Originally posted at http://www.oldsevens.com/site/articles_vdo_cluster.php

Removal and Service of VDO Instrument Cluster

One of the first things I began working on when I started restoring my 733i was the instrument cluster. This article will cover:
  1. Removing the cluster from the dashboard
  2. Taking the cluster apart
  3. Removal and service of the SI (Service Interval) board
  4. Replacement of odometer gears
  5. Upgrade of bulbs
Removing the cluster from the dashboard

To get to the cluster, you will need to remove the steering wheel.

Use a small flathead screwdriver or pick to pry the BMW emblem out of the steering wheel. Slide the pick behind the emblem and lever it to pop the roundel out -- it should come very easily, the tabs holding it in are on the top and bottom of the emblem.

Behind the emblem you will see the nut holding the steering wheel in place. Use a 22mm socket with an extension to remove the nut -- You will need to grip the steering wheel and hold it in place when you first start to turn the socket. Once the nut is removed, you will be able to slide the steering wheel off its spindle, but before you do that make sure the wheel is totally straight. That way when you put it back on, it will be easy to get it right on the splined spindle.

With the steering wheel removed, use a small phillips screwdiver to remove the three small screws holding the top of the cluster to the dashboard (Some Euro models have 2 screws rather than 3).

Use the screwdriver or pick and pull the cluster out of the dashboard from the top. Lay it on its face (you might want to put a towel on the steering wheel spindle housing so you don't scratch the face) on the steering column and remove the wiring connectors from the back of the cluster.

The 3 large connectors have a black retaining clip holding them in place -- use your pick to lift the retaining clip straight back and it will pop up (not off). Once it is up, you can just pull the connector out of its slot. There are also two smaller connectors, there is no trick to removing these.

Once the wires are disconnected, the cluster housing is free.

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