|Here's our tools, from left to right:
|Step 1: The basic stock gauge cluster. Say goodbye, as soon it will be much nicer looking!|
|Convertible owners only. PRIOR TO removing the console, you will have to remove your "waterfall." To do this, there are a total of four size 15 torx screws holding the waterfall in place. Two of these are along the top, and there is one screw on each of the two sides. Due to the perspective of the photo, only three screws can be seen, but as indicated there is a fourth on the side of the waterfall that is not shown. Using the size 15 torx screwdriver, remove the four screws; next, pull directly upward on the waterfall and it will lift out of the car.|
|Step 2a: Console removal. Open the console and toward the rear end there are two plastic oval-shaped covers; these each cover a 10mm nut below the cover. Using the tiny screwdriver, gently pry the covers off to reveal the 10mm nuts that are shown in step 2b, below.|
|Step 2b: Using the 10mm socket and wrench, remove the two 10mm nuts that were exposed in step 2a and that are shown here.|
|Step 2c: The trim plate that includes the Active Handling (A/H) button (and depending on year and options, it also may include the passenger air bag indicator and/or the suspension setting knob) is force fitted down. The car illustrated is a 2001 model so the photo also shows the passenger air bag indicator on the A/H trim panel. Using the tiny flat blade screwdriver, gently pry the A/H trim plate upward. You can protect the bottom pry surface with a cloth to avoid scratches. Also, after you pry slightly in one spot, you can move the screwdriver to other indicated pry spots and pry upward so as to distribute the force along the entire panel. Once the panel unclips, however, be aware that there is one or more electrical plugs still connected to its underside so do not pull it too abruptly away from the console.|
|Step 2d: Disconnect the one or more electrical plugs underneath the A/H trim plate that was lifted upward in step 2c. This photo shows a Vette with both the A/H plug and the passenger air bag indicator plug. With respect to the A/H plug, disconnect it by pressing down on the tab that faces the pink label in the photo and pulling the plug away from the A/H trim plate. See the next step regarding removal of the passenger air bag indicator plug.|
|Step 2e: Disconnect the passenger air bag indicator plug. To do so, first grab the metal clip shown in the photo and pull it away from the A/H trim plate until the metal clip releases from the plate. Continue now to step 2f.|
|Step 2f: Continuing with the passenger air bag indicator plug, the photo demonstrates that the plug is held in place by a tab that surrounds a retainer. Lift the tab with the tiny screwdriver so that it clears the height of the retainer, while at the same time pulling the male and female portions of the plug apart. Store the A/H trim plate in a safe place.|
|Step 2g: With the A/H trim plate from steps 2c through 2f removed, you now see two additional 10mm nuts. Using the 10mm socket and socket wrench, remove these two additional 10mm nuts. Also shown is the plug for the accessory power outlet. Use the tiny screwdriver to press down on the indicated retainer, and at the same time pull the electrical plug away from the back of the accessory power outlet. Finally, just for illustration, note that the photo also shows the A/H and air bag indicator plugs that were disconnected above in steps 2d through 2f.|
|Step 2h: The console should now be free from any mechanical attachment, but there is still an electrical plug for the button inside the console that releases the fuel cap door; this connection is on the underside and toward the front of the console. So, gently lift the console upward and toward the rear of the car so that you can access the electrical plug for the fuel door release. The photo illustrates this electrical plug. Lift the indicated tab (with a fingernail or the tiny flat blade screwdriver) and at the same time pull the female plug away from the console.|
|Step 2i: The console should now be free from any physical attachment. So, lift the console upward and toward the rear of the car and store it in a safe place. The photo illustrates the area from where the console has been removed.|
