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Credit: Wariow3

This is a how-to to change the needle color to your LED color. This application is for 97-99 Maxima’s with a semi clear needle

Difficulty:

  • Moderate
  • Knowledge of LED’s + Resistors
  • Experience with soldering recommended

Items needed:

  • Small flat head screw driver
  • small phillips screwdriver
  • 5mm leds ,I used white LED’s( around 4 or more, one for every gauge, more just incase they blow or just dont’ work) I get mine off ebay from the user ctwick or something.
  • He ships them from hong kong and it’s free shipping. I paid 9 dollars for 25 blue and 25 white leds. Nice and bright and they come with free resistors too!
  • Soldering Iron (small tip preferred) 10-15 dollars from radio shack
  • Solder
  • Soldering flux ( to help stick solder to smooth-surfaced connections)
  • soldering braid (to clean up excess solder)
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • electrical tape
  • thin probably 20-22 gauge speaker wire
  • wire stripper
  • medium grit sandpaper

REMINDER: This will work best with a 97-99 dash. If you have a 95-96 you MIGHT be able to do it but I haven’t tried it so it’s up to you. You also need to do the 194 bulb conversion for the 97-99 mod.

You can do this mod first and then start the LED needle mod. This is necessary because we will be drawing power from the bulb light connections. Start by removing the black plastic trim around the gauge by sliding the tabs off the white piece.

Here you see the black trim is removed and the gauges and the back are exposed. Make sure not to mess around with the needles, so handle it carefully. Remove the screws that attach the gauges to the cluster by unscrewing the screws with a screwdriver in the yellow circles. (most of the screws are removed in the picture)

Remove each cluster carefully EXCEPT for the odometer(the one that tells you how fast you are going not the tachometer which reads the RPMs)

To remove the odometer, stick a small flathead in the wedge of the black connector and pry up to loosen the connection. After that is done, gently remove the gauge.

Here are all the gauges removed.

Start making your resisted LED’s. If have LED experience or did any of my how-to’s then this shouldn’t be difficult.

Add the speaker wire connection to the LED’s and solder those on as well give around a foot length of wire. Electrical tape one side fully then bind both sides after one side is fully wrapped.

Here’s the tricky part, placing the LED’s behind the gauges. As you can see in the picture, I bent the LED a lil bit to angle it towards the plastic trim but also careful not to get in the way of any fragile mechanisms. after I am satisfied with the placement, (get the LED to point at the center as close as possible) I secure it with some more electrical tape around the gauge

The fuel and temp gauges were the easier of the gauges because there weren’t many objects in the way and just wrapped tape around the edges.

In this pic is the arrangementfor the odometer. Look at all the crap going on in there so there was only really one place to set it and taped it down to the surroundings, again make sure you won’t affect the operation of the gauge itself.

After all the LEDs are pointed correctly and are secured, using medium grit sandpaper, sand from UNDER the needle to remove the red/orange film underneath the needle to make it clear.

Now we’ll want to make the connections using the existing bulb connectors in the yellow circles.

Before putting back the gauges in the cluster, round the speaker wires neatly through the nearest hole of each individual gauge and then screw back on the gauge.

After each wire is pulled through each hole and each gauge is screwed back on, (REMEMBER the Odometer connection, where you have to put back in the tab. Putting this back in can be a lil tricky but try to get it as inyou can, you can tell when the tabs on the side are touching the black connector and then simply push it down to secure the connection.) it is time to solder on the connections.

Here the connections are soldered on. Make sure the are secure and well soldered. Use soldering flux to easily stick on solder to the copper connections. Remember that the 194 bulbs are soldered on also so make sure they have a secure contact with the same solder also. (NOTE: if you have a 95-96, You might be able to draw power from the twisty thing that holds the 194 bulb. Just stick the wires underneath and twist it onto the connection. If somebody attempts this, please let me know)

After checking all the connections, it’s time to finally test! Go out and plug in the gauge, remember to plug in the dimmer switch also or the bulbs won’t light up. If an LED or two doesn’t light up, try reversing the connections around and check the soldering. You might not see much during the day but at night, it’s a big difference from the red you used to have.

