Removing the instrument or gauge cluster in an E30 is a relatively simple task. It’s not as easy as removing the cluster in later models that followed such as the E39 or E53, but still not too bad. Since we’ll be removing electronic parts, it’s recommended that you disconnect the battery before beginning work.
Removing the cluster
1. Steering wheel removal is not necessary, but can be easily removed with a few minutes of extra work and it will give you more room to work. See how to remove the steering wheel here.
2. Remove the knee bolster panel below the dashboard. This will give you access to the two aluminum thumb screws located behind the plastic trim panel that sits below the instrument cluster itself.
3. Reach behind the dashboard and remove the two aluminum thumb screws. The left screw is just to the right of the headlight switch and is easily removed. The right screw is just to the left of the radio, and is quite difficult to unscrew if you have large hands. Take your time.
4. With the two aluminum thumb screws removed, carefully pry the plastic trim with a small flathead screwdriver and lift it up and away. It is wedged tightly between the steering column, so take care not to break it.
5. Remove the cluster trim surround. To do so, remove two small phillips head screws located in the top of the trim. Remove the two small phillips head screws in the lower trim. Set in a secure location to avoid cracking this delicate piece.
6. Remove the slightly larger phillips head screws that secure the gauge cluster to the dashboard.
7. Use a small flat head screwdriver to release the securing clips on the harness plugs from the back of the cluster. Also remove the two small power wires on the left side of the cluster.
8. Tilt the top of the cluster down and towards you and carefully pull the cluster from the dashboard!
I’ve also put together this short video DIY below. Be sure to check out our full library of E30 videos here: E30 Video Library
You can replace any burnt out cluster light bulbs by ordering new bulbs here: http://amzn.to/25gOrpL