|Step 3a: Instrument trim panel partial removal. The instrument trim panel is the piece that runs from the console toward and around the air conditioning and radio controls, as also labeled below in the photo for step 3d. There are three size 15 torx screws that retain the instrument trim panel in place. Two are behind the ash tray/cigarette lighter door, as shown in the photo. You will see the first one as soon as you open the ash tray/cigarette lighter door. To access the second one, simply pull the plastic ash tray out from the right side of the area next to the cigarette lighter. Note that the ash tray has its own separate door, and you may have to close it slightly while removing the ash tray so that its door clears the larger door that covers both the ash tray and the cigarette lighter. Using the size 15 torx screwdriver, remove these two size 15 torx screws.|
|Step 3b: The third size 15 torx screw is behind the little grill that is next to the ignition switch. Using the tiny flat blade screwdriver, and optionally a cloth for scratch protection, gently pull the screwdriver away from the dash which will also pull the grill away. As shown in the photo, use only the tip of the flat blade screwdriver and pull from the bottom of the grill as shown -- this way you do not risk touching the element behind the grill with the screwdriver tip.|
|Step 3c: The photo illustrates the third size 15 torx screw that is visible once the grill from step 3b is removed, and this third torx screw is all that is left retaining the instrument trim panel in place. Using the size 15 torx screwdriver, remove this size 15 torx screw.|
|Step 3d: It is time to move the instrument trim panel several inches, but not all the way, toward the back of the car. To make this step easier in a 6-speed car, you'll want to take the following various steps. (1) engage the emergency brake, if you haven't already done so; and (2) put the car in neutral -- alternatively, you might still have reasonable working room if you put the car in 2nd, 4th, or 6th gear. Also, if you choose to go with neutral, then for safety reasons block your four tires so the car cannot roll. To make this step easier in an automatic transmission car, you'll want to take the following various steps. (1) take your ignition key off any key chain you have so you end up with the ignition key alone; (2) engage the parking brake; (3) put the ignition key in the ignition and turn it to the on, NOT START, position; (4) step on the brake; (5) put the car in low gear; and (6) turn the key back as far as it will go toward the off position.
The photo shows the engaged emergency brake and the gear shift in its neutral position, and it also labels the instrument trim panel in various locations. Once you have performed all of the suggestions in this step, the trim panel should pull toward the rear of the car. If you are performing this step on an automatic transmission Vette, then because you should only have a single key in the ignition, the portion of the trim panel that surrounds the ignition should easily clear the single key, and the remainder of the instrument trim panel should lift toward the rear of the car. Finally, however, note that the cigarette lighter still has an electrical plug connected to the back of it, so only pull the panel back about 6 to 12 inches so you have access to the electrical connection. Removal of this connection is described in step 3e, below.
|Step 3e: The photo illustrates one of the two tabs that hold the gray electrical connector to the chrome back of the cigarette lighter, with it understood and also indicated by a second white line that there is also a second of the same kind of tab on the opposite side of the lighter that is not viewable from the perspective shown. Using your fingers or the tiny screwdriver, pry upward on each tab and at the same time pull the gray connector toward the front of the car and away from the back of the cigarette lighter. See also the photo in the next step 3f to further illustrate your goal.|
|Step 3f: The photo illustrates the gray electrical connector after it is removed from the chrome back of the cigarette lighter.|
|Step 3g: You now have freedom to move the instrument trim panel farther and indeed to remove it.
In a 6-speed car, the shifter and its boot will initially restrain you from completely removing the instrument panel; lift slightly upward on the panel, and at the same time push down around the perimeter of the shift boot. The boot should drop downward, allowing you to lift the trim panel upward and out of the car. Later, when re-installing the panel, note that you will have to lift the shift boot upward until it clips back in place in the oval opening of the panel; you will see that the shift boot is around a plastic ring at its base, so lift this base upward until the boot clips in place.