Nice clear needles

The finished results. Orgasmic if I don’t say so myself. Not that difficult to do if you have some LED knowledge and some common sense. Saved myself 50-70 dollars on intelliglo needles also.

Total price of mod: less than $5

Credit: eng92

This is part of a full 3.5 swap that I will be doing in about a month.
I got a great deal on an 03 gauge cluster ($25 CDN) because one of the three mounting brackets was broken off. For the swap that is ok because all three brackets are in different locations compared to a 4th gen.

Here is the 03 cluster with the 2 remaining mounting brackets cut off.

I fabricated the two lower brackets out of polyurethane using a plaster of Paris mold I made of my stock 98 cluster. For the top bracket, I just reused the one I cut off by gluing it in at the correct position and angle.

Here is the gauge cluster with the new brackets.

Here it is installed without the finishers on.

And with the finisher installed.


Check out the mileage on the odometer 3619 km (~2250 miles)

As far as wiring is concerned, you pretty well need to have a section of the the 03 dash harness as the three gauge cluster connectors are completely different from the 4th gen. I had the 03 harness already as I am using a portion of it for the engine swap. It was simply a matter of going through the 98 and 03 wiring diagrams and splicing the appropriate wires.

IMO this mod is not worth it unless you are doing a full 3.5 swap. The only nice feature that the 03 cluster adds is the board computer which displays: ambient temp, trip timer, ave. trip speed, fuel consumption and estimated driving range based on remaining fuel.

Community Member Credit: Edgar Vidales

Notes:

  • Most bulbs are size T5 LED except for the climate control is T4 neo-wedge LED
  • I got them from Amazon prime just because the return process is so easy & I did have to make some returns till I got the correct sizes.
  • The climate control has 3 bulbs size T4 NEO-WEDGE. There’s also a bulb size T5 at bottom of climate control that shines down on the ashtray & shifter. The dash has 7 bulbs size T5. Ignition ring, ashtray, shifter, & glovebox have one bulb size T5.

Reference Install Guide

Ignition Ring

Remove big plastic piece driver’s side where your knees go under the steering column. It’s 2 screws on the bottom corners. Then just pull off by unclipping from top & unplug 1 plug. Remove 3 screws from the underside of the steering wheel plastic. Comes off in 2 pieces & helps to lower your steering wheel. Remove white plastic around the Ignition ring & you’ll see the bulb connected to it.

Dash

Remove 2 screws holding black plastic around the dash. Pull of black plastic trim (pain in the ass) & disconnect 2 plugs & little vent hose. Remove 3 screws holding gauge cluster. You can now access bulbs on the back & you don’t have to unplug gauges. You can if you want to fully remove the gauge cluster. Bulb sockets just twist off. Install new LEDs & it is polarity sensitive so if they don’t work reinstall flipped

Climate Control

Go through process of removing stereo. Once you have stereo setup off remove climate control from the bracket holding it to stereo. You’ll then remove 4 tiny screws from the back of climate control to take off the white half. You can now remove 3 bulbs size T4 neo-wedge & install new (polarity sensitive). Also, at this point, you can also change the 1 bulb at bottom of climate control size T5 that shines down on the shifter area.

Shifter & Ashtray

Remove the screw at bottom of the ashtray & remove the trim piece by pulling it off to unclip. Unplug hazards, cig lighter, & bulb socket. Replace bulb. For shifter remove 4 screws holding down the center console(2 front 2 rear) but don’t remove. It just helps to have it loose because you need wiggle room. Now remove the plastic piece around the shifter base & you’ll see white plastic with the bulb in it on the left side.

Final Installed Reference Photos

Community Member Credit: Jose Vargas

I35 Cluster swap in the process, first ima swap out the long led tub it has to light up gauges and replace it with 4 RGB led strips with the module so I can remotely change to different colors quickly if I want to. Everything PNP like OEM. I’ll post links to what I used to make it perfect…

Has 4 pnp leds that can easily be swapped and for warning indicators you need to unsolder old leds and put in new ones 14 is needed

For the Auto guys you can swap out the shift indicator leds……..3mm for warning indicators,so since the cover and holes for leds is big enough im a swap out the 3mm to 5mm to have it brighter

Without OEM led tube

With oem led tube that lights up entire cluster, so as you see you can run strips

