HOW TO: Changing Factory LEDs in your S197 Mustang

Discussion in '2005 - 2009 Specific Tech' started by Deric, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. A PDF version of this How-To is available here:


    <font color="black">One thing that always bugged me about our cars is
    the mycolor option is only limited to the dash. Why couldn’t Ford
    really go above and beyond and allow all the LED’s to be controlled by
    the mycolor buttons? I had some hope when I heard of the ambient
    lighting package of the 08 but this still leaves the dash buttons and
    switches that pale boring green. I finally decided to change them out
    myself. Apparently “Mycolor” is blue since that is what my dash has
    been set to since I got it. The switches in the mustang use two types
    of LEDs</font>
    <ul><li><font color="black">PLCC-2</font></li><li><font color="black">Standard through-hole domed</font></li></ul><font color="black"><b>PLCC-2 SMT LED total =50 </b></font>
    <font color="black">Radio: 26</font>

    <font color="black">Mycolor sw: 3</font>

    <font color="black">TCS: 1</font>

    <font color="black">A/C: 15</font>

    <font color="black">Cruise L: 2</font>

    <font color="black">Cruise R: 3</font>

    <font color="black"><b>Through Hole LED total =7 </b>(can use PLCC-2 style - details in soldering section)</font>

    <font color="black">Window DR: 2</font>

    <font color="black">Window PS: 1</font>

    <font color="black">Lock Driver: 2</font>

    <font color="black">Lock Passn: 2</font>

    <font color="black">First thing to do is remove the switches from the
    car. One of the nice things about the S197 mustang is that it is easy
    to take apart.</font>

    <font color="black">To do this swap you will need the following:</font>
    <ul><li><font color="black">PLCC-2 LEDS of your preferred color (See above for quanity) </font></li><li><font color="black">Through-hole LEDs (I chose not to use them) </font></li><li><font color="black">Low wattage Soldering Iron (Flat or small tip preferred but not required) </font></li><li><font color="black">Solder (I use Silver Bearing solder with a
    Rosin core. This stuff is awesome and I’ve been using it for almost 10
    Years and haven’t found anything that works better on electronics)</font></li><li><font color="black">Small Tweezers </font></li><li><font color="black">Solder Sucker (optional) </font></li><li><font color="black">Desktop vice (optional) </font></li><li><font color="black">Patience</font></li><li><font color="black">More Patience</font></li></ul><b><font color="black">Cruise control switches:</font></b>

    <font color="black">My car has the IUP steering wheel so I am unsure of the standard wheel</font>
    <ol style="list-style-type: decimal;"><li><font color="black">Remove left and right IUP panels by slowly lifting them out.</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">With the panels removed, lift the outside edge
    of the button assembly towards you. The harness connects on the inside
    edge so take your time and be careful not to damage them. I didn’t have
    to but you could always remove the airbag assembly to gain better
    access to the connectors</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Once out there is one screw on the back and a few tabs securing the button assembly together.</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Once separated you will remove the circuit
    board, rubber membrane, and contact pegs. Do this for both sides. There
    are 2 LEDs on the left switch and 3 on the right</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li></ol><font color="black"><b>Center Dash and Radio Removal:</b></font>
    <font color="black">To remove the center dash piece you must first remove the console finish (upper) panel.</font>
    <ol style="list-style-type: decimal;"><li><font color="black">Lift the Trim bezel (Auto) or Shifter boot from the console. (item1) </font></li><li><font color="black">Place the parking brake in the up position </font></li><li><font color="black">Lift the console lid and remove the 2 screws at the back of the finish panel (item 2) </font></li><li><font color="black">Lift the upper finish panel from the back and slowly work your way forward (item 3).</font>
    <font color="black">Be careful and take your time, you don’t want to scratch anything </font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Place the manual boot through the hole and remove the panel.</font>
    <font color="black">(I removed mine completely) </font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Remove the two center stack wings by grabbing at the bottom and pulling them towards you (item 4)</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Remove the 6 7mm screw securing the center panel </font></li><li><font color="black">Remove all electrical connections</font>
    <font color="black">The AC plugs are a bit tedious to remove. The one
    on the fan switch has a release tab and the one on the vent selection
    has a release tab and a grey lever that must be lifted. The switches
    and Accessory plug have a press release (See pic on step 11).</font>

