DIY: Swapping Odometers and Odometer Faces on Instrument Clusters for '99 Corolla.
WARNING: I'm not an auto tech, so use this information at your own risk!
These instructions are offered as is, with no warrantees implied or guaranteed.
Read all information in its entirety prior to attempting this task.
A real possible outcome is that you will have
speedometers that don't display speed correctly or you may find outthat the replacement instrument cluster may not be compatible with your vehicle, so test the replacement cluster prior to disassembling.
After looking up some information on a few 'boards',
there seems to be some compatibility issues among Corolla instrument clusters for 98-02.
Since models range from VE, CE, LE, and S, not all clusters are interchangeable.
I also read that the 98-00 and the 01-02 clusters may
not have the same pin configuration on one of the cluster sockets,
leading to problems with a windshield defroster and/or turn signal.
Anyone who has the facts pertaining to this issue or anything else that
was left out by me or you see erroneous info, please email me so I can
revise the text.
Objective: To swap instrument clusters by switching from a cluster that has a
circular temp/fuel gage on the left side to a tachometer gage while
retaining your old odometer/speedo with an exchanged speedo gauge face
A few additional benefits while performing this task,
is that you can change your cluster light bulbs to a different color or
install glow gauge faces, as well as paint the cluster trim.
would apply to Corollas from 98 - 02 with digital odometers; this
particular swap was for a 99 Corolla CE using a LE cluster.
Removal and Testing-
Once you obtained your replacement
instrument cluster (above) with a tachometer, proceed to remove your
existing cluster. Tilt your steering wheel down and lock it.
1- there are 2 screws on top that are securing the
cluster finish panel (above), remove them using a short or a 'stubby'
Philips screwdriver. Carefully pry the panel on top with a flat
screwdriver and use your fingers to free it.
2 - once that's removed, you will see 3 screws
holding the cluster in place (above), remove the screws with Philips
screwdriver and make sure you don't drop them inside the dash
3 -pull the cluster forward, and tilt it either up or
down to clear the steering wheel, and move the cluster to your right
and you pull out the harness slack inside the dash
4 - there are 4 harness connectors with a locking
clip located on top of each plug; depress the clip deep enough to
wiggle the plug out, repeat for remaining 3 plugs
5 - install the replacement cluster by reversing the
above steps 3 & 4 and place or seat it back inside the dash; start
the car and perform all functions that are confirmed visually with
cluster lights and gages- like turns, hi beam, seat belt, rear defrost,
note that the gas gage should adjust to match your tank level, matching
the previous cluster level as well.
Also, temp gage will move as you warm-up and the
tachometer would be around 1M RPM. Take the car around the block and
confirm that the tachometer is functioning properly as well as the
speedometer. If you see an -E in the tachometer LCD window, it's OK,
this will be covered later.
1 - there are 8 clips securing the clear cover
in place; 4 on top and 4 on the bottom (above) I found it's best to
use your finger tip to press down on the clip as you push the clip
slightly out; do this all around and the clear cover should come off.
2 - use the same procedure to remove the dark/black
gage trim from the cluster's white body; your cluster should look
something like this now (above).
3 - hold your original cluster upright with it's
'green' back facing you, don't lay it down on it's face, or you'll
damage the needles!
Unscrew the 5 screws (above) while lightly holding
the spedo/odometer in place; take care not to have the gage pop out
and fall out.
Repeat the same steps for the tach cluster; after you've done these steps,
your clusters should look like these (above)
Speedometer Gage Face Removal-
1 - using an X-acto type knife or a razor /
box cutter, cut a slit on the dial face next to the trip reset button
(stick) as shown in the photo (above).
2 - using a jeweler's type (small) Philips screwdriver, remove the 2
screws that are securing the dial face to the gage body
3 - gently bend the gage face corner up and free it
from the trip reset 'stick' and rotate the gage face counter clockwise,
about 90 degrees (above) and you will observe the needle will continue
to move backward (counterclockwise) as you rotate the gage face
4 - now you need to mark the resting points of the
needle, to do this, gently rotate the needle clockwise about 80 - 90
degrees and let the needle travel back (counterclockwise) undisturbed
to it's resting point; mark this resting point on the clear side of the
gage housing (and not the gage face) by first looking straight down the
length of the needle as you mark the spot below the tip of the needle,
as illustrated (bellow)
Make sure the gage face is not in contact with the
base of the needle or with the needle mounting shaft, otherwise your
results will not be accurate.
Use a thin permanent marker to mark these
'resting' points, otherwise you may erase your mark(s) by handling the
gage and you will no longer have an accurate speedometer.
Repeat this process a few times and continue to mark the resting points until you
obtained a consistent result or the same resting point.
5 - using a thin eating fork, gently slide the fork
ends between the gage face and the needle base and carefully pull the
needle off straight up, holding the fork 'teeth' on both sides; no needle
wiggling when doing this
6 - with the needle off, now you can just remove the
gage face from its body, and it would look like this (above). Repeat
these procedures for the replacement odometer/odometer gage, but make
sure you don't mix-up the gages
Speedometer Gage Face Reassembly-
1 - one important point to mention, is when
you pulled the needle from the gage, the speedometer mounting 'pin'
turned counterclockwise some more since there was no needle 'dead'
weight sitting on top if it.
To compensate for the additional movement mentioned
above, before reattaching the needle to the rotating 'pin', start a
little bit more counterclockwise from your marked stop/resting point.
Don't seat the needle too firmly on the pin since you
will need to pull it off and on a few times, to reseat it again until
the needle aligns properly and matches the stop/resting mark from
previous gage face removal.
2. - after the needle comes to rest on the same mark
after a few trial runs, set the needle deeper on the pin by pressing
gently on top of the needle base, straight down. Make sure you don't
over do it and cause the needle base to rub against the gage face; use
an earlier photo to gage spacing
2 - reversing the rest of the procedures for Speedometer Gage Face Removal,
you will be able to reassemble the two different speedometer gages with swapped faces and needles
Cluster Reassembly -
1 - at this point you can paint the cluster finish panel and/or the gage trim that surrounds the gages or replace the backlight bulbs (below) to another color
2 - reversing the rest of the procedures for Cluster Disassembly,
you will be able to reassemble the two different instrument clusters with swapped speedometers/odometers.