Pod Removal and Instrument Cluster Repair w/pics (Part I)


On the '84, I've been having problems with my fuel gauge not registering full (only 3/4 full) on fill-ups and my speedometer stopped working when it was cold (after the pod heated up from sitting in the sun, it worked but not accurately). So, after much troubleshooting to narrow the problems down, it looked like the problem was in the instrument cluster - everything else checked out.

I had never removed the pod before or worked on the instrument cluster but I found several excellent writeups on the procedure which made it much easier. This forum as well as several other 928 owner websites have been priceless resources to me! THANKS!!

I snapped a few pics along the way for those like myself that have not tried this before - my fellow noobies! There's quite a few pics so I broke it into 2 parts. This first part is for pod removal and installation on the 1984. In part II, I have pics of cleaning and repair of the instrument cluster.

First, gather the tools needed. Here's a list and a pic of the tools I used:
1. 27mm socket
2. 10mm socket
3. 5mm allen wrench/socket
4. 13mm combination wrench
5. Needle Nose pliers
6. Phillips screwdriver
7.
6" extensions for socket wrenches
8. Dielectric Grease

 

Next step is to take off the front cover. It's held on by two 10mm bolts (left and right) and a phillips screw. Take off both of the 10mm bolts. You may also notice that the lower instrument cluster wire harness plugs are now visible from underneath (see arrows). There are three instrument cluster wire harness plugs on the cluster. Two of these are underneath - one on the left and one on the right (you can see the right one in this pic). The third harness plug is best accessible from behind the pod after the pod securing bolts are removed. For now, you can remove these bottom two plugs by gripping them by the white platic ends and working it slightly left-right while pulling down. If you don't find you have the room here, you can disconnect them later when the pod securing bolts are removed and you can lift the pod slightly to get at the plugs more easily - that's what I did.
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Then take out the phillips screw...
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With slight maneuvering, the front cover will now come off.
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The pod is held in place by two 5mm allen head bolts (left and right). I took the right side out first. It's located right next to the ignition switch. I had to lie down on my back to see it (as well as the left allen bolt on the other side).
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Then take out the left side allen bolt. It's located to the far left of the pod right about where the left edge of the instrument cluster is.
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The two pod securing bolts are pictured here. The longer bolt on the left secures the left side of the pod - the shorter secures the right of the pod.
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Next, remove the ignition switch rubber gasket. It stretches and will easily pull off. If you can't get at it with your fingers, you can pry one side off easily with a screwdriver.
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I read in some writeups that you can remove the pod while the wiper/signal/cruise cluster is still in place. However, I liked the idea of removing it for ease of getting the pod out and back in again. To remove it, I pulled the pod forward enough to clear the ignition switch then lifted the pod up enough that the wiper/signal/cruise cluster would clear the pod if I were to pull it straight out.
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Once the pod is lifted up enough, pull the wiper/signal/cruise cluster toward you with a twisting-walking motion and it will slowly move outward toward you. Mine was a snug fit but eventually pulled away from the steering column and pod. When it clears the pod, you can lower the pod. At the back of the wiper/signal/cruise cluster, are two wiring connectors (one left and one right). I found it easier to disconnect these two connections first before completely removing the cluster from the column (the wires aren't quite long enough to clear the end of the column without quite a bit of strain).
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With the connections off, the cluster comes off the steering column.
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Lastly, disconnect the barrel connection for the wiper/signal/cruise cluster and set the cluster aside.
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Next, I disconnect the negative terminal of the battery using the 13mm comb. wrench.
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Then remove the horn pad. Sitting in the driver's seat, grab both ends of the pad and pull firmly toward you - but make it a shallow pull because there's a wire connected to the back of the pad you don't want to damage. It has about 4" of play in it.
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After the horn pad comes out, tilt if forward and you can see the horn wire connected to the back. Disconnect it.
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Then, using the 27mm socket and 6" extension, loosen the steering wheel nut. I used a long handle socket wrench to get more leverage. I held the steering wheel with one hand and applied the wrench with the other. It came off without any problems but if the nut is really tight, you may have to tie the wheel down or block it with something to hold it in place. I was not comfortable applying force against the steering wheel locks. Loosen the nut but do not take it all the way off. With the nut loosened, pull the steering wheel to get it loose but still on it's splines. Some steering wheels will not come off easily and this procedure will allow you to loosen the wheel from the steering column splines without the wheel coming up to meet you in the face! With the wheel loose, remove the Nut - but DO NOT TAKE THE STEERING WHEEL OFF YET.
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Before taking the wheel off, you need to mark its orientation so you can get it back on in the same position. You can mark it with a piece of tape. I simply centered the wheel perfectly then pulled the wheel. This worked fine for me since I wasn't planning to move the car while I was working on it.
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To get at and remove the plastic covers unterneath, move the tilt wheel paddle down.
