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So after looking around the various forums, I decided that I wanted to put a BFM cluster into my car. I know that it has been done time and time again, but each one seems to be a one-off. I later found that there are several different versions of the BFM, each with its own pinout, and several versions of the USDM meter, also each with its own pinout. As part of this process, I will post all of the details to this thread, in the hopes to assist anyone else in doing this conversion.

I found a BFM on eBay.co.uk, thinking that since it was in Britain it would be in MPH, but instead it turns out that it was a JDM car that was imported to the UK. The cluster came off of a 2000 Legacy BH5 GT-B. It did have a very small amount of the original wiring, but the longest wire was about an inch.. just enough to tell the wire color. Since the cluster is in km/h, I also picked up an adapter to bring the VSS signal down to line up MPH into km/h.

Today, I went to a local junkyard to pick up another USDM cluster for my car so that I can steal the harness sockets to build an adapter without hacking up the cars wiring. I also managed to cut out about a foot of wiring from the car.

I spent a good portion of the day moving wires around to match the JDM cluster. I then took the time to map out what all of the wires do on the JDM cluster.

I still need to take apart my dash to document the existing wiring, I hope to do this tomorrow as it is already dark now. Once this is done, I can construct the adapter harness. I will also be documenting the process in adjusting the odometer in the cluster to reflect the current values.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
This is the pinout of the JDM cluster that I have, it is part number 85015AE030. This cluster does have the PRND321 and the Sportshift indicators. It does not have the FWD, Cruise, or Security light. It does have the various VDC lights, but my car does not have VDC, so they will be unused.

The "Used?" columns on this spreadsheet indicate wether or not I put a wire in that location on the harness. I also caught an error that I corrected after posting a screen shot.. the line marked as "Engine Control" is the tachometer wire.

All of the unused "Illumination Control" wires are for the user-adjustable dimming system from the multifunction switch. The USDM cars all do this in a different way, and would require running wires directly to the multifunction stalk. I decided not to do this, and just leave it at "full brightness" with just the headlight dimming. I did not take the time to document each of those, but the wire locations seem to line up with other similar documents on the internet if you want to pursue that.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This is the pinout of the USDM cluster, part number 85014AE84A. This is what I will match on the sockets that I stripped from the Junkyard cluster. This will ensure that this is a true plug-and-play setup.

I pulled apart the dash and documented all of the existing harness colors. I then double checked the cluster itself by poking and probing the various pins to ensure that the functions are indeed matching the colors. After a few hours this morning, this is what I have for my specific car.

Remember, this is for an 04MY H6 w/o VDC, which from my understanding is quite a specific cluster.. It took me a while to find one at a junkyard for spares.

I have also attached a picture of the cars side of the harness.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
This is the adapter constructed using the above pinouts, and implementing the km/h to MPH converter.

Step 1 for me was to take the salvaged harness and move all of the wires around to match up the JDM pinout. I was able to re-use all of the correct colored wires except for one, as the car I removed the harness from apparently did not have a Pink-Black wire, so I used solid Pink. I also have the harness sockets from the junkyard cluster which will connect to the car itself.

The next photo is progress in the harness assembly. At that point both the JDM B and C plugs have been completed.

The third photo is the "completed" harness. The only thing that it is missing is the power wire for the speedometer adapter.

The last photo is the completed harness attached to the cluster to check fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is the end result and comparison shots.

It works, First try! There were some wiring confusion when it came to the door ajar indicators, but I figure that has to do with the difference in drivers position in Japan. I had marked them as "left" and "right", but the wire colors are reversed.

After trimming out some plastic on the right hand side for the backlight inverter to fit, and some creative wire placement shown in the first photo.. The cluster fits in quite well with minimal pushing to get it screwed in.

I cleaned it all up, and put all the trim back in. The last photo is all done with adjusted mileage to reflect what the car actually has. Of course I realized as soon as this was done that one of the halo lights is burnt out.. and I get to take it all apart again, yay!
 