    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Remove the 4 7mm bolts securing the stereo and disconnect the 3 plugs and antenna plug. </font></li><li><font color="black">Remove the stereo and set it aside </font></li><li><font color="black">The top buttons are removed from the panel by pressing the 4 tabs (2 top/bottom) and pushing through the face of the cover.</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li></ol><font color="black"><b>Mycolor / TC button and Radio Dissasembly</b></font><ol style="list-style-type: decimal;"><li><font color="black">On
    a work surface remove the 4 back screws of the upper switches and
    separate the circuit board from the front and back. Do this for both.</font>
    <font color="black">(If you look real close you’ll realize the switch boards are the same but flipped over for the opposite side)</font>

    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Stereo: Remove the 2 Torx screws on each side of the face plate</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Remove the volume knob by pulling it away from the stereo</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Lift the locking tabs on the top and bottom of the face plate and gently pivot the face away from the body</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Disconnect the two plugs running from the circuit board at their connection port in the body. </font></li><li><font color="black">Remove the 4 screws securing the face to the circuit board and remove.</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>

    <font color="black"><u>If you are replacing the Green Lens plate perform steps 7-9 otherwise skip these steps</u></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Remove the white backing and black support plate.</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Remove the CD /AM-FM buttons by lifting the hinge-points and pushing them through the front of the face plate.</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Using a small screwdriver in the notched area lift the lens cover from the face plate (carefully).</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li></ol><font color="black"><b>AC Controls Removal / disassembly (2005 – 2006):</b></font><ol style="list-style-type: decimal;"><li><font color="black">Remove the 4 Torx screws securing the control to the dash plate.</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Remove the 3 control knobs by pulling the knobs away from the AC assembly</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Depress the 4 tabs (2 each) on the top and bottom of the control module and separate the cover</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Remove the 3 Torx screws securing the circuit board and separate</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Remove button membrane </font></li><li><font color="black">Mark the green LEDs with a marker so you remember which LEDs to remove</font>
    <font color="black">(The following pic can be used as a guide)</font>

    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li></ol><font color="black">Note: 2007 – 2008 AC controls see <b><u>method 2</u></b> of the following document:</font>
    <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

    <font color="black"><font color="black"><b>
    Door Lock and Window Switches Removal disassembly</b></font></font><font color="black"><font color="black">To
    remove the lock switches you have to remove the door panel. I removed
    one without removing the panel and it was quite difficult. </font></font>

    <font color="black"><font color="black">1. Door panel</font><font color="black">
    <a href="" target="_blank"></a></font><font color="black">
    2. </font>Window switch removal
    <a href="" target="_blank"></a><font color="black">
    3. Separate switch assembly by depressing tabs on the side.</font><font color="black">(be careful the plastic is fragile - I had better luck lifting between the tabs to remove)</font><font color="black"><b><br /><br />Headlight switch (Non-Fog version)</b></font><font color="black">
    <br />The headlight switch uses a standard bulb. I will update this to LED when I install my DIY ambient light kit.</font><font color="black">
    1. Make sure Left stack wing is removed</font><font color="black">
    2. Pull driver lower pillar cover</font><font color="black">
    3. Pull the bottom of instrument panel slightly to open enough space</font><font color="black">
    4. Remove 2 screws from the bottom of steering column cover plate</font><font color="black">
    5. Slowly lift panel and separate</font><font color="black">
    6. On the back of the switch there is a small keyed plate. Turn it counter-clockwise to unlock and pull the light out</font><font color="black">
    <font color="black"><b><br /><br /><br />Removing / Installing the LEDs:</b></font><font color="black"><u>
    <br />Surface Mount</u></font><font color="black">
    <br />A low wattage soldering iron is preferred since you want to have as little heat as possible. (I use a 15w)<font color="black"><br />1. Prepare part by placing it on a flat surface securely<font color="black"><br />2. Make sure your iron tip is clean. I use a fine point when soldering</font><font color="black">
    <br />3. Make note of factory LED orientation, there should a bevel on the corner noting the polarity of the LED.</font><font color="black">
    <br />4. Apply iron to upper side of factory LED until solder flows.</font><font color="black">
    <br />5. While applying heat, use the solder sucker to remove the solder and repeat for the other side.</font><font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>

