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Premium Member
2018 Forester 6MT
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71 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,
I found the thread relating to swapping the instrument clusters on the 09-13 Foresters, but nothing on the newer generation. Coming from a 2011 Outback, I'm not a big fan of the Premium/base gauge center LCD, so I'm toying with the idea of swapping in a Limited trim cluster (or even a Touring, but I have my suspicions that won't work).

Does anyone know if it is possible to put the instrument cluster from a Limited into a Premium? What about a Touring-level trim (probably a stretch, but never hurts to ask)? I know the keys and odometer will need to be programmed into the new unit, but are there any considerations beyond that?

As a further wrench into the mix, my Premium is a manual transmission. Any ideas on if an automatic cluster would work (since no manual is available at that trim level)?

I've theoretically found the part (85000SG080 for Limited), but there aren't a lot of diagrams to see if it even has the same connector. I tried browsing the member journals, but didn't find any instrument cluster swaps for the newer models.

Anyone tried this, or have any insights? Or is this a save up the money, get one, and report back results?
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i 6MT
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56 Posts
So any more info on this?

Coming from a 2005 Legacy GT with electroluminescent gauges.. I'm going to miss them in my Touring trim level (in Canada.. Premium in the US.)
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring
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700 Posts
From what I've heard, it would require swapping out the ECU and a few other security devices to make this happen.
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring
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700 Posts
Still trying to find out if it's possible for this to happen with some dealer assistance. I've asked a Subie mechanic locally if they can look at their SSM4 to see if they have an option to reset/allow a new/different cluster to swap in.
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i Premiu
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11 Posts
Shoot me a message in about a week to confirm, but this should work.

I've got a 2017 Premium 6MT, and I tried the EL meter yesterday. Seemed to work for the BRIEF amount of time I tested it. Unfortunately, I ordered the wrong part, and I got the kmh unit instead of mph unit (Canadian I'm guessing), so I did not drive long enough for the odometer to register anything.

This is the correct P/N (at least for the 2017 version): 85001SG170

Bottom line: it will (at least mostly) work. I did notice one warning light -- something to do with headlights -- I'll have to investigate this further when my new unit comes in (although maybe it won't come on with the correct unit). Linked right up with the MFD, tach/spedo/fuel gauges seemed to work.

One other thing to consider is that (at least on 2017) the Premium does not have the steering wheel toggle switch to go through the LCD menu. I ordered this as well (P/N 83158AL000), and I'm hoping the wheel has the appropriate wiring for it. Also need a new "lower cover" for the steering wheel that has a hole for the switch (P/N) 34317AL000. Your parts will be different. I recommend finding a Limited from your year on autotrader or something to get a VIN, and use that to pull the right P/N for your setup.

Regarding security, it won't start up until the new meter is added to the immobilizer. I've pulled the tech docs, and it's literally 11 steps with the SSM. Shouldn't take a mechanic more than 10 minutes to perform. Also, you can connect the old meter, start the car, turn off the car (do not remove the key from ignition), plug in the new meter, and start the car successfully. You'll get an immobilizer warning light for the duration of the drive, but it'll run just fine to get you to the dealer/mechanic and get properly programmed.
 

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500 Posts
@bacontrees Any update? Would be very cool to swap out the dash and wheel parts described.

Also curious how much this cost you. Didn't realize that you could program and odometer at the dealership.
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i Premiu
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11 Posts
Any update? Would be very cool to swap out the dash and wheel parts described.

Also curious how much this cost you. Didn't realize that you could program and odometer at the dealership.
Hey sorry I never responded to this! Everything went great. Super easy replacement, and my local Subaru shop programmed it for 30 minutes of labor (kinda pissed about this -- it took the guy literally 8 minutes to do, but whatever).

