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A fix for the dread 'broken screw holes' in the instrument cluster


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5 replies to this topic

#1 SmashedGlass

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 04:43 PM

Did this today as a fix for my instrument cluster housing, which had the usual cracked and/or broken screw holes in it for

the left-hand button cluster (Hazards, Pneumatic Suspension, etc). This is the third housing I've had my hands on, and all 

three either had this problem or developed it shortly; the plastic bits that the button cluster screws into are rather easy to

damage by even a slight over-tightening due to the type of plastic the housing is made of.

 

It's pretty simple, but this will only work if you manage to still have (or find after they break off while you're working on the housing) all of the pieces that were once screw holes/mounts. On this cluster, one snapped off a big piece with some of the thread in it, and a

smaller piece near the opening too. The other mount had a good crack developing across it, but was still in one piece.

 

1: Carefully glue the broken off pieces back on using a strong solvent based adhesive meant for abs and pvc plastics. You can find these glues in most every hardware store. Super glue is not advised, as it has poor shear strength. If, like my housing, one is not

yet broken but cracking, obviously go ahead and run some glue into the cracked mount also.

 

2:  Even with the types of adhesives that weld the plastics, it probably won't be enough on it's own--as mentioned, due to the brittle plastic the housing is made of. Reinforce the mounts with small zip-ties, pulled as tight as possible. Simple. Just make sure you

orient the ratchet of the zip-tie to where it won't interfere with sliding the button cluster back in.

 

Mount that broke into multiple pieces:

 

DSCN1231_zps28dc8606.jpg

 

DSCN1232_zpsc022369e.jpg

 

The other one, which had only started to crack

 

DSCN1230_zps68f26523.jpg

 

Even if your screw mounts are not yet damaged, I'd recommend adding the zip-ties next time you have it apart, just for some insurance.



#2 Discombobulated

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 07:45 AM

Wonderful:) just went through the same thing putting in LEDs in my cluster, but mine was worse. The heater panel was cooked from the 2 74 bulbs that are on all the time to light up the buttons. I had to get a different panel from the yard and it was in really good shape but kinda weird how the car at the yard had 290k on it and all the screw mounts were flawless with no cracks at all but mine with 64 k was destroyed? Wonder if climate might decide the fate of the plastic?

Anyhoo, good work:)

#3 SmashedGlass

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 08:00 AM

Climate, how many times they're removed and installed, possibly even how often the car meets rough roads. It's a poor design, if they had at least made it a through-hole instead of a capped hole it may have relieved the stresses that the screw puts on the plastic. Or what really has

me scratching my head: why didn't they just have the left-hand button cluster mount the same way the right-hand one does, with screws that

go into the button cluster instead of the fragile plastic of the housing? We may never know......


Edited by SmashedGlass, 09 April 2014 - 08:02 AM.


#4 Discombobulated

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 01:56 PM

Yea who knows, my Toyota pickup has the same issues just different places, after removing the dash I did figure out what NEVER to touch again unless I really need to. Just like anything on the entire car though the auto window switches need tender care just like the trim on the outside but that seems to be doomed no matter what:(

I wish they would have used the little square nuts that can be replaced like the ones that go around the stereo bezel, that would have been nice, funny how some stuff is so genius on some of the car but the genius was off that day when they thought of other stuff:)

#5 wagonist

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 06:09 PM

We have the same problem over here with the RHS buttons (cos they're reversed). We also tend to have to have some additional switches where you have the ribbed blanking plate (I guess its a blanking plate). I've had 2 cars where all 6 positions were filled. Sometimes too, if it's screwed in not quite right, the buttons get stuck, meaning the panel needs to be forced over, putting more pressure on the screws.

 

I don't think it's climate related. I've lived in places where the summer temp was well over 45 degrees celcius. It's just a bad design.

 

I've toyed with the idea of drilling through, getting some bolts & nuts, then along with hot glue, heating up the plastic so that the nut sticks to the back. Or a large fibreglass knob.

 

The other thing I've done in the past is to screw that panel in while the shroud is still off the dash. The plugging it in when I'm reinstalling the shroud. It's a bit fiddly.

 

And considering that way the dash pulls apart, this piece is supposed to come out forwards first when removing the shroud, whereas the heater controls stay in the dash, so it can't be screwed in the other way unfortunately.

 

But I'm definitely going to be doing this cable tie addition to my current unbroken black shroud. These are now in very limited supply. Kudos for the idea & sharing it.



#6 SmashedGlass

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 07:09 PM

Your idea with 'welding' a nut on the back sounds good, too. 






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