changing to leds and need some help - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource
Ford Ranger Forum - Forums for Ford Ranger enthusiast!

Go Back   Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource Arrow Ranger-Forums Semi-Technical Forum Arrow Interior Semi-Tech

Interior Semi-Tech General discussion of interior for the Ford Ranger.

LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 07-23-2012
andrew_deaton's Avatar
Thread Starter

I am: Andrew Deaton
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Martins Ferry, Oh
Vehicle: 1998 Ford Ranger
Posts: 336
Total Props: -4
changing to leds and need some help

I want to change my gauge cluster to all leds. I have a 98 xlt. for those who know what its like stock I want everything thats green (everything but the needles and metric gauge) to be a nice bright blue and everything else to be a cool white. Im not sure where to get the LEDs or how many i need. My fuel gauge is burnt out anyway so it needs replaced anyway.

Reply With Quote
+ 0 -
Old 07-23-2012
tatsuha's Avatar
I am: tatsuha _
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Alexandria, VA
Vehicle: 2002 Ford Ranger
Posts: 23
Total Props: 0
Not sure if yours is any different from mine (see signature). Still working out what bulbs are required for mine, but the main bulbs should be a 194 base (6 for the main gauge backlighting). I've heard that the warning lights are either T5 or are also 194.

For the LEDs....different people will recommend different methods for this. Basically comes down to:

1. Drop-in LEDs - The easiest option, but it might produce "hotspots" of light on the gauges and some will say that it's not as bright or durable.
(wedge base from or ebay)

2. LED ribbons - Slightly more work than drop-ins, but should get rid of hotspots if done properly.
( or or ebay)

3. Custom LED clusters - Probably the cheapest option (correct me?) is to solder individual LEDs and resistors in where the bulbs would normally go. This allows you to be more specific with color and brightness and gives you more control over eliminating hotspots. Similar to second post here: (Question for LED Gauge Cluster Modders...)
(ebay or an LED supplier)

4. "The JP7" - Custom etch your own PCB that you designed in a CAD program and hand solder thousands of SMD LEDs and the proper accompanying circuitry to give you eye-bleeding beauty and precision. Also makes your coffee for you in the morning.

And regarding the color....the OEM gauge cluster has all that coloring painted on the back side. Normally you would sand it off and replace with LEDs of your preferred color. You want the gauge to be split color (needles/metric white and the rest blue) and those are all lit up by the same bulbs, you'll probably have to get paint like in this guide ( and paint the blue parts while leaving the rest clear. Then choose your style of LED and use white LEDs.

other useful guides:

How-To: Paint your overlays and convert to LEDs

To those who have modded your gauge cluster

Easy LED cluster that looks great

Reply With Quote
+ 0 -
Old 07-23-2012
99offroadrngr's Avatar
iTrader: (37)
I am: JD M
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Massachusetts
Vehicle: 2004 Ford Ranger
Drive Type: 4x4
Engine: 4.0
Posts: 11,719
Total Props: 39
Keep it green or do it all white. I've had blue, it gets old fast.

Sand the back of the overlays to remove the green if you're going for another color and purchase the wanted LED. if you get a single LED drop in 194, you'll get hot spots. If you get a multiple LED drop in 194, you won't.

Last edited by 99offroadrngr; 07-24-2012 at 09:29 AM.
Reply With Quote
+ 0 -
Old 07-25-2012
buggman's Avatar
iTrader: (38)
I am: on the internet
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Dougal County
Vehicle: 96 X Ragner
Drive Type: 4x4
Engine: 4.0
Posts: 1,631
Total Props: 12
Check out my threads for my led's, I have them for pretty much any application.

If you're wanting to have some areas be one color and other areas of the cluster be another color, the only way to do that is to do a custom build using individual led's. This is NOT a DIY project. There's only a couple of us led guys (myself included) that would attempt such a project.
It involves countless hours of drilling holes in the gauge pods after many more hours of locating the placement of each individual led behind the gauge overlays, followed by even more hours of hand soldering each individual component. Hence, not a DIY project by any means. Also, be prepared to spend a good amount of money for such a conversion. The parts including the cluster, led's & resistors alone will likely run $100 if someone were to put in all the hours of work for FREE.

Now on the other hand, if you just want to swap from a green dash to a blue dash, that's something that good DIY'er can handle in a weekend.

The cluster needs to be removed from the truck first, then the front cover needs co come off, then the needles need to be removed (and later re-calibrated) to finally get to the gauge overlays. They need to be removed to wet sand the oem color filtering off the back to allow the new led color to shine through properly.
I think this is the 5,000th time I've typed this

The type of led used will greatly affect the overall look of your dash too. The cheap auto parts store type led's will give you a look similar to this:

That was one of my early tests with cheap led's. Notice the crazy hot & dim spots? The light output from the cheap led's isn't evenly distributed throughout the cluster.

Here's the same cluster using better quality "buggman led's":

Notice the more even light distribution?
The color looks a lot better in person, I'm a horrible photographer

Over the years, I've tried dozens of led's until I found the type I'm using & recommending now. They're pretty affordable & look much better than the old yellowish bulbs.

If you decide to keep the stock green color, my white led's will really change the look of a stock cluster:

Attached Thumbnails
changing to leds and need some help-img_1448-1.jpg   changing to leds and need some help-img_1493-1.jpg   changing to leds and need some help-dsc06070large-1.jpg   changing to leds and need some help-leddash026-1.jpg  

'96 XLT, 4.0L, 4x4 Auto, Super Cab, Dual Exhaust, 200 amp Alternator, Clear Corners, BUGGMAN LED's, Explorer Power Seats & Console
Reply With Quote
+ 0 -
Old 07-27-2012
andrew_deaton's Avatar
Thread Starter

I am: Andrew Deaton
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Martins Ferry, Oh
Vehicle: 1998 Ford Ranger
Posts: 336
Total Props: -4
how much are your white leds buggman? i think ill just keep it stock but make it all led.
Reply With Quote
+ 0 -
Old 07-27-2012
Clinton's Avatar
iTrader: (19)
I am: Clinton Dune
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: PA.
Vehicle: 2001 Ford Ranger XLT
Posts: 1,417
Total Props: -12
LED cluster backing - PA

I have this led cluster backing I am selling if you're interested
Reply With Quote
+ 0 -

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need help changing my timing chain cover gasket hurley 2.9L & 3.0L V6 Tech 0 08-19-2013 08:06 AM
Some Camburg, some BTF, some Bilstein, some OEM yeatzee Snapshots 17 08-14-2012 04:17 PM
Got some leds for the tails robert99ranger Exterior Semi-Tech 13 07-07-2012 12:37 AM
For Sale: h11 leds with 68 leds in each light - GA imprezu Interior, Exterior, Electrical, & Misc. 12 10-21-2010 11:27 AM
Fluid Everywhere. need help changing monkeysteeler12 2.3L & 2.5L I4 Tech 11 11-19-2009 10:31 AM

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:10 AM.