You did it! You made the decision to bring your 90’s Honda into the 21st century with a digital dash from Link or AIM but… how do you mount it?
This guide will show you step by step how to modify your factory gauge cluster to accept your shiny new digital dash. I am modifying the cluster from a 1990 CRX Si but the process will be largely the same for most 80’s or 90’s Hondas. I am installing a Link MXS Strada 5" (which shares the same foot print as an AIM MXS Strada). I got the Link dash from AE-RACE.com where the entire Link line is available.
This permanently destroys the original gauge cluster so either use a spare cluster or be prepared to live with the consequences. Watch my YouTube video below to see the finished product before you begin.
You will need short M4 bolts to fit into the 4 stand-off legs on the back of the digital dash (mine didn’t come with any) and you will need a new face plate to go behind the digital dash. I am using a carbon fiber plate water-jetted to fit a CRX that I got from @racedashsolution on Instagram. You can do the same or if you are talented enough you can make your own plate from plastic, aluminum, steel, or whatever you have.
First you need to separate the different pieces. Separate the back (where the gauges are) from the black face of the cluster.
Be careful with these tabs. They are OLD.
Remove everything from this rear chassis. The gauges need to go.
I pulled all these light bulbs too. Whatever isn’t left behind can’t rattle later.
The point of no return is when you rip this off the back.
Once you have the rear piece bare(white in a CRX, it might be a different color in different models) set it aside and turn your attention to the front piece.
You’ll need to separate the clear front from the black part. In a CRX these are lightly glued together so be very careful with a screwdriver and slowly split them.
For this next part I moved from my kitchen island to my garage because things are going to get messy. The carbon fiber plate from @racedashsolution will be going over the OEM face plate. If you didn’t buy a plate this is your chance to mock up a template and cut your own metal/plastic to fit.
Once you have your new face plate, put it over the factory face plate and mark out the material you need to remove in order for the AIM/Link to go in.
Cut it out with whatever you have. I’m using this Wen rotary tool. You could also do it with a small enough hack saw or even a file.
Get the idea?
The plate from @racedashsolution is a perfect fit for a CRX.
Now you can fetch the back piece that we still need in order to mount this back in the car. You’ll need to cut through this in order to plug the dash in.
I’m using a basic hole saw set to cut holes for each plug. There is a lot of other ways to cut plastic if you are so inclined.
That is roughly what I need. I may need to enlarge those holes to fit the plugs though.
Be prepared to sweep up lots of plastic bits.
After test fitting the Link dash it is hitting where the indicator lights were so I’ll need to cut this part off too. You’ll need to test fit a few times and cut away anywhere that is still in your way.
This fits the Link dash but the rear holes need to be enlarged a bit to fit the big cable connectors.
I made the holes a little bigger and cleaned everything up with a brush and a file.
We need to drill holes through to mount the new face plate. The carbon fiber plate I have came with long mounting bolts with nuts and washers. So I just need to mark holes to drill.
To drill through all the way through the white plastic use a small enough drill bit that won’t touch the face plate. Then you can make the hole bigger after you take the face plate out of the way.
You should end up with a series of holes that go all the way through out the back of the unit so you can bolt the plate on and secure it on the back with nuts and washers. Do all four corners.
This next step is optional but my dash was a source of a lot of rattling so I’m going to line these pieces with automotive felt tape to eliminate any future rattling. Seriously though, click that link and order some you’ll thank me later.
A few cents of this stuff is going to save me a lot of annoyance in the future.
Neither the Link Dash or the @racedashsolution carbon fiber plate come with the screws needed to join them. I keep a kit like this on hand so that I always have the right bolts. The holes on the Link dash are M4. The holes are not very deep so I had to cut my bolts to make them fit tight. I also recommend keeping a box of assorted washers on hand. Once you have the right bolts and washers you can combine the Link dash with the face plate.
Then you can throw the long bolts through the plate and the holes you drilled and secure them on the back with nuts and washers.
Look at that! This bad boy is ready to mount in the car or if you haven’t already now is the time to wire up the harness (stay tuned for more on that from me)…
Thanks for reading and be sure to checkout AE-RACE.com for the rest of the Link line. Subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow this blog to see more Honda projects.