Regarding the LCD in the cluster: they all went bad. The warmer the weather, the worse the fading. My second Passat had 106K and the LCD was still in good shape, but my son wrecked the car.
The cluster is relatively easy to remove, but I don't know if there is anyone still repairing them (I believe they quit making the LCDs). Swapping the cluster is a painful option, too, since the odometer reading and immobilizer codes are stored there. Special software, with a link to VW, is required to adapt the cluster. (OP, you probably know this, since you've been here a while.)