Story of the rebuilt of a BMW E28 535i 5 series
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Dashboard repair

It seems like the dashboard is a weak point on all E28. The instrument cluster board is fitted with two NiCa rechargeable batteries. Sounds like a good idea if the car lasted around 5-8 years... lifespan of the battery.
Where the dealer wants to change the board and charge you $200 + labor, you can do it in 2 hours and $5.00.

Failure syndromes: Service lights acting funny and impossible to reset. Tach, temperature gauge or other gauges not working.

1. If you have an adjustable steering wheel, adjust it all the way toward the rear.
2. Remove the 2 phillips screws holding the dashboard.
3. Turn the cluster toward the right of the steering wheel and disconnect the connectors.
Make sure that you take note of where the speedometer wires are connected.
To disconnect the large connectors, you have to pry up the black locking tab.
4. This is what you end up with... an empty space. Time to bring the cluster to the kitchen table and disassemble it.
Bring needle noise pliers, small Phillips screw drive, small soldering iron, board contact cleaner and the new batteries.
5. Remove the (8 I think) Phillips screws at the back of the instrument cluster.
6. Remove gently the black cover and set it aside
Now be careful as you don't want to bend the needles or leave fingerprints everywhere.
7. You can remove the speedometer unit now or later by pushing from the back.
8. Be careful with the needles and turn the cluster around. (Place pieces or wood or foam on the side not to damage the needles.)
9. Take the needle noise pliers and remove the two 5.5mm screws along with the washers and the spacers. They hold the temperature/fuel gauge combo.
10. You have to remove two little Phillips screws to remove the back of the board. Then pry the little tabs on the edge of the board to release the board.
11. You see these two red batteries... That is the problem. Change them and your problem should be fixed.
12. Locate the soldering points at the back of the board and remove the batteries. Find a battery replacement (AA 1.2V 600mAh is ok), get them fully charged if not already charged (16 hours is an standard AA battery charger would do).

Installation is reverse of removal.

Start the car, check that everything works. If you have some red lights on the service board, it is normal you have to reset the light.