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First, remove the two phillips screws that hold the bottom plastic cover in place. There's one on the left....(as you can see, mine is cracked from someone overtightening the screw - which seems to be very easy to do if not careful)
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...and one on the right...
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The lower plastic cover doesn't just drop down. It has 4 thin plastic fingers that insert under the front plastic cover. You will need to slide the lower cover back to allow the fingers to clear the front cover. Do this carefully, the fingers can easily break.
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Once the fingers are clear, the cover can be pulled down and out. Here's a pic with the cover out. As you can see, one of my plastic fingers was already broken off.
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The next item is to take the lights/odometer reset/defroster/hazard knobs off. These simply pull straight out and off. I removed all five at this time. However, make a note of what order they are in. Lights top left, fog lights middle left, odometer bottom left, defroster top right, hazard middle right. My visual memory must be failing me because when I first pulled them off, I only remembered for sure that the light switch was top left - had to refer to a picture to remember the rest!
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Once the knobs are off, you will see the switches are held in place by two plastic tabs (one on top of the switch and one on the bottom). Use the needle-nose pliers to compress the tabs in and at the same time pull the switch out - using a twisting motion left to right helps.
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Pull the switch out all the way until you see the wires at the back of the switch connector.
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The switch connections are keyed. However, to ease the re-installation, mark the switch as well as the harness connection so they can be easily re-associated when putting it back together. For example, the convention I used was 1L for "top left switch", 1R for "top right switch), 2R for "2nd right switch from the top", etc.
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Once all the switches were out, I re-attached the knobs with the switches just to keep them together.
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Next the harness connectors for all the removed switches can be pushed back into the pod.
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The rear instrument cluster wiring harness needs to be disconnected next. The pod can now be moved up and forward to gain access to the rear. You will find the rear harness to the right side of the pod. Pull the right side of the pod toward you and find the wiring harness. You can grip it with you finger and thumb at the green arrows shown and pull on it while walking it up and down and it should come out. If you have not removed the bottom two (left and right) wiring harnesses from the instrument cluster yet, now would be the time to do so. You can gain access to them by lifting the pod up and pulling down on the white plastic connector as before.
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There are just a few more wires to disconnect from the pod. With the inst. cluster wiring harnesses disconnected, you should be able to lift the pod and pull it toward you and lay it face down to expose the back side of the pod and instrument cluster. To the left you will notice two wires connected to a thumb wheel. This is the instrumentation light dimmer switch. Disconnect these wires remembering which terminal the double wire is connected to.
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On the right side there are two more switches. The small black push button switch operates the intensive windshield washer pump. It is barely visible behind the yellow wires in the pic - it has purple and black wires going to it. Disconnect these. There are also two wires (shown yellow in the pic) that attach to another thumb wheel. I didn't know what this wheel did until just this morning when I read a post about it. PERFECT TIMING!! This forum is GREAT! The right thumb wheel controls the duration of the delay interval for the windshield wipers. Disconnect these wires as well noting which terminal the double wire connects to. In reality, I suppose it's not terribly important to keep the terminals/wires matched on the thumb wheels. If they are reversed, it would only mean the polarity of the wheel would be reversed and dimming action, for example, would occur in the opposite wheel direction than the factory install (i.e., dimming by moving the wheel toward you vs moving the wheel away from you).
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The pod and instrument cluster can now be removed from the car. This next step is optional and involves removing the post/bolt that helps secure the right side of the pod to the ignition branch of the steering column. You should be able to simply pull the instrument cluste raway from this post to separate the cluster from the pod. However, I didnít realize this before I decided to disassemble everything . If you do decide to remove the final cluster retaining bolt, make a note of it's orientation because it will need to be realigned with the hole at the ignition switch that takes the 5mm right side securing allen head bolt. This difficult to do while the instrument cluster is in the pod during re-install. This last bolt also takes a 5mm allen wrench/socket. On the re-install, I documented a procedure to line up the holes again in case you don't mark the orientation.
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At this point, you can take out the bushings that hold the instrumentation cluster. Just two bushings on the left side....
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...and the bushings with the securing post on the right (if you removed it).
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At this point the cluster is removed.
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Now you can work on the cluster or the pod. Now's also a good time to look in the dash where the pod was for anything that might be amiss. For example, I noticed that the HVAC side vent hose had separated from the central unit so I re-secured the hose. At this point, I began working on cleaning and repairing the instrument cluster. I'll post the pics on that effort under a new post.

