With the dashboard out, we decided to remove the gauge cluster itself and check all of the light bulbs to make sure they were not blown. In the Cappuccino, the gauge cluster is designed to be removed with the dash out of the car and trying to remove the gauges without removing the dash is impossible to do without breaking something. With the dash off, remove the rear defroster switch, remove the trim panel (one screw and one clip), and remove the four screws that secure the gauge cluster to the dash. All of our bulbs showed continuity on the multimeter, but we remembered them being incredibly dim, even at night. We decided to look for something more modern. The four big bulbs going across the middle are the illumination lights. The rest are the warning lights and turn signal indicators, so they don’t need LED replacements. Simply turn the socket ¼ turn and they pop out. The bulb itself pops right out of the socket. Turns out these are standard 168 automotive bulbs.
For kicks and giggles, we decided to see how much better the LED bulbs were compared to the original incandescent bulbs. We replaced only two, plugged everything back in, and turned on the headlights. First of all, they worked! Holy crap we did successful witchcraft!!! Second, the LEDs on the left are WAY brighter than the OEM bulbs. Check out how bright the speedo is compared to the fuel gauge. The fuel gauge doesn’t even look like it’s on. Before reinstalling the dashboard, make sure to fully rebuild the gauge cluster and plug the rear defroster back in. If you install the dash and THEN try to plug the defroster in you will be SOL. Ask us how we know. With the gauges working correctly again, we reinstalled the dashboard, the exact opposite of removal.
With the car back in one piece, we plugged the battery back in and started checking out electrical items. Head lights, turn signals, horn, wipers…everything worked! The engine even fired right up and purred like a squirrel. What a massive relief. With the Cappuccino now fully functional again, we can turn our attention to improving its performance. With parts in hand you can be sure the next installment of Project Cappuccino will be coming in a lot less than two years.