Easy LED cluster that looks great - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 06-03-2010
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Easy LED cluster that looks great

Found this on the explorer forum, that looks damn good for just drop in LED's. I might have to try it since one of mine are burnt out.

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Originally Posted by MustangP51 View Post
This is my second and hopefully much more helpful writeup on converting the 95-01 gauge cluster to LEDs. I have tried 3 different types of 12v wedge based 194 replacements and I have finally found the one that puts out enough light and lights up the cluster evenly.

Here were my candidates.
From Left to Right: Inverted Wedge LED, Refractor LED, SMD LEDs

The Results

Inverted Wedge LED: Even Light output, but not bright enough

Refractor LED: Horribly Uneven light output, Short Lifespan (they started blowing on me)

SMD (Surface Mount Diode): Even Light output and very bright (brighter the the 194LL Bulbs)



Getting to the cluster:

Step 1
Remove the Radio


Step 2
Remove the 2 screws (circled in red)
Disconnect the 5 wiring harness behind the bezel (circled in blue)



Step 3
Remove the 4 screws holding the plastic panel in place. (2 are hidden under the hood release) Then pull back on the top of the panel ( it is held in by clips)


Step 4
Remove the 3 bolts holding the metal shield in place


Step 5
Remove the 2 screws at the bottom of the gauge bezel (note the wiring harness locations circled in blue)


Step 6
Remove the 3 screws at the top of the gauge bezel


Step 7
Pull out the bezel enough to disconnect the 3 wiring harnesses. (Headlight Switch, Dimmer, and Rear Parking Assist) Then Remove the bezel. (Shifter must be in 1st gear)


Step 8
Remove the 4 screws holding in the Gauge Cluster



Step 9
Tilt the Cluster back and remove the Shift Indicator from the cluster, there are 2 plastic tabs that must be held on each side to remove the indicator.
Disconnect the 3 wiring harness from behind the cluster, then remove the Cluster



Now Hopefully You are holding your Instrument Cluster and can go on to the fun part.

Remove the 6 back light bulbs from the cluster. (Circled in Red)
( I also highly recommend you also remove the THEFT light LED so you don't risk blowing it like I did when I was trying to figure out how to bench test the cluster)
The PC board on the back of the cluster is flexible so you can carefully pull the contacts where the wiring harnesses attach out of the sockets so you can attach alligator clips to bench test.
(The white wires are the - and the RED and GREEN are +)


Here are the LEDs in the sockets. ( I used a bit of hot glue to make sure they didn't come out)


I apologize for not having a night shot of the final product, but the camera I have with me is an absolute noise box and takes terrible low light pics. When I get back my Canon ill get some pics.

Good Luck!
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Old 06-03-2010
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thats crisp! im willing to bet you could do the sanding on here and get colored leds and have whatever color you wanted. ive been curious about this for quite a time now. crispy crispy!
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Old 06-04-2010
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plugins suck. plcc for the win.
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Old 06-04-2010
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They don’t look bad.
I would think if you use the SMD LED Bulbs then you should cut the light towers some to allow the side LEDs to light stuff up.

I will try that on another unit and see how it works out, anyone out there want to donate a No-Tach Cluster to the cause.
I will use the SMD LED Bulbs and see how they work out with mod’d light towers.
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Old 06-04-2010
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Originally Posted by Jp7 View Post
plugins suck. plcc for the win.
Korey's swap owns yours. Sorry, his cost a hell of a lot less and involves a lot less work...
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Old 06-04-2010
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Originally Posted by GrafixGuy View Post
Korey's swap owns yours. Sorry, his cost a hell of a lot less and involves a lot less work...
Less work, and less cost yes.

Less light vividness, Less even results, Less color choice also.

I'll stick with my plcc's... thats what OEM's use...
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Old 06-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrafixGuy View Post
Korey's swap owns yours. Sorry, his cost a hell of a lot less and involves a lot less work...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jp7 View Post
Less work, and less cost yes.

Less light vividness, Less even results, Less color choice also.

I'll stick with my plcc's... thats what OEM's use...
Jp7’s and in turn my, SMD/LED Strip Lighting trump the Plug-in Bulb type of LED Swap without a doubt.
More work for the Jp7 version but the results are even lighting and more lighting.
I vote Jp&’s version.

