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How to remove the instrument cluster from a 88-94 GMT400

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by bk95td, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. bk95td

    bk95td 6.5 nut job/addict

    Nov 26, 2008
    Since i'm having cluster problems with my 94 3500srw I thought I'd harvest the cluster from the dash of a 93 k3500 that i junked a while back. I had removed the entire dash from the truck before I scrapped it. So I thought I'd take some pics and write down how I get them out.
    Tools required: 1/4" drive handle, 1/4"drive extension[3-4"], 1/4" drive T10 and T20 torx bits, 1/4" 7mm thin wall socket, Flat blade screwdriver. IMG_1487_1.JPG

    1. Remove the 4 -t20 bezel screws that are in the 4 corners of the bezel that covers the cluster, radio and heater control.
    2. Pull the bezel out a few inches to gain clearance to unplug the headlight and cluster dimmer switches. If you have a cargo light or other accessory switch , unplug them also. The latch for the dimmer needs to be pried up with the flat blade screwdriver to release it. The cargo light connector also will need to have the latch pried up. They need to go pretty high to release. Bezel should be free to remove out of the way.

    3. Remove the 7 -7mm head screws that hold the radio head and heater control. The screws on the left side of the heater control are why you need a thin wall socket.

    4. Pull heater control out and unplug wire connector. Twist the radio head to expose the cluster mounting screw on the top right of the cluster.
    IMG_1490_4.JPG IMG_1491_5.JPG

    5. Remove 1-7mm head screw that holds the a/c duct on the left of the cluster. Remove the duct.
    IMG_1493_7.JPG IMG_1492_6.JPG

    6.Remove the cover from below the steering column. [2-7mm screws]. There is a silver clip on the shell of the steering column with a fine cable attached to it for the gear shift indicator.[ Obviously if you have a manual transmission you can skip this step.] Slide the silver clip off of the steering column shell. Put it on top of the column.

    7. Remove the 4 screws that hold the cluster to the dash. If auto trans. put shifter in low gear. Tilt steering column down all the way if equipped with tilt column.

    8. Gently pull cluster straight twards steering wheel to release from connector. There you have it. The screws to remove the clear lens are T10.
  2. vdb11

    vdb11 Halfmoon Detroit #2

    Dec 2, 2010
    Stormstown, PA
    very cool! I have had the bezel in mine off so many times its not even funny, but I always wondered about getting the cluster out. I didn't realize it had like a plug in connector like that, I figured if I tried to take it out I would be messing with a forest of wires, nice info :)

    How do you get to the lights in the cluster, I see it comes out as one unit, how do you tear that apart to get to the bulbs? I would like to eventually put in some LED bulbs in there if I could, maybe brighten/sharpen the look of the dash lights compared to my gauges. I have seen it done on the newer 95+ clusters but not these. Thanks!

    EDIT: hey bk, have you ever had a problem with those headlight switches?? Mine went out a few weeks ago, the headlights would come on, but nothing on the smaller push switch (dash lights, running lights, tail lights, etc.) would come on. I know it was the switch because I could jump the connections on the plug in the back and they would come on. So I bought a new switch from Advance (the cheapy one though, not the ACDelco), plug it in, and its still doesn't work??? I got so frustrated I just have them all wired to a temporary toggle switch right now.
  3. bk95td

    bk95td 6.5 nut job/addict

    Nov 26, 2008
    View of the back of the cluster

    When you have the cluster out the bulbs are accessable from the back. The blue sockets twist to come out. Im not positive if the bulbs come out of the sockets or if you have to buy the whole thing. I tried wiggling a bulb out but it was so stuck I would have broke it trying to get it out. IMG_1484_2.JPG IMG_1500_1.JPG

