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Let the modding Begin!!
Converting Foglamp Switch to LED
All the Rangers switches are illuminated by tiny light bulbs that have a tendency to burn out easily. I have replaced my bulbs with LED's. The hardest one to do is the foglamp switch so I'll show that one first.
I've seen people disassemble the switch first -- but that's way too much trouble for me!
First, you need to remove the center console bezel. You can find plenty of articles on it. It helps to remove the radio first with Ford radio removal tools (about $5). Then remove the two screws just above the heater controls, and the whole panel pulls straight from the "snap" fasteners.
Once the bezel is out, remove the bracket from the bezel. The switch is held in the bracket with plastic retaining tabs, and pulls out to the front after you lift the tabs. It's a little bit of a pain to get out, but you'll figure it out.
The two pictures below show the switch with the original bulb in place (left) and removed (right). The bulb comes out by twisting it 1/4 turn counter-clockwise with a small screwdriver, or even just your fingernail. The hole is ALMOST
big enough for a standard 5mm LED. You have to file it out or scrape it down just a tiny bit to get a 5mm LED to fit in there snugly.
Since the LED's tend to make just a narrow "cone" of light, for this application you will need to make the LED diffuse ("spread") light so it acts more like a lightbulb. This is done by filing, grinding, or sanding the dome at the end of the LED. Below, we see two 5mm LED's. The one on the left has had the entire dome down to the straight section filed to make it diffuse light. The one on the right is an unmodified LED. You just need to get the end to look "frosted", you don't need to remove a significant amount of material. Make sure the entire dome is well frosted so the light spreads evenly and doesn't focus.
Below is the LED pushed in place and wired. The (+) lead must be carefully soldered to the switch as shown. The (-) lead goes back and is soldered to the resistor as shown. It must be done as shown to get the switch back into the bracket. Then a very thin piece of wire (I used 30 ga. "wire wrap" wire) is soldered to the other lamp terminal on the switch. It then connects to the other end of the resistor. You must keep the solder joint between the LED lead and the resistor thin, and use a very thin wire to connect to the other end or it will be difficult to get the switch back in the bracket.
Notes on Soldering:
The LED is somewhat sensitive to heat and the plus lead will be very short when you solder it. In order to minimize the build up of heat, you may wish to pre-coat ("tin") the area on the switch you will be soldering to and do this BEFORE
you file it to fit the LED. Then, put a coat of solder on the LED lead after you bend it. Once you press the LED in place, the lead should be touching the pad on the switch, and you can "sweat" them together with a minimum of heating time. In any case, pre-tinning the switch pads where you will be soldering is a good idea.
These pictures below show the switch mounted in the bracket, and the bracket fastened back onto the center console bezel.
Don't forget to reconnect ALL
wiring when you put it all back!
You can use a 470 ohm, 1/4 watt resistor with the following Radio Shack 5mm LED's and get good results:
These are high-intensity LED's and if you substitute a different LED or color, make sure it has 2500 mcd brightness or better.
Here's the result in some always poor pictures of the dashboard at night (I just can't get really good ones).(John's words, not mine!)
Credit is given fully to John Griggs himself. John Griggs is in now way held responsible for the use of this information. To view this entire article, and learn more, visit his website at John Griggs's CarDomain Page