NTPOG 5th Gen Bimmer-Style Guages

Author: Todd Marcucci
 


Bim-What?
For the non initiate, "Bimmers" (BMW's) have chrome bezels around the gauges. Why would you want this? Style, my friend. There's no appreciable gain otherwise. The install process looks long, but only took about an hour of work and a few hours for the paint to dry. Here's what the final product looks like:

What You Need
- "Shortie" #2 Phillips Screwdriver (under 4" long)
- Small awl, center punch, or small nail (read instructions)
- 3M "Trim Adhesive", RTV, Elmers, or similar "all-purpose" adhesive
- Chrome (or your color choice) spray paint
- Somewhere to paint, newspaper, etc.

What's first?
First we'll remove the trim plate around the gauges. Lower the steering wheel all the way, then remove the two screws at the top:

Once you have them out, you can pull towards you at the bottom of the trim plate to remove it:

Sort of pull down at the top, then the plate should pull free. Now you've exposed the gauge cluster; remove the 4 screws that hold it in:

Once you remove these screws, you can pull the cluster towards you... not too far, you need to remove the 3 harnesses that are attached at the back. They're standard auto harnesses, find the push-release, then push that and pull them out:

  

Now you should have the assembly free.

Opening the Cluster
We need to remove the clear plastic face, then the gauge trim underneath. To get the clear piece off, push in all the tabs around the edge (clear ones, the solid black ones come next):

Remove the clear piece and set it aside, preferably inside-down. This will help dust, dirt, etc. from settling inside while you work on the assembly. Now remove the black trim piece by pushing in all the clips at the edges:

Set the gauges aside (carefully, they're expensive!!!) preferably in a box, in a bag, etc., so they don't get dusty. You'll appreciate this when you don't do it, then look at a piece of lint at 3000 RPMS until you fix it.

The round bezels you need to paint can be removed. You'll need to *carefully* go around the back side of the trim plate and push through the plastic posts. Look at and consider this step carefully; too much pressure and you can break the bezel or damage the plate. I used a scribe that was just the right size to pop out these posts:

Again, don't rush this step. I'm don't think these pieces are available separately from the dealer. Once you do this for all 4...

Painting the Rings
Once they are removed, you can paint them like anything else. Put them face up on a sheet of cardboard, newspaper, etc., in a well ventilated area, and paint them with your choice of paint. This example uses a DupliColor Chrome spray. Use 2 or 3 *light* coats, heavy coats may result in an "orange peel" finish, peel, or even not fit properly. In this case, less is more... you can always shoot another coat on them later. It's also a good idea to start 1-2 feet away to keep it from getting that "orange peel" finish:

Once they dry (another important step!) you can put them back in. Wait overnight for them to dry for best results... you may end up with fingerprints in them otherwise!

When re-installing the bezels, you may need to glue/RTV them back into place; sometimes the posts won't be enough to secure them. Simply use a little adhesive on the posts, just be careful not to get it on the plate face or the bezel face or paint. Reassembly is the reverse of removal... the final product should again look like this:

  

As always, feel free to email the author with comments, critiques, etc.



This page last updated 4/3/01.