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gauge cluster removal - help with lower trim

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    gauge cluster removal - help with lower trim

    I'm trying to remove my gauge cluster using this guide:
    http://home.comcast.net/~cdeegan9/da...shboard_1.html

    I've gotten to the point where I need to remove the trim panel that is below the cluster, and above the steering column trim. Based on the guides I've seen, this is the piece that is held in by 2 cylinder nuts that you undo by hand. Those were no problem. Now I'm trying to get that piece out without damaging it.

    Here is a pic from that guide, and I'm talking about the piece that is being held.


    I feel like I'm really close to getting it but it seems like something is keeping it down in the center. It feels like it's something more than just the steering column wedging it down. I can get the sides to lift out but at this point, I'm bending this piece to the point where I feel like I might warp or break it.

    Does anyone have any description or pictures of what the back of this piece looks like so that I can understand what I'm working with?

    This is on a 90 M3, with airbag. I know that removing the steering wheel will make things easier, but I wanted to try without removing it first. I'm guessing that it shouldn't make a difference whether the wheel is removed or not for this particular piece. Is that correct? If it comes to the point where I decide to remove the steering column trim, does anyone know how the steering column trim is held in place? Is it just the torx(?) bolts on the sides including the one shown in the pic?

    #2
    You'll have to remove the steering wheel to get the column trim off. That said, you shouldn't have to do that. I've pulled and installed plenty of E30 clusters without removing the wheel or the column trim. That panel should just pop right off, but it does take some force to do it.

    Originally posted by ROLLingKING
    i have a bronzit and plan on making it look sweet.
    Originally posted by slammin.e28
    Moral of this story?

    If you drive your e30 on stairs, you're gonna have a bad time.

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      #3
      Originally posted by accident View Post
      It does take some force to do it.
      You really gotta yank and pull on that piece to get it out. Ive done it 3 times now. Just when you think your about to break it, it pops out.
      sigpic

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        #4
        There are 2 thumb screws on the back, don't just yank on it.

        It's also like $5 new from the dealer.
        - Josh
        1990 325is

        Need a shift boot?
        Looking to buy shift boot frames, PM if you have one to sell

        Here's what happens when you let the internet pick your license plate

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          #5
          It's much more difficult on airbag cars than it is on non-airbag cars, as that upper column trim piece is different. It is hanging up on the reinforcement rib that runs along the back of the trim piece, which gets caught on the dash frame. It will come out, but it isn't easy. Once you get it out, take a dremel or something and cut that rib down to about half the height and everything will be much easier the next time. BTW the closer to the center you hold it when pulling, the less likely it is to break. It's been too long since I did mine the first time; I don't remember if there were other tricks or not.

          Project M42 Turbo

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            #6
            Thanks for all the tips, I was finally able to get the piece off. Unfortunately, it is a bit warped and one of the plastic nipple pieces broke off. I think it will still install fine though. Here are some pics of the back in case anyone else is ever curious without having done this.




            (note that one of the protruding plastic studs is broken off in this picture)

            Without having done this on a non-airbag car, I'm going to agree that things are worse with the airbag version of the upper column trim. Even though I got that lower trim piece off, I can't seem to pull the cluster out. All of the mounting bolts are removed, so it's hanging freely. I just can't dip the face down like most guides show. The steering column's upper trim piece is getting in the way. So it turns out that I'll be removing the wheel and column trim after all.

            I've taken the wheel and lower column trim piece off. I can't figure out how the upper column piece is removed. At first, I thought I needed to remove the ignition lock cylinder, since that seems to be the area that isn't lifting up. Is this correct? Or should I be able to slide the trim piece over the lock cylinder?

            I was looking at this guide: http://zoso.no-ip.org/318i-dash.html. The only description he gives for the upper trim is:
            "I could not get the top steering wheel trim off, but I managed to pull it out of the way and get the trim piece behind the wheel off. "
            He doesn't even mention anything about the ignition cylinder, so I think I'm going about this wrong.

            Comment


              #7
              you can definitely get it off without removing the wheel and trim. you just have to get it in the right position, which is tricky.

              it's never fun, but you have to sort of push it back inside the dash, then rotate it sort of down at an angle, and get the upper screw tabs past the dash.. etc. once you get it, it comes out easy, but I can never remember the exact method/position used to get it out. I end up relearning it each time..
              Build thread

              Bimmerlabs

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                #8
                I've done this on my '87 and on our '90 with airbag. The '90 was infinitely worse; for whatever reason, the cluster is a lot tighter in the '90 than the '87. I'm assuming it as to to with a difference in the steering column location or something. Either way, it'll come out the same way but it requires a bit more... "persuasion."
                Interested in vintage cars? Ever thought about racing one? Info, photos, videos, and more can be found at www.michaelsvintageracing.com!

                Elva Courier build thread here!

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                  #9
                  The cluster should come out in the same way that others show... it takes a little more force, but it's not too bad. the two hooks that are the upper mounting points have holes in the middle of the vee-shape. I stick my fingers in the holes and pull down and forward to rotate the unit and unplug everything, and then slide it out from there. I don't remove the steering wheel or anything like that, but I've done it a lot of times.

                  Don't try to get that upper trim piece off. You basically can't without moving the dash upwards due to how it is hooked around the back, as that panel comprises some of BMW's security measures against car thieves.

                  Project M42 Turbo

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                    #10
                    Thanks for everyone's help, I was finally able to get it out without removing the column trim.

                    Originally posted by nando View Post
                    you can definitely get it off without removing the wheel and trim. you just have to get it in the right position, which is tricky.

                    it's never fun, but you have to sort of push it back inside the dash, then rotate it sort of down at an angle, and get the upper screw tabs past the dash.. etc. once you get it, it comes out easy, but I can never remember the exact method/position used to get it out. I end up relearning it each time..
                    This was extremely helpful. I don't know why but I didn't think to push the bottom in further, where the cluster's bottom corner mounting holes need to get behind the dash's mounting tabs that they'd normally be on top of. "once you get it, it comes out easy, but I can never remember the exact method/position used to get it out. I end up relearning it each time". For some reason that quote really made me understand things.

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                      #11
                      I just took my gauge cluster out recently. +1 for not having to remove the steering wheel.

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