In an automatic transmission car, the panel should lift directly up over the shifter and you then should remove the entire instrument panel from the car.
|No photo is shown for this step.|
|Step 4a, switch plate: Using the tiny flat blade screwdriver, gently put the screwdriver behind the plate that includes the fog lights and hatch (or trunk) release button. Rather than pivoting or prying the screwdriver, simply pull the screwdriver away from the dash which will also pull the switch panel slightly away.|
|Step 4b: Once the plate from step 4a is partially pulled away from the dash, use your hand to pull it the rest of the way. Expect some resistance because there is a metal clip that holds the plate in place; this clip is shown in the photo and it mates with the tab on the back of the panel. Also, there is a wire connection on the back of the plate so be careful not to pull the plate too far away. Once the plate is a few inches away from the dash, use the size 15 torx screwdriver to remove the torx screw that is now revealed from behind the plate.|
|Step 4c: Disconnect the plug on the back of the plate from step 4b. Do this by pushing on the tab shown here in the photo, which will cause the hook to pivot upward. At the same time, pull the plug away from the back of the plate.|
|Step 4d: For sake of later re-attachment, using your fingers or needle nose pliers, remove the metal clip from the rectangular hole in the dash. Then, attach the metal clip to the tab on the back of the plate as shown in the photo. Do not leave the clip in the dash and attempt to re-insert the plate into the clip because the clip is likely to push into the dash, and it may be difficult to locate it if this happens. Store the plate in a safe place.|
|Step 5a, knee panel: Using the size 15 torx screwdriver, remove the two size 15 screws along the bottom of the knee panel.|
|Step 5b, knee panel left side: With the two screws from step 5a removed, pull the bottom left side of the knee panel downward slightly, then pull the left side of the panel that faces the driver toward the driver seat. Expect some resistance because there are metal clips in the panel that hold it in place, as shown in the photo.|
|Step 5c, knee panel right side: Gently pull the right side of the panel that faces the driver toward the driver seat; as shown in the photo, the edge of the panel might catch behind the plastic ring that fits around the key switch. However, pull slightly on the left side of that plastic ring and it will clip forward slightly, allowing you to pull away the edge portion of the knee panel behind it. Be gentle, because behind the panel there is a wire connecting to the temperature sensor, as further shown in step 5d, below.|
|Step 5d, temperature sensor plug: The smaller male plug fits into a rubber boot female. Also, the male has a guide, as shown in step 5e below, that slides within the groove shown in the present photo. To remove the male plug, gently lift up on the rubber female in the area of the groove, while at the same time pulling the male away from the female. You need to lift the rubber female portion up enough to clear the tab, where the tab also is shown below in step 5e.|
|Step 5e, temperature sensor plug completed: No action is taken here; the photo illustrates the completion of step 5d, where the male plug has been removed from the rubber female plug described immediately above.|
|Step 6a: To the right of the steering column, there is a 7mm screw head that you will need an extension to reach. Using the 7mm socket, socket wrench, and extension, remove this screw.|
|Step 6b, similar to step 6a but looking now to the left side: To the left of the steering column, there is a 7mm screw head that you will need an extension to reach. Using the 7mm socket, socket wrench, and extension, remove this screw.|
|Step 7a: To the right of the steering column, there is a metal bracket that has two 7mm screws holding it up, as shown in the photo. Using an extension and a 7mm socket, and as shown by way of example in one of the holes in the photo, pass the socket through one hole in the bottom of the bracket to remove a 7 mm screw, and then repeat this process using the other hole so as to remove the other 7mm screw.|
|Step 7b, similar to step 7a but looking now to the left side: To the left of the steering column, there is a metal bracket that has two 7mm screws holding it up, as shown in the photo. Using an extension and a 7mm socket, pass the socket through each hole in the bottom of the bracket to reach each of the two 7 mm screws and remove those screws. Once you remove these two screws, the entire bracket will pivot downward toward and below the right side of the steering column. However, it will hang safely in place by a plastic plug connector.|
|Step 8a: To the right of the steering column, there is a 13mm nut. Using the 13mm socket, remove the nut.|