The light that indicating that the headlight aiming system is malfunctioning is always on. I guess all the models that include this cluster have auto-adjusting headlights, and my 6MT obviously does not. I've tried shorting the pin for this with no luck, so I'm guessing it's the CANBUS connection throwing the error since it doesn't detect the headlight adjusting control unit is active. It's a very minor annoyance, and at some point I'm going to take off the cover and paint over this light with black nail polish.

I did have to purchase the MID switch and run a wire for this, but it's not essential to the operation. Just if you want to adjust the MFD on the cluster (in my case I wanted it to display digital speedometer). Can provide more details on this if you want.
 

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2018 Forester 6MT
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71 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I did have to purchase the MID switch and run a wire for this, but it's not essential to the operation. Just if you want to adjust the MFD on the cluster (in my case I wanted it to display digital speedometer). Can provide more details on this if you want.
Circling back and resurrecting a dormant thread (that amusingly I started back for my 2016 Forester). Does anyone (bacontrees?) know how difficult it is to run the wire for the MID switch? I've started looking for a Limited cluster for my 2018 Forester now and will probably want to add the switch. I'm quite leery of messing with the steering wheel due to the airbag though, so want to figure out what kind of trouble I may be inviting!
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i Premiu
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It wasn't too difficult. Yeah, removing the wheel is kind of a PITA, but if you disconnect the battery and depress the brake a bunch of times over 30-60 seconds you'll completely drain any power in the airbag system. If I remember correctly, the clock spring itself already had the necessary wiring for the MID switch, so I just had to wire the switch to the clock spring, then run another wire from the other end to the back of the cluster. Let me know if you need help parsing the wiring diagrams and/or sourcing a wire (these were hard to find, and I ended up buying a whole wiring harness on Ebay, so I have a ton of them).
 

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2018 Forester 6MT
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71 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'll certainly be in touch if things get confusing. First things first though, I have to source the various parts. I'm still trying the salvage route, but maybe it is time to just suck it up and buy them new.
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring
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700 Posts
Ok, I'll pull the trigger on a WRX CVT gauge cluster and give it a go :)

Bought a used 85000VA500 cluster on ebay. We'll see how well it works!
 

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2018 Forester 6MT
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71 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey sorry I never responded to this! Everything went great. Super easy replacement, and my local Subaru shop programmed it for 30 minutes of labor (kinda pissed about this -- it took the guy literally 8 minutes to do, but whatever).
To clarify on this, did your local shop program the odometer and do the key transponder programming, or just the latter? I've called around here a few places and no one seems to be able to do the odometer without sending it to the factory (one place said they could try, but weren't sure if it would work).
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i Premiu
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I went to a local shop that only does Subarus (Subapros in Denver). There's nothing to do with the keys/transponders. You only have to tell the immobilizer to learn the new cluster, and it takes about 10 minutes for them to do. A dealer can almost certainly do it, but I bet they will refuse or say they can't.

If you have the spare key that has a little metal tag on it (security code) that will save them time. Otherwise they have to call a Dealership or Subaru to get the security code.
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring
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700 Posts
Any issues with mileage? Older clusters stored the mileage but don't know about these newer ones. Also, do you know if I would have any issues testing out the new cluster without disabling the car once the original went back in?
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i Premiu
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Mileage starts at zero. All that is required is documentation of the mileage at the time of swap. Get a sticker from ebay that goes in the door jamb.

You can start the car up with the old cluster, then turn the car off but don't remove the key, then put the new cluster in, and it should start I believe. The immobilizer only resets when the key is removed as far as I recall.
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring
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700 Posts
Mileage starts at zero. All that is required is documentation of the mileage at the time of swap. Get a sticker from ebay that goes in the door jamb.
I got a used WRX CVT cluster, so not at zero :)

You can start the car up with the old cluster, then turn the car off but don't remove the key, then put the new cluster in, and it should start I believe. The immobilizer only resets when the key is removed as far as I recall.
No key, push button start... I just want to make sure I can put my old cluster back in and still drive it to the dealership :)
 
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