1978 XJ-S pre he Instrument Panel removal issue

(Al Boa) #1

I have been trying to remove the instrument panel to check earth grounding as none of the instruments are working. Have followed removal advice in manual and from Kirby Palm’s excellent book. My car has a mechanical speedometer, which I have yet to disengage, however have removed the below under scuttle panel. The instrument panel seems fixed or stuck centre top, when trying to move. Reluctant to put to much pressure from pushing from back or pulling from front as do not wish to break.
Is there some other fixing to remove? Speedometer cable does not appear to be stopping any movement. Any assistance or ideas would be appreciated.
Regards Al (Note XJS is a UK model imported to New Zealand.)

(Ed Sowell) #2

You do have to disconnect the cable to get the instrument cluster assembly out, obviously. As I recall, once you remove the frame around the edges there are screws at the top corners, hidden under plactic covers that snap out. I don’t recall an screw at the center. Then you have to pull the assembly part way out so you can gut your, hopefully small hand behind the cluster to release the snaps at the ends of the harness connectors.

(Paul M. Novak) #3

If your instrument panel is the same as in my wife’s 1990 XJ-S convertible then search the archives for my response to a post a year or so ago on “instrument cluster removal”. I provided detailed instructions and pictures to someone who had a similar problem trying to remove the panel. There are two screws hidden behind plastic covers at the top corners of the panel.


(Ed Sowell) #4

Paul, I believe the '90 has an electronic speedo. Removal of the cluster itself should be pretty much the same, except Al Boa has to unscrew the cable and/or the angle drive. Makes it somewhat more difficult.

(Al Boa) #5

Thanks Ed and Paul for your advice. I had removed the two hidden screws left and right top screws, and it appears there should be enough movement in the speedometer cable to allow the panel to move enough so I can disconnect the drive from the panel, but it seems stuck somehow top centre. Given there no other fixings I guess its just stuck after been there for 40 years. I will try to free it up by getting my hand and pushing from the back to dislodge the panel. I will just take my time to avoid any damage especially to the printed circuit board. Thanks for your assistance.
I will advise on the outcome

(Richard Dowling, 1979 XJ-S HE+5sp coupe, 1989 XJ-SC, 2003 XJ8 3.5L) #6

Not sure if you have removed it.

I think there is a small plastic trim piece with a self tapping screw top dead centre.

Even if removed that might be an area where things have stuck for 40 years.

(Al Boa) #7

Hi Richard, Thanks for your reply. I have removed the trim and the self tapper holding the centre trim. However this is the area of the panel that appears to be stuck fast, as there is some flexing of the panel at both top corners. You may be right that its the area after 4o0 years may be stuck around the self tapping screw area. May try to spray some electrical contact cleaner up thru the screw hole
Will have a another crack at see if it will come free later today.

(Al Boa) #8

Just to advise after an hour of fiddling around managed to free the instrument panel and get it out for inspection. Success
I discovered that the top edge of the panel has a rubber sealing strip which had some glue on top especially in the middle. which was the problem why the panel would not budge. I used a thin blunt scrapper blade to release glue rubber from the top of the dash and it finally moved.
The rest of the removal was interesting, I now see why Paul suggested small hands are requird I certain don’t have small hands so it was a bit of a struggle to release wire connectors, but final got them out, that gave me some moreroom to get my fingers into release the speedometer cable screwed connector.

So success finally. Next step to check the connections -first some new ground wires from the panel and clean the earth connection on the steering column bracket.

Thanks guys for your help


(Al Boa) #9

Hi Appreciate any advice regarding refitting the instrument panel now that is been repaired.

I have manage to refit the plug connectors ,but have been stumped regarding the connecting back up the speedometer drive cable.
I have not been able to screw up the knurled connector ring. In order to get a hand / fingers in behind the panel, the angle of the cable is wrong. Problem big hands!.
To align the connection square on, there no room to get my hand in.

Is there another approach, like removing the left side lower switch, so I may reach from underneath?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks Al

(Richard Dowling, 1979 XJ-S HE+5sp coupe, 1989 XJ-SC, 2003 XJ8 3.5L) #10

Yes, it is a tight fit to get the cable back in, and I have small hands.
I expect you can rotate the cable fitting on the back of the speedo to better align it for the cable.
You might have to remove the panel again to do that - agony !

Otherwise you can take other things out to give better access.

(Al Boa) #11

Thanks Richard for your advice.
I was thinking of taking it out again and fitting the speedo cable first , then the wiring connectors. This may give me more room to align the cable.
I run the risk of damaging the circuit board bottom edges if I continue with trying to connect the speedo cable,
Was looking forward to getting the panel back in , to see if the repairs I made re new earth wiring, cleaning all connectors and some new LED bulbs solve the faults.
Will advise progress. Regards

(Al Boa) #12

Hi All,
following on from previous report
Just to advise when I removed the instrument panel connectors to restart with the speedo drive cable first, I notice in fact there was damaged to the bottom of the flexible circuit board. The bottom edge especially around the bottom plug connectors had start to de-laminate. Luckily was able to glue back without any break in the copper circuit tapes. Also reinforced the bottom edge with tape.
Anyway started to reinstall instrument panel, speedo cable first, but found it was still difficult to align the cable with the threaded adaptor due to angle of the panel being restricted by top of steering wheel and my large hands.
In order to prevent further damage to bottom of flexible circuit board decided to remove the steering wheel.

Recommend removing the steering wheel makes the reinstallation so much easier connecting speedo drive cable and two wiring connectors. Would also make it easier to remove the panel in he first place.
Thanks Regards