|Step 8b, similar to step 8a but looking now to the left side: To the left of the steering column, there is a 13mm nut. Using the 13mm socket, remove the nut. Once this nut is removed, push the entire steering column downward a few inches. Do not worry about pushing too far, as it will come to rest against a stopping point.|
|Step 9a, gauge panel removal: Along the top of the gauge assembly, there are two size 15 torx screws. Remove these two screws. Note also that the washers on these screws are larger than the other size 15 torx screws that you have removed so put these screws in a distinguishable place for re-installation later.|
|Step 9b, gauge panel removal: Once the two screws from step 9a are removed, you are ready to pull the gauge assembly forward. First, if you have not done so already, tilt the steering wheel all the way down. Also, if you have an electrically telescoping steering wheel, make sure it is all the way out toward the driver's seat. Second, lay the protective cloth on top of the steering column as well as over the top of the steering wheel. Then, begin the removal by tipping the top portion toward you, because as illustrated below in step 12, along the bottom of the gauge assembly there is a white tab that needs to be lifted out of its alignment within a square opening that is formed in a horizontal metal plate. Once it is free, you will need to tilt the top back so as to access one or two plugs connected to the back of the assembly, as described below in steps 9c and 9d.||No photo is shown for this step.|
|Step 9c, gauge plug disconnection: Near the left (i.e., driver's) side of the back of the gauge assembly, a fairly large plug is connected to the assembly. As shown in the photo, the plug is black but it is within a gray plastic housing that includes a hooked tab. Under the dashboard, the hooked tab is on the side of the plug that is toward the passenger door. In order to disconnect this plug from the back of the gauge assembly, you need to squeeze inward on the tab (i.e., toward the driver's side) while at the same time pulling the housing, which will also thereby pull the plug, away from the back of the gauge assembly. The fitting is a bit tight and there is not much room to work, but be patient with the hooked tab because it is the only thing locking the plug in place (other than the friction fit of the plug with the female plug on the back of the gauge assembly).|
|Step 9d, heads-up-display ("HUD") equipped cars only: Near the center and top of the back of the gauge assembly, there is a white male plug for the HUD that needs to be disconnected. The photo is taken from outside the car and through the windshield, while you will realize that there is again a fairly limited amount of space to reach in the area to unplug this plug. The plug is only friction fitted into the female, so pull gently along the wires just where they enter into the male plug so as to pull the male away from the female. Be patient and work your way back and forth along the entire length of the male plug so as to free it from the female.|
|Step 9e, gauge panel removal: With the plug from step 9c (and for HUD cars, also from step 9d) removed, you should now be able to pull the entire gauge assembly away from the dashboard area. You can now take the assembly to a work area so as to install the gauge bezels!||No photo is shown for this step.|
|Step 10a, disassembling gauge assembly: On the back top center of the gauge assembly, there are two size 15 torx screws as shown in the photo. Using the size 15 torx screwdriver, remove these two screws.|
|Step 10b: On the back lower right side of the gauge assembly, there are two size 15 torx screws as shown in the photo. Using the size 15 torx screwdriver, remove these two screws.|
|Step 10c: On the back lower left side of the gauge assembly, there are two size 15 torx screws as shown in the photo. Using the size 15 torx screwdriver, remove these two screws.|
|Step 10d: On the right side of the gauge assembly, there is an electrical male plug that is only force fitted into the female -- there is no tab or other portion to release. Simply pull the male plug out of the female.|
|Step 10e: On the left side of the gauge assembly, there is an electrical male plug that is only force fitted into the female -- there is no tab or other portion to release. Simply pull the male plug out of the female.|
|Step 10f: Pull the face panel away from the remainder of the gauge assembly. Next, as shown in the photo, there are four tabs on the clear gauge face cover. Push downward on each of these tabs while pulling the clear gauge face cover slightly away from the gauge assembly. The clear gauge face cover will not pull fully away because, as shown below in step 10g, there are four tabs also on the bottom of the clear gauge face cover.|
