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How-To by BugMod.com
Photo's and Info by: DOOODLE Written by: NETBEETLE

New Beetle 98-03 Gauge Face Swap

In this article, we're going to cover the process of swapping the instrument cluster gauge face. John chose to install an electro-luminescent face, but this article will cover most other installs as well. One important note before we start: DO NOT INSERT YOUR KEY INTO THE IGNITION UNTIL COMPLETED WITH THE PROCEDURE! The only setting that will be lost is the Trip Odometer reading - write the number down if you need it.

Tools needed for this Mod:
T-20 TORX
Small Flathead Screwdriver
Small Pliers

Approximately 1-hour labor time
 

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First, start by pulling the instrument cluster trim piece straight-out and set it aside - it should come off with minimal pressure. This would be an outstanding time to paint it if you have a color-matched dash. Remove the two T-20 TORX screws (photo below right).
 

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Next, we will remove the clear plastic cover over the faceplate. Carefully remove the two small spring-clips with your small flathead screwdriver (photo below left) - use caution with the spring-clips as they will fly away if not shielded. Gently expand the two tabs holding the lower section of the cover (photo below right) while lifting up and out (over odometer reset button) - the two tabs at the top will slide down and out.
 

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Next, pull the cluster far enough out to release the lock-clips on the two wiring harnesses (photo right). Take note that each harness is color-coded to its plug location making the re-installation simple (photos below left and right).
 

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Depending on your particular gauge face, the instructions may indicate that you do not need to remove the instrument needles for installation - THEY ARE WRONG. You will need to remove the needles. Grab the small silver caps on the needles (with your fingers) and lift up on the cap in the direction of the point of the needles to remove. Note that all three needles are different lengths, but the two smaller caps are the same size. Using your small pliers, carefully pull each needle straight-out and set aside (photo below left). The electro-luminescent (or other gauge face) will now easily slide in. Note that we are not removing the original faceplate - the electro-luminescent face has its own lighting source and will sit over the original with the factory warning lights shining through (other faceplates will require removal of the original faceplate covering). Next, place the cluster back into its opening and plug respective wiring harnesses back into their assigned locations with the locks in place. The plugs should go straight in - the locks will change position once the plugs are fully seated. Make sure both plugs are fully inserted and locked-into place!
 

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Position the new faceplate in the cluster. You may now insert your ignition key and start the car / turn off. The purpose is to reset the needle positions when the ignition is turned-off. Take the needle caps and reverse the procedure to install them back on the needles (slide the cap onto the needle up to the base and pivot it over to snap it in place). It's easier to do BEFORE you replace the needles on the cluster. Press the faceplate towards the cluster to ensure it is seated flush with the stock faceplate.
 

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Now, you can re-install the needles AT THEIR "0" RESTING PLACES (with your fingers) until they are about a quarter of an inch from the SEATED faceplate - do not push them too close to the faceplate or the needles will rub. The Cover is now re-inserted in the two tabs, at the top. and lowered over the odometer button and snapped into place with the two tabs at the bottom. Replace the two spring clips, seat cluster and replace the two Torx screws. Replace the cluster trim piece. Your electro-luminescent faceplate manufacturer will provide you with wiring instructions for the faceplate lighting.


You are now completed and ready to light your interior in a new way! (Picture below also features the available electro-luminescent gauges in an Autometer pod).
 

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