Pull the idiot light cluster and install an instrument cluster with gauges.

Well, duh!

No, seriously... It really is almost that easy! Unplug the old one and the new one really just plugs right in and is ready to go other than a couple of sending units on the motor!

You'll have to do is change the oil pressure light switch to a pressure sending unit and do the same for the coolant temperature switch sending unit depending on which guage cluster you're swapping in.

The example in this article is a cluster taken from a late 80's XJ and is going into a 1984 XJ that came with the idiot light cluster. The cluster we swapped in did NOT have a tach but came with both an oil pressure & water temperature guage. All wiring is in place to operate either guages or idiot lights so you only need to worry about the cluster swap itself.

Please keep in mind that the early cable driven clusters (Renix XJ's) and later electronic (HO XJ's) clusters are NOT interchangable!

Gargantuan Gas Gauge... no excuse for runnin' outta gas with this one...
With a gas guage like that who needs gas stations? One fill up should last a lifetime...
Unfortunately, you cannot just add the oil, water, volt guages to this cluster... There is no provision for them to be mounted so ya gotta swap the entire cluster. Ya first need to remove the four dash bezel screws to get to the cluster. Two of these are located above the guages and one each are above the headlight switch and cigarette lighter area. Carefully remove the bezel and set it aside. Don't lose that little cover that goes directly underneath the steering column... it just clips on.
A few more screws hold the cluster itself in place. Ya have to remove the switches or panel blanks (and cigarette lighter/blank) to get to a couple of them more easily.
Crawl underneath and pull off the star washer holding this 'p' clamp in place. It secures the speedo cable away from the engine and will give ya some slack at the cluster.
Be sure to replace this when finished!

Now gently pull the cluster forward and disconnect the two wiring plugs (one shown here). Once those are loose, press in the speedo cable retaining clip.

Here's another view. Once this clip is pressed in toward the cluster, the cable should slip EASILY off the speedo!
Reassembly is easy! Just put the new unit in where the old one was and reverse the procedure to reinstall. I recommend you check out the functions PRIOR to reassembly just to ensure you've done everything correctly.

Note: Be extremely careful of the plastic circuit board! These get a little brittle with age and the copper can pull free of the plastic. DO NOT SOLDER THESE UNLESS YOU ARE AN EXPERT AT SOLDERING AND HAVE THE CORRECT TYPE SOLDERING IRON! (Too much heat will melt these circuit boards into a puddle of goo.) While you have things out - check the bulbs and replace them in the new cluster as needed.


1337j33px0r posted this on JU:
  • " speedo cable end changed in mid 87.
  • 84-87 had a metal end with a retaining clip.
  • late 87-90 have a plastic clip-on end.
  • "these are not interchangable unless you swap speedo cables (if you have cruise control, you only need to swap the short portion of cable from the cruise speed sensor to the back of the cluster) "

JeepBarracks article on cluster swap


If you have pics of your own repairs or can suggest other methods - please contribute your ideas (and pictures) to this article!

Revised on: October 31, 2006

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