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.
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.
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.
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: