level : Not for the faint hearted
At the time of this DIY I am only familiar with
three different 993 aluminum gauge face options in the aftermarket world.
Factory option - The factory option is done by applying a silver
vinyl sticker over the standard black face plates, the flaw with the paper
option is that the vinyl sticker will bubble up overtime and cause an ugly
appearance. During my research I was also told that this particular option
was actually performed by TechArt in Germany for Porsche.
TechArt option - Most similar with the factory option, but does not have the
bubble up problem. ( I am guessing TechArt must have kept one in their
sleeves for themselves) Around $450 for the faces.
NR Automobile option - NR Automobile
is a 3rd party aftermarket accessories manufacturer who came out with their
own solution for the aluminum gauge faces. The main difference with the NR
gauge faces is that the gauge faces do not have the individual cut outs for
the warning lights. And that the NR gauge face option allow less light to
shine through the gauge faces at night. The cost of the NR gauge faces are
around $180-$240 for the set. This is the option I choose to use in this
purchased the NR Automobile aluminum gauge faces from "By Design" in
California, owner Michael is offering a discounted price of $180 per set to
any Rennlist member who is interested in purchasing the gauge faces. Their
phone number is 888-993-2911.
I choose to do this DIY upgrade to
my 993 because I had to opportunity to acquired an used set of 993 factory
aluminum gauges which have bubbles on few of the gauges. I was not able to
squeeze the bubble out from the vinyl stickers so I thought to just replace
them with a new set of gauge faces. One of the interesting finding during
the DIY was that I noticed that on the factory aluminum gauges the bezel
ring have a silver/chrome linings on the inside instead of black like the
installing the new gauge faces I do recommend the following two
modifications to be performed in order for the new gauge faces to have the
similar night time illumination level as the original factory gauge faces.
Modification part 1
Modification part 2
This is a picture of the NR Automobile gauge
(The kit comes with the instruction,
gauge faces, and also a tool to help you remove the needles which I didn't
not receive with the kit)
When ordering the gauge faces you will need
to specify if your car is a Tiptronic or a manual transmission, or if it has
the OBC option. The set I received in the above picture is for a manual
Removal of the gauges from the dash
To remove the gauge from the dash warp a shop
towel around the tip of a flat screw driver and pry the speedometer gauge
from the right side out first. Through my experience I found this is the
easiest gauge to remove especially when using the clock gauge as leverage.
You can place another towel in front of the clock gauge to protect it from
being scratched. Once the speedometer is removed and unplugged you will be
able to easily pop the clock gauge out from behind, and the rest of the
gauges. The tachometer would be the most difficult to remove since it will
hit the steering column as it comes out. As a reference I was able to take
out and install the tachometer without removing the steering column cover.
As suggested by Tim Ashfield steering column cover removal is required for
993 owners with OBC option.
Bezel ring removal
Once the gauges are remove place them on a
padded work surface, now it is time to remove the bezel ring in order to
replace the gauge faces. I used various different flat screw drivers and
pick tools to roll back the bezel lip. I found that you don't have to roll
back all the lip area to be able to remove the bezel ring from the gauges.
The instructions that came with the kit mentioned to use a soup can to roll
the lips back during installation, I just rolled them back using the flat
screw driver since I didn't have to pry all the lip edge out.
Needle removal and calibration
In order to replace the gauge faces you will
also need to remove the gauge needles, to remove the needles use your finger
to gently turn the needle counter-clockwise under it reaches the end and
continue to turn it with your finger in a unscrewing motion the needled
should pull right out. Most of the needles just pulls right out, the only
gauge I really had to turn the needle counter clockwise was the speedometer
needle. To calibrate the needle after installation you will need to use
your finger to turn the needle to the stop point and force the needles to
pass the stop point and vice versa for the opposite direction.
Below are some specific
instructions on individual gauges
As I mentioned in the beginning of this DIY,
the NR gauges does not have much illumination at night because they do not
have the specific cut out for the warning lights. The advantage is that it
provides a much cleaning look during day light, but it is also difficult to
see any warning lights too.
On the clock gauge face there are two
specific notches that needs to be made to the NR gauge face (marked on the
NR gauge where the notch needs to be) prior to installation as the gauge
face will not fit if the notches are not made. The below picture show where
the notches needs to be made according to the factory face.
There are couple of things to watch out for
when replacing the speedometer gauge face.
Once the bezel ring is removed
you will have remove the round sleeve cover on the trip reset pole before
you can remove the glass, most likely you will end up yanking the whole
thing off the reset mechanism where you will have to go back and snap it
back in with the help of a tweezer. A little trick in preventing that from
happening is to put pressure on the trip reset shaft which twisting and
pulling the sleeve cover. If you are careful you should be able to remove
the sleeve cover without pulling the whole shaft off the reset mechanism.
If you did accidentally pulled it off, you
will need to snap back the reset shaft once the gauge face is removed.
Prior to removing the gauge face I recommend
popping out the miles brackets window first.
The speedometer needle is the only needle
that I found can not be pull off like the others, it must be turned
counterclockwise and pulled at the same time.
