DIY: Installing Silver Gauge Cluster Rings on E36
Installing Silver Gauge Cluster Rings on E36
I did this DIY with Rob (Robstah on United Bimmer), and it ended up taking about an hour. This is a DIY for installing those silver gauge rings you can find all the time on eBay for about $30-35. Here is a before and after (not my car, stock photo) of how this mod changes your car. It's a simple mod, but makes a big difference.
- T10 Torque Screwdriver with a long thin handle (one screw is pretty deep inside)
- Phillips head screw driver
First, unscrew the gauge cluster. There are two screws and some friction holding your cluster in. One screw is on each side of the top, as shown in this picture:
Unscrew those screws and push on the bottom of the glass to loosen the unit. Mine was stuck in there pretty good, so it took a good amount of pressure and jiggling to break it free. :iwave
It should now slide forward and up to the steering wheel.
IMPORTANT: At this point you're about to begin messing with electrical parts, so please stop and disconnect your battery before continuing. Leaving it plugged in might make you physically unable to finish this DIY. :runaway
When you reach behind the unit, you'll feel three wire bundles connecting it to the car. Two are on the right (one big vertical one, and one small horizontal one just below it), and one big vertical plug is on the left.
This is probably the trickiest part of the whole installation. You must reach behind the unit (probably blindly) and unplug them, however they are not a normal plug. There's a little button you must push in the middle of the latch, then slide the clip up until the connection comes lose. Here's a picture to try and explain it better:
Then after it's free just slide it out beside the wheel (again, might require a bit of creative shaking and squeezing, but it's easily possible. :shades
Now you should have the unit out of the car. Bring it inside or somewhere with good light and go get your T10 torque screw driver. There's 5 screws, as shown by this image of the back of the cluster. Two up top, one on each side, and one deep screw in the very middle.
Unscrew them all, pull gently, and the unit should split open:
Now look at the faceplate half of the unit (the top half in the picture above). There are three unique, german engineered, "finger screws" holding the faceplate against the glass. It's the round black circle knobs on each side, and one in the top middle. To unscrew these, simple twist the white part the direction they will move to free the face plate. Here's a close up of one of the finger screws:
After all of them are turned to the unlocked/open position, gently pull the faceplate up and it should seperate:
Now simply take your rings and pop them on to the left part of the above picture. Mine were very tight and clipped on, the friction plenty to hold them on through anything, however I know some of the rings are a lot looser and might require some creative glueing to get them to stay.
Here's a picture of the rings on just that piece. Notice the Bugatti Veyron Top Gear on the projector in the background. This is a must for this DIY. If you don't watch Top Gear while installing the rings, they won't work. :lol
Now the reverse install. Put the faceplate back in the glass (rescrewing the three thumb screws all the way to ensure nothing moves), then using the torque screws, reattach the back half of the gauge cluster.
Take it back to your car then, slide it beside the steering wheel, push it firmly into it's hole, and screw the top two screws in.
Congratulations, you now have silver gauge rings installed in your car. :guitarist For any questions about anything discussed in this DIY, feel free to post a question in our forum and you'll quickly get an answer. :drive2
Knowledge Base entry: http://www.unitedbimmer.com/kb-e36-silvergaugerings.php
Nice, Harry. Yes, do disconnect the battery . . nothing like an airbag knocking you out for the count :doh
now, could you please host the top gear bugatti veyron? haha jk i already had it the day it came out lol
You did all that and didn't do the "face color" change? :doh
HMMM again a subtle refrence to the top gear with the buggati (sp?)
Note, the middle one that Harry is pointing to is actually a bulb. It's to the right of the arrow. You should be able to see it. Other than that, nice writeup Harry. :clap
ha ha ha
Harry you did a much better job than me.
It's one of the best mods you can do for your car!
actually Harry's ring are chrome ones,
mine are steel.
These are the two types available on ebay.
BTW, Harry is your steering wheel a tilt wheel?
because there was no way in hell I could slip my cluster out from behind the wheel, without removing the wheel first?
And delmarco, no it's not a tilt steering wheel. We were talking about your DIY most of the time we were doing this, haha. It's not as much a repost DIY, as a different (easier) way to do it. :thumbup
I just put a carbon fiber dash inlay, and chrome gauge rings in, and your DIY saved my ass BIG TIME.
Thanks guys, no other forum had as detailed of a DIY, which all of us know, its the little details that make these projects go much smoother and faster.
DIY Gauge Face Plate and Rings
Thanks, I have read your Quote. Question? Does this same procedure apply to an E46 2001.
I also would like to change the Gauge Face Plate. How do I do this?
was it easy to install and how long did it take you. Any tips please
Can you remove the glass without trouble, or is it glued on?
Thanks for a nice DIY! :)
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