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Many have complained about difficulty in reading the gauges. One solution is to buy aftermarket inserts with custom colors and info displayed. I didn't want to spend a few hundred on my high miles car (130K) so I chose a cheap option. Bring the gauges up from the depths of the dash.

In a nutshell, I put plastic spacers behind the cluster to move it forward, and then cut the "tunnels" to accommodate their new position. The deep tunnels are a styling choice by Pontiac to get that retro look. Cute. Not ideal.

Instructions for removing the boomerang and instrument bezels/tunnels can be found elsewhere on the forum, so I'll skip that. Once removed there are four screws holding the instruments in place and plenty of wiring harness to pull them forward.

Instruments lying loose and still plugged in:




While you're in there, if your gauge cluster is dusty, the plexi cover is easily removed with five snaps... three on top and two on the bottom. The cover is not sealed and dust easily gets in there after the years. I washed mine in the sink and dried it with a soft cloth:




The original mounting screws are #8x1" screws. I got appropriately sized 1" spacers and went with a 1" longer screw (#8x2") from Lowe's:




These are the packets from Lowe's (in the specialty screw drawers):





The bottom, left screw can be a pain to get to. Pulling the air vent to the left of the steering wheel makes it easy. A 7mm socket on a long extension gets the factory screw out. A long, thin Phillips screw driver put the new ones in. Here is the new screw installed (please excuse the New Mexico dust. I live on a dirt road.):





A picture through the windshield of the gauges installed:





More pics:







The next step is to cut the tunnels.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's done!

I cut approximately 30% off the length of the tunnels by cutting an inch. It does not show up in pictures but the difference in real life is significant.

I was going to use a band saw to cut the gauges but the dust shield on the bottom that closes the space for the tilt steering and other obstacles made that too much trouble. I ended up plotting a one inch cut all around the perimeter with a ruler and marker and then cutting the lower end with a Dremel. Not as smooth but it really doesn't matter once done.




The rubber bumpers that keep it off the plexi shield are now cut off but the new tunnels are so short, I don't think they are needed. I filed and sanded off the slag and got this:







Final installation:







Total cost was only about $5 at Lowe's and a few hours labor.
 

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I believe that the original depth may have had something to do with shading sunlight to prevent glare. Obviously that had it's limitations also. Be interested to see how it works out!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I believe that the original depth may have had something to do with shading sunlight to prevent glare. Obviously that had it's limitations also. Be interested to see how it works out!
I considered that and already bought another set of tunnels so I can return it to stock if I don't like it. And I figured there are plenty of other cars on the road with gauges much more exposed than ours.
 

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Nice work.

I've thought about putting some anti-glare film over the plexi gauge cover. Might get around to trying it one day.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Nice work.

I've thought about putting some anti-glare film over the plexi gauge cover. Might get around to trying it one day.
Since the gauge cover comes off so easily, it would be pretty easy to do.
 

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I was wondering if a tint band across the top the wind windshield wood help with the glare. I guess I could add some temp tint up there to see how it works.( static cling type)
 

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While I probably wouldn't do this to my car, I think that it is a very well thought out modification - I like it a lot.

We should make a list of all the things that we could have done better than GM did.

  • Gauges you can actually see
  • Cup holders you can use without breaking them
  • A tunnel cover that doesn't crack when you put you hand on it getting into the cars
  • Door controls that you can actually find and use by tough while driving
  • External door handles that aren't predetermined to fail.
  • Coupe taillights that can have bulb changes without disassembling half the rear of the car

I'm sure most owners could add a few items...
 

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While I probably wouldn't do this to my car, I think that it is a very well thought out modification - I like it a lot.

We should make a list of all the things that we could have done better than GM did.

  • Gauges you can actually see
  • Cup holders you can use without breaking them
  • A tunnel cover that doesn't crack when you put you hand on it getting into the cars
  • Door controls that you can actually find and use by tough while driving
  • External door handles that aren't predetermined to fail.
  • Coupe taillights that can have bulb changes without disassembling half the rear of the car

I'm sure most owners could add a few items...
Think DDM or will look to see who makes a Center counsel with built in 2 cup holders. So no need for any of there flimsy factory ones.
If its not DDM let me know I got it somewhere. Will find for you but thats one of awesome things I seen for Solstice.
 

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While I probably wouldn't do this to my car, I think that it is a very well thought out modification - I like it a lot.

We should make a list of all the things that we could have done better than GM did.
+1 for the list. But, I just use my right hand for the window controls and opening the door. The only issue I have is when driving one of the other cars, I wind up trying to use my right hand and can't reach anything.

@RobTheElder I haven't looked at the circuit board in the instrument cluster, but it the DIC is on a daughter board (unlikely), it could in theory be put anywhere as long as its on the CAN bus and has the correct interface circuitry. But, that would be a pretty weird design.

Another option would be to get an Arduino with a CAN shield, a small display and some buttons. Emulating the DIC is pretty straightforward. That's a project I don't really have time for, but maybe someone else could give it a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
While I probably wouldn't do this to my car, I think that it is a very well thought out modification - I like it a lot.
..

Thanks! I was unsure too which is why I bought a spare set if instrument tunnels. It's easily reversible.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Think DDM or will look to see who makes a Center counsel with built in 2 cup holders. So no need for any of there flimsy factory ones.
If its not DDM let me know I got it somewhere. Will find for you but thats one of awesome things I seen for Solstice.
Yup. It's DDM. A bunch of us (including me) have one.



I haven't looked at the circuit board in the instrument cluster, but it the DIC is on a daughter board (unlikely), it could in theory be put anywhere as long as its on the CAN bus and has the correct interface circuitry. But, that would be a pretty weird design.

Hoosier has clusters for sale in this classified ad if someone wants to try to cannibalize one. It's above my tech level.
 
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