Additional note: Regarding odometer tamper proof. For those worry about
the speedometer showing signs of tampering from replacing the gauge faces.
In order to really tamper with the mileage reading you will have to take
apart the entire speedometer unit which means by breaking the seals on the
screw behind the speedometer to gain access to the mile wheel.
Gas/oil temperature level
Since the gas/oil temperature level gauge
only have one screw on the gauge face holding it in place, once you remove
the old face plate you really don't have any reference point to install the
new gauge face back in correctly. So prior to remove the old gauge face
plate you will need to make some marks on the inner part of the gauge unit
as a reference, luckily the face do have notches cut out already that can be
used as a reference point. I also made marks on the position of the needle
for ease later calibration.
Here is a completed picture of the gauge in
case you need a reference for the position of the needle for calibration
Below are some difference in appearance when
viewed at night, as I have mentioned in the beginning of this DIY that the
NR Automobile gauges do not allow too much light to shine through the silver
gauge faces and the needles are very difficult ot see at night.
(I apologize for the fuzzy pictures, I had a difficult time keeping my hands
still while taking these pictures with extended time exposure)
Stock factory black faces
NR Automobile aluminum
faces were so dark I had to turn on the interior light in order for them to
show up on the camera, so they appear brighter than the factory lights)
gauge brightness modification
Note: In effort to save cost with this
upgrade I didn't choose to go with the more expense TechArt gauge face
option, so I am stuck with the night time illumination problem with the NR
Automotive gauge faces. The below DIY modification is an effort in trying
to enhance the brightness of night time illumination.
There are two level of illumination source
behind each of gauge, one is for the back ground illumination which is
provided by a 0.9 watt 12 volt DC bulb, the other is for the warning lights
which is provided by a 1.5 watt 12 volt DC bulb. The first step I took in
effort to brighten the background illumination was to switch out all the 0.9
watt bulbs to the 1.5 watt bulbs, hoping that it would be enough to at least
light up the needle a little more.
Obviously plan A didn't
work as I expected it to, here are the minor differences it made.
Plan B is to add more light source INSIDE of
the gauge itself, I decided only to add additional light sources into the
tachometer, and the speedometer since they are the two gauges that I am most
Adding additional lights
into the tachometer
you have already opened the gauge and remove the gauge face)
The factory only provided TWO illumination
bulbs inside the tach for back ground illumination, which explains why it is
so dim with the aluminum gauge face installed.
My plan was to add 4 more bulbs in there, 3
for the tach number read out, and 1 for the needle. To do this the inner
part of the tach will need to be remove from the housing. First remove the
three screws on the back of the tach.
Once the screws are removed the inner part
of the tach can be removed. Remove the two screw that secures the clear
plastic light inducer from the motor housing.
Pry open the two plastic clips on the back
of the inner tach in order to move the motor housing away from the PCB to
reveal the solder side of the plug pins. The purpose is to expose the
solder side of the plug pins so that you can solder two wires which will be
used for the additional light bulbs that will be installed.
Cut open the wire around the tach where the
additional light would be installed and solder the light bulb contacts
directly to the exposed wire, hot glue the additional bulbs directly on to
the PCB. Below is a picture of the additional bulbs that was added and
Now all the numbers light
Adding additional light s
into the speedometer
you have already opened the gauge and remove the gauge face)
Adding more lights into the speedometer was
a lot more difficult since I wanted to protect the integrity of the mileage
reading so I didn't want to remove the tamper proof screws in the back of
First solder two wires directly on to
harness plug pin on the back of the speedometer.
Make modification on the factory light bulb
holder so that there is an opening for the wire to go through. And run the
wire from where the soldering was done to this hole opening.
Strip the wire where the bulbs will be
soldered onto and place the lights around the gauge. I only added two
additional light source mainly to provide extra light in the 40-90 mph
range. The light were not fixed to the PCB of the speedometer, because I
wanted them to be as close to the gauge face as possible. The wires I used
were stiff enough to hold them in position.
From the picture you can
clearly see where the difference in lighting is.
Here are more pictures
from the result of this modification
gauge brightness modification
As you can see from the
above pictures something still doesn't look kosher with the gauges at
night. Hopefully after you've stared at the above pictures long enough you
will notice that the needle don't light up! The part 1 of the modification
process fixed the back ground illumination issue, part 2 of the modification
process will address the illumination of the needles.
After doing some comparison
of the original factory faces to the new aluminum gauge faces I noticed that
the gauge needles were illuminated by lights shinning through the opening
around the axis of the needle on the factory black gauges faces. The lack
of needle illumination with the NR aluminum gauges were caused by the lack
of this opening. When I looked carefully on the back of the NR aluminum
gauge faces I noticed that there is a round outline around the needle
opening where there shouldn't have been paint there. I assume they screw up
during the printing process and painted over the area that was supposed to
be left clear. Below picture shows the area I am referring to.
So my next step was to scrap off the painted
area around the hole opening with a razor blade by following the faint
Here are the results
only gauge that did not require this modification process was the clock
Below are some before and
after comparison pictures of the gauge after this modification
(the difference with the