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e90TiAg335i's Avatar e9x "M3" White Gauge Cluster
e90TiAg335i
03-18-2011
As always, perform at YOUR own rick. You can easily damage your cluster and have to replace it. About a $1k mistake.

Tools needed:

T-10 torx
T-9 torx
Small flat head screwdriver
tweezers or small pliers
soldering iron
card - to...
  #88  
By makkan00 on 08-03-2012, 09:39 AM
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Nigel, any update on soldering fresh LEDs?
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  #89  
By Nigelo on 08-03-2012, 11:44 AM
Not yet chief, been still faffing around trying to get the needles correct - particularly concerning the white colour leaking through the m5 needles. Saw a pic of a m-something cluster with red coloured plastic around the needle pins which might be the answer I'm looking for.

Another thing I've been looking for is info about a resistor on the cluster that if removed should give extra brightness and is absent from the actual m3 cluster.
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  #90  
By cypis007 on 08-03-2012, 04:11 PM
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Little offtopic but I think useful.

Recently I did install custom cluster faces.

Started with this:



As you can see that's LCI, diesel (so no M3 option in range), without cruise control ring.

After cluster disassembly I've sent original faces to company which made custom ones. They scanned them and build base for project, which fits perfectly as replacement. Top notch job.

I hate zyllions of marks on speed gauge, and too many of them (for my taste) on RPM gauge.
For my project I decided to mix ideas from Audi A4 B8 and E90 with cruise control. I ended up with this:





Clean, sporty and far, far modern than BMW's Times New Roman ;-).

I decided also to put pre-LCI speed and RPM needles as they fit better with fuel and consumption gauges.
Here is comparison - left LCI, right pre-LCI:



Note pre-LCI needle is slightly brighter than LCI. It is not uncomfortable for me - more important indications (speed and RPM) are better marked.

Here is final effect:







Note slightly darker spot under 80 hm/h (left) and 4 rpm/min (right) - I'm unsure what is the reason (original backlight or faces quality issue) but I'm already in process of Stg 2 modification which are faces with indiglo backlight and M5 needles.

Should came this way (drawing photo):



I will order same faces but on white indiglo base and will power it from permanent 12V somewhere in cluster, because programming permanent LED backlid (like in M3) doesn't work with my KOMBII (cluster) module.
This way I'm not going to solder new white LEDs (even if I bought them already, various ideas constantly flying in my head..) in cluster board. Will see if it works.

One more thing regarding needles: LCI needles are mounted on 1.5mm pole, where pre-LCI are mounted on 1mm pole.
I hope that will be enough for M5 needles and Nigelo's mod will not be necessary. ;-)

Regarding positioning needles on zero location, on speedo example:
- disconnect cluster
- install needle on 9 o'clock position
- push it gently towards zero position - this MUST be done by slipping needle around stopped pole (hinge-like)
- if needle sits tight and don't want move under your finger, increase needle mounting hole diameter by drill until you can turn needle on stopped pole (counterclockwise).
This way I did installation of second pair of needles in 5 minutes, where first pair took me 2 hrs and I wasn't happy with effect.

Hope it helps.
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  #91  
By E90cruisin on 08-03-2012, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makkan00 View Post
Post some photos of end product.
I switched the amber lights to the white LED's in just the gauges, I bought the M3 backing plates, and aftermarket M3 rings (which I painted sliver). Absolute pain to install the rings. You have to basically break off the glass from the front part of the cluster to install the rings.

For the needles, I ended up taking the white paint off from the needles and painting it red from the back. If I did it again, I would take the needles off of the black caps to really get all the paint off the inside and paint it right. You can see a bit of light shine through at the edge of the black cover where the red paint isn't at. Still looks great, and not blotchy at all.