After you've completed the pod/instrument cluster work and you're ready to put it back in, I have pics of the re-install next.

 

The re-install process is pretty much the reverse of the removal but I had pixels to spare on the camera so snapped a few pics on the way.

If you didn't remove the right instrument-to-pod securing post with bushings, you can skip this first step and pics. For those that removed it like I did, here's what I did to get it installed and aligned with the ignition switch. First, I placed the post and bushings as they were to be oriented when installed. As you can see the allen bolt that secures this post to the pod is blocked from below by the ignition switch (right next to my pinkie in the pic).
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Next bolt the post and bushings into the empty pod and snug the allen bolt down with the 5mm allen wrench (but leave it loose enough that it can swivel with moderate force).
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Then place the empty pod into position. Reach inside the pod and rotate the bottom of the post so that it lines up with the hole in the ignition switch. This pic was taken from inside the empty pod.
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Verify the alignment is correct by screwing in the 5mm allen head securing bolt from beneath the ignition switch. Reach inside the pod to make any fine adjustments to get the alignment right. Once the bottom bolt goes in freely, remove it.
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Carefully remove the pod so as not to distrub the orientation of the bushing post and turn the pod upside down. Holding the end of the bushing post firmly to prevent movement, finish tightening down the 5mm bushing post.
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Now, ready to insert the instrument cluster. First, install the two bushing on the left side of the instrument cluster.
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Then slide the right side of the instrument cluster into the bushing post on the right side of the pod.
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Next, attach the black harness locks onto the three harness receptacles on the back of the instrument cluster. Each of these locks has a small pin that protrudes from one of the horizontal edges. This pin is oriented toward the bottom of the instrument cluster connector (i.e., side opposite the side facing up with the metal contacts exposed). The black plastic locks are secured by two locking tabs (one on each end). Press the locks in place until the tabs interlock.
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Then, take the pod and instrument cluster into the car and place it face down on your lap up next to the steering column. Re-connect the wires to the instrumentation lighting dimmer switch on the left of the pod....
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...and re-connect the intense washer fluid pump and wiper delay thumb wheel wires on the right side of the pod.
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Next, rotate the pod upright and place into position above the steering column and pull the lights/odometer reset/defroster/hazard harness connectors through their respective holes in the pod. If you numbered them previously, they will be easily identifiable. The way I got them started was to grab the wires associated with the switch connector from below and push/maneuver the connector up to the hole. Then I used my fingers on my other hand to guide the connector through the hole just enough so I could grasp the connector and pull it through the hole.
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Pull all the connectors through their holes enough so they will stay in place while you continue working.

