I swapped in a 2017 Limited instrument cluster into my 2015 Subaru Forester Premium and after hours of research and testing, I have succeeded in doing it without dealer assistance. I’ll go over everything I figured out along the way and describe it with as much detail as possible. The cluster has been installed for about 4 days now with no issues. I am also writing this up because there seems to be no tutorials about this anywhere online.
I am going off of what I’ve found to work with my car. Certain clusters may not work with your vehicle, so do your research before attempting to swap units. I am not responsible if you accidentally brick your Immobilizer system in the process It’s highly unlikely but it’s still a possibility. This guide is focused around those who have keys. I am not to sure about the keyless systems. I should also state that clusters with EyeSight enabled are NOT compatible with Foresters that don’t have it and vice versa.
Tools you’ll need
1. Laptop with either Subaru Select Monitor 3 or 4 installed.
2. Communications box (such as VXDIAG Subaru or the really expensive Denso units that the dealerships use).
3. (If you’re using Select Monitor 4) Tactrix Openport 2.0 (I used SSM3 but this is the cheaper option) .
Let’s get to it!
1. Remove the two screws holding the bezel around the gauge cluster then, pull on it to remove.
2. Once the bezel is out of the way, remove the last four screws holding the gauge cluster in but don’t remove just it yet.
3. Boot up SSM 3 or 4 and stay on the main menu.
4. Start the car.
5. While your car is on, remove the old cluster.
6. Plug in your new cluster, make sure everything works. Multiple lights will be on such as the airbag and CEL. (You can clear those later).
7. Turn off the car and turn the key immediately into the ON position. (Do NOT remove the key, if you do you’ll have to start over).
Getting to the immobilizer section in 3 is different from 4 I’ll get into that here.
1. In the SSM4 main menu select “Immobilizer and Registration”.
1A. From the SSM3 main menu select “All Other Models” and then “Immobilizer”.
2. SSM4 should ask you for you vehicle type (mine was type b) while 3 should detect it automatically
Form here on out the programming process is the same on both.
3. When the “System Check” window pops up hit “Yes”.
4. When the “Smart System” window pops up hit “No” if you don’t have it “Yes” if you do.
5. When the main menu for the Immobilizer system opens select “Immobilizer Key ID Deletion”. The system will delete all keys registered, except for the one in the ignition.
6. Next, head into “Immobilizer System Registration” this will force the used cluster to learn your keys.
7. The registration will begin. You have 30 seconds to swap keys before it resets.
8. The system can store up to 4 keys. Once the final key is programmed wait 30 seconds for SSM to exit the registration process. Do not click exit/cancel.
9. Head into the “Diagnostics” tab in SSM.
10. Select all DTC and when it’s done reading the codes clear them. They should never comeback (except for one, read the end).
11. You’re done! Exit SSM safely and take the key out of the ignition. The cluster should recognize your keys now and allow you to start the car.
12. Enjoy your new instrument cluster!
Registering The OEM Remote Start
1. With the new cluster programmed head into SSM 3/4 and go into the Immobilizer tab again. Select “Remote Engine Start CM Registration”.
2. The system will register your remote start without you having todo anything and should take no more than 30 seconds.
Like I said in the beginning of the writeup, this was done on my ’15 Premium I missed the electroluminescence that I had on my 2010 (with a Touring cluster from a 2011). There’s this one code (U0140, Combination Meter: Lost Communication with BCM) that won’t seem to go away however, the cluster is working just fine with no dash lights and I passed the NYS inspection today with it so I’m just going to ignore it. There is no way to manipulate MID on the cluster since the switches on the steering wheel control the MFD on the dash. I can live with it like this though if someone has the wiring diagrams to the cluster’s harness that would help me A LOT and I don’t feel like swapping out my HVAC and radio dash trims to the ’17 ones while adding in the switch below the hazard button. I’d much rather utilize the blank switches near the traction control off switch. I hope I explained this well and I hope it was clear.
Before, daytime (swapped faceplate and needels to look like a basic limited 14-16)
Before, night (converted backlighting to white, originally red)
Credits to @ Franku
Here is the good resource of VXDIAG Subaru Select Monitor 3