Last edited by E90cruisin; 08-03-2012 at 10:15 PM.
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  #92  
By DuckySpud on 08-18-2012, 05:13 PM
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Did my dials yesterday and pretty pleased with them. Just did the dials and not the center LCD display. Just sharpied the top of the needles too. I may change them and colour the underside of them instead, seen other people do that and think it looks a bit better. Anyway, its a fairly standard photo, but here is the result

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  #93  
By swc945 on 09-07-2012, 08:03 AM
Thanks for the DIY guide!
I just ordered the LEDs and will be crossing my fingers thatt i don't ruin my instrument cluster...but thanks for the detailed write-up and all the subsequent contributions from others
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  #94  
By e90TiAg335i on 09-07-2012, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swc945 View Post
Thanks for the DIY guide!
I just ordered the LEDs and will be crossing my fingers thatt i don't ruin my instrument cluster...but thanks for the detailed write-up and all the subsequent contributions from others
You're quite welcome! I'm confident you won't have a problem.
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  #95  
By pablo86 on 10-02-2012, 04:19 PM
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Hi,

I have changed the LED's on my car and when I test the gauges with the needle sweep the speedo does not rotate around and back. It starts clicking and then stops.

I have reset the worm at the back and made sure it is all lined up ok but this does not change anything.

Is there anything else I can do or will i need to replace the cluster?

Many thanks
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  #96  
By e90TiAg335i on 10-03-2012, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pablo86 View Post
Hi,

I have changed the LED's on my car and when I test the gauges with the needle sweep the speedo does not rotate around and back. It starts clicking and then stops.

I have reset the worm at the back and made sure it is all lined up ok but this does not change anything.

Is there anything else I can do or will i need to replace the cluster?

Many thanks
If it's clicking then the gears are not engaged or something is causing the needle to bind. As long as the motor is turning you should be able to get it to work. Good luck!
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  #97  
By cypis007 on 12-31-2012, 02:19 PM
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Here is how my cluster configuration looks now:





Custom faces + indiglo plates + pre-LCI needles + stock amber backlid
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  #98  
By greye90 on 01-04-2013, 05:36 AM
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You have big balls doing this mod.

So awesome!
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  #99  
By Ducati848R on 01-09-2013, 01:32 AM
Ordered my M3 needles and back plates and white LED's. Time to get modding!
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  #100  
By Imperator on 01-09-2013, 01:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ducati848R View Post
Ordered my M3 needles and back plates and white LED's. Time to get modding!
Where did you find the M3 needles?
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  #101  
By Tari on 02-15-2013, 06:47 AM
Anyone doing this i don't advise you use paint. Its too heavy for the needles and you wont get accurate reading anymore. Sharpie is better for this.
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  #102  
By e90TiAg335i on 02-16-2013, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tari View Post
Anyone doing this i don't advise you use paint. Its too heavy for the needles and you wont get accurate reading anymore. Sharpie is better for this.
Really? I've used paint on several sets with zero isues. I use VHT nightshades red. Just a couple light coats and it comes out really well.
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  #103  
By joeyaoyp on 03-09-2013, 05:08 PM
i bought the same led light as yours. but it is not so bright for mine.whats wrong?
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  #104  
By e90TiAg335i on 03-09-2013, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeyaoyp View Post
i bought the same led light as yours. but it is not so bright for mine.whats wrong?
Not sure. Are you sure they're all lit up? Did you adjust the light setting?
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  #105  
By pablo86 on 03-21-2013, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e90TiAg335i View Post
If it's clicking then the gears are not engaged or something is causing the needle to bind. As long as the motor is turning you should be able to get it to work. Good luck!
Thanks. I ended up buying a second hand cluster and replacing the gear units.
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  #106  
By e90TiAg335i on 03-21-2013, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pablo86 View Post
Thanks. I ended up buying a second hand cluster and replacing the gear units.
Glad you got it worked out.
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  #107  
By boris on 03-21-2013, 12:16 PM
Great DIY....
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  #108  
By KHP on 03-26-2013, 01:26 AM
I really love the Custom faces...Did you DIY them?
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  #109  
By aadum on 08-20-2013, 07:05 AM
a question.. if you put red LED's below needles are they going to be red or not? If I saw rigt OEM ones are white? Anyone ? I am about to do this mode so I need to know what to order
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