This 2007 Nissan Maxima came in with the complaint that the gas gauge was stuck on empty. Actually a closer look revealed that the gauge needle was stuck under the empty stop peg. Due to the coloring of the instrument cluster lens I was unable to get a picture of this before disassembly.
If you have a strong magnet you can use it to move the gas gauge needle into the correct position. If you do not have strong magnet or if you just need to know how to remove the instrument cluster, continue reading.
The top cover over the instrument cluster assembly is held in place by spring clips as shown in the next picture. To unfasten the cover lift up to release the clips. Note that there is a tether cable that attaches the cover to the dash carrier. It does not need to be removed. In fact I do not even know if it can be without damaging something.
There is one phillips headed screw behind the middle of the assembly that needs to be removed.
I was also hoping that the other two phillips screws were all that was left to remove the instrument cluster. They do have to come out for the final disassembly to correct the needle issue but not now.
I could feel something holding the bottom of the instrument cluster so I wanted to remove the covers under the steering column. Removing the fuse box cover reveals ons crew to the left.
It has a torx head. There is also one other matching screw under the right side of the panel.
I am not sure if the inner steel panel actually has to be removed but it is only two screws and it made it much easier to take some of the following pictures.
To remove the two lower retaining screws I used a long phillips head screwdriver and magnetised the tip. Also I extended the steering column all of the way out towards the driver’s seat and then fully down.
Looking under the dash I could see where to move the tip of the screwdriver to align it with the screw.
The one on the right is a little bit more difficult to locate and remove. In fact I had to get my longest phillips screwdriver out to do this efficiently. For reassembly I inserted the screwdriver on the left side of the column and attached the screw to the magnetic tip, then carefully slid it to the right to align it with the mounting hole. I know this takes a few special tools and is somewhat tedious but it beats having to drop the steering column and possibly more.
There is one harness connector to remove. The harness also is attached to the cluster by clip shown in the center of the next picture. I am pointing to the left lower mounting screw hole with my screwdriver.
There are a series of plastic clips all of the way around the instrument cluster assembly that have to be dislodged. Also the two screws mentioned earlier.
With the cover removed it is easy to see that the needle is on the wrong side of the stop peg.
A simple little flip with my screwdriver…
…and the needle is back in it’s correct location.
If you want to avoid this problem altogether, never disconnect and reconnect the battery connections with the ignition switched on.