    The bulb has GE194 printed on it,so I would assume it will come out of the holder. :???:
    What started this whole thing is that my 94 K3500 has no cluster lights. I tried another headlight switch and cluster dimmer and still no lights. When I removed the cluster last night , the contact on the printed circuit was discolored. That has me thinking it was just a connection problem. I plan to clean all the contacts on the cluster and the connector in the dash. I plan to bend the contacts on the connector in the dash up some to create more pressure on the contact. I'm hoping it works. I have 2 other clusters that will work in there but they don't have the tach. A little extra info on clusters that i learned today is that: 91 is different from 93 and 94. The 91 has a different style connector to the cluster. Also, The cluster from a gasser is the same except ,of coarse, the diesel fuel only on the face. The printed circuits are the same. The gasser cluster has bulbs in some different spots for different idiot lights.
    As far as your headlight switch goes, Id guess you got a bad one. The cheap garbage these parts stores are selling is discusting. Getting harder to find quality replacement parts. Some of the GM stuff isn't any better either. Go get a used one at a junk yard for a buck or 2.
    Trailer lights will eat the switches pretty fast. I would reccomend setting up the trailer lights on relays as they do with snow plow lighting.
  4. handcannon

    handcannon Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2009
    Albany, OR
    This is good info Barry. Thanks!!

    I've been wondering how hard it would be to get to the dash cluster lights. My cluster lights are all good except for the trip odometer. It is so weak it is impossible to read it at night.

  5. vdb11

    vdb11 Halfmoon Detroit #2

    Dec 2, 2010
    Stormstown, PA
    Thanks! I will have to pull mine sometime and see what I can do with the bulbs. I know what you mean about parts store stuff, its pretty bad. I got so frustrated working on the lights, I had both the new and old switches apart bending contacts to create more pressure and still nothing. I probably should check how the trailer lights are wired.

    Ha it probably doesn't help how many lights I have added. 5 amber cab lights and 12 little amber lights in my running boards, plus the little LED strips on my headache rack. Anyways thanks again for the great info!
  6. bk95td

    bk95td 6.5 nut job/addict

    Nov 26, 2008
    Just the cleaning the contacts and bending the contacts on the connector fixed my cluster lights. I didn't have to use this cluster I pulled out.
  7. Burning oil

    Burning oil LeroyDiesel.com Vendor

    Jan 3, 2009
    You want to sell the cup holder on the dash? I need a red one, but can paint one if needed.
  8. GM Guy

    GM Guy Manual Trans. 2WD Enthusiast

    May 6, 2008
    NW Kansas and SC Idaho
    barry, you are 100 percent on the different clusters. the 88-91 are one group, and the 92-94 are another.
    I believe the only issue with using a gas tach cluster is the resistor value on the tach circuit. v6 is differnt than v8. this may not apply to 92-94. I know it is a factor on 88-91.
    also, I think on the 88-91 it has a different value for each gear ratio. by luck I found a v6 mt 3.42 ratio cluster for my 91. settled for it over finding the probably non-existant equivalent with the tach. I will prbably just get a tiny tach to put in the future a-pillar mount
  9. bk95td

    bk95td 6.5 nut job/addict

    Nov 26, 2008
    The speedometer can be recalibrated on the older style clusters.[I don't know about the 92-94 and the 95-2000] There is pins that can be added or removed. There is a service kit that may be available at the stealer or maybe LMC truck. Nothing in the gm manual about recalibrating the tach. I did notice a resister on the back of the 92-94 cluster.
  10. BohicaUSN

    BohicaUSN New Member

    Jan 16, 2014
    United States
    A company that specializes in tools to fix pin ball machines has a bulb puller that works great pulling bulbs from the instrument cluster....try this: http://www.amazon.com/Mill-Pinball-Machine-Light-Removal/dp/B0060M4MJ2?tag=ama-prod-id-20
    I want to replace the bulbs with LED light on my 90 GMC Stepside. Did a test on spare cluster and it's worth the $$ believe me.....Now, anyone know how to install side marker lens on 88-94 chevy/GMC?....please email me....bohicarrl@netzero.com
  11. CtChevy427

    CtChevy427 Still Kicking.... Staff Member Lead Moderator

    Apr 14, 2008
    North Haven, CT
    It would be more helpful for it to be posted than e-mailed to you. That's what the forum is about, sharing information....
  12. 625fireman

    625fireman I have injecter-itis

    Dec 10, 2008
    NE Ohio
    It is a little more difficult to do in the truck, with the steering column there. If yours is tilt drop it all the way down it makes it a lot easier. You shouldn't have to drop the steering column done but it would be easier. Also if its an auto pull it down into first gear too.

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