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I think they just test the full span of the needle motor. When looking at the gauges, there's no hard pin around the zero point to stop the needle, or at least I don't think there is.

Therefore I think you'd have to get the needles on fairly even. I wonder if the needles are splined to only go on the motor shaft one way, or if they are splined such that they can go on at different degree points on the shaft.

I did some service manual reading recently in an attempt to help MP81 with some electrical problems he was having.

The Instrument cluster does contain the VIN number of the car, and must "handshake" with the BCM for the cluster to be active. So I believe you can take apart the clusters and move the old circuit board into the "new look" cluster, I don't believe a new look cluster will directly work.

I'd like to see it tried though. As the manual clearly states that the mileage is stored in the BCM and not in the instrument cluster. It would be great if it was plug and play, but I'm guessing the only way to get the "new look" is take the clusters apart.
 
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