If your car doesn't have a tachometer, this DIY is for you. It cost me $30, a trip to the junk yard, and about a total of 35 minutes of time. I originally went to pull a head from a D16 for my mini-me, but the car was inventoried wrong as it only had a D15B7. But it was an LX so it still had a tach, the guy threw in the in-dash clock to make up for the inventory mistake.
Before you do this you should know a few things.
It's very easy to do, if you can operate a screwdriver then you are able to do this mod.
You don't have to do anything to make the tach work other than swap the clusters. It's plug and play!
There is a slight chance that you might break something (such as the bezel). But if you are careful and you take your time you will
be able to do this without breaking anything. Just be patient.
It is illegal to use an odometer from another car that has a reading of miles lesser than yours. For example, if the odometer on your car reads 150,000 miles and the odometer on the donor car reads 110,000 it is illegal to use it's odometer. The good
news is that you can swap your odometer over by using the speedometer gauge from your car. I've even shown you how.
The stuff you will need:
-A gauge cluster from a 1992-1995 Civic LX or EX. Some other trim styles may come with a tach, I'm not sure. But I know the LX and EX do.
-A few small screw drivers. Flathead and philips.
Note, the black box above the screwdrivers is my free dash clock! Sweeet.
Here is what we're getting rid of:
Step 1 (hazard switch removal):
We need to remove the hazard light switch to access the hidden screw holding the bezel in place. Using a small flathead screwdriver carefully pry around the switch to remove it. It's easiest to start from the bottom corners as shown below, and work your way around. Don't pry too far or too hard or you may damage the bezel/switch. Work it slowly.
Step 2 (the hidden screw):
Unhook the harness connecting to the hazard light switch. And unscrew the hidden screw & remove. The donor car's hidden screw would turn, but wouldn't come out. If this happens, be patient. Pry it out with the flathead or if necessary yank it with some pliers. The pliers are last resort so work the flathead for a bit.
Sorry about the blurry photo, it was actually the best of the three I took.
Step 3 (other screws):
Using the shortest screwdriver that has the fattest tip possible (those short and stumpy screwdrivers work best
you know the ones) remove the screws holding the bezel to the dash, as pictured below.
I had to purchase a ratcheting screwdriver to remove one of these on my car without stripping it. Was only 10 bucks at Sears for the Craftsman and it busts stubborn screws with minimal effort. I went there for a stumpy screwdriver and got a much more useful tool instead.
Step 4 (bezel removal):
I couldn't get a good pic of this. But carefully pull it away. It is held into the dash with several snaps so it will take some effort. Again, be patient so you don't break anything. Use the small flathead to carefully pry it away if necessary
. It can be done. There are two wire harnesses that keep you from pulling the bezel too far away. One is the one to the hazard switch which you should
have already removed, the other one is to the clock. If you don't have a clock, the wires are still connected to the cover plate where the clock should be. Here is a pic of the clock plug as proof that it's still connected despite no clock:
Step 5 (removing the cluster):
Now that you have the bezel out of the way, it's time to remove the cluster. Whether you're removing it from the donor car or from your car, you should be careful. You don't want to break either of them. Again, the donor car had a stuck screw that would turn but wouldn't move. Pry any stuck screws with a flathead. There are little metal clips on the back surrounding the screws and are probably stuck on the threads if the screw won't come out. They can be pried or pulled out.
Unscrew these on the right of the cluster:
And these on the left:
The cluster should be tilted backwards and pulled forward. I forgot to take pictures of the wire connections that are on the back of the cluster. There will be up to
four plugs connected to it that are similar to the hazard switch plug. Just pull them off and you can completely remove the cluster.
Step 6 (speedometer swap):
Now, you may need to swap the speedometer to stay legal. You should just do it anyway unless they are coincidentally within a few hundred miles of each other. Even then, still consider it because it's really easy to do and being accurate is a good thing.
Here is a comparison of the two different clusters:
The arrows in the picture above are pointing to the clips holding the cluster together. There are a total of six, three on each side. Unclip these and pull the cluster apart. Besure to remove the litte trip-reset button first, it just pulls off. Also note in the picture above, on the new cluster (bottom) there is an extra green plug. I don't know what it's for but it's completely unecessary as far as I can tell. Aside from the tach, the new cluster only differs from mine with the added cruise control light. So I'm guessing that's what it's for?
With it apart, remove the three screws shown in the picture below to remove the speedo:
It will literally fall off when you undo the last screw, so do it carefully over or on a pillow or something soft. You don't want to break the needle.
Put the speedometer from your car into the new cluster. It's easier to put it back on if you set it into the cluster housing, snap the housing together, then put the screws in.
Once the speedo from your car is in the new cluster and the trip-reset button is reinstalled, install the new cluster in the reverse order it was removed.
If you want to test it out before putting the rest of it back together, plug in the hazard light switch so your turn signals work. You want to test everything before you put everything back together so you know it completely works. Start the car to test the tach/gas gauge, pop the trunk for the trunk light to come on, turn on the headlights to test the backlights, switch the high-beams for the blue indicator light, test the turn signals. After testing, turn off the car and remove the hazard light switch. Continue to reinstall the rest of it.
Feed the hazard light wire harness back through the hole for the switch and carefully push the bezel back into place. If you have a clock or are installing one, plug it in (clock installation is rather straightforward).
Reinstall the hazard light switch. Make sure everything is in place. If you did everything right it should look like this:
It's a cheap and extremely useful modification. I wish I did it sooner. If you don't factor in the time travelling between the junkyard and where I installed it, it took me about 35 minutes.
Enjoy your new tach! If this helped you, and you feel like it, a rep would be a nice way to show your appreciation.