AE86 Digital Cluster Conversion

If you’re a nerd like me, you’ve coveted the Digital Cluster that came as a factory option in AE86s in other markets. It’s just such a beautiful piece of 80s tech, when electronics really started to boom, and really compliments the AE86 interior perfectly.

I hunted for a deal on a digital cluster for years, but never pulled the trigger, until I got one included with a bulk AE86 parts purchase, which allowed me to install complete interior in my Project Creampuff – hatchback AE86 restomod, among many other things like JDM rain visors, Levin front end conversion, and more.

I’ve found bits and pieces of people talking about the AE86 digital cluster conversion, but not really a full “walkthrough” on how to install it. That’s what I strived to provide for you here. I learned quite a bit with this, and I’ve included information and problems that I experienced with the conversion that I hadn’t come across before.

If you’d like to see it in video form, just check out the video below from my YouTube channel.

And if you’re still with me, I’ll type out everything from the video here.

Parts List for the Conversion

  • AE86 Digital Cluster
  • Connector Pigtails for AE86 Digital Cluster
  • Digital Cluster Fuel Level Sender (discontinued, difficult to find)
  • Digital Cluster Oil Pressure Switch (usually pretty readily available)
  • Optional: AE86 analog (standard) cluster to cut up to make a plug and play wiring adapter

Step by Step – How to (not all pictures included)

The first step to doing the digital cluster conversion is to remove the original cluster. This mean removing all the trim panels and pieces, dropping the steering column down, etc. Once you have it removed is when the fun begins.

Just to be able to install the cluster, you *have to* the left most stud that holds the dashboard into the vehicle. This is the stud on the far left side. When you do this, it’s also a good idea to try to bend the sheet metal up slightly, or put a piece of fabric tape on it to protect the digital cluster from being damaged.

This is because the studs that hold the dashboard in are at different heights, and the clusters are made for RHD clearance, not LHD clearance with these studs. Mine came out by hand luckily, but all it takes is an itty bitty socket to turn the stud loose, or use the good ol “double nut” method.

Once this is removed, you should have the clearance to “bolt in” the cluster, but don’t put it in JUST YET. You need to decide on wiring. I’ve included a wiring diagram below to show how it should be pinned/connected – decide if you’re going to use a plug and play adapter, or install the digital cluster pigtails on the USDM harness. Please make sure to verify this is correct for your AE86 – zenki/kouki and geographic region market. (*Note – this does specify for EDM LHD models only, but I think this is what I looked at to verify mine was correct for a USDM LHD model).

Sorry for the giant “photobucket” watermark, I tried to go to the original but it’s been removed/no longer available.

My digital cluster came with a plug and play adapter. It isn’t pretty, and I would probably do something a little differently if I were to make it myself, but it works. I can’t complain about that.

You will need to cut off the “connector tabs” from the cluster, as well as the little bits of the printed circuit board that the connector attach to. Then you’ll need to reference the wiring diagrams to solder the digital cluster pigtails to the correct “pins” on the circuit board, and then protect the circuits/connections with something – hopefully better than the hot glue and electrical tape that came on mine lol.

Once you have the wiring sorted out, you should be good to go to install the digital cluster and electrically connect it. You may need to swap where your speedometer cable mounts from side to side – my car doesn’t have a speedometer cable (yet) so I am not entirely sure on that.

Lastly, to get all of the gauges working correctly, you’ll need to install the digital cluster fuel level sender and the engine oil pressure switch. The digital cluster needs a digital cluster fuel level sender, which is usually easily identified by the “blue top” on it. It provided a different type of signal than the USDM cluster needs.

The difference in engine oil pressure sensor/switch is because the USDM cluster has an oil pressure gauge, whereas the digital cluster just as a low oil pressure light. With just an oil pressure light, all it needs is a switch that will tell the cluster to turn on the low oil pressure light when pressure drops below the threshold of the switch. I didn’t have one of these to install yet, my car runs a BEAMS 3SGE engine, and I have an oil pressure sensor going to a Link FuryX ECU, so it isn’t something that I’ll worry about at this point in time, but I might later on in the future.

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