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2nd February 2015, 10:08 PM
Having trouble with your instrument panel not illuminating enough? Here's a guide on how to fix it for the better:

This is a post for anyone suffering from bad instument illumination on their Stepwagon. The Dashboard needs a bit of dismantling, I was able to establish that Stepwagon instrument dial are NOT lit from behind by a bulb or light fibre cable.

Instead the dials themselves are 'top lit' by a pair of 2.3 watt bulbs, which work on the lighting circuit. So you can check if the bulbs are working properly by unscrewing the dash surround and lifting it forward a few inches. Remember to look for a screw at each corner, some are under clip out sections of trim, but it's dead easy to do with a little common sense.

When I had replaced BOTH my bulbs, hence the lack of light, I noticed that Honda use a blackened piece of perspex to moderate (severely restrict !) the light output which only has very small areas to allow the light to get through, one photon at a time.

Being inquisitive I took the dash trim right off (to do this lower the steering column and place the column shift lever down to gear 2 so there is adequate space), and then undid the screws for the instrument cluster and carefully unclipped the clear persepx cover.

This allowed me to unclip the front of the cluster from the rear using a flat screw driver to separate the halves. Nothing falls out when you do this. I removed the piece of perspex from the downlighter aperture and cut two slot in it where the bulbs go. If desired you could leave it out entirely, and just put it all back together. To get colour I used a small piece of coloured perspex (cut from a plastic document wallet since it needs something deep in colour and thin) and reassembled. I took to opportunity to dust out the dials as well with a small paint brush.

Hey presto - lovely night time illumination and clean dials. Also anybody with some luminous paint could paint the tips of the dials for a couple of mm so it is possible to see the position of the needles when going through tunnels or in underground car parks etc. This is common practice in the classic car world.

Took me 1 1/2 hours, probably less for anyone else now I have done the ground work.
Credit: Stevef

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