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Cool $hit. I want one :)

What adapter are you using for the VSS? Dakota Digital?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I picked up one from SVASpeedos.co.uk. They accepted a best offer on eBay for 30 GBP shipped to the US. It worked out to exactly $50 on the day that I bought it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Alright, it is (mostly) done! All wired up and shoved in there to fit. The trim is all on and the thing looks great.

I was going to document the process of changing the odometer, but I used some programming tools that I had, and some annoyingly complicated math to hex-edit the EEPROM. So, for it being a little overly complicated to post on here, and the possibility of it being used for illegal purposes (odometer tampering), I decided to not put those details here. If you are really that interested, it can be found on the almighty google fairly easily.

It is a good thing I found out that one of the halo light bulbs were burnt out before I put all the trim back on, but I am going to let it sit for the night and deal with that tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Bah, so I found a small annoyance about this cluster. It came from a 4 cylinder car, and the Tachometer is calibrated for one instead of the 6 cylinder car that it is in.

So, basically my Tachometer reads about 33% higher than it should... It is not really a big deal, but I am going to see if I can come up with something to correct that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
As a followup to this, the Halo bulbs can be replaced with type 2723. They are slightly brighter but not by much, that likely is because they are brand new and they do not have the little blue condom on them.

I went ahead and replaced all 6 of the halo lights just to get them all the same and so I do not have to worry about them.
 

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Nice job!
This is one of the few JDM mods I'd actually do to my car. Totally pointless and doesn't make it go faster/look better in an overt way, but it's something that would put a smile on my face regardless. . . like the working puddle lamps and illuminated ignition lock ring in my 2000 OBW that aren't supposed to be there (as is the heated windshield, auto HVAC, heated mirrors, and H6 living under the hood).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The pinout that I have is quite specific to my model of car, and this specific version of the cluster. There is a fairly active thread over on sl-i where I am gathering information about other versions, but it looks like the 85015AE020 and 85015AE030 are nearly identical except for the lack of the Sportshift and PRND321 on the 020.

I am going to try to get my hands on a 050 and 090 cluster to get their pinouts as well which should cover the 4 most common versions of the BFM.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So, I have not touched this thread in a while, but I have been quite active on this subject over at SL-i.net. I am kind of surprised at the lack of interest over here on it, but anyways..


So, I now have pinouts for the 4 most common versions of the Black Faced Meter, the 85015AE020, 030, 050, and 090.

The 020 and 030 are nearly identical to each other, except the 020 is for manual transmission and does not have the Sportshift or PRND321 wires. (as noted in the above post)

The 050 and 090 are nearly identical to each other as well, except the 090 is the H6 version. Their pinouts are fairly different from the 020 and 030.

I am going to work up some documentation for them all at some point here for public distribution.

I also found that Mouser Electronics sells the connectors used for the cluster harnesses, I have ordered some brand new ones and I am planning on re-doing my adapter harness neater.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I am still surprised at the almost complete lack of interest in this project over here.. I have been much more active on another forum due to there not being any responses over here.. however I do have some significant progress made with this.

I completely re-did the adapter. I now use a printed circuit board with original JAE type connectors and custom harnesses. I also now use an 85015AE090 cluster which is the correct type for the H6 car.

Here is a picture of the new adapter before it was tucked up into the dashboard:


And here it is tucked away, ready for the cluster:


And finally, the cluster itself powered up:
 

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Awesome thread! Did you get the tach all figured out then? So, this is another cluster, different from the first one? I noticed the clock and mileage are now on opposite sides.

Question: did any of this correct the inaccurate MPH reading that's ever so common for these cars?
 

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I am still surprised at the almost complete lack of interest in this project over here.. I have been much more active on another forum due to there not being any responses over here.. however I do have some significant progress made with this.
Hey this is neat. I like to follow mod threads but somehow hadn't seen this at all until just now.

It might help if you offered a bit of an introduction- I'd never heard of a 'BFM' before. I've never had a 2nd gen. outback, so I'm not sure what the stock cluster is supposed to look like, or why the BFM is more desirable.

