My VW History

Clock In The Cluster Lighting Change

-photo illustrations will be added later :) so please check back-

Many of you out there want your dash lights to be a different color. If your like me you just cant STAND green at night. Green is a nice color but it just isn't for me. Since my experience is only with the 87 scirocco, I'm going to ask that you bear with me while I explain how to do this on ONLY the scirocco. I am guessing and most of the cars are similar though. 

Please note that in this little disclaimer that I am not responsible in any way shape or form if you mess something up, break it, or otherwise ZAP yourself. Since you chose to do this you take full responsibility, I'm only showing you how it CAN be done. 

In the Scirocco there is one bulb that lights up the digital clock. Many have said never to mess with the clock but I have found a way to change the colors. You just have to be very organized and have patience. You will need a medium Phillips screw driver, and a small (and I mean small) regular screw driver, and a pair of pliers. In this example I will be changing from green to amber. First.. take out the cluster. To do this is a pain. Reach up behind the cluster, (And you will realize VW was smart and put a panel up under the steering wheel so take that out, being careful not to break it, especially if it's cold.) Disconnect the speedometer cable by pinching the 2 pigtails on each side of the cable connector and pull. Some have been in there for ages so you might have to pull kinda hard. 

Next, carefully disconnect the black and white electrical connectors to the cluster. I do not know any other way except to pull. Someone broke the pigtails off my electrical connectors so I don't know if you have to push or pull on the pigtails. Next, take the 2 Phillips screws out that are located on the top of the display, and pull the display cover off (the black thing that goes around the cluster) Then unscrew the phillips screw at the top of the cluster itself. At this point, make sure the steering wheel is centered and lift gently upwards on the cluster and bring the top towards yourself. 

You will now notice the cluster is sitting on 2 rests.. if you pull the cluster up the pins will come out of the rocker holders. I've found that if you turn the cluster with the tach side towards you and pull it through the steering wheel that it's easier than trying to get the speedo side first. Be EXTRA careful when doing this!!! You could catch the electronic plastic grid and things wont work (experience). 

Now that the cluster is removed take out all of the gold phillips screws, and unscrew the gold nuts. Carefully undo all of the connectors from the electronic grid to the instruments and pull the grid from the cluster. It will sound like your ripping the grid but you aren't, unscrew all of the lights. 


(Note:  the faces are off the instruments for another project)

Now you should have just a white backing. The way the cluster is set up is in 3 pieces, the speedo, the upshift/idiot lights/clock, and the tach. Lift the tach up and out first, then the clock assembly and leave the speedo in the cluster. Now that the clock assembly is out one word of caution. 


Do NOT start fooling around with the black piece that holds the lights in. it could break or if you do remove it the blue light shell will fall out. The LEDs will fall out and they only work one way.. the way they are now. What I've done is removed the upshift face so as not to bend or break the face plate. 


These next steps must be done delicately. There are 2 silver screws that hold the clock on the cluster, remove them.  Lift up on the clock assembly and the green board will lift up with the white piece of the clock, and turn it over. There will be 2 more silver screws one on the top and one on the bottom. 


Before you take these screws out heres where the organization and delicate skills come into play. Remove these screws but DON'T lift anything out yet!!! Put your 2 index fingers on the clear plastic tabs but don't apply any pressure. Put your middle fingers on the upper sides of the green board and your thumbs on the lower side, and pull the board up with your middle fingers and thumb while pushing down on the clear plastic tabs. 


The green board is the brain of the clock so be careful where you set it down. Next, lift the clear plastic tabs up off of the white piece of the clock. 


You will now see the green strip of plastic. Being very careful not to disturb the 2 rubber strips take the green plastic off. These rubber strips keep the clock face the distance it needs away from the brain. This is what's called Floating LCD. This next step can be done 1 of 3 ways. Either leave the colored plastic off and put everything back together so whatever color light you put in the clock will display that color, add the color strip with the regular light, or add the color strip AND the colored light.

Whatever way do that now, but DON'T take out the rubber strips or take the LCD display out. If you put the LCD in wrong it wont display the time it will just display weird things. If you DO happen to disturb the rubber strips follow along with assembly. (these strips have a mind of their own so don't worry if they moved or fell out on their own (damn things!)

Place the clear plastic back on the clock assembly on the colored plastic (if you put one in.

Not put the rubber pieces back in. The clear plastic will act like a guide. Put the green board back on the clock assembly with the 2 pins on the upper side not closest to you. Put the screws back in, and turn the clock over.

Put the clock assembly back in the cluster part and put the screws back in.

The rest is easy. Assemble in the reverse order and DON'T forget to plug your electrical connectors and speedo cable back in when you get everything back in the car. I always forget the damn speedo cable.

I hope that your new color of clock satisfies you. :)


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