So I finally got up the nerve to remove the instrument panel and investigate why all of my gauges except the speedometer and tach were dropping out. After removal and careful inspection and cleaning I was able to revive it if I rapped the dash so I went to Ebay and found a replacement cluster. The installation went smooth except that in my research I failed to notice that the eprom on the back of the cluster has to be swapped in order to maintain the mileage information. I think I'll save that for another day since everything is all back together. The cluster works perfectly. I had the option of having it repaired but the local shop wanted almost $300.00. I may go through the old board and resolder all of the connections but there is no hurry at this point. So for anyone who like me sat on the fence for over a year worrying about cosmetic damage or broken clips before attempting this repair here are some of my observations.
1. It is not difficult. All you need is the right size star tool and a phillips screwdriver. I thought about posting pics but it really is so simple that I don't think they are necessary.
2. There were only two sticking points. At the bottom of the facial panel near the gain slider there are two prongs that are a little tough. When I pulled that part loose one of the prongs broke but a quick application of contact cement and it was good as new by the time I was ready to put the panel back on. The second was when I attempted to remove the **** for the headlight switch. Pull the switch out. Look on the left side of the shaft and you will see a slot with a metal tab. Using a small flat head screwdriver slide the tab towards you while pulling the ****. If done correctly it is a breeze. If it doesn't come off easily you are doing it wrong. Stop. Slide the tab towards you...
3. The pexiglass cover on the cluster does not have to be removed but if it has fine scratches or has been damaged by using the wrong type of cleaner it is very easy to polish them out with liquid turtle wax or some other wax that contains very fine abrasives. I would not recommend using a buffer for this since you are working with a soft plastic and it would be easy to burnish. I would remove it from the cluster before polishing. Make sure that the back of the cover is clean and lint free before reattaching.
4. Remember to remove the negative battery cable before attempting this procedure.
5. Here is a link to help get you started.