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  #1  
Old 01-16-2015
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Interior dash Blue LED lights

I have a 2001 Ford Ranger Edge and I am thinking about swapping the dull green halogen bubls for some blue leds. I know your supposed to sand the paint off the back of the gauges but I wonder what it looks like without sanding the paint. Im assuming it will be ike a cyan color. I also want to know how hard/to sand the back of the gauges off.
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Old 01-16-2015
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Or you can go to the junkyard and get a gauge cluster or just the gauge faces from a 95-97 Ranger or Explorer. The backs of the faces on both the HVAC panel and the gauge cluster are blue.
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Old 01-16-2015
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It won't look cyan at all, it'll look green

It's not hard to sand the gauges but it takes time and patience. Id just grab a spare cluster, mod it, swap odometers, and install.
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Old 01-16-2015
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Using colored led's behind stock cluster overlays will look blotchy, dim & not nearly as nice as the old bulbs did.
I've done some rather extensive testing with many types & colors of led's in several clusters.

Best results with colored led's will come after sanding the back of the overlays to remove the color filtering.
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Old 01-17-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buggman View Post
Using colored led's behind stock cluster overlays will look blotchy, dim & not nearly as nice as the old bulbs did.
I've done some rather extensive testing with many types & colors of led's in several clusters.

Best results with colored led's will come after sanding the back of the overlays to remove the color filtering.
Listen to this man. He invented the LED mod for just about every place on a Ranger that has a light bulb, and then a few more places that don't.
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Old 01-17-2015
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Crappy camera pic, but you get the idea. They're blue



What I have now

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  #7  
Old 01-22-2015
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Thanks for the replies. I think at some point I may just go to the junkyard and pull a cluster out to do it on, that way if I mess up I will still have a gauge cluster in my truck.
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  #8  
Old 08-31-2017
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I wonder what LED type(s) Bugman tried for coloured?

Blue LED's behind green will show a slightly lighter blue.
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  #9  
Old 08-31-2017
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There's one problem with that. I've tried this myself, and the problem is that blue light does not readily pass through a green filter. The color will be as you described, but the amount of lumens you would need to overcome the green filter, effectively overpowering it, will only drive the cost up. You either need a blue filter gauge cluster or hvac panel from an explorer, or to sand the color away with 1000 grit, making sure the paper is wet.
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  #10  
Old 08-31-2017
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I should have some pretty bright blue LED's this weekend, but won't get the chance to pull the dash/console for another week or two :(

I'll update here with the bulbs and results, i'm hoping they're bright enough (friend did this with an Alero, came through nice and bright, so there is a chance here)
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  #11  
Old 09-01-2017
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Hopefully they do work out for you, but don't be surprised if it comes to sanding the cluster faces and whatnot.
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Old 09-01-2017
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Fair warning, thank you.

Having not yet pulled the HVAC setup, how do the two bulbs get split between the 3 *****?
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  #13  
Old 09-01-2017
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Real simple to do. First, remove the 2 7mm fasteners holding the bezel in. They will be directly above the hvac panel on the 'ledge' under the radio. Once they're removed, the radio bezel will need to be 'pulled' out. Four clips pop into the dash. Simply pull straight out, disconnecting any sockets or switches and radio as necessary. Each connector setup is unique, so there's no chance of mixing them up.

Set the radio bezel aside. There are four more 7mm screws holding the hvac cluster in. Real easy to spot, can't miss 'em. Remove them. They're the same as the ones holding the bezel in. At this point, pull the hvac panel out and you should see two black* twist-lock sockets. Pliers may be necessary to get the necessary grip/leverage on them to loosen.

*On my 99, they're black and take 194 size bulbs. On my dad's 03, it was the smaller tan sockets which took #74 size bulbs. His new panel I believe again takes the 194 size bulbs. For both setups, the bulbs simply pull out of the sockets with a little wiggle and the new bulbs are pushed in.
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  #14  
Old 09-01-2017
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Hmm, hope mine takes the 194 in there too, i was interested in how it splits the light, but sounds like it doesn't open up to that level (wanted a white light for the heater **** because red/blue filter)
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  #15  
Old 09-02-2017
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They do open up, and it's not difficult to do. Just a high risk of stabbing yourself with a screwdriver.

After getting it free, remove the connectors coming off the back to allow you to bring it over to a work bench. Alternately, the switches themselves can simply be unbolted, as they'll need to be removed anyway. The ***** simply pull off and are keyed so they cannot be put on wrong. All three are the same.

Bring the cluster to your work bench or kitchen table. You'll notice that on both sides there are four clips/tabs holding it together. Wear gloves for the next steps. Nothing is sharp on the part, but this is to protect your hands in case you slip. Covering your table will also protect you from your wife from beating you later, should you slip and put a hickey in the table top.

Grab a flat head screwdriver and examine the part. It's been a while, but I remember that the screwdriver must be pushed down hard against the part which allows it to clear the slotted part on the 'face' of the cluster. It should be fairly obvious. They aren't glued, only clipped. This may take some time, but be patient and keep working at it. It's fairly difficult, but it can be done with enough swearing.

Once all eight clips are 'released', the whole thing comes apart. Inside, you will find either a green or blue 'filter' and a clear plastic light pipe assembly. The light pipe assembly is what allows only two bulbs to evenly illuminate the entire assembly. You'll also notice that the filter has a clear section specifically for the HVAC assembly.

Without this filter, the color of the bulbs directly dictates what color the panel will be. The HVAC's temp control will also be influenced by the bulb color. My 'red' section is truly a indigo color with blue bulbs. At some point I'll change this, but I'm not sure how.

Assuming you're going with blue, you can head to the junkyard and find a set of blue ***** from an explorer, another ranger, crown victoria (which has an hvac panel that fits the ranger. I know this because I have one) or a mustang. I believe a few lincoln cars also have these *****.

What you're looking at is the light pipe. Bring a flashlight or be sure it's a sunny day when you go hunting. With no back illumination, the ****'s 'dashed' section is white. When illuminated it appears either blue or green. These can be swapped from **** to ****, as well as they're simply a push fit. Use pliers to pull from the back side to remove.

Alternatively, if you are using a colored bulb that is not white, green, or blue, you can also remove the color filter from the ***** themselves. Remove the light pipe with pliers by pulling from the back. This may take a little wiggling. Since we're removing the filter, a small screwdriver can be used to push from the other side. Beware though that you can dork up the **** by doing this, so be careful.

with 1000 grit sandpaper, wetsand the very end of the light pipe to remove the filter. You'll wind up with a frosted end that is just as visible as the white part. Now is a good time to mention that in a few cases, ford has casted these light pipes in blue and green, which means they cannot be modified this way. Clear pipes will need to be found.
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  #16  
Old 09-03-2017
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Sheesh.

I figured they'd likely use light pipes, which, as you have already found out, means there isn't really a good solution for the colour change.

I may/may not pull the unit apart, i'm guessing, as the temp control is in the middle, that the bulbs and light pipes are split evenly?

If so, i might put one white, one blue in there, with the white on the red side of the temp control.... Would be left with a green vent position ****, hmmm.
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  #17  
Old 09-03-2017
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That may work, but ultimately what may be best if you don't want to go through a lot of hassle is to find an explorer, crownvic, mustang, or ranger hvac which is illuminated blue and pop white LED bulbs inside. The parts you want to be blue will still be blue and the temp control will still be the correct colors.
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  #18  
Old 09-03-2017
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Yeah, not confident on finding those locally, but worth thinking about.
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