product. Wipe it dry, then apply Rain-X liquid to a clean paper towel and rub in well. Repeat another application of Rain-X, working it in generously. Allow it to dry a few minutes, then buff it out using a separate, clean, dry terrycloth towel. Notice how deep and shiny black it now is! I also did this to the clear lens covering the gauges (after removing it from the cluster, avoid getting Rain-X or fingers on the gauge faces).
Pull the trip odometer plunger straight out off the shaft, then unclip the six tabs holding the lens in place to remove it.
Once the bezel is free around the edges, slowly roll it toward you out from the dash. Release the steering wheel tilt lock and lower it down. Once you have the bezel free of the dash, unplug the digital clock connector, just squeeze the release tab and pull it free.
Here's the view after removal of the dash bezel. You can just see the four screw holding the gauge cluster in place in the dash.
A closer look at the screws on the right side near the fuel and temperature gauges. Carefully remove them with a #2 Phillips screwdriver.
NOTE: To avoid dropping the screws into the dash, use a small piece of chewing gum pressed into the screw, even if you've got a magnetic screwdriver, they can still get away from you!
Do the same with the two screws on the left side by the tachometer.
Tilt the gauge cluster assembly out of the dash. Be careful not to scratch up the lens. The wiring harness plugs are different sizes, and are keyed in a certain way to avoid mixing them up during assembly. The two grey plugs at the far left and right lower corners can be a bit tough to pull out while holding the catch release clip depressed. Try a small screwdriver or the metal rule to hold the release while applying upward pressure to pull the plug out.
I'll describe here several additional steps I forgot to take photos of (my hands were full and trying to do a lot of things before it gets dark out!)
Note the three grey tabs at the front of the white housing, there are also three at the other side. These tabs secure the clear lens to the white body of the cluster housing. Gently lift them using the small metal rule I showed earlier, or similar tool. I removed it to really clean it good, but DO NOT TOUCH THE GAUGE FACES OR NEEDLES. Fingers will leave oily fingerprints which don't come off!
Once the plugs have been disconnected you can take the gauge assembly out of the car for easier handling and cleaning. Note the white box at the left side of the cluster. This is the shift indicator lamp housing. It lights up to show what gear has been selected with the automatic transmission selector.
A closer look at the ribbon circuit covering the back of the gauge cluster. You can see the window of the shift indicator lamp housing at left after it has been removed.
You can also see the lower two lens securing tabs at the bottom.
A view of the center area of the cluster. The raised area is the back of the speedometer.
The right side of the gauge cluster, behind the tachometer. Note the two types of lamp holders, which both twist-lock into the cluster housing. The Brown bulbholders are Gauge Ilumination bulbs, and the Black bulbholders are Indicator bulbs for the various annunciators on the instrument panel.
Here we have removed one of the gauge illumination bulbs. Factory illumination bulbs have a blue plastic sleeve over them, to make the light appear less yellowish.
To remove a bulb, twist the bulbholder Counter-Clockwise to the Left. When removing and replacing bulbs, try to do them one at a time, to avoid mixing them up, or inserting them into the wrong openings. Not all of the openings are used in this case. This Civic uses six Illumination Bulbs. The bulbs are #74's.
I will be doing a replacement upgrade to blue LEDs soon, to improve the appearance of the instrument lighting. I'm ordering everything from www.V-LEDS.com. Check out their full line of plug 'n' play LEDS for all your car's bulbs, they are going to look very cool!
Looks kinda' empty! Once you're done cleaning everything, carefully reverse the steps of this Instructable and put it all back in place.