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How To: Change your gauge needle colors

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How To: Change your gauge needle colors

Postby JohnnyC » Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:29 am

I didn't like the look of my white numbers and white needle on my Lanos, so I decided I would do something about it:

First I got together everything I thought I would need:


1. Here I have the Gauge cluster, a two screwdrivers (flat-head), one little bowl, a pair of needle nose pliers, some sharpie markers, a roll of double sided tape (didn't end up using it), and a beer (optional). I'm a firm believer that you should have everything you need in front of you before you begin.
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2. On the back of the gauge cluster are tabs that hold the glass and the edge molding in place. I used my thumbs to press in on the tabs and popped it off. Notice in the pic how I'm holding it by the tabs... well that will come up in a moment.
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3. Go wash that glass! Use some good soap and wash it. DON'T USE ANYTHING ABRASIVE! Some Dawn dish soap will work just fine. Just be careful not to scratch it. Once it's dry, set it aside. Then... anytime you handle it, do your best to not get fingerprints on it (especially the inside part of the glass).
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4. Now remove the plastic molding that goes in front of the gauges. This comes off the same way that the glass did. Just use your thumbs and pop the tabs in. It'll come off easily too. It should be pretty clean, but if it isn't give it a good wash. Again... try not to get unsightly fingerprints all over it. I hold this by the tabs when working with it as well.
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5. So now you have your cluster completely open. It will look something like this:
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6. Now... using a piece of paper, I marked on the body of the gauges where the gas gauge is pointing. I did this first since I didn't have to pull the stop pins out to do the gas gauge.
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7. I then pulled the stop pins out of the gauge with my needle nose pliers. This is not exactly easy since they're put in there pretty tight. Just try to be careful when pulling them out. I then put them into a little bowl and set them aside.
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8. I then waited for a couple minutes to make sure the needles on the speed and temp gauges had fully dropped. I marked them off the same way I did the fuel gauge.
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9. Take the two screwdrivers you have handy and carefully place the heads under one of the needles. Then lever the screwdrivers down onto the body and careful lift UP! They will lift up fairly easily and almost pop off. Continue the same process for the other two needles until you get all three off.
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10. Now you'll have all three of the needles. I decided I wanted the needle to be red to go well with the black background. But you could use any color of sharpie marker you can find except black, which won't look right when you're done and will kill the glow. Notice how they have white paint on the bottom of the needle... don't worry, this will work to your advantage.
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11. Take your choice of color marker and color ALL sides of the clear needle section. You should also color the underside of the center which is clear and will help adjust the color of the light as it enters the needle. Repeat this process for the other two needles.
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12. When you're done, it should look something like this:
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13. Gently place the needles back on the gauges being careful to put them on so they point at the marks you made earlier. Move the temp and speed needles back just far enough to replace the pins. Again... be careful while you're doing this. Then put the plastic molding back in place, then the glass. If you've done it right... it should look like this:
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14. This is what it looks like put back in my console with the lights turned on.
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For comparison... here is a "before" picture:
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Overall I'm pretty pleased with the result. You might notice that my Gas symbol is missing in the final picture. I experimented on that to see how easy it would be to change the glow color of the letters without too much work. That experiment failed so my gas symbol is now blacked out... hehe.

One thing is for sure... the red stands out much better then the white did. Much easier to read from the edge of my vision without having to look down.
Last edited by JohnnyC on Thu Feb 16, 2006 2:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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JohnnyC
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