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Old 03-31-2010
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How-To: Change the CD-6 Radio Face Color

How-To author: Scrambler82

Original thread:

Let the modding Begin!!


I got my RED Character Gauge Faces and RED HVAC **** Indicator, all that is left is the HVAC Panel and that GREEN color on the Radio Face.

Last things first, the Radio Face got the RED treatment.

I am cutting and pasting this and not sure how to handle the pics.

CD-6 Radio Faceplate LED Change – ’03 Ranger EDGE
Srambler82 Modification

Changing the LEDs in the Radio Face is a project and a half but it can be done.
I was skeptical at first, will I be able to do it and will it turn out OK; it did work and it doesn’t look too bad.
This LED Project is to turn the Green OEM colored Radio Face to RED or to any other color you chose.
This does not change the display from green to red, I am still working on that but all of the characters will be RED.

I can not tell you the exact SMT-LED to buy because I purchased them from:
Mustang Factiory Radio LED's conversion 2001 - 2004 - $15.50 : Caribbean Custom Designs
The kit sells for $16 and is called: Mustang Factory Radio LED, you will to specify the color of LED you want. It comes with 36 SMT-LEDs just in case you drop one and can’t find it or you damage one.
They sell some interesting stuff.

1) “U” Tools to remove the Radio from the Dash
2) Soldering Iron - w/adjustable Heat Range
3) Tweezers – Two different type; one with small teeth to grip the OEM LEDs when removing them and one with pressure to hold the new LEDs while soldering.
4) Torx Bits & Driver – T-10 and T-8
5) Small Screw Driver just in case the PCB is a little stubborn
6) Solder, small diameter, two type possible, one with flux and one without; dependant on if you use Liquid Flux.
7) Liquid Flux – Good to use on SMT Components, IMHO a MUST USE.
8) Alcohol – not the drinking kind, something like Rubbing Alcohol to clean the PCB
9) Small Stiff Bristled Brush to clean the flux off of the PCB using the Alcohol

OK so I will list the steps and sub steps and then try to fill in what actually happened.
Let me first say that if you are not comfortable with SMT – (Surface Mount Technology) you might be better off having someone else do this project. If too much heat is applied you can lift a solder pad or when installing the new SMT-LEDs damage the LED.

1) Remove Radio from the Truck
a) Use the “U” Tools and remove the Radio
b) Be careful and unplug the harnesses in the rear of the Radio including the Antenna Connector
c) There is a slide rail bracket on the rear of the radio, be careful not to break it.

Figure 1

2) Remove Faceplate from Radio – Figure 2
a) Remove four T-10 Flat Head Machine Screws (two-top/two bottom) that hold the faceplate on the radio.
b) There are four clips (two on top/two on bottom) of the faceplate.
Press down on the clip and apply pressure on the Faceplate toward the front of the radio; remember it is plastic so not too much pressure, just enough to unclip it. Do the same for the other three clips.
c) Watch out extra wire connections between the Faceplate and the Radio, disconnect them it if there is; on the ‘03 there isn’t.

Figure 2

3) Remove PCB from Faceplate – Figure 3
a) Lay the Faceplate down on a smooth padded surface.
b) Remove the nine T-8 Brass colored Screws that hold the PCB to the Faceplate – see Figure 3.
c) The PCB can be removed at this time, either flip the Faceplate over and let the PCB drop out by itself, use a small screw driver and careful pry up on the side of the PCB and then pull it out with your fingers or use two screw drivers to pry up evenly and pick out the PCB once free.

Figure 3a

Figure 3b

4) Removing/Replacing the 31 SMT-LEDs on PCB – Figure 4 & 5
Keep the Soldering Iron Heat Range to no more that 465 degrees and apply the Iron for short interval only nothing more than 1 or 2 seconds. The lower the heat the longer the Iron will need to be applied to the solder to get it to flow.
Note: Before removing the LEDs from the PCB orient the LEDs to see where the markers are for the Cathode See Figure 5. (Note the marker on the OEM LEDs is a Notched Corner). You will need this info when replacing the new LEDs and making sure they work the first time. If the LEDs are install backwards they will not light up.
a) There maybe two sheets of flexible plastic membrane material covering the switch areas of the PCB if not already removed do it now – Figure 4. It may be slightly stuck but there is nothing to hold them in place except time.

