How To: Change Your Cluster to Blue L.E.D.s/Incandescent bulbs for $8

Discussion in 'SN95 4.6L Mustang Tech' started by AmBo, Dec 24, 2006.

  1. How will they fare lighting up the red needles and red areas on the gauge face? Has anyone tried the green leds? Pics?
  2. i dont think any of the led's will do a very good job lighting up the red needles.

    think of it like this, you got the white led's which are pretty much the brightest ones you can get, and it didnt do a very good any other color you go with is going to make them dimmer.

    its unfortunate that ford didnt continue using the 194 bulb on the 99-04 cluster because there are so many led options available for those.
  3. I was starting to think the same thing, but don't quite have a handle on the optics behind it all. For the most part, the tri leds do a good job of lighting up the light diffuser behind the gauge face. If more light is going through I don't understand how the super white leds won't light up the red needles. My only speculation is that even these leds give off a blue tint, and as experienced in this thread we know the blue light doesn't get through red filtered material well.

    I'd like to try the amber leds, but am hesitant to spend the money.

    Coincidentally if anyone wants to buy 5 #74 white tri leds and/or two #194 leds with heatsink, I'll sell them for autolumination's price and I'll cover the shipping.
  4. Well I tried a set of 5 amber tri-leds figuring it'd shine through the needles better. While this is partially true, the gauges didn't retain the rich green. Another $20 down the tube.

    Since all I'm going for is a brighter, richer green, I'm thinking of sticking to incandescents. Are we sure that the 99-04 used #74 bulbs? By my count, there are 5 possibilities: #18, 37, 70, 73, 74, all of which are 14v t5 wedge bulbs.

    That being said, how much higher wattage can I use without putting an unsafe amount of heat out? The #74 bulbs put out 1.4 watts. If they are the stock bulb, I was thinking of using #70 bulbs, which are 2.1 watts. The others are hovering around 1.1-1.3 watts Thoughts?
  5. Also, according to the Osram Sylvania website, which has an auto bulb application guide, they list #37 under general instrumentation, but no 74. If this is true, by my calculations (amps x volts) the 37 puts out 1.26 watts, as opposed to the 74's 1.4. If this is the case, then it looks like a 74 incandescent would be an upgrade over the stockers (if you're looking for brighter gauges), with very little increase in heat.

    Can anyone verify whether we have #37 or #74 stock?
  6. Can we just get a parts list of what bulbs to buy for everything.



    Dash (AC knobs)

    Fog Lights- Traction control-

    And so on?

  7. Update:

    As far as I can tell by bulb application charts, the 99-04 stangs use the #37 bulb, which is rated at 1.26 watts. I just plugged in a set of #74 bulbs (rated 1.4 watts), and it actually seemed dimmer. On closer inspection both the 37 and 74 bulbs seemed smaller than what was already in there, which was labeled 61431 (?) I believe. I can't seem to match the bulb that was in there. Very strange indeed.

    So I decided to put in a set of #70 bulbs (rated 2.1 watts) and was greeted with exactly what I was looking for: A brighter, richer green. If anyone is going for just that, I highly recommend getting a set of #70's. The leds are a nice idea, but I just couldn't get it to light up right with them.

    The only thing I'm worried about is heat. I don't think it'll be an issue though, since the earlier stangs have been using 161 bulbs with no ill effects, and they're rated at a higher wattage. Regardless, I'll keep an eye on it. I also noticed that they're only rated for 100 average hours, whereas the others are rated in the thousands. No wonder Ford put the low wattage bulbs in. Much less maintenance. 100 hours is kinda low.. but they're easy enough to change once you get the hang of it.
  8. Well I was wrong. The stock bulbs are not #37, 70, or 74. Supposedly the replacement is #24. I picked up a set, but was surprised to find they were actually bigger than the stock bulb, but the base still fits. Here's a pic for comparison:


    Notice how the stock bulb is bigger than the 37, 70, and 74 family, but smaller than the supposed replacement #24.

    So far the 24 seems to light up the dash as brilliantly as #70 (without the ridiculously short lifespan), but i'll have to see what it looks like at night to be sure.
  9. nice job bro....been looking to change the lights since my got the car 3 years ago
  10. All but one of my bulbs have officially gone out 3 years later. Mind you, i leave my fogs on at all times driving so my dash is lit up everytime i'm in the car.

