Instrument Cluster Panel | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Instrument Cluster Panel


Well-Known Member
November 30, 2000
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Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 Ford Explorer XLT
Just wanted to add this to the search bank.

I just completed replacing a couple of burned out bulbs behind my instrument panel and the headlight switch bulb. Most of the manuals are sparing of complete information. My '97 XLT is an automatic. When you get to the point of removing the instrument cover trim piece, you need to move the gear shift lever down to the 1 or 2 position so you can wiggle the piece out of the way. The steering locking mechanism works OK w/o power (the battery should be disconnected while performing this and most other procedures).

It was easy to unplug the headlight wire bundle, but I could not pull the dimmer wire bundle clip. It was easier to simply unscrew the dimmer module. That done I was able to easily remove the trim piece completely out of the way. The headlight switch was easy to access on my workbench. I unscrewed it and replaced the headlight switch light bulb. Use a thin bladed screwdriver to carefully untwist the bulb from its position. Then carefully install the new bulb the same way.

Before removing the 4 bolts holding the actual instrument panel, I removed about 8 smaller (7mm?) bolts that hold the plastic cover in place. Then I removed the 4 larger bolts. To get at the #194 bulbs on the backside, I found that I didn't need to pull any of the connectors in the back of the panel. I simply tipped the panel on its face, making sure I protected the gauge needles and pins (lay down a soft cloth). I was able to reach the bad bulbs, twist the holders out, replace with good bulbs, and reassemble everything.

Let there be light!

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I did this on my X and it made a world of difference, just be careful when you do this work and not to drop anything or break anything, it can cause rattles for the entire life of the car unless you replace broken panels.

that's also going to be next on my list... Could you tell me what kind of bulbs I need for it? Are they all the same?

There are 6 X 194 in the cluster as the main light source. Plenty of smaller bulbs (not sure of the size) for some of the other indicators.

Oh 194 is the no fur the bulbs. I thought so, but weren't sure...


Right...the bulbs for the gauges are 194's. The warning/system lights are different, tho, don't know what their no. is...gotta check with the dealer.