Korey’s with a little work might improve.
Don’t get me wrong, as I stated above it looks good and for someone that did not want to do the extra work it is great.
Nice work !
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Old 06-04-2010
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If theres any confusion from the first post that whole post isn't mine, its from explorerforum which is why I quoted it all. I didn't do it to mine yet but I plan on it.

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Originally Posted by Jp7 View Post
plugins suck. plcc for the win.
Not everyone wants/needs an overly bright gauge cluster. I know I don't. I have better things to do with my time/money that spend a few hundred on LED's for brighter gauges and better things I can do with all that time that it took you to do yours. Every single one of your posts is either something involving how your LED's are the brightest and the best in the world, trying to sell your LEDs or some headlight projectors, or how your Evo is faster than anything and everything on the road. We understand by now. This is just a much quicker and much cheaper option for someone wanting to do an LED cluster, people like to have options. I knew people wanted to do LED clusters with plug ins but didn't want the dark spots like most give, so as soon as I saw this I posted it to help them out. If you compare the time/money invested vs. gain ratio of this it is much better than yours, which will probably mean it is much more popular.
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Old 06-04-2010
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Looks good to me.
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Old 06-04-2010
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Korey’s Panel looks good !
But just to clear things up, Jp7’s and mine too, are not to bright, the pictures are deceiving in that respect.
Also when the pics were taken full power was applied to the Cluster not a trimmed down level that will be fed from the Truck controls.

ltr.
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Old 06-04-2010
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I'll never have time to do this kinda stuff, mine will remain incandescent till I sell the truck...

just giving my .02
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Old 06-04-2010
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I might try this with blue 194 bulbs, none leds. They sell them in town for $3.00 for two.
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Old 06-04-2010
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man you might as well go LED, those incandescent are gonna be crap... had some for a day when I got clear corners, they were so dim I took them back.
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Old 06-04-2010
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That setup looks surprisingly good for the little cost/effort required.

For people who don't have time (or tools or patience) for the JP7's style of hardcore LED mod, that would be a nice alternative.
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Old 06-04-2010
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I kinda wish I had done this when my dash looked like this... I lost about 4 bulbs all at one time... WTF? lol. anyways I put it back together and I never wanna touch it again, that dash was a PITA to put back together, lol...

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Old 06-04-2010
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GrafixGuy, Wow, a clean back to that dash, different from the earlier ones.


korey89, I hope you didn’t get pissed about any comments I made.
Your Cluster looks great just the way it is but thinking on it, I thought maybe if the light towers were cut down the side SMD LED on those bulbs you used would spread out the light more.
More thinking out loud again.

ltr,
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Old 06-04-2010
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White needles for the WIN
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Old 06-04-2010
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whats the price on the SMD LEDs?? i wanna do this baaaddd when i finish changin all my guages to orange
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Old 06-04-2010
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the only problem is with plcc's is A. the time it takes to do and B. for anyone who gets migranes those are murder. too bright. i dont want to cast a shadow in my truck from my guages.
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Old 06-04-2010
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I've been thinking about this for a while, I might have to now, thanks Korey! lol
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Old 06-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jp7 View Post
Less work, and less cost yes.

Less light vividness, Less even results, Less color choice also.

I'll stick with my plcc's... thats what OEM's use...
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Old 06-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrambler82 View Post
GrafixGuy, Wow, a clean back to that dash, different from the earlier ones.


korey89, I hope you didn’t get pissed about any comments I made.
Your Cluster looks great just the way it is but thinking on it, I thought maybe if the light towers were cut down the side SMD LED on those bulbs you used would spread out the light more.
More thinking out loud again.

ltr,
Lol no I don't care, like I said its not my cluster. If you like yours thats fine and I'm sure both of your clusters are badass, but JP7 likes to act like anything that isn't his is ****. I'm just putting him in his place
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  #23  
Old 06-04-2010
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40hrs vs. 2hrs(with pulling,modding and intalling)
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Old 06-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 02_xlt View Post
whats the price on the SMD LEDs?? i wanna do this baaaddd when i finish changin all my guages to orange
I used amber, its pretty close to orange. If you want a really orangish orange you need to go above 600nm, try to find an led that is 605nm. Mine are straight up amber at 590nm. They look much more yellow in this picture but if you saw them in real life colorwise they look identical to an amber "caution" traffic signal.



Also, for good measure...

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Old 06-04-2010
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40hrs vs. 2hrs(with pulling,modding and intalling)
40 hours figuring out how I wanted to do and testing it also. I could do them in 20 hours no problem now that I know what works best.
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