How to swap out your gauge faces - Porsche Boxster


I will not guarantee that this page will be helpful to you, and I cannot and will not take any responsibility if you decide to tear apart your dash and instrument cluster and destroy it.

But, for those that just want to know how it's done, here's a pictoral of how to get to most of the way through the project. If you do not know how to get the instrument cluster out of the dash, you should see this web link and follow the instructions there...


This is what your instrument cluster looks like when it's outside of your car on your patio...


This is what the back looks like ...

Notice that there are three plugs on this 1997 cluster. Along the bottom you see the green plastic with little black plugs... those are lamps for the idiot lights. I gotta good mind to swap out the CEL for one that just has a $$$ sign because it's always expensive when this one burns bright or blinks!

Above the green bar about an inch or so are three more lamps, one for each of the LCD's in the front. You can see the center one that resides just under the barcode sticker in the center.


OK, now that I've wasted two minutes of your valuable time dinking around with idiot lamp location, let's get on with it. Below is a picture of the first step in the process, which is removing your knobs. Just grab and pull straight out. Do not twist or bend them if they're in there good. Just keep pulling firmly, yet gently...


Next, you will need to remove the retaining clips found on both ends of the gauge cluster. I used a small flat head screwdriver for this...


Now you need to slide the computer pins (indicated with yellow arrows below) on both sides of the cluster to the outside (they cannot go any other way). If you've done this fully, the whole cluster kinda falls apart naturally and will not require any harsh treatment.


The photo below gives you a peek into the guts of the thing from the bottom. Mine had no real attachment at the bottom, so it opened up like a clam fairly easily...


If the cluster doesn't just fall apart, you may have to help it along a little by insuring that this plastic tab on the top is not still inside and latched... caution: don't jam a flathead screwdriver in there or you'll tear up your cluster. Just work it free with your hands and be gentle... after all, this is precision, EXPENSIVE instrumentation you're fiddling with here!


Pry the needles off with something like a plastic fork...mine were on so flush with the face and so tightly that I had to take my tiny flat head screwdriver wrapped in a paper towel and pry it up a little. When you do this, make sure you don't move the gauge mechanism inside the cluster or you won't have an accurate reading when you reinstall the cluster.


Now carefully peel off the old gauge faces and replace them with the new ones. Hopefully, the new ones have some adhesive on the back and you don't need to glue them down... if they have no gummy stuff on them already, I have no idea what you should use that would be thin, smooth and heat resistant.

Additional notes since I did this mod a second time:

  1. Remove the negative terminal of your battery before you start, and have your radio code handy.
  2. Bring your car up to normal operating temperature before you start this mod. This will help you determine if you got the temp needle back in the right place later.
  3. Get some black masking tape or take regular masking tape and use a permanent marker to make it black and let that fully dry. Then take strips of it and put it around the base and sides of each ring to block out light from bleeding through the new gauge faces and causing an ugly glow. This also covers up any slight mis-application of the new gauge faces.
  4. Replacing the needles to be accurately where they belong is a certified pain in the ass. You will probably have to put the cluster back together, back in the car, fire it up, drive it around and see if your digital speed matches the needle and that your operating temp is now accurate, not to mention your fuel level. I was super-careful and I must have installed and removed and reset the needles five times before I was happy with the accuracy of the work.

I hope this pictoral has been helpful. If so, please donate a buck (or ten) to my supercharger fund! You can find the link at the bottom of the main page.