Tutorial on changing instrument panel color.
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This is a discussion on Tutorial on changing instrument panel color. within the Cockpit and Cabin forums, part of the Tutorials & DIY category; Let me start off by saying you can totally ruin your gauges if you’re not careful when doing this. DO ...

  1. #1
    Registered User zoinks's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Tutorial on changing instrument panel color.

    Let me start off by saying you can totally ruin your gauges if you’re not careful when doing this.
    DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK

    Ok, now that’s out of the way…

    First you will want to get either some red led replacement bulbs or some red bulb condoms which can be found at www.partsexpress.com I used the bulb condoms but I’m probably going to switch to leds.

    If you have a column mounted gauge, you will probably have to move it out of the way.

    Next remove the bezel and instrument cluster as shown below…
    There are three wiring harnesses to the cluster. It’s a pain to get to them as there is no slack in the harness.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails disassembly1.jpg  

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    Registered User zoinks's Avatar
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    Next take the cluster apart. There are several locking tabs. Below is a picture to help out…
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails disassembly2.jpg  

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    Registered User zoinks's Avatar
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    WARNING: The needles are very delicate so be warned. Also don't remove the needles because if you do it will probably mess the gauges up.

    Just replacing the bulbs won’t get you the color you’re looking for because of a green film on the back of the gauge face. In order to get that off you gotta scrape it. I used an assortment of precision screwdrivers and they worked well. The main problem is getting to the area you need scraped without damaging the needles.

    Be forewarned the area behind the fuel and temp gauges will make you go insane. Since there are two needles, it’s a pain getting in there. Mine still needs a bit of work in that area. After everything is scraped and wiped of debris then take a red sharpie and color the scraped areas. It’s best to color it twice to get better coverage.

    Here is a picture of the back of the face with the green film…

    ***EDIT***
    I Saw a tutorial on Nasioc where a strip of sandpaper was used in place of the screwdrivers to get the green film off. I haven't tryed this method but it seemed to work well. I would only be worried about scraping off too much of the black and thus making 'hot spots'. I just thought that I would throw that out if the screwdrivers don't work for you.
    ***EDIT***
    Last edited by zoinks; 08-19-2005 at 02:51 AM.

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    Registered User zoinks's Avatar
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    ok so here's before...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Before.jpg  

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    Registered User zoinks's Avatar
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    And here is a picture of a portion that has been scraped…
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails After.jpg  

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    Registered User zoinks's Avatar
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    It made things 1000x easier by cutting the face between the tach and speedo. Yeah you heard me cut the face. I know…I had to have a beer before that one too. It doesn’t really matter because the 3-ring face covers it right up.

    Here’s a pic of where I cut…
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Gaugecut.jpg  

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    Registered User zoinks's Avatar
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    Here is a picture of everything.

    Oh and before you put it back together make sure your gauges work. My temp didn’t work the first try. When you are scraping, the needles become dislodged and don’t travel freely. You just have to adjust them back. You can tell when they are in place because when you move the needle it kinda floats back to zero (except for the fuel gauge).

    Like I said it is a risky procedure but the outcome is worth it. I did think that I had screwed up a couple of times.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails red interior.JPG  

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    Registered User zoinks's Avatar
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    It looks better than the pics show. Now who has the nads (or equivilant) to try it?

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    Hey, I've decided to go with blue over red. Personally I like blue more than red.
    I've done the gauges, my aftermarket radio can be set in blue, and bought a blue glowing pedal set. I'm going to get to my clock within the next few days wiht a blue sharpie. So the only thing left is the A/C controls. I was wondering if you could give me a quick rundown on how to change those colors? It woudl be greatly appreciated.
    thanks a lot

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    Registered User zoinks's Avatar
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    It's been so long that I can't remember exactly where the bulbs are located... I think there are three of them and I think you have to pull the knobs off...here's a pic of how to get the trim off. I'll take a look tomorrow and get back to you. Honestly I just started pulling crap apart looking for bulbs. Also if you don't have bulb condoms a sharpie of your choice works for that as well.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails hvac.jpg  

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    Registered User zoinks's Avatar
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    Oh, and don't forget about these lil' buggers...pics a bit blurry but you get the point. And yeah I was torn between blue and red.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails fogcruisered.JPG  

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    Good post...
    Silver -02 Impreza WRX

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    K thanks a lot. Yeah I know how to get the trim off and all, i installed my radio and am currently trying to fig out how to splice an iPod power cable into my system. I've got a pretty good idea atm (http://clubwrx.net/forums/showthread.php?t=79181) Thanks a lot
    '03 Aspen white rex

    -Infinity Kappa Perfect 12D VQ running on a MTX audio 420D.
    -Kicker SS components (6.5") running on a hifonics saturn a4000
    -60 sq. ft of edead v1.2se

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    I'll post pictures of everything in blue once i'm done. I'm hoping thta itll be sexy!
    I'm also thinking of getting the black/blue leather seat covers. Anyone got any suggestions about the covers?
    '03 Aspen white rex

    -Infinity Kappa Perfect 12D VQ running on a MTX audio 420D.
    -Kicker SS components (6.5") running on a hifonics saturn a4000
    -60 sq. ft of edead v1.2se

  16. #15
    Registered User zoinks's Avatar
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    Ok so I went and opened up the HVAC and took some pics for you. I took out my radio but you could probably do it with it in....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails hvac front.jpg  

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