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2000 Boxster - gauge cluster removal - please help

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Hi folks - I posted on here recently about issues w/ my ignition key being hard to turn. Electrical switch replaced, didn't fix it. Next folks suggested I replace the pistol (mechanical) assembly/lock. To do that the tech articles inform you must remove the gauge cluster.

I've followed the article instructions verbatim but am stuck. The 2 torx screws I got out no problem, as well as pulled the white part of the hazard switch out no problem. Next I went to lift the gauge cluster off --- at first I really had trouble, but after much wrestling (as much as I dared to do for fear of breaking something) I got it pretty much as far as it will go - and that's nowhere near far enough to reach back and undo the 3 connects for cluster, and 1 more for hazard.


On the passenger side of the gauge cluster it's pretty well off.....but on the driver's side of the cluster, i really can't get that to budge much. It's off and out of any plastic connectors that I can see. I can't see what's keeping it from coming farther off (looks like you are supposed to be able to fold the cluster basically down --- so gauges would be facing the floormats, swinging the connectors up to where you can disconnect them -----------------but i can't get it to swing like that). The only thing I can surmise is not enough slack in the wiring harnesses going to all the connectors to let me pull it ajar like I'm supposed to be able to do.

I'm nearly at the pt of having to give up and hope I can get it back together and working and get it to the dealer. Anything you can share for those that have done this?
... having to take off the instrument cluster, but it's been a while since I replaced a locking mechanism,

Anyhow, there's not a lot of give on the wiring harness where it connects to the back of the cluster and certainly not enough to allow you to swing the cluster facing down as you're trying to do.
The easiest way is to disconnect each one of the rear connectors by having someone hold the cluster for you while you look through the windshield and disconnect.
Be extremely careful because the plastic connectors will be VERY brittle with age and will break easily (if they haven't already done so).
You have to push a tab in the center of the connector and then pull the swing lock upwards which will disconnect the plug.
Happy Boxstering,

Pedro Bonilla 1998 Boxster 986 - 287,000+ miles: http://www.PedrosGarage.com
PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)

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but it makes the job easy.
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