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

This is my second and hopefully much more helpful writeup on converting the 95-01 gauge cluster to LEDs. I have tried 3 different types of 12v wedge based 194 replacements and I have finally found the one that puts out enough light and lights up the cluster evenly.

Here were my candidates.
From Left to Right: Inverted Wedge LED, Refractor LED, SMD LEDs
100_1393.jpg

The Results

Inverted Wedge LED: Even Light output, but not bright enough

Refractor LED: Horribly Uneven light output, Short Lifespan (they started blowing on me)

SMD (Surface Mount Diode): Even Light output and very bright (brighter the the 194LL Bulbs)

100_1396.jpg


Getting to the cluster:

Step 1
Remove the Radio
100_1375.jpg


Step 2
Remove the 2 screws (circled in red)
Disconnect the 5 wiring harness behind the bezel (circled in blue)
100_1376-1.jpg

100_1377.jpg


Step 3
Remove the 4 screws holding the plastic panel in place. (2 are hidden under the hood release) Then pull back on the top of the panel ( it is held in by clips)
100_1378-1.jpg


Step 4
Remove the 3 bolts holding the metal shield in place
100_1380.jpg


Step 5
Remove the 2 screws at the bottom of the gauge bezel (note the wiring harness locations circled in blue)
100_1383.jpg


Step 6
Remove the 3 screws at the top of the gauge bezel
100_1384.jpg


Step 7
Pull out the bezel enough to disconnect the 3 wiring harnesses. (Headlight Switch, Dimmer, and Rear Parking Assist) Then Remove the bezel. (Shifter must be in 1st gear)
100_1385.jpg


Step 8
Remove the 4 screws holding in the Gauge Cluster
100_1386.jpg

100_1387.jpg


Step 9
Tilt the Cluster back and remove the Shift Indicator from the cluster, there are 2 plastic tabs that must be held on each side to remove the indicator.
Disconnect the 3 wiring harness from behind the cluster, then remove the Cluster
100_1388.jpg

100_1389.jpg


Now Hopefully You are holding your Instrument Cluster and can go on to the fun part.

Remove the 6 back light bulbs from the cluster. (Circled in Red)
( I also highly recommend you also remove the THEFT light LED so you don't risk blowing it like I did when I was trying to figure out how to bench test the cluster)
The PC board on the back of the cluster is flexible so you can carefully pull the contacts where the wiring harnesses attach out of the sockets so you can attach alligator clips to bench test.
(The white wires are the - and the RED and GREEN are +)
100_1392.jpg


Here are the LEDs in the sockets. ( I used a bit of hot glue to make sure they didn't come out)
100_1390.jpg


I apologize for not having a night shot of the final product, but the camera I have with me is an absolute noise box and takes terrible low light pics. When I get back my Canon ill get some pics.

Good Luck!
 


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BrianDye

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hey man, great write up, ive been wanting to order LED's to do that, and im replacing EVERY dash light, even the ac controls' lights, all the check so and so lights, blinker arrows, all that, and ive been wondering what LED's i should get (the 194's) where did you get those?

eBay?
 




millerman23

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once again ryan, i will bow down! :notworthy

As will I :notworthy:notworthy.
Your post on replacing all the dome lights with leds helped me a lot. You sir I will say are a LED MASTER
 




MustangP51

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Haha thank you tim and miller.

Brian I would leave the indicator lights as bulbs. If you put LEDs in then the system will think the bulb has blown and if an indicator like the Airbag light comes on then the system will make the chime sound when the light comes on. They are also not the same 194 bulbs as the back lights.

Yes I bought them off of ebay
Search
"194 SMD LED"
 








BogFather

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fixxxer

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I found a good LED tool for you Ryan, it's an online calculator that allows you to convert millicandelas (or candelas) and lumens for an LED

http://led.linear1.org/lumen.wiz

It's a good way for anyone doing a conversion to compare output specs of different LED's
 




MustangP51

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The only problem with those is that they wont light up the cluster evenly. You will have hot spots where the LEDs are but the light will fade out the farther it gets from the LED. The reason the 3rd ones I used worked so well was because they have 4 LEDs that are angled horizontally to spread out the light.

Fixxxer that is a nice find, but look at the last sentence in the tools description
"Beware especially of wide-angle LEDs, which will probably be distorted the most by this calculation".
That tool would be perfect if you are working with standard 3mm 5mm or 10mm LEDs
 




BogFather

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gotcha ;) ;) :D
 




BogFather

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MustangP51

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BogFather

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When i get them and get them installed i'll be sure to post some pics for ya ;) ;). Did you get pics of before and after with yours in ??
 




MustangP51

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When i get them and get them installed i'll be sure to post some pics for ya ;) ;). Did you get pics of before and after with yours in ??

I had one from before, but It really doesn't show what it looks like in person. In the picture everything was lit up evenly (far from the way it really looked, there were dark patches everywhere)

I'm hoping I can get a picture tonight of how it looks now.

Please do post pics when your done.
 




BogFather

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yeah i will deffinately post some up bud ;) ;)
 




BrianDye

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Haha thank you tim and miller.

Brian I would leave the indicator lights as bulbs. If you put LEDs in then the system will think the bulb has blown and if an indicator like the Airbag light comes on then the system will make the chime sound when the light comes on. They are also not the same 194 bulbs as the back lights.

Yes I bought them off of ebay
Search
"194 SMD LED"

thanks man, i found them on eBay, about 4.50$ a pair,
but I already replaced my Check Engine light with an LED, and it seems fine, if anything ill do it, and let you guys know how it goes, thanks for the info
 




ornithology

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I just bought a bunch of blue 5mm 9,000MCD leds. Do you think if I jam several into each socket it will work? But then again...there is the issue with the green film right? I have an 03 sport and that would suck if the blue turns out to be a blueish green because of the film...
 




MustangP51

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I just bought a bunch of blue 5mm 9,000MCD leds. Do you think if I jam several into each socket it will work? But then again...there is the issue with the green film right? I have an 03 sport and that would suck if the blue turns out to be a blueish green because of the film...

As much as I like making custom LED units, this is one application where the pre made 194 LED is better then anything someone could make. There is barely enough room for the SMD 194 LEDs in the cluster so no you wouldn't have enough room to put more then 3 5mm LEDs in each socket.
 




ornithology

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hm...
fine.
:)
Order placed for the 5 SMD 194s.
 


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ornithology

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Just wondering though, aren't your needles supposed to be red? When you changed your LED color it changed the needle too?? That's awkward cuz in my 03 sport it has flourescent red painted on it..
 




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