    <font color="black"><font color="black">6. If LED does not slide from circuit board, reapply heat and lift side with tweezer.</font><font color="black">7. Repeat for other side if necessary</font><font color="black">
    8. If any solder remains after removal, reheat and remove with sucker</font><font color="black">9. Apply a small amount of solder to iron tip until it holds a bead on the end.</font><font color="black">
    10. Using tweezers hold the new LED in the original location and orientation as the original.</font><font color="black">
    11. Apply the pre loaded tip to one side of the LEDand repeat for other side</font><font color="black">
    12. If more solder is needed reapply.</font><font color="black"><u>

    Through Hole</u></font><font color="black">
    The LEDs in the window and lock switches are through hole LEDs.</font><font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font></font>
    </font></font></font></font><ol style="list-style-type: decimal;"><font color="black"><font color="black"><font color="black"><font color="black"><font color="black"><li><font color="black">Make note of the polarity of the LED</font>
    <font color="#000080">(I chose to use the SMD LEDs instead of the through-hole style since I hadn't ordered them)</font>

    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Cut the original led off closest to the LED dome</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Slightly bend the top of the terminal to make a surface to mount the LED </font></li><li><font color="black">Pre load the tip of the iron with solder. </font></li><li><font color="black">Using tweezers if necessary place the LED against the terminal and apply pre loaded solder</font>
    <font color="black"><img src="" border="0" /></font>
    </li><li><font color="black">Once complete repeat for remaining LEDs</font></li></font></font></font></font></font></ol><font color="black"><font color="black"><font color="black"><font color="black"><font color="black">Reassemble switches in reverse order and reinstall in your mustang.</font>
    <font color="black"> </font>

    <font color="black">

    Here's a collage of the end results
    <img src="" border="0" /><b>
    A couple of notes:</b></font>
    </font></font></font></font><ul><font color="black"><font color="black"><font color="black"><font color="black"><font color="black"><li>If I were to do it over
    again I would probably use a lower mcd level LED. The LEDs I used are
    600mcd and 200 - 300 would probably be better especially if you have
    mycolor. If I didn't have mycolor I would have replaced them all and it
    wouldn't have been that big of a deal</li><li>The door lock switches are difficult to remove. I actually cracked
    a piece that holds one tab on one of them. This was probably due to it
    being about 20 degrees outside when I did this. I would pull the door
    handle assembly and heat the areas with a hair dryer or low watt heat
    gun to make it easier</li><li>Take your time. I don't have the most steady of hands but I love to
    solder. I usually rest my hands against something to help keep them
    steady</li><li>Try to handle all circuit boards by their edges. This helps eliminate the possibility of ESD damaging the components.</li><li>The stereo LEDs are more difficult to remove due to the fact it
    takes longer for the solder to flow. My soldering iron can switch from
    15w - 30w and I only had to switch to 30W once or twice due to my impatience</li></font></font></font></font></font></ul>
  2. Great post. Saw this on another board. This is going in the ultimate sticky. If I weren't so scared of screwing things up, I'd do it myself. But I screw damn near everything up.
  3. +1, I don't know if I could do it either but thats awesome :D
  4. I am very impressed but yes this is a ton of very delicate work to perform. Best left to the pros or people with big hairy and impressive coconuts like yourself. ;)

    The color "blue" wavelength is too short and thus hard to see. This is why orange and green are used so prominently in car dashes. However this did not stop me from setting mine to blue on my previous Stang that had My Color as well. :)
  5. Very cool idea.. but I agree... Too much involved and too much to screw up. I'll stick with my pale green :)
  6. I have my instrument cluster set to blue as well:nice: One day I will be getting an aftermarket head unit and it may have blue as one of the switchable colors. Perhaps it would be cool to have the steering wheel lights, heater control lights and around the head light switch blue.
  7. I did something similar to this in my Maxima way back in the day (6+ years ago). Thank you for being the first, i was already thinking of doing this once i actually receive my mustang.