You need 4 strips of these RGB leds

https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/led-module-strings/rgb-led-modules-linear-modules-w-3-smd-leds-22-lumens/1779/4253

Female……Pigtail connector to make it pnp to module

https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/bar-strip-connectors/lc4-locking-connector-pigtail-power-cable/1972/4547

Module with remote to change to multiple color

https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/rgb-led-controllers/rgb-led-controller-w-lc4-connector-wireless-rf-remote-w-dynamic-color-changing-modes-5-amps-channel/3050/6263

Male Power connector to make it pnp, run ground to chassis and power wire with mini add a circuit with 15A fuse to ACC in fuse box

https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/bar-strip-connectors/cps-f2st-female-standard-barrel-connector-to-screw-terminal-adapter/856/2133

I35 cluster 80% done installed the leds strips. Just waiting for module and pigtail to make it pnp……

Swapped out the 5 pnp leds

5mm to the left soldered in compared to the small 3mm to the top right

5mm vs 3mm

Removed SLIP led so it will not turn on LED213.

Cluster done

Had to dissamble the cluster to put black tape over the AUTO indicators

5MM led clearance

Pnp connector all wired up and ready. Nice and clean…Mr. DoITRightEveyTime.

Cluster is done and installed……mission was a success…..Repinned the plugs and rewrapped harness

1 done 2 plugs left

Wiring mess

3 plugs all wrapped up

I35 Cluster & Prosport EVO series allows you to match up 4 different colors to cluster..

Community Member Credit: pmohr

Quick document I wrote up on swapping an analog (’95-’97) to digital (’98, ’99) instrument cluster. The only wiring addition you’ll have to make is constant B+ for the digital trip meter.

PDF: A32 A-D cluster swap

Community Member Credit: Eddy

If you found this post, you most likely ran out of gas due to inaccurate fuel gauge readings (or you already knew the gauge didn’t work). And now you are looking to see how to fix it. Most of the time, it’s the cluster that is bad (specifically the solder joints for the fuel gauge). Don’t go too crazy in replacing parts (you can try diagnostics procedure in this post). To address the issue, you have a couple of options.

Options:

  1. Get a new cluster with close mileage
  2. Upgrade to i35 Cluster (Most Popular Option). You will have to get your cluster miles reprogrammed if you want to keep it close to your original miles.
  3. Repair and re-solder your existing cluster (see below). You can do this yourself if you are handy with soldering. If not, you can send it to one of them cluster repair companies. Most aren’t willing to do this, so they just upgrade to the i35 cluster. It looks much better and is less prone the fuel gauge issues.

If you choose option 3, you will need to resolder the joints on the four resistors below. Over time, the joints to the board can crack causing intermittent or permanent issues with fuel readings. Resoldering the joints on the 4 resistors should solve the problem of the fuel gauge reading too high.

Resolder the joints on the following 4 Resistors: R4, R64, R124, and R125.

How to Install Aftermarket Fuel Gauge in your Nissan Maxima

Diagnostic Procedures

 

 

Member Credit: tjmoney87

Overall, this is an easy mod if you are careful, but if not, things can get ugly VERY quickly! I would recommend getting a second cluster just to practice…that’s what I did, making sure I was careful enough and to make sure the strip fits. I like it because the cluster lights in ACC mode, but that’s a personal preference (also because the cigarette lighter powers in ACC mode). Also at night, they are BRIGHT (but not bright enough to blind), and do not dim, unless you get a standalone rheostat, I may get one later…I wish I would have got an orange or red one, it would have really nice, but I can always change it out LOL… Also, I would recommend the Maxima’s clear outer cluster cover, http://www.courtesyparts.com/24813-c…3-p-47148.html, our tinted cluster cover would dull things a bit…

Difficulty: 7/10

Pros: LED strip brighter than EL tube, no more dim cluster on one side !
Lights in ACC mode (personal preference). Several colors you could use (again personal preference).

Cons: If you are not careful, things can get ugly quickly! You will have to buy the Maxima’s cluster to enjoy the LED cluster.

