Instrument Cluster Lamp Replacement

The 1995 Cutlass Cruiser instrument cluster lamps burned out. Actually, two of them had burned out 3 years ago. At that time, I exchanged the the two burned out lamps from the 0-55 side side of the cluster to the 55-110 side that I hardly ever use. Sometime in March, another bulb went making it impossible to see the speed at night. From the original disassembly, I remembered that it was a pain. Allow about 2 hours. Before beginning, make note of the positions of the dead lamps. It may be difficult to tell failed lamps.
For safety, disconnect the battery to disable the airbag. Avoid the yellow wires associated the airbag sensors and airbag. There are a number of screws (over 20) involved in this, so it may be useful to have piece of corrugated box to hold, organize and note the screw positions. Remove 2 screws from either side of the ALDL connector. This will allow the trim panel to be removed from the car in the next step. Remove 3 screws from the bottom surface and 2 screws from the bottom forward edge of the steering wheel trim panel. Remove and set aside.

Picture of car interior with trim panel removed
Figure 1
Using a putty knife at the inboard end of the outboard air-vent airflow director, gently work each of these out. This will expose a 5/16″ screw head. Two more are located on either side of the open ashtray. and one additional one under the instrument cluster. Remove these screws. The trim panel will be retained by several spring-friction clips. Gently work the trim panel loose and set aside. Figure 2. A flexible trim ring may surround the steering column. Remove it at this time. There are 4 screws under the top surface instrument panel surround and 3 along bottom. Remove these screws and the instrument surround.
Picture of panel with trim panels removed
Figure 2
There are 4 screws around the instrument cluster. One on the left is hard to reach. The upper screw behind the corner of the radio panel in Figure 2 is the right-hand side. The left-hand one is located simlarly. Two screws are on the lower edge. A wire and clip connect the panel to the steering column collar. The clip will slide off and the instrument cluster can be removed.
Along the top of the back edge there are 6 smaller bulbs. These are type PC74 lamps and illuminate the warnings. There may be an extra in the “spare” slot that you could use in a pinch to replace a warning light. There are 8 PC194 lamps to illuminate the panel. A ninth PC194 lamp is located on the bottom edge to light the transmission selector indicator quadrant. This is the only lamp the dealers computer called out and it called it as a PC195. Dealer price is $15.00. Online price is $2.00. These PC lamps twist out from the flexible printed circuit with a 1/8 counterclockwise turn. Replace any failed lamps. You can test them on the bench with a 9-volt battery and test clips. Avoid wires associated with the airbag..
Carefully re-insert the instrument cluster plugging the PC connectors into the sockets. Start the 3 easy to reach screws. Reconnect the clip to the steering column collar. Use a piece of paper towel to retain the hard-to-reach left-hand screw in the socket and start and tighten left-hand screw. Tighten the remaining screws on the cluster. You may wish to temporarily re-connect the battery to check the lamps at this point. Disconnect the battery before proceeding.
Re-install the instrument surround and tighten the screws.
Press the long trim panel into place. Start all screws. Then tighten all screws.
Re-install the trim around the steering column.
Re-install the trim panel under the steering column.
Re-insert the vent directors. Note that there is a post on the outboard side of the the socket that keys with a slot on the director.
Finally re-install the ALDL socket.
Reconnect the battery.

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