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Symptoms That You Should Perform This Procedure
If your cluster looks completely lit up and unreadable like this, the polarizing film needs to be replaced!
Hot climates and garaging outside can cause the polarizing film on the cluster LCD screens to fade. Try viewing the cluster through polarized sunglasses or one of our free polarized film test samples. If you can see the cluster, the polarizing film is definitely the problem.
Tools and Materials You'll Need:
LCD Polarizing Filter Repair Kit - Click Here
Recommended: 6" Rubber Roller (also called a Brayer). Click Here for the exact product I use
Optional Board Connector Kit - If you haven't replaced it yet, you need to. Click Here to buy
Optional Xenon bulb kit - Consider replacing the harmful factory bulbs with cool-running Xenon bulbs. Click Here to buy
Dawn Foaming Dish Soap and a scrub brush
7/32" nut driver
Removing the Digital Cluster
Follow the removal instructions located here.
Disassembling the Cluster
Partially disassemble the cluster using the documentation here.
Complete the disassembly of the cluster using the documentation here.
Removing the Old Film
Warning! Be careful to scrape off the correct side (the side between the front of the LCD panel and the driver)!
The old film is applied to the front of each LCD using an adhesive. Using the razor blade, remove the old film.
This is what the LCDs should look like after the old film has been removed.
Orienting the Film
Note: If you purchased our kit, the proper orientation is marked for factory LCD panels. You can skip this step and proceed to the next section, Applying the Film.
Note: We have seen a small number of aftermarket LCD panels which require a different orientation for the polarizing film than the factory LCD panels. Aftermarket LCD panels can usually be identified by a different appearance than factory panels, particularly on the back side of the panel. These rarely need to have the film replaced, and our recommendation is to not replace the film if they are working properly. If you have an aftermarket panel that is sun-faded, contact us.
Remove the protective film (the film which covers the non-adhesive side).
Place the adhesive protective film against the front of the glass panel (the side you just scraped).
Rotate the film until the display portion of the LCD is as dark as possible (it should be a dark blue or black color). This is the orientation that the film should be applied.
If the display turns green or red, or if you can still see through the film, then the film is not oriented properly
Applying the Film
Protip - The rubber roller method of applying the film is far superior to the credit card method and helps to eliminate air bubbles. I highly recommend you pick one up here
The best method I've found to apply the film is this:
The film has two sides: One with adhesive, and one with a protective coating. If you bought the film from us, the protective coating side is marked.
Clean the front of each LCD panel with Residual Oil Remover (or another quality optical cleaner) and let the panels dry completely. Do not touch the front of the LCD panels after this point.
Remove the protective coating film first. It's much easier to prevent air bubbles with this film gone.
Clean all the dust off of the panel with canned air, and clean the edges of the film. If you skip this step, dust WILL be trapped under the film, which also causes an air bubble.
Before proceeding, make absolutely sure the panel is perfectly clean and dry.
Remove the film on the adhesive side.
Align the film to the bottom edge of the panel. The film should overhang the cluster on the other three edges when we're done.
Use a hard rubber roller (preferred) or credit card to SLOWLY apply the film to the panel.
If an air bubble forms while you're applying the film, gently lift the film away from the glass panel past the point of the air bubble, then reapply the film slowly using the roller.
Trimming the Film
Once the film has been applied, turn the panel over and place on a flat surface such as a piece of cardboard. Use the razor blade to trim the film to size around all four corners of each panel. Be careful, as the glass and razor are quite sharp.
Retouching the Paint
If the black paint on the back of the LCD panels has worn through, use the supplied black enamel paint and paint brush to repaint that area. Be careful to avoid areas near the factory graphics, and in the areas of the LCD segments!
Let the paint dry completely before reassembling!
Hold the painted panels up to the light to be sure the new paint completely blocks the light. Retouch if necessary.
Before reassembling the cluster
Some LCD panels have their edges painted with black paint that's now peeling. If so, use a brush and clean off all the peeling paint around the edges. The paint chips can contaminate the rubber blocks and glass, causing segments of the LCD to not work properly.
Armour-All, dirt and dead bugs can also contaminate the connections between the LCD panels and the circuit board. Strip any loose parte from the black plastic housing and scrub it with Dawn foaming dish soap and hot water using a brush.
Reassembling the Cluster
Partially reassemble the cluster using the documentation located here.
Complete the reassembly using the documentation located here.
The Finished Product
A special note of thanks to Dr Frank Miles, who carefully documented this procedure and shot these photographs.