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post #1 of (permalink) Old 05-11-2014 Thread Starter
beviking's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Syracuse
Posts: 186
2012 Mustang GT Gauge Face Swap

Wanted to swap out the white speedo/tach on my gauge cluster. Ordered a set of GT500 style from Black Cat Customs. Was a little skeptical after reading the directions that came with the new face plate because it mentions adhesive. There is no adhesive associated with this mod! The directions included are generic. This is one EASY mod, although the speedo/tach "calibration" proved to be a pita to me and hopefully I can save you all some time.

If it isn't obvious, drop the steering wheel all the way to make room. The dash piece surrounding the gauge cluster is held in by clips and pulls straight out. I pulled the tach side to pop it loose, then the speedo, then the left air vent. Then the whole thing comes straight out. One diy I found to remove the cluster showed 4 screws, 2 at top corners, 2 below. On my 2012, there were only 2 at the top corners and the bottom was clipped in. So a 7mm socket on a ratchet extension, no ratchet, removed the screws easily. Then reach in and pull straight out from the bottom. The plug is near the top on the tach side and there was enough slack to pull the gauge out, tilt it and disconnect it. Yeah, that's it, pull the dash cover off by hand, two screws and pull the gauge cluster, disconnect the wire harness and you'll have this...

You may note that the speedo needle is not on zero. I got into this before thinking I should be cataloging it for the forums so I had already removed the cover and bumped the needle. I'll say it again later, but you should note where your needles are when the car has sat for a few minutes with no power, then put the key in and turn it so aux power comes on. Ok, you have the cluster removed, flip it over and there are 7 tabs which are easily lifted up with a fingernail enough to clear the tang. They're plastic so be gentle. There is also a T15 torx screw in the center bottom (circled) that needs to be removed, again no ratchet, just the bit, you're dealing with plastic.

With the screw removed and the clips unhooked, you can remove the cluster cover. There is a ring of clear plastic (for halo lights) on the speedo and tach that just sit over the faces. They each have two posts that fit into a hole. These lift right off. The needles pull off but you want to turn them counter clockwise as you lift. I'm not sure why but my guess is the unit is fragile enough that the force it would take to pull the needle straight up will break something so you twist and lift to get the needles off.

Now I was only interested in replacing the white gauges. A quick note to Black Cat Customs asking for just these two faces was replied to with a note that the fonts would be different and look funny (or something to that affect). Oh well. But, the faces I received where 3 separate pieces. The oem are one piece but only connected at the top...

...which I cut with scissors. It may look like the faces are connected at the middle and bottom but they are not. So I did not remove any of the central gauge needles and can't comment on them. So I'm ready to remove the speedo and tach faces. The center post that the needles came off of, have a tab that the faces have to clear seen here.

To clear it, lift the bottom of the face and slide the face toward the top. Don't worry about breaking the face, these things are thick and you could probably play frisbee with them. I didn't measure thickness but I'd say it's about 1/2 as thick as a CD or DVD disc. So here is a pic of the cluster with the piece that tied them together removed and the faces lifted.

Now it's just a matter of putting on the new faces and reassembling in reverse.
As for "calibrating" the needles; when power has been off, the needles sit below zero, then when the power is turned on (key inserted and turned to aux), the needles sweep from zero to 8 on tach and 160 on speedo, then back to zero. Once power is off for 30seconds to a minute, the needles drop back below zero. When you put the needles back on, you are pressing as you turn them on. Not sure if it matters clockwise or counter clockwise, I turned them on clockwise only because I saw someone else took them off counterclockwise. It's logical but maybe not correct? When the needles are fully on, you'll note they can be easily turned around the dial for about 75% of the travel. There is more resistance at the other 25%. So if you turn the needle clockwise until it is pointing straight down, you'll feel it has very little to no resistance going back (counterclockwise) to about zero and then it will hit a point where it catches and there is more resistance. I think its more like 80-85% but I'm simplifying for illustrative purposes. This "stop" point needs to be set at the below zero point it was when power had been off for more than a minute. When you think you have it right, set the cluster on the steering column but not pushed all the way in. Plug it in and check to see that the needles sit at zero after turning the key to aux power. I ended up (after 7 or 8 attempts!!!) setting the stop point near zero so after it swept and went back, it was above zero. I then carefully lifted the two top tabs to pry the cluster cover forward and slid a blunt piece of wire down to push the needle back. The issue is you need to set the needle back to the stop point, not the zero on the speedo. Luckily once you hit the stop point, the needle will click so you can measure how far you go back.
And here is the finished project.
Hope this helps!

'12 GT Premium, Race Red, 6spd, Roush 575SC, JLT Oil Catch Can, MGW shifter, Eibach Pro springs, FRPP Jounce kit, Steeda Adj UCA, Shaftmasters Aluminum DS, J&M Adj Panhard, UPR PH Brace, J&M LCA's, Black C stripe, 1/4 louvers, Boss spoiler w fogs, 19" staggered Chrome GT500's, MGP Caliper covers, 7 bar AM Grill, rear camera
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