    I don't think they blew out but I do think they wiggled loose. Regardless, I purchased 5 more of the brand new superchiped LEDs from the link on my first post to try them out. I'll let everyone know my findings. :nice:
  11. Hate to bring this back from the dead, but after a quick look at this thread, I never found a good write-up on converting the Mach 460 head unit.

    Does anyone know how to do this?

    I have a nice set of silver faced gauges that light up like the factory gauges but with blue, and the HVAC is easy, but I just need to know how to do the head unit.

    My Sonic Blue GT really needs this.
  12. Also, is this an Aviator only thing? Or does the Navigator come with this also? I have a Navigator 6 disc here right beside me.
  13. Ok, I just answered my own question. This is the same unit I have sitting here. The only problem is that the plugs on the back are slightly different for my 04 GT.

    This unit was given to me, so it might be worth my while to find wiring diagrams and the proper connectors to adapt this into my car.
  14. Hey AmBo. First of all thanks for the great write up! I'm looking forward to trying this on my 99 GT. How did the brand new super charged LEDs work out for you? Would you recommend them over the tri-power 3s?

  15. No problem! :nice:

    I didn't like the supercharged LEDs. They weren't the same blue, they were more purple. I consulted AutoLumination about my concern and they highly suggested matrix II bulbs for our applications.

    That'll be my next bulb purchase. :nice: Sadly, this will be soon as all the supercharged one's needs replacing already. :nono:
  16. Great info! I just order up 5 of the matrix IIs. Can't wait for em to come in and share the results!
  17. I have a Mach 1 gauge cluster, which is white lighted instead of that green film stuff that came stock and I've tried autoillumination blue bulbs, blue tri-whatever LED's and now Matrix2's in Red. I think I'm going back to white so I can at least see my gauges. :nonono:
    Pic with flash for gauge reference.

    Pic with just the Matrix 2's in there.

    Pic with boost gauge for reference as to the brightness. So you can tell it's not just my crappy cell pics.
  18. Little update on my experience with doing this project on my 02 mustang
    Q. Why is it Aqua, not bright etc?!?
    I DID have to sand off the green tint from behind my gauges. This is most likely why people are still getting a light aqua color because the blue lights are shining through a green film making it harder to see as well.
    1. Take out the gauges
    2.Take out the 8 15 torx screws from the front of the gauge bezel
    3. Gently pull the needles straight up, someone recomeneded using a fork to do this. They may seem impossible but they will come off.
    4. Gently pry off the gauge face from the clear backing behind it there is glue holding it on in some spots.
    5. Get out the dremel and on low sand off the green from all the places u want to change colors.
    6. Put it all back together in reverse order.
    With the green off the light shining through should be whatever color the lights are, mine are still incandescent stock ones so it is a yellowish, i will use White LEDs to maintain the red on my gauge face.

    Q. How do i change the color of the Odometer!?!?
    A video of this procedure is posted on Youtube and he makes it out to be some secret but this trick has been around a long time :). We used to use this trick on the Celica's (my old car)
    This will require taking off the gauges and needles etc just as taking off the green tint will.
    1. Take off the needles, gauges, etc. just as before.
    2. I ran into a problem here so you will have to figure this part out better than I did. There is green yellow tint on the gauge face over the odometer making it green you need to either A) sand off the yellow as I did(this resulted in a blurry look) or B) cut that area out with a razor. Get a small piece of RED and BLUE cellophane (micheals, joannes fabrics, a party store, etc should have it) and tape it to the back of the gauge face over the odometer area.
    3. Walla! blue odometer. It will be a lighter blue, you might need to try different cellophane combo's (1 red 2 blue, 2 blue 1 red, etc) I was lazy though!

    hope this helps maybe put this on the front page with some revising for those that are interested or need help.
  19. i did this with my 2000 GT yesterday with red tri leds and it did not work at all, but then i took the needles and guage face off then sanded the back of it because they use a blue tint the was blocking all of the color from coming through and then it worked amazing and i love the results they look amazing at night
  20. I have so far switched over the center of the dash. Getting ready to tackle the gauge cluster next. IMAG0357.jpg . So best bet is pulling gauges apart and sanding them......?

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