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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 04-29-2009, 06:43 PM   #1
XscoreX
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XscoreX's LCD replacement DIY

ok so I could never find any info on this so I just took the plunge. The previous owner of my car had installed silver face gauges & rings on the instrument cluster, somehow this messed up the lcd screen where the mileage was displayed, it slowly got worse until it was just blank. This is how i fixed it.

I bought a used cluster off of ebay. Total cost $45 shipped. I just got lucky as most new ones are a few hundred and even used ones usually have a starting bid at like $90 or so.

anyway. first I removed my instrument cluster. Its real easy, two torx screws under the dash lip then the whole unit slides out. there are two connectors that you just pull out, pretty simple.

Here are my two units


ok now take a #15 torx screwdriver and remove the screws from the back of the unit. once they are removed pull off the back cover, you will see a circuit board. turn the unit over with the back down and gently wiggle it, the circuit board will start to seperate from the front glass and knobs. be careful!

this is what you now have


ok see that the lcd is held on by the metal bracket in the center. on the back of the unit two small prongs stick out where the metal tray goes through the board, push those towards the top of the unit to unsnap it. then wiggle the metal tray free.

after you do this GENTLY pull the lcd screen by the left & right edges straight up. this is what the lcd screen looks like out of the cluster


notice it doesnt seem to really be connected to anything, it looks like pressure from the metal tray is the only thing keeping it connected to the board below. I could see no damage to it, but decided to swap them anyway just to be sure.

I then replaced the old lcd with the new one from the donor and reversed the process of assembly. I made sure the metal tray that held the lcd in was clicked into place very snug before I reassembled.

I then put the repaired cluster back in my car. SUCCESS!


now Im hoping this works and it doesnt go bad again. Ill keep my fingers crossed. I hope this helps out someone with the same problem
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Old 04-29-2009, 07:22 PM   #2
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Good post!!!! Someone on here a month ago had the same problem after he put on gauge faces. Hope he finds this thread!!! Great work, and glad you got it fixed cheap. You did score one hell of a deal on a gauge cluster though.
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:49 AM   #3
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Thats great! When my cluster went bad, the LCD display ws the only thing still working...
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:53 AM   #4
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ok I messed up, the small screws on the back of the unit take a #10 torx and the screws to take it out of your dash use a #20 torx screwdriver.
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Old 04-30-2009, 01:19 PM   #5
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So the LCD is strictly a dummy display as we previous believed correct?
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Old 04-30-2009, 01:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisTKHarris View Post
So the LCD is strictly a dummy display as we previous believed correct?
yes , the lcd isnt actually connected to anything, the pink sides you see in the pic feel like they are made out of foam kind of, Im guessing the foam protect the wires running into the lcd, they then line up with spots on the circuitboard underneath & pressure from the clip makes it stay connected. Im guessing if the foam wears out or if your clip isnt tight or anything loosens it will start to malfunction
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Old 04-30-2009, 01:29 PM   #7
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Great, thanks for the info.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:55 AM   #8
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woooo!! Awesome to hear it worked. i'll keep my eyes peeled on EBay for a cheap cluster and tell you how it goes when I replace mine. Thanks!
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:59 AM   #9
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Im glad it could help someone out. so far almost a week later and the lcd dispaly looks good as new. I think its a permanent fix
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:03 PM   #10
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The pink foam things are called Zebra strip. They contain strips of very fine conductors that run from the circuit board to the transparent zinc oxide conductors on the back of the LCD glass. These do go bad over time, but, the LCDs go bad too. The zebra strip going bad usually results in missing lines or dots. A bad LCD usually starts in a spot and grows outward like a cancer.
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottjoh View Post
The pink foam things are called Zebra strip. They contain strips of very fine conductors that run from the circuit board to the transparent zinc oxide conductors on the back of the LCD glass. These do go bad over time, but, the LCDs go bad too. The zebra strip going bad usually results in missing lines or dots. A bad LCD usually starts in a spot and grows outward like a cancer.
thats good info. Mine must have been the zebra strips going bad, as it was missing lines & dots & would change every day until it was about 90% all out, so frustrtaing. If only we could figure out a part # or source to just purchase the lcd with the zebra strip on it
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:48 PM   #12
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nice work! any pics of those silver gauges at night? I've never seen them in person.
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Old 07-02-2010, 09:35 PM   #13
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Thanks!!! I lucked up on a 2001 325 Instrument cluster on ebay for $32 +$13.95 I made the swap with a note to add.

#1 REMOVE THE CONNECTORS CORRECTLY DON'T PRY THE CLASPS. I snapped the claps on one of the connectors when trying to pull the cluster out of the dash. PRESS the small raised portion in front of the clasp and slide the clasp down. I will try post pictures later.

The connector can seat securely without the clasp. What happens if you put only half of the clasp on is the windshield washer fluid light being stuck on and the OBC mode selector (push button on the turn signal arm) being disabled. So the only LCD info displayed was miles, trip meter, and time.

I crazy glued the clasp back together and I will try to put it back on to keep the cluster secured at a later date.
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:03 PM   #14
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By any chance are you willing to sell the bluish face thing. Mines stock black and white and llooks boring
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:53 PM   #15
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I assume your talking to the previous posters. Check the original dates on this thread I revived it from the dead so i'm not sure how active those users still are.....

Here is a picture of one of the clamps/covering caps or whatever the heck it is.......The red arrow illustrates the way the clasp should be moved. I need that clasp if the crazy glue doesn't hold i will go figure out what part it is, the covering cap, or the housing. I'm unsure which of the two it would be a part of...

Also attached is e a picture of the actual clasp (post krazy glue).
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