Gauge overlay installation - by BigNSlow

Posted by: BigNSlow

Gauge overlay installation - by BigNSlow - 05/11/19 08:07 PM

Purpose

Below is a procedure for instrument cluster removal and/or installation of new gauge overlays on 1992-2005 Ford Crown Victoria and 1995-2005 Mercury Grand Marquis.


Tools

  • 7mm socket
  • 10 mm socket
  • 7/32 mm socket
  • long nosed pliers
  • flat head screwdriver
  • digital camera (if available)



Procedure for cluster removal

1. Make sure that the engine is completely cooled down (This is required in order to set the coolant temperature gauge correctly). Block the wheels to keep the car from rolling as you will have to put the car in 1st gear several times (This only applies to cars with column shifter).

2. Remove (wooden) dash panel trim by prying it with a flat head screwdriver from the sides and/or top/bottom. Unplug the electrical connectors for the clock and/or rear window defogger (if equipped) in and set the panel out of the way.




3. Using a 7mm socket and a wrench, remove all the bolts holding the dash bezel to the dashboard. There are 8 of them.




Now, pull the dash bezel towards you. You may need to use a screwdriver to pry it from the sides to get it moving. Ones you got it somewhat out, unplug the electrical connectors for the headlight switch. When the headlight connectors are unplugged you should be able to move the bezel around better.



Now is a good time to remove the radio. Put the car in 1st gear and pull the bezel towards you even more until you can reach the electrical connectors in the back of the radio (This only applies to cars with column shifter). You need to unplug those to remove the bezel and the radio from the car. Tilting the steering column may help in removing the bezel. Ones the bezel is out, put the car in park and turn off the ignition.



4. Take off the driver side kick panel by removing 3 Christmas tree plugs and unplugging the courtesy light.

5. Using a 7mm socket, remove the 2 bolts holding the knee panel cover to the dashboard. Then use a flathead screwdriver to pry the panel from the top.



6. Using a 10mm socket, remove the 5 bolts holding the metal knee panel to the dashboard.



7. This step is for cars with column shifter only! Ones again, put the car in 1st gear. Using long nosed pliers or even your fingers, take off the shift indicator cable attached to the shifter. Put the car in park (you will have to go by feel as you no longer have the indicator). Using a 7/32mm socket, remove the shift indicator linkage.



8. Turn on the ignition and wait a few seconds for the indicator needles to level out. Take a digital photo of the instrument cluster. If digital camera is not available, make a drawing or other aid that will help you remember the needle positions. Now, turn on the engine and repeat this procedure.



9. Using a 7mm socket, remove the 4 bolts holding the instrument cluster in place. Rotate the cluster forward and disconnect the 2 electrical connectors. Put the car in 1st gear and remove the cluster (This only applies to cars with column shifter). Be careful not to damage the shift indicator linkage.






Procedure for installing the new overlays

1. Using a 7/32mm socket, remove 6 bolts holding the clear instrument cluster cover. Remove the cover. Now, remove the 4 bolts holding the black plastic surround to the cluster and take it off. You should now have access to the gauges.



2. Remove the shift indicator cable assembly from the cluster by pushing on the 2 tabs.



3. Using a flat head screwdriver or your fingers, remove the 2 auxiliary gauges out of the cluster by pulling them straight out.

4. Now that you have all the gauges separated, you can install the new overlays. First you will have to remove the indicator needles. Using long nosed pliers, remove the needles. You could also try using a fork to do this. They should pop right off. Be careful not to damage them. You will also have to remove the little pin that sticks out of the speedometer indicating the '0' position. Pull it out using pliers.



5. Ones all the needles are off, pry the old overlays off the cluster. You may have some sticky residue left behind. Wipe it off with rubbing alcohol.

6. Now, it's time to mount the new overlays. You can use double sided tape to attach these in place or some type of adhesive. I didn't have any tape so I used small drops of super glue in every corner of the overlay. Whatever type of adhesive you decide to use, make sure that you don't get any of it on the part of overlay that lights up.



7. Ones the overlays are installed, put the auxiliary gauges back into the cluster.



8. Install the black plastic surround onto the cluster and secure it using the bottom bolts only. DO NOT install the clear cover just yet.



9. Now install the cluster in your vehicle following the reverse of removal procedure. You can also connect the shift indicator cable to the shifter at this time (This only applies to cars with column shifter).

10. Time to reinstall the indicator needles. Remember that digital photo/drawing that you made earlier? Time to go get it and use it as a reference. Turn on the ignition and install the gauges in the exact positions as shown on your photo/drawing with the ignition on. Ones you are satisfied with the results, turn on the engine and verify the positions with the engine running.



11. Reinstall the clear cover on the cluster.

12. Reinstall everything following the opposite of removal procedure.


Notes

The speedometer and other gauges may not be accurate anymore. The accuracy of the speedometer can be checked with a GPS device or it can be calibrated at a repair shop. Other gauges are not as important but should still be checked for accuracy.