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How To: Remove Gen 4 Instrument Cluster

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#1 Bull Geek

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 08:46 PM

Tools Required:
Ratchet or spinner handle
7mm socket
8mm socket
Ford DIN radio removal keys
ZipLoc bags, cups or some other way to store bolts
T15 torx bit (column shift only)
Automotive trim removal tools (helpful but not necessary).

(optional for odometer adjustment)
T15 torx bit
very flat straight edge

ICP=integrated control panel, the radio and HVAC controls.

Click the picture for a larger image.

Obviously it's up to you, but taking your ratchet and a 8mm socket to the negative terminal on the battery may be a good idea considering you will be working with electronics. Make sure your parking brake is on or the wheels are chocked as the shifter is coming out of park at one point.

First, take the 8mm socket and attack the two screws up under the column:
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They are gold/copper color and near the OBD-II port. You'll feel them if you don't want to bend down at see them. Once you remove them, give the kick panel a few tugs and it should give way. There are some clips holding it on as well. If you are stuck halfway, you might it useful to use the flashlight to look around to see what's holding it on.

Next, removing the radio involves using the two Ford DIN radio removal keys:
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Insert both of them into the slot and push them in until they are sticking out about 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Then take your thumbs and push the inside side of each key outwards and start pulling...the ICP should pop right out. Keep pressure on pushing the keys in as well, so the radio doesn't get stuck. You can disconnect the various cables on the back of the unit and set it aside. If your ICP is stuck, try wrapping a small cloth over a small flat head screw driver. Shimmy it between the ICP and the surround to see if you can wiggle the unit out. If not...you'll need to reach up behind the dash and work with the clips. The clips Ford used are not a super great design. Disconnect any connections on the back of the ICP and set it aside

Floor shift models will find it ideal to put their keys in, turn the key to "RUN" and place the shifter in "1". Floor shift models can also go ahead and tilt the wheel all the way down as well.

Now you should see 5 screws holding on your ICP bezel.
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Take the 7mm socket and remove each of those 5 bolts. There are also two bolts of the same size behind the ashtray. Pull the ashtray out, push down on the tongue, and pull the ashtray out.

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Remove those 2 screws as well.

I used a cup to dump all the screws into. A ZipLoc bag is a good idea as well. Grab around the ICP opening and give a good tug. Plastic clips embedded in the ICP surround and those screws are holding it in place. There is a clip holding the ICP surround next to the kick panel you previously removed, that can be difficult as well. *NOTE* You can also leave the screws in the ashtray attached and fold the ICP surround down, but it's best not to do this multiple times, you can only flex the metal tabs so much.

Next, remove the two 7mm bolts in the top of the instrument cluster surround.
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Now, column shift models (floor shift models have already done this), go ahead and put your key in the ignition, turn it to the "RUN" position and shift down into "1". Also tilt the wheel all the way down.

There is one 7MM screw holding that bezel on to the top-left of the ICP surround area . It's right below the row of warning lamps on the far right of the instrument cluster. It holds the upper instrument cluster surround to the dashboard.
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Now it's time to start pulling off the upper instrument cluster surround (the one with the vents, light switch, etc). A metal trim remover is not as ideal as it can put blemishes in your dash. Harbor Freight sells a kit of 6 plastic trim removal tools for about $5.
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They won't scratch and harm the soft upper dash as much. Don't be afraid to try griping at different angles, just requires a little pulling. Use the tool accordingly. Once you have it loosened out of the dash, you have one more step before you fully remove it.

Unfortunately, the G4 headlight switch knob does not pop off as easily as the G3. You can either stick a small, flathead screwdriver (wrapped in a cloth) in the slot between the dash and the bottom of the light switch. Then start prying away at it. OR (the easier method) Once you have popped out the upper dash trim, you should be able to push the headlight switch out through the opening. Disconnect the cables and set the headlight switch aside.
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Now you can fully remove the upper dash trim. Start by pulling on the upper part that goes around the instrument cluster. Be warned there is a plastic wedge shaped tongue/tab in the middle. It will require bending of the plastic to make it pop out correctly. If you have a leather wrapped wheel, be careful not to scratch or cut the leather (consider wrapping the upper part with a cloth, I sliced mine up in two places the 1st time I did this). The upper dash trim requires manipulating the shifter position (column shift models) and swiveling the trim around the steering column and pulling up on it towards the roof of the car.

This is the time to also disconnect or pop out the various buttons. Cars with traction control have a disconnect on the underside of the button. Many 2003-2004 cars without adjustable pedals that have the blank out grommet have the wiring in place, which will need to be disconnected. Cars with the adjustable pedals also have the same wire to disconnect on the underside. The message center buttons on the 2004-7 models also have a disconnect

Eventually it will pop out.
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Now you should have a good view of your instrument cluster. There are 4 7mm screws holding it in place.
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(2000-2003 models) There are two, 2" long connectors that go into the back of the cluster. They are at opposite ends near the top of the cluster. They have clips on the top of the connectors.
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(2004-2007 models) There is one connector on top of the instrument cluster. This uses a more European style connection to the cluster, typical of VDO electrical components.
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If you are a floor shift model, continue on. Otherwise...if you are a column shift model, this is an ideal time to remove the PRNDD1 indicator. This requires the T15 torx bit. There are two small T15 on opposite ends of the bottom of the PRNDD1 indicator. Be careful and don't let the cable drop behind the dashboard.
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Go ahead and remove the cluster. If you need to take your keys with you, regardless of shifter position, you can put the car in park and take your keys out.
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----------Instrument cluster disassembly and odometer correction-----------
This would be a good time to check all the lightbulbs, make sure they are not blown. Flip the cluster over. Take some needle nose pliers, grasp one of the lighted areas (they are marked and color coded). The big black ones are the background lighting, the smaller ones are for the indicator/warning lamps. Twist the holder counter clockwise, then pull up. You should have a view of the light bulb.