 

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Next, connect the right rear instrumentation cluster harness. Pull the right side of the pod toward you to gain access to the back right side of the pod and push the connector firmly into the receiver on the back of the cluster.
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Then, install the wiper/signal/
cruise cluster onto the steering column. Position it in place....
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...and attach the two wiring harness connectors at the rear before pushing and seating the signal cluster - otherwise, you will not have room to connect the harnesses once the cluster is fully seated on the column. Ensure the wiring harnesses are fully seated against the cluster.
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Re-connect the barrel connector.
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Lift the pod enough for the wiper/signal/cruise cluster to clear the pod and push in on the signal cluster with a twisting-walking motion to work it down until it is fully seated and oriented so that it is level.
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Next, position the pod so that the ignition switch is lined up with the hole in the pod and push the pod onto the ignition switch. Then line up and insert the left (long) 5mm allen head pod-securing bolt and screw down but leave it loose until the right side is attached.
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Install and tighten down the right side 5mm allen head pod securing bolt that goes through the ignition switch. Before tightening these bolts, I made sure the pod was not in contact or rubbing against the dash or other obstacles so as to reduce vibration noises. Go back and tighten the right side 5mm allen head bolt after securing the right side.
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Next, connect the left instrumentation cluster wiring harness from below. You can also re-connect these harnesses from above before you bolt down the pod.
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And connect the right instrument cluster harness from below.
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Now, connect the lights/odometer reset/defroster/hazard switches with their respective harness connectors....
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....and re-insert them into the pod. Note the orientation. There is a square notch on the front of the switch that is to be oriented to the top. The knobs are keyed to this notch and will ensure the knob is correctly oriented when re-installed. Press the switch in until you hear/feel the plastic tabs click into place.
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Next, attach the knobs with their respective switches. Simply line the notches up and press in firmly until you hear the tabs click/lock into place.
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At this point, I started the car to make sure everything was still functioning. When I was working on the instrument cluster - before installing it in the pod - I had also tested the repairs to ensure everything was working. Re-connect the battery and start the car and check instrumentation functions and switch functions before the final assembly. I was very pleased with the fuel guage functioning correctly now - a full tank shows full on the gauge now. My wife thinks I'm nuts for going through the trouble of fixing this little problem. What can I say??....it's the little 928 repair victories in life that makes it all worthwhile!
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Next, install the front plastic cover. Maneuver the cover into place....
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...and tighten the two 10mm bolts. I left the bolts a little loose so I could adjust the cover to line up the hole for the phillips screw.
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Install the phillips screw but don't tighten all the way. Then, line up the front cover so that it fits snugly up against the mating edge of the pod and tighten the phillips and 10mm bolts while holding it in place with one hand.
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Next, install the lower plastic cover. Insert the plastic fingers first by sliding them under the front plastic cover just installed.
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Install and tighten the lower cover plastic cover screws (one of the left and one on the right). Be careful not to overtighten these screws - they will crack the plastic cover if tightened too much.
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My steering wheel would make a scraping sound when turning the wheel and I found this to be caused by the horn contact - it was pressed too hard up against the horn contact ring on the steering wheel. I pressed it down so that it only lightly make contact when the wheel was fully seated. Then I applied dielectric grease to the contact areas. No more scraping sound!! Another small victory!
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Next comes the steering wheel. Since I left the steering wheel perfectly centered when I took it off, I installed it the same way.
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Tighten the steering wheel nut. If you're fingers aren't long enough or small enough to place the washer and start the nut, place the washer on a screwdriver shaft and slide it down the shaft onto the end of the steering column. You can use the same trick with the nut. I used my fingers. Tighten the nut with the 27mm socket to 36ftlbs while counterholding the steering wheel or blocking the steering wheel so it doesn't move.
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Connect the horn wire to the back of the horn pad....
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...and position the horn pad over the steering wheel lining up the three clip connectors. Then press down firmly over the top of each of the connectors until you hear/feel the pad click/lock into place. Test the horn function.
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Now you're done - go for a drive!

THANKS to the many others that have posted pictures and writeups on this procedure before - I found them all most valuable and would have had a much more difficult time takling this job (and probably would have broke things along the way) if it weren't for those documents and their authors.

I hope this helps some of the other noobies like myself - feel free to comment or recommend improvements to the process. THANKS for reading!