• Welcome Visitor! Please take a few seconds and Register for our forum. Even if you don't want to post, you can still 'Like' and react to posts.

Dashboard/gage light upgrade

Captain Ledd

Well-Known Member
Article Contributor
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
2,384
Reaction score
38
Points
48
Location
Michigan
Vehicle Year
1984, 1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
302, 2.3
Transmission
Manual
My credo
If you're not making mistakes, you're not learning.
I'd love to do this set up as well but I have the same problem. Anybody have pictures or instructions on how to get into the gauge cluster?
Thats a good reason to finally get my scanner working tomorrow... it's an actual Ford published 1997 Ranger shop manual. I'll see what it says.

I may wonder over to my friends house tomorrow and piss around with taking the dash apart for something to do, I'm almost certain he'll be bored as well. a Writeup would be nice and I have every intent to do when I buy the LED's, but just a removal is good too, I guess it doesn't matter if there's LED's or not lol. Then I can find out exactly what I to order :cool:. We'll see how it goes.

Oh, and the larger the angle the better. A narrower angle (closer to 0) wil produce a beam like a spot light, with all of it's light focused on one small spot. A wider beam angle will be more like a flood light, illuminating an entire area with a fairly even distribution. for a instrument cluster, a wider array is better, otherwise like Sludge said, you'll have super bright spots in some places and super dim spots in others.

Edit: Eeek! my premium membership is gone! looks like I'll have to take care of that tomorrow too...

2nd edit: No dashboard today, tomorrow maybe.
3rd edit: Tomorrow confirmed.
 
Last edited:


Captain Ledd

Well-Known Member
Article Contributor
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
2,384
Reaction score
38
Points
48
Location
Michigan
Vehicle Year
1984, 1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
302, 2.3
Transmission
Manual
My credo
If you're not making mistakes, you're not learning.
Dashboard is apart and documentation is taken. FAQ on that will be up later

UPDATED: 09/08/2010

SOME IMPORTANT INFO:

The filter on my '97 is actually BLUE (kind of a dark Indigo as best I can describe it). while it's not a bad blue, it won't be green. The green comes from the yellowish tinge of the incandescent bulbs. So you might be better off getting an AMBER bulb to retain the green. But this won't be an exact shade. Ideally you'd use a "Warm White" or 4500/3500K color temperature.

There is also ways to scrape off the back filter in some cases allowing the true color of the LED's to shine through. But that is another write-up.

**1997 Ranger - stock colors**

The LED's you need to order are as follows. All colors are for a stock configuration for a 1997 ('95-current dashboards), and will probably look janky unless you also change the faceplates. The color filter (Blueish) is part of the gauge faces.

*Update 9/8/10: Superbrightleds.com no longer offers "Warm White" in the "WLED-X" style. You'll have to step up to the "WLED-X5" style if your shooting for the stock "green". The dimmer switch WILL work with the LED's.


Picture no longer is available - use this link CLICK HERE
"WLED-X" - These are the ones I used and they are plenty bright IMO, though nothing is technically stopping you from going brighter. The dimmer switch WILL work with the LED's.

The 194 replacement series: 120° viewing angle

$0.79 Red, Amber (White, Blue, Green, UV-Blacklight + $0.60)

You'll need 6 total.

FOR THE REST:


Picture is no longer available - use this link CLICK HERE
"#74 LED bulbs" - These are what things like the seatbelt icon and turn signals use. Order ONLY the "74-x LED Bulb". NOT "74-xHP SMD LED Bulb" OR "74-xHP3 SMD LED Bulb" It's my opinion they will actually be TOO bright. Remember, they really don't have to light up a whole lot.

$1.19 apiece - all colors

For the stock Ranger cluster you need to order these:

GREEN = 3
2 turn signals, speed control

AMBER = 7
4WD, 4WD Low, O/D off, Airbag, ABS, Check engine, Fuel reset

RED = 5
Brake, Seatbelt, Door ajar, check gage, Battery
***WARNING: Brake, Battery, and Seatbelt will stay dimly lit.*** It can kinda get annoying. I really do suggest replacing these with standard bulbs.

