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Instrument Cluster Removal
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Instrument Cluster Removal

Steve Vernon

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$0

Talent:

**

Tools:

Philips head screwdriver driver, Mercedes tool 140598023300,

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W123 (1977-85)

Parts Required:

Gauge parts as needed

Hot Tip:

Do not pull hard on the cluster

Performance Gain:

Working instruments

Complementary Modification:

Check all your bulbs

Unlike today's modern cars where the instrument cluster is one sealed module, the W123's instrument cluster is more like an unsealed assembly. This allows for several components to be replaced separately. This is very convenient (and cost saving) if something fails--you do not need to replace the entire cluster. To do this you will first need to remove the cluster. There are a couple of things you need to be aware of; it is a tight fit behind the cluster so do not try and yank the cluster forward when removing it, you will need to reach your hand behind to release a few things to get some working room. Also if your cluster is old and you are using the cluster removal tool make sure it is seated on the cluster and not the front plastic shield--as you can pull this straight off the cluster if you do.

Make sure that you disconnect the battery ground cable before you begin as you are going to be with the cars electronics.

Over the years your car may have been serviced by multiple people including previous owners and this can lead to parts replaced with different size fasteners and hardware. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. If something is different on your vehicle please let us know and share your info to help other users. If you have any questions or comments or even a different procedure you would like to share please leave it below and please leave your vehicle information.

NOTE: We have removed the steering wheel so we could get pictures of the wiring but you do not need to remove your wheel to remove the cluster.

Disconnect the negative battery cable (red arrow).
Figure 1

Disconnect the negative battery cable (red arrow). Make sure it cannot make accidental contact with the battery while working.

Remove the five screws holding the under dash panel and remove the panel, please see our article on under dash panel removal for additional information if you need it.
Figure 2

Remove the five screws holding the under dash panel and remove the panel, please see our article on under dash panel removal for additional information if you need it.

With the lower under panel removed you can reach up underneath and push the cluster forward and out from the dash.
Figure 3

With the lower under panel removed you can reach up underneath and push the cluster forward and out from the dash. I prefer to use the cluster pulling tool that Mercedes sells or you can make your own by bending a couple of long pieces of sturdy metal 90 degrees at the end.

Insert the instrument cluster removal tools between the dash and the cluster and turn them 45 degrees so they engage the rear of the housing taking care that they do not damage the material on the dash.
Figure 4

Insert the instrument cluster removal tools between the dash and the cluster and turn them 45 degrees so they engage the rear of the housing taking care that they do not damage the material on the dash. Make sure that the tools are hooking on the side of the housing and not the front plastic as this gets brittle over the years with age and if you are not careful you can pull the front plastic away from the housing rather than the cluster out from the dash.

Gently pull the cluster forward until you can separate the electrical connections on the left side (red arrow).
Figure 5

Gently pull the cluster forward until you can separate the electrical connections on the left side (red arrow).

Reach your hand in behind the cluster and unscrew the speedometer cable from the rear of the housing.
Figure 6

Reach your hand in behind the cluster and unscrew the speedometer cable from the rear of the housing.

You can now tilt the housing forward and use a 10mm wrench to remove the tach cable (yellow arrow) if your vehicle is equipped with one.
Figure 7

You can now tilt the housing forward and use a 10mm wrench to remove the tach cable (yellow arrow) if your vehicle is equipped with one. In this picture you can also see where the speedometer cable has been separated (red arrow).

Remove all of the other electrical connections and bulb holders and remove the cluster from the dash.
Figure 8

Remove all of the other electrical connections and bulb holders and remove the cluster from the dash.

This is a good time to inspect all of your cables and replace as needed.
Figure 9

This is a good time to inspect all of your cables and replace as needed. Installation is the reverse of removal.

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Comments and Suggestions:
SR Comments: I am the owner of a 1990 300SE I am undertaking replacing my heater core and am curious if this procedure would work on my model vehicle as well? Thank you!
August 31, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W123 (1977-85) - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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