As I was doing this I noticed the bulb is taller than the OEM bulb. There is room on the top 2 bulb locations to install the modded bulb. As I was trying another location at the bottom(where the buttons are) the bulb would fit but the bulb tilted upward, not lighting up the buttons all the way. So I switched around the bulbs, put the modded ones on the top 2 locations and wala, I had lights. Not too bright, not too dim, just right. This is also a good way to mod the bulb holder for led's, but I didnt want to go that route until I figured out what bulb to use that would be the same brightness as stock.
I installed the explorer eatc and had 2 bulbs out and one was intermittant. I called the dealer they wanted 11.95 EACH.
Tried the junkyards but there was one eatc and I couldnt get just the bulbs.
So I went to Radio Shack. Picked up 2 of these bulbs for under 4.00 #272-1141
I took off my radio bezel, removed the 4 screws holding the EATC in, pulled it out some, and removed the faceplate with a small screwdriver to unhook the clips. Rotated the face up and removed the bulbs.
Then I removed the bulb from the holder. On the backside you can see 2 small pin holes with wire coming out of each one, connected to the copper contacts on either side.
Those small wires are the leads from the bulb. They are hooked into the copper contacts. They are not soldered. Take your favorite pick/small nail etc and pry up on the bulb lead enough to grab it with some needle nose pliers and pull it away and straighten it out. Do this to both sides, then remove the bulb.You will now end up with something like this:
Those 2 small holes inside the base need to be drilled out some so the leads of the new bulb will slide through. I dont know the size of drill bit I used, it was from my dremel kit. 1/16th I would guess.
After you drill the holes larger, you need to remove the plastic coating on the bulb, I sliced it with a razor blade and started peeling.
BE CAREFUL WITH THESE NEXT STEPS. THE LEADS ARE FRAGILE.
Now there is also some glue or more plastic surrounding the wires that is at the bottom of the base. I sliced it down the middle with the razor blade.
Remove the rest of the coating off of the wires some just enough to make sure it will go through the holes on the base. Now insert the wires through the holes and seat the bulb in the base as far as you can. You will end up with something like this:
Now trim the wires. You want to leave enough so you can have the wire make contact with the copper contacts. Start with half an inch and you can trim down from there later if you want to.
Strip the coating off the wire.
I took the wire and inserted it inbetween the copper contact and the holder. I pried the contact away just a little and got the wire in there. I took the rest of the wire and stuffed it a little down the side with the rest of the copper contact. This would be a good time for some solder if you want to. I didnt feel it was neccessary. Do the same to the other side.
Ok, bulb installed in the holder. Now install it on the EATC. Turn the lights on and test.