Figure 4

Figure 5

b) Now here is where you need to take you time and do not apply excessive pressure. Remove one diode at a time and replace it with a new SMT-LED, only one out and one in. Lift one side of the OEM LEDs and then the other, see Figure 6, remove the OEM LED and smooth out the remaining solder on the pads of the mounting location quickly and with as little heat as possible; you may need to add a little solder but add very little. With SMT Components it is better to have less solder than more but enough. Check now to make sure the pads are cleaned up, no solder between the pads and clean up the area between the pads. Also, IF possible and it will help a lot, use Liquid Flux on the joints before soldering the new SMT-LEDs to the PCB. When installing the new SMT-LED, one side then the other, add a little Liquid Flux to the under side of the new LEDs before placing them in place on the PCB. Apply heat and again as little as possible, one or two seconds max while applying downward pressure on the LED against the PCB. Make sure the LEDs are level and flat against the PCB.
c) Check your soldering, make sure there is no excess solder, make sure there is no solder jumpers from land to land anywhere near the LED.

Figure 6

In Figure 7 you can see the OEM LEDs (left) are small but the new one (right) are even smaller.
Figure 7

Thisis the strip of 31 SMT-LEDs, small stuff.
Figure 7b

31 SMT LEDs to remove and replace, note the little white squares.
Figure 8

The new SMT LEDs are installed.
Figure 9

5) Clean the PCB in the areas you soldered the new SMT LED to the PCB. You can use alcohol and a small brush; brush until the flux is gone.

6) Re-install the PCB in Faceplate – Figure 3
a) Lay the Faceplate on the work surface Face down.
b) Lay the flexible plastic Switch Cover (two removed in step 4a) in the cavity of the Faceplate. They fit in only one way, watch which way they go in they fit so they can actuate the switch on the PCB be careful. (Reference Figure 4).
c) Position the PCB so the Volume **** Lever is sticking through the Faceplate and the CD Slot is positioned correctly.
d) Reinstall the nine T-8 Screw you removed in step 3b, install one on each side of the PCB almost all the way in then start all of the screws. Do not over tighten, remember the Face Place is plastic and WILL break if too much pressure is applied. (Ref Figure 3)

7) Re-install the Faceplate
a) Position the Connectors and the CD Slot correctly.
b) Push in until you hear the four clips snap in place making sure all of the clips are secured. Check the four screw holes in the Faceplate to see if you can see the threaded holes through and centered on the Faceplate holes.
c) Reinstall the four flathead screws that hold the Face Platte on while applying pressure to the Face Plate to hold it against the Radio.

8) Re-install the Radio
a) Reinstall the connectors
b) Make sure the Antenna Connector is reconnected
c) Position the rear slider bracket on the back of the radio on the centering rail in the dash opening.
d) Push in on the Radio Face until you hear the click of the Mounting Clips.
e) Remove the “U” Tools from the Face of the Radio while holding in on the Radio.

Added photos:

The Tools used

Figure 10

31 OEM SMT LEDs removed and ready to throw out.
Figure 11

This is a bad picture of the Radio at night but for some reason my camera didn’t like the dark. The red REALLY stands out, maybe a little too bright, may have to resistor the whole light circuit.

Figure 12

This LED Project took better than two hours, it may not take you this long but take your time, do not apply too much lifting pressure when remove the SMT-LEDs and do not apply too much pressure when installing the new ones.
Don’t use too much heat and apply the soldering iron for only as long as necessary, if using higher heat the soldering iron needs to be removed quicker, keep this in mind because you can damage either the PCB or the new components with too much heat.
Keep the amount of solder used to a minimum too much and you can short out eh board or the component and the job will not look well done.

Just a side note, the Aluminum ****, it is from a Mustang and although it is billet aluminum and had a knurled edge it had a dome on the face of it; it did not match the other aluminum ***** I already had installed; I cut the dome off, smoothed with files and sand paper and painted it.

Started with this
Figure 13

Ended with this after smoothing but no paint.
Figure 14

Last edited by 98liftedranger; 11-27-2011 at 09:42 PM.
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