With the cluster removed. Take your T15 torx bit and remove the 6 bolts holding the plastic face down. With that removed, you can also take off the plastic cluster surround, no screw removal required. *Note*(FLOOR SHIFT) You will have a black plastic plate blocking off the indicator area. This piece should fall out once you remove the 2 additional T15 torx screws holding the black plastic plate in place.

The speedometer is fairly easy to remove. This is how it looks with it partially removed. Grasp the areas where the plastic is thicker and begin pulling up. Once it's removed you will see 3 3/16th" screws holding the speedometer together. Loosen them just partially, then flip the speedometer back over. Take a flat edge of some sort (I used the DIN removal keys for a foreign car which have a notch in the middle). Slide it up under the speedometer needle, and start putting pressure on the middle of the needle, tilting the edge against the metal bar that the speedometer needle rests on, up. Placing pressure on the center plastic part of the needle is a good idea. It is not easy removing it, and one must apply even pressure. Be careful to not snap the metal bar. Moving the needle up a little bit in spurts is a good idea. Tada.

Once the needle is off, flip the speedometer back over and remove the screws completly and pop out the odometer section. This picture here indicated precisely what you need to do to "update" your mileage. DO NOT roll the numbers opposite of the picture. Otherwise, you will break the odometer and it will not register anymore. You may find it ideal to roll the numbers by placing your finger on the back and the front while pushing it forwards. It will make the process easier. If you want to try adjusting your trip odometer first to feel what it's like. It's also easy to reset incase you screw up (handy ZERO OUT button). Temporarily shake (how classy) your speedometer and put it back in the speedometer head to make sure the digits line up and are viewable. Even 1 click off on a digit will be visible. Once you are satisfied with the lineup, go ahead and reinsert those 3 screws into the rear of the speedometer head. Reinstall the head into the cluster. DO NOT do any other assembly. Yes, the needle is not installed. That's the next part.

Bring the cluster back out to your car with the speedometer needle. Go ahead and reinsert the two cables to the rear of the cluster. You can push aside the PRNDD1 indicator in front of or just tempoarily insert it back into the cluster. Connect 2 bolts to hold the cluster in place. Connect your headlight switch and let it hang down. Reconnect your ICP and let it rest on the center console or flip fold storage area. Be advised, that the following method isn't 100% safe, so please follow through at your own risk. Once you are sure you have the cables connected correctly, make sure you have the keys out of the ignition and any lighting or electrical items (that are connected to the car) in the off position. Go ahead and reconnect the battery cable.

Based on this chart, go find a road which has mile markers (like an interstate, VERY ideal). This can be also be done with your trip odometer as well. Go ahead and start timing how long it takes you to cover 1 mile. Do this multiple times and once you think you have confirmed the correct speed, go ahead and reinsert the needle (yes while driving at the same speed you measured at. Do not put a lot of force, just enough to fit it snuggly. Drive back to wherever you were working on the car and remove the cluster out of the car. Push the needle back down to a similar height of the gas, tachometer, and other gauges. Pushing it down too far will not make the needle operate smoothly. Stand the cluster up and move the needle up to 50MPH and let it drop. It should drop back down smoothly and come to rest on the peg. If not, you may need to move the needle back up a little bit with that flat edge.

Reattach the black plastic bezel. Floor shift models can go ahead and reattach the black plastic plate that blocks off the indicator block. Now would be a good time to clean off any finger prints, dirt, grime, etc that is on the inside of the plastic. Use a SOFT terry cloth and some kind of plastic cleaner. Remember this plastic scratches easily, so be careful. Now attach the clear plastic bezel and insert the T15 torx screws to hold the face back down.

Reinsert the PRNDD1 indicator and attach the 2 T15 torx screws. Attach the two 2" cables to the rear of the cluster. Set the cluster down on its pegs and insert the 4 7mm screws.

--------END Cluster/Odometer----------
Next, reattach the upper trim panel, inserting the clip in first. As with last time, play around with the shifter in various positions(column shift) and make sure you get that 2" trim piece BEHIND the shifter. Once you have it set in place, go ahead and insert the two screws holding the panel into the upper dash. Reconnect the headlight switch and push it back into the dash. Insert the screw below the instrument cluster. Next reattach the ICP trim surround. Insert those 5 screws. Reinsert the kick panel below and insert the two 8mm screws. Pop back in the the ICP (with the radio DIN tools removed). Congrats, should be all back in place AOK.

Keywords: Ford Taurus Mercury Sable 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Instrument Cluster Dash Lights Speedometer Remove Removal
-'66 Ford Country Squire wagon 390/C6
-'87 & '89 Mercury Colony Park wagons 302 EFI/AOD
-'90 Lincoln Town Car 302 EFI/AOD
-'03 Lincoln Town Car 4.6L/4R70W
former '87 Taurus 3.0 GL sedan, '87 Taurus 3.0 GL Wagon, '97 Taurus SHO 3.4 V8 sedan, '00 Taurus SEL 3.0 24V

#2 bobby


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Posted 21 December 2010 - 03:09 PM

good write up sir.

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