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Instrument panel removal and bulb replacement

Old 07-09-2012, 03:05 PM
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Default Instrument panel removal and bulb replacement

How to remove instrument panel and replace light bulbs in a 97+ XJ

I didnít like having dummy lights in my instrument panel, so I picked up a gauged panel at the local boneyard. After installation, I discovered a few dead bulbs (CEL, left turn signal) so I pulled it out and replaced the dead lights with ones from my old panel. The entire swap can be done in less than an hour by anyone with minimal mechanical ability. This was done on a í97 XJ SE, the donor was a í98 XJ Sport. Yours may be different, ask around if you're unsure. Abovetimberline did a great write-up on dash removal for pre-97s, but there's a few differences in the newer ones.

Tools Needed:
Flathead screwdriver
Phillips screwdriver
Needle-nose pliers
Fuse tester
12mm socket or other tool to disconnect the battery

Parts needed:
Replacement instrument panel

The old:
Instrument panel removal and bulb replacement-100_0799small.jpg

1. First disconnect the negative battery terminal. Youíre gonna be near the airbag, no need to take chances.

2. Remove the plastic cover over the radio, center vents, HVAC controls etc. This is easy, just get a grip on it and pull, it just clips on.

3. Remove four Phillips screws as shown:
Instrument panel removal and bulb replacement-100_0800small.jpg
Donít worry if your radio is still there, it doesnít get in the way unless youíve done some weird aftermarket changes.

4. Remove three screws from the bottom of the plastic trim underneath the steering wheel, the top is held in by clips. Then remove the two screws holding the metal piece up (green arrows), and remove it.
Instrument panel removal and bulb replacement-100_0801small.jpg
Instrument panel removal and bulb replacement-100_0802small.jpg
BTW, that aftermarket oil gauge is finally gone!! I hated that thing.

5. Now remove the headlight switch ****. Looking underneath you will see this screw with a spring on it. Depress the screw with a flathead screwdriver while pulling the **** out.

Instrument panel removal and bulb replacement-100_0826v2.jpg
6. Remove the screws marked with red arrows in step 4. Loosen the rubber gasket that surrounds the steering column, starting at the bottom. Pull the console straight out, there are a couple of clips still holding it.

Last edited by morelia1976; 07-09-2012 at 03:19 PM. Reason: add link to abovetimberline's write-up
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Old 07-09-2012, 03:11 PM
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7. Remove the four screws holding your instrument panel in place.

Instrument panel removal and bulb replacement-100_0803small.jpg

Instrument panel removal and bulb replacement-100_0804small.jpg
8. Pull the instrument panel straight out. Mine was a bit hard to remove, but it came out eventually. Its held by two harnesses (Red arrows. Green arrow shows one of the clip points.)

Instrument panel removal and bulb replacement-100_0805small.jpg
9. Installation is the reverse of removal. Be patient when putting the rubber gasket back around the steering column and you shouldnít have any troubles. Hereís my new panel, notice the mileage change. The mileage is stored in the instrument panel, check local laws about changing vehicle mileage, I know in Michigan, the title has a spot to check if the mileage shown on the odometer is not the true mileage on the vehicle.
Instrument panel removal and bulb replacement-100_0806.jpg
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Old 07-09-2012, 03:13 PM
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Instrument panel lights:
Once the instrument panel is removed, youíll turn it over and see this (the old one is on top, the ďnewĒ one is on bottom.):

Instrument panel removal and bulb replacement-100_0827.jpg
Find the dead light, and use needlenose pliers to give it a ľ turn counterclockwise, removing it. Test the light to make sure itís dead. I used a fuse tester:
Instrument panel removal and bulb replacement-100_0824.jpg
If it lights, itís good. I learned that the CEL in both panels were bad. I just went through lights on the old panel until I found enough good ones to replace the dead ones on the new panel. Iíd be interested if anyone knows of any LED replacements or if itís possible.

Use needlenose pliers to gently install the new bulb, and youíre good to go.
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