BLUE = 1
HI-beam symbol

If you have an antitheft system factory installed the "THEFT" light should already be an LED, it should be fine, and I hope it is, because I can't fine a replacement for it besides a Ford Dealership. Not like its ultra important anyway. - this has to be red, the filter on the gage faces is actually clear.

And I think that about covers it. Hopefully this help you all out, because I thought they were all 194 series. Faq will be up shortly, it's actually not that bad, I thought it was going to be much worse.

I have an '84 back home which I have to take apart yet again because it now doesn't light up at all... I can get pictured and documentation of that one too. It's kind of bastardized, but all the spots are still there. I do not have access to a Gen 2 dashboard.


WITH "BRIGHT WHITE" LED'S:
 
Last edited:

Dusty_Ranger

Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
823
Reaction score
4
Points
18
Age
32
Location
Salmo BC Canada
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford
Transmission
Manual
i did mine last night no pics but i just used kunars pic
 

Captain Ledd

Well-Known Member
Article Contributor
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
2,384
Reaction score
38
Points
48
Location
Michigan
Vehicle Year
1984, 1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
302, 2.3
Transmission
Manual
My credo
If you're not making mistakes, you're not learning.
That looks like a Gen1, which is probably easier to get different colors into. In fact I think I remember seeing a thread (maybe it was on the old forum) where someone did a write up on how to change it.

I DO however know that they use all 194 bulbs.

*edit: I also added in a much more visible spot that this is based on a 1997 Rangers dash in the above posts.
 

Captain Ledd

Well-Known Member
Article Contributor
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
2,384
Reaction score
38
Points
48
Location
Michigan
Vehicle Year
1984, 1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
302, 2.3
Transmission
Manual
My credo
If you're not making mistakes, you're not learning.
Update. I got the LED's installed today, kind of a pain because apparently if everything is all good when you turn the key and the vehicle performs it's bulb check, they don't light up. I.E., if the door is closed, the "door-ajar" light doesn't light up. Which technically it isn't supposed to, but during the bulb check they're all supposed to light up, regardless it everything checks out. So some of the bulbs I have to find a way to force-light them to see if their in right.

Another thing, replacing the #194 bulbs (the ones that light the main areas up) if you put a white LED in them it glows BLUE, it's not a bad blue, but I was expecting green. And they're not blue LED's, checked that. There is actually a blueish filter that I can see on the back of the dashboard. So I'm betting the yellowish/amber glow from the incandescents filtered through the blue to make green. I've sent a e-mail out to my lighting buddies who did stage lighting for the plays at college, I'll update this later.

Otherwise everything looks pretty good. nice, vibrant and crisp color.
 
Last edited:

Captain Ledd

Well-Known Member
Article Contributor
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
2,384
Reaction score
38
Points
48
Location
Michigan
Vehicle Year
1984, 1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
302, 2.3
Transmission
Manual
My credo
If you're not making mistakes, you're not learning.
Alright, since I didn't realize that there is a BLUE filter on the back of the Rangers gages and NOT a green one, you do in fact need to shine a yellowish light from behind it to get it to show up classic green that everyone knows and loves.

Since there is a flat shipping charge for orders under $100 at superbrightleds.com, I'm waiting to figure out what our other flashlights take and order those bulbs as well (not to mention setting aside some dough.)

These are the #194 bulbs that illuminate the main part of the cluster.

in a somewhat reversed image (it's the best I can do) this is what is happening:



Only a yellow light and a (well I guess it's more a Cyan color, but still a blue) filter, and it'll come out green.

it's actually not that big of a deal. these bulbs were pretty cheap and they have plenty of uses elsewhere as lots of vehicles use #194 bulb style bases.
 

Sponsored Ad


Sponsored Ad

Top