The original title that I came up with for this thread was "you don't want to do this but if you insist, here's how I did it". Seemed too long a title but it was a pain in the behind so be advised.
Beside what is covered in this thread, be prepared for something(s) to not work. Here's a thread pleading for help for problems that took days to solve https://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=4238386
First issue is that the two clusters,while similar, are not the same. The lower locating pins sit farther back on the MKII cluster, the upper tabs are at a different angle, the MKII is taller and the Cabby cluster is wider.
First(actually first you need to pull everything off of your dash to get the old cluster out) I tried just seting the new cluster in place which has been discussed in other threads. Even before you can try that part of the left side of the steering column support must be cut away.
I used a Dremmel with a cut off wheel to do this and a grinding stone to smooth the sharp edges.
Since the wiring shows in this picture, this is a good time to discuss it. The Cabby has a single main plug and a smaller plug with a single wire. Both plugs can be pried open with a small screwdriver. With them opened you can remove the wires without damaging the connectors. The MKII CE1 cluster has two plugs, one white and one black. The individual wire connectors are held into the plug with little barbs that are punched into the connector body. If you push the barb flat with the connector body you can pull the connector out of the plug. This is a different connector but it shows the same style barb:
If you bend the barb back out you can push the connector back into the plug and it will hold in place. You won't have to do much of this as the MKII plugs come wired just the way you need with one exception. The Yellow wire and the blue/black need to be swapped. They are back to back on the black plug. The Cabriolet(mine's an 87) color code is the same(except the above) as a Scirocco or German MKII. US and Mexican made use a differnt color code so you have to rely on the positions of the wires in the plugs as described in the VW current flow diagrams. I had a German cluster so the colors matched up. If I had a US or other, I would use the Scirocco current flow to find the wire positions. I didn't want to cut my Cabby harness so I needed MKII plugs with 3-5" of wire pigtails. I soldered a female "bullet connector" to each wire of the MKII plug. The removed connectors from the Cabby plug will fit snugly into the bullet connectors. If you have the easy set-up, just plug them color to color, otherwise use the Bentley. I secured the plug together connections by covering each with heat shrink tubing. You can see the finished product in the above picture.
I didn't like the idea of letting the cluster just sit in place so first I tried attaching little tabs to the corner screws which hold the back of the cluster onto the body. Then I zip-tied the tabs to the Cabriolet cluster supports. This sort of worked but it was hard to know how much to snug up the ties with the bezel off. Finally, I decided to see if I could modify the Cabby support brackets to hold the MKII cluster. Those brackets are held to the back side of the dash with three screws each.
What I did was start with a hard file folder. Starting with the Cabby cluster, I traced a circle on the folder the size of the lower pin and cut out the hole. Stuck the pin in the hole, traced the upper mount and cut it out. Finally stuck both parts through the holes and traced the front border of the case.
Then you do the same with the MKII cluster. Cut out the MKII cluster diagram.
Take the support bracket and trace it's position on the Cabriolet diagram.
Lay the cut out MKII diagram over the Cabby's and align the tops and fronts. Trace the MKII support positions on the Cabby diagram.
Cut out the lower MKII hole position in the Cabby diagram, trace the MKII hole onto the Cabby bracket and cut out the hole.
I marked the hole center, drilled progressively larger holes and finished it with a dremel stone.
To get the upper attaching point to line up better, you need to bevel the back side of the MKII tabs with a dremel cut-off wheel.
you also need to turn the holes in the tabs into slots the allow for the narrower MKII cluster. In addition I had to grind off the lower left hand front corner of the MKII cluster for clearance to the center attaching point of the left support bracket. Also, if you look back to the picture without a cluster, you'll see where I trimmed that center attaching point for clearance. You'll have to fine tune this yourself. The more clearance you provide, the more you can center the cluster in the Cabby bezel.
One last thing that I forgot to mention is that you need to cut off the top center attaching point frrom the MKII case with a dremel for clearance to the dash.
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