    As an added note if you got some money or work at the right place, a solder station with the ability to control the exact temp of the tip would be the best bet. Also a vaccum solder sucker would make this easy as well.

    Once i actually get my car and do this i will post some pics!!!

    About the color blue the 600 are too purple in comparision to the mycolor blue?
  8. great! now just do a conversion on a non mycolor cluster and post that info! i know many people would enjoy that info as well!
  9. Changing the LEDs is not the hardest part. The hardest part is getting to them (taking the switches out). The only one that was really difficult to remove though was the door lock switches. Once I have all the info on the non-mycolor cluster I will add it as well. I have pictures from someone who swapped their green and white LEDs.

    The next phase of this project is to see if I can make an overlay board or reproduce the setup, TC, and cruise control PCBs to allow a mycolor option with a second controller similar to the ambient light package on the 08's. I 've ordered the supplies and hope to start etching the boards by next weekend. The 05-06 AC controls board is multilayered but there appears to be enough room for an overlay there. I am unsure if the non-mycolor cluster has enough room to accept an overlay though.

    More details will be posted as the next phase materializes.
  10. Deric youre a braver man than I lol it looks awesome though and i wish i had to guts to rip my radio and dash apart like that
  11. Fantastic write up! Despite my engineering degree, with a good amount of electronics, I still wouldn't think of attempting this. Luckily, I don't have much of a problem with the stock green.

    But being a biomedical engineer, I can commend you on choosing blue. While some may say that it is harder to see, from a human factors standpoint, it is close to the best. There is a legitimate reason that most every car manufacturer uses green in their dash.... it is easy to see at night. There are a handful that just want to look different and "cool", coloring their dash red. (Notably Pontiac and VW.) In fact, while it seems easier to see, the red light will change the diameter of your pupil, and affect your ability to see the road properly.

    Sorry for the completely random geek talk.... but great job, fantastic write up, and good choice on the blue!
  12. +1! Part of my mechanical engineering degree included an entire semester in a course that required extensive soldering, plus I built a race car as a capstone senior design project, and I still wouldn't attempt this!

    Is that really true about the red lighting? I thought red was BETTER for seeing at night. Astronomers use red lights for reading and note taking at night, and I thought the reasoning was that it allows them to still see without their eyes having to readjust.
  13. I thought red was a good color to choose, since the military uses it at night for an easier transition to night vision (seeing at night, not the goggles). Either way, at night I turn my panel lights way down, about 1/4.

    DOOD, when did you get your car? Thats almost the exact car that I had to order to get (everything minues the anti-theft and HIDs), still have a few weeks to go before I get it too...
  15. I got mine mid-August. I think it was part of one of the first batches of 08's to go out to the dealers because you couldn't even build an 08 on the Ford website until the day before I bought mine. Awesome color choice! :nice:
  16. Where's the best place to get the Surface mount leds from? I am really wanting to change the stereo over to blue.
  17. I got mine on ebay but I've heard a couple of people going here
  18. What's the name of the person / Business you bought them from on Ebay? Thanks.

  19. Topbright88 was the ebay name but there are several out there
  20. That is awesome...My biggest complaint was the stereo readout and lens plate after I set mycolor to blue. You mention pulling the lens plate for replacement, where do you get a new one and can you get colors? Does this change the color of the digital readout as well?

    Sorry if these are off the wall questions. Been away from the street car hobby for several years racing roundy round cars and just picked up my 05' a week ago. I have several newb questions I'll be posting in the various sections in the coming weeks.