Comparisons

Stock

After LED strip swap

My mom’s ’09 Altima

An ’09 Camry

Write-up Instructions

1. Take the cluster out of the car (this should be self-explanatory).

2. Take the outer cover out of the cluster (be careful, it is easy to break!)

3. Remove inner cover (black part) out of the cluster.

4. By now you should see all of the screws to remove the gauges.

5. Removed the circuit board cover to make everything easier…

6. Here you can keep the gauges together as one after pulling up, or you can have them separated (which I did) by removing screw on the bottom of the speedo and tach.

7. Before removing speedo head, remove odometer head. PLEASE be careful, that odo head is on their pretty tough it would be easier to break the tab rather than the odo head!

8. Here is the EL tube and all it’s glory…

9. These are the screws to remove the EL tube…

10. Pull up on the tube assembly and it should come out of the cluster’s circuit board.

11. Here is the room you have to work with…it’s not much, but the LED strip I ordered from http://www.oznium.com/led-flex-strips fit like a glove. I used super glue to hold it together. Also the wires from the LED strip can be snaked through the holes left from the EL tube screws…

12. Put everything back together and tighten everything up. Use a 9V battery to make sure the strip lights up…

13. With everything back together…

It’s wasn’t bright at all (especially in the daytime) but it was on a 9V battery so…

I decided to wire it up to the cigarette lighter…yes the gear shifter surround has to be removed and the radio/ climate control too, or enough to get to the cigarette light wires…

Wire the LED strip wires together with the cigarette lighter and put key in ACC to make sure it lights…it’s very bright in the daytime… Especially at night they are amazingly bright!

Additional Helpful Information by raincity

After only 4 years my replacement CCFL had dimmed to the point that I couldn’t see the display when the car was very cold. It was only poorly visible even when warmed up so I decided to finally install LED’s. I did this with a bit of hesitation because I could not find the cluster wiring points for LED’s posted anywhere, despite hours of searching. With some work I was able to figure it out.

The LED strip and an extra connector was purchased from superbrightleds.com for less than $20 with shipping.

1 – NFLS-NW30X3-WHT Natural White LED Strip (includes 1 connector)
1 – NFLS10-2CPT Pigtail Connector

The LED strip has adhesive backing and can be cut every 2″. I pulled the old CCFL, associated wiring and circuit board and mounted two 4″ strips right to the CCFL plastic mount, one on either side of the transmission display. I placed them as close to the outside edge of the plastic as possible. They fit almost perfectly, only a tiny piece of plastic had to be trimmed from the mount. The wiring from the strips fit into the same run that the CCFL wiring ran through. I soldered the wires together.

I wanted the wiring to remain contained inside the cluster so I spent a few hours examining the schematics in the FSM and found the correct wiring points:

The wiring connection points are on the plug labeled M34, shown on page EL-145 of the FSM. It is fairly easy to solder wires directly to the pins on the base of the connector if you tin both the wire and pin first.

The negative LED wire connects to pin 49. That lead connects directly to the Illumination Control Switch (the dimmer control.) The FSM pages showing the wire endpoints are EL-120 and IL-123. The path of the wire runs across multiple pages of the schematic.

The positive LED wire connects to pin 66. Pin 66 connects to a 12V source that is controlled by the ignition key. It’s shown on manual page EL-147.

The results were well worth the time. For the first time the cluster lights look like they should, clearly visible in bright daylight even with sunglasses on. The odometer is also clearly legible all the time. When the headlights are turned on the cluster LEDs dim exactly as they should. The color of the LED strip is also excellent and lacks the purple hue of the last CCFL bulb I installed.

The only negative is very minor. The lighting across the display isn’t quite as consistent as it was with the CCFL. It is a minor variation and I don’t think I would have noticed it at all if I hadn’t been looking for it.

Good luck.

Update: After driving the car for a few days in the daytime and being very pleased with the brightness of the display, I drove last night after dark. The new LED’s are so bright that to get them down to a reasonable level at night requires turning the dimmer way down, too far down to clearly see the other displays that are also controlled by the dimmer. Unfortunately it won’t be possible to contain fully contain the wiring withing the cluster and maintain the daytime brightness without adding a custom circuit. To allow the independent control of the cluster LED’s I’ve decided to add a 2nd dimmer switch dedicated to the LED lights. Ebay had one for $12 shipped and I have an empty spot in the dash to install it so it looks like a stock control. I’ll post back here with results.