|Step 10g: The photo illustrates the clear gauge face cover once it has been removed fully from the remainder of the gauge assembly. Note that there are the four tabs also on the bottom of the cover and those tabs have to be pressed upward in order to remove the clear cover from the gauge assembly. Optionally, at this time you may use the plastic polish mentioned in the tools list above to polish both the inside and outside of the clear gauge face cover. Follow the directions that accompany the polish for optimal results.|
|Step 11a, bezel installation: You are now ready to install the aluminum bezels. Before applying any glue, place each aluminum bezel on top of the gauge bezel that it will cover in order to make sure there is an accurate fit. There will be some slight float in the mating of the aluminum with the underlying black plastic. To locate the large bezels and the two smaller ones that are not full circles, you might position the ends of each bezel against the piece below each such bezel. For example, for the oil pressure bezel, locate it so that the ends of the bezel rest on the top of the curve formed by the black plastic bezel around the water temperature bezel, as shown in the photo. Once you are satisfied with the dry location of each bezel, you are ready to proceed with affixing each bezel in place using the supplied glue.|
|Step 11b: This step involves the application of the glue to the bezel and then the application of the bezel to the gauge. We believe that the supplied glue is sufficient to adhere the bezel in place, but please recognize that Vette Essentials can only provide the proper tool and suggestions, while ultimate care and results are the responsibility of the installer. Thus, please be careful with the glue so as not to get excess in a place such that the glue will be visible once the bezel is in place, while at the same time use a sufficient amount of glue so as to increase the chances of a long-term bond between each bezel and the corresponding gauge.
To better insure that the bezel will adhere well to the gauge, the goal is to locate the glue around a majority of the back of the bezel; however, you do not want to put glue in the area where your fingers will be touching when you go to install the bezel in place. So, with the bezel in its dry-fit location on top of a gauge, put your fingers in a location that is comfortable to both grab the bezel and then where you will also be comfortable holding the bezel against the gauge once you have applied the glue. Next, lift the bezel and apply glue on the bezel backside around the rest of the area not near your fingers. As shown in the photo, the backside of the bezel has an angled portion as well as a flat portion (shown parallel to the table in the photo). Place a line of glue along the angled portion, again staying away from any location that you will be grabbing with your hand when applying the bezel to the dashboard gauge. Preferably, the glue line should span the majority of the perimeter of the backside of the bezel.
Next, locate the aluminum bezel in the desired spot on top of the black factory plastic gauge bezel and push down, firmly holding the aluminum bezel in place for 15 to 20 seconds. While holding the bezel in this manner, try to apply pressure around all of the perimeter of the bezel, such as by sliding your fingers around the top of the bezel. Repeat this process for all six bezels.
|Step 11c: Make sure you have not allowed any visible particles to get on the gauge panel before re-assembling it. You might use low pressure on an air compressor, or a cool hair dryer, to blow out any dust. You might also use a clean cosmetics or camera brush to wipe away any visible particles.||No photo is shown for this step.|
|Steps 12 through 14, gauge re-assembly and installation: Now in reverse order perform steps 11c through 9a, thereby first re-assembling the gauge assembly and then proceeding to re-install it over the steering column. As shown in the two photos, there is a metal plate that is located horizontally above the steering column, and the plate has a square hole in it. There is a white tab protruding downward from the gauge assembly that has to clip into the square hole. Thus, when re-installing the gauge assembly, after you reconnect the gauge plug (and HUD plug if your car is so equipped), you will encounter some resistance as you have to lift the white tab above the metal plate and then push the assembly toward the front of the car so that the white tab snaps in place inside the square hole.|
|Steps 15 through 9, interior re-assembly: Now in reverse order perform steps 8b through 2a, thereby replacing the remaining panels, parts, and hardware you previously removed.||See the previous photos from steps 8b through 2a.|
|Step 16: Stop and admire your work. Next, ask yourself what else you need from Vette Essentials to further enhance your Vette!!|