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How to: 2nd Gen Gauge Cluster Removal and LED Conversion V2

Discussion in 'Performance Lighting' started by MustangP51, March 21, 2009.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. EXPLODRR

    EXPLODRR New Member

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    found out its NOT an easy removable film... for the 99xlt that is... may take some creativity, but the green color is 'painted' behind the opaque, so I did want to attempt with out a way to replace the opaque film.
     
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  3. 95Xsport

    95Xsport Member

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    Thanks for the write up, I'm thinking about doing this mod.
    Are these particular LED's supposed to have a longer life than the stock 194 bulbs?
    I prefer the stock look of the gauges so my only goal in this is to find a bulb that lasts longer.
     
  4. Galactica

    Galactica Active Member

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    LED's that are constructed well should have a life span around 100,000 hours, and will be brighter than conventional bulbs. Also, with their specific light output, they won't be as affected by films and whatnot on the back of clusters. Bulbs emit white light that is refracted by the films for a specific output color. LED's emit a single wavelength unless you get a white LED and that wavelength will cut through films and still come out the same color. I am considering changing everything in my Sport Trac to either red or blue (probably blue though since I have a couple bulbs out like the rear power window and the headlight switch.
     
  5. 95Xsport

    95Xsport Member

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    I know LED's generally last longer but just like CFL's, which also generally last longer than incandescents, there are certain applications where CFL's won't, ie. in places where they're turned off/on frequently.
    I wasn't sure if there was anything specifically with the application of these LED's that would cause them not to have a significantly longer life than the stock bulbs. I have no idea what, but I figured I'd check anyways....

    Would these work? LINK
    I want a warm white (as close to incandescent as possible) and I'm having trouble finding them with SMD's, like these linked earlier: LINK
     
  6. 97LTD

    97LTD Active Member

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    I have a 97 Explorer, and several of the dash lights went out for a while. The lights on the temperature and fuel gauges are dark at night. I see that there is 5 bulbs in a dash cluster am I correct?

    It looks like the 194 SMD LED is the best bet to replace the burned out bulbs. Since my dash cluster looks blue but the bulbs is white right? I prefer the long lasting bulbs that will not go out again.

    Thanks for the awesome info! :D

    Edit: Would this http://www.superbrightleds.com/more...bulb-5-smd-led-wide-angle-wedge-base/206/919/ be the correct, brighter and even bulbs for me? Just wanted to be sure before I buy it.
     
    Last edited: September 26, 2013
  7. MustangP51

    MustangP51 Well-Known Member

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    6 Bulbs in the cluster. As long as you buy good LEDs they will last much longer than the incandescent bulbs.
     
  8. 97LTD

    97LTD Active Member

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    Thanks! I'm looking into getting those.
     
  9. DjDom

    DjDom Moderator Emeritus

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    I still gotta get my lazy butt to order some LEDs..
     
  10. Galactica

    Galactica Active Member

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    I am having trouble identifying what type of LED's to buy as direct replacements for all the dash switches (headlight, foglight, rear window, 4WD). Any help would be appreciated.
     
  11. MustangP51

    MustangP51 Well-Known Member

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    Here is my write up on it. everything but the 4x4 since mine was AWD.

    http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=199305
     
  12. Galactica

    Galactica Active Member

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    So soldering is necessary to do this? There are no direct replacements? Thanks for this anyway!
     
  13. redexplorer5.0

    redexplorer5.0 Elite Explorer

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    just put led in to my dashboard and led in the hvac controls love the way they came out
    cluster 2002 explorer sport and hvac control are from a 2002 explorer sport trac

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: November 24, 2013
  14. DjDom

    DjDom Moderator Emeritus

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    Finally ordered LEDs. Once they come, I'll do the swap.
    Hopefully mine won't be blue like many people here.

    Edit: Got around to doing this.
    Yup.. it turned blue

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: March 15, 2014
  15. ghoststrike

    ghoststrike New Member

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  16. minimac

    minimac New Member

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    You are better off using this style of Bulb, I used these in my cluster, they spread the light out evenly.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/10x-T10-5SM...Parts_Accessories&hash=item43ca3a74e6&vxp=mtr



    Remember, what ever bulb color you use, that is the color your gauge needles will be. But the numbers will be green no matter what. So if you get these green ones, you will have green numbers, and needles, might be a bit much. I used cool white and my numbers are nice and bright green, while the needles are a bluish white. [​IMG]

    Edit: The needles in this picture look pure white, but they do in fact have a hint of blue to them, i will try to get a better pic soon.
     
    Last edited: June 2, 2014
  17. wingcmdr

    wingcmdr Member

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    Did mine, and had to remove blue paint off back

    So my 1997 Merc Mounty has blue paint on the back of the gauge faces and I'm really wanting red, so I set to work taking it off, and here's what she looks like now. There's a couple dark spots that I can't figure out and the odo/trip are dark, but oh well, I like it :)
    P.S.: This picture was taken before I completely reassembled the dash, hence the light at the top
    [​IMG]
     
  18. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    That looks very good.

    I have my dash almost apart as I fixed my dead speedometer. But putting it together I might like to try the LED lights, and maybe do them on a spare cluster, with blue lettering.

    Has anyone gone from the 98-01 clusters to the 97 etc, to get the blue instead of green? I prefer the blue since I've had it in my four Mark VII's.
     
  19. ghoststrike

    ghoststrike New Member

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    Great feedback

    I just ordered the ones you recommended,,,can't wait when they arrive

    Thx again
     
  20. halmn007

    halmn007 New Member

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    Just did my cluster the other day. Ran into a problem with the light behind the 100mph mark. I thought it was on and when it turned dark out, it turns out that I messed up the polarity. It took me 30 minutes to re-do the lights the next day compared to the 2 and a half hours it took because of a few selfish screws.

    Pictures don't do it justice as to how bright my cluster really is now though. My cluster is so bright, that the normal brightness parts of the cluster look like dead spots. It sucks. Anyone know of a fix? Maybe leds with higher outputs? I got my leds off of amazon. Cutequeen, I believe was the brand.


    [​IMG]
     
  21. Ozz1967

    Ozz1967 Member

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    Awesome write up!

    I just ordered these SMD LED's

    Will they come out with the factory green color or will they be more blue-ish?
     

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