I'm especially curious about that adapter PCB. Can it be used for any other cluster swaps or is it specific to this one? I've seen a few threads from folks looking to use the XT electroluminescent cluster in non-XT cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The cluster is different from the original. I first had an 85015AE030 cluster from a 2000 Legacy GT-B E-Tune, which has an H4 engine in it. Now, I have an 85015AE090 cluster which came from a 2001 or 2002 GT30 or Blitzen 6, any of which had an H6 in it. This corrects for the tachometer reading, and the 01-02 clusters had the clock and odometer reversed from the originals.


BFM stands for "Black Faced Meter", it was only available in Japan. Only some models got the BFM as stock, and some others had them as options. As for the differences between the USDM and the BFM, they are best shown in pictures:

This is the USDM version of the cluster, these were also used in Japan on many models:


The cluster is primarily black, as the name suggests. It has illuminated Halos around all of the gauges, blacked out front plastic, Cold Cathode Fluorescent backlighting, and a km/h only scale. I work around the metric scale by using an adapter intended for the UK market that brings the speedometer down in line to read MPH on a km/h scale. This also makes the odometer accurate for miles as well.

As for my adapter.. theoretically any cluster could be connected to it since I would just change the way the wiring portion of it is connected, however the adapter itself is specific to USDM H6 Legacies and Outbacks. I know for a fact that it would work on 2002 and 2004 cars, and I am assuming that at least 2003 would work as well.

That being said, I will likely be designing a sister adapter for a 2003 Legacy L H4 shortly for a friend of mine, and the basic idea could be used for just about any model of car, as long as there was room in the dashboard for it.
 

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The cluster is different from the original. I first had an 85015AE030 cluster from a 2000 Legacy GT-B E-Tune, which has an H4 engine in it. Now, I have an 85015AE090 cluster which came from a 2001 or 2002 GT30 or Blitzen 6, any of which had an H6 in it. This corrects for the tachometer reading, and the 01-02 clusters had the clock and odometer reversed from the originals.


BFM stands for "Black Faced Meter", it was only available in Japan. Only some models got the BFM as stock, and some others had them as options. As for the differences between the USDM and the BFM, they are best shown in pictures:

This is the USDM version of the cluster, these were also used in Japan on many models:


The cluster is primarily black, as the name suggests. It has illuminated Halos around all of the gauges, blacked out front plastic, Cold Cathode Fluorescent backlighting, and a km/h only scale. I work around the metric scale by using an adapter intended for the UK market that brings the speedometer down in line to read MPH on a km/h scale. This also makes the odometer accurate for miles as well.

As for my adapter.. theoretically any cluster could be connected to it since I would just change the way the wiring portion of it is connected, however the adapter itself is specific to USDM H6 Legacies and Outbacks. I know for a fact that it would work on 2002 and 2004 cars, and I am assuming that at least 2003 would work as well.

That being said, I will likely be designing a sister adapter for a 2003 Legacy L H4 shortly for a friend of mine, and the basic idea could be used for just about any model of car, as long as there was room in the dashboard for it.
So, this will make the odometer accurate for MPH? If so, I'm seriously going to look into this more. Other than Subarus, I've never owned a vehicle that was so inaccurate with MPH reporting by the odometer. 1-2 off is normal, but 4-5 is really out there. Mine's 4-5 off with new tires... I almost hate to think how far off it'll be when they start to wear down.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well.. it will be as accurate as the VSS is. The BFM reads the same as the USDM speedo and what the OBD2 reader shows as well. All the adapter does is scales back the speedometer signal so what reads as "1km/h" is actually 1mph. This is only so that the numbers on the circle relate to your speed, but in MPH and that the odometer will count up in miles instead of kilometers.

Regardless of cluster, my speedometer (and Scangauge) reads about 5% too fast as compared to multiple GPS units from different manufacturers. It is funny that you say you have only noticed this on Subaru, as I see the same discrepancy on my Chevy Colorado (about 4% too fast) and my sisters Toyota Camry (about 5% too slow)
 

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Makes me wonder if the adapter could be improved to include a correction factor for this situation. Run a measured mile on a stopwatch, tweak a screw, repeat etc.
 
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