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Changing Instrument Panel bulb colors


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13 replies to this topic

#1 torxxx

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 09:11 PM

So I got lit and decided I was going to pull my entire dash apart and clean it..

I'm thinking of changin the color of the bulbs in the instrument panel.. Has anyone done this before???

If so, how in the hell do I get the instrument panel out of the dash? and what about disconnecting the Tach and speedo cables from the back of it? I have enough room to get my fingers behind the panel but thats it..

Please help..

#2 samo

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 09:34 PM

Same question from me.

On my old Sentra, I replaced the bulbs with blue ones, and then red. The blue ones were CRAP and faded after only a few weeks.

However, it seems as though the Subaru gauges, at least in my EA82, might have a green backing on them, which would limit your color choices. Red would shine through nicely, I think, and maybe amber, I suppose.

If you can remove the backing easily, like some VWs, you could change the color a lot more easily.

I've been itching to change mine to red for some time now.

#3 heartless

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 10:03 PM

not real sure about changing bulb colors, as my stock dash lights dont work at all, but here is how you take the instrument cluster off...

with a small flat blade screwdriver, gently pry up the defrost, and off buttons on the right side (heater controls), underneath you will find phillips screws - same procedure on the left side. You will also need to gently pry off the fan control knob on the right, and on mine (89) the emergency flasher button on the left (not sure if the earlier versions had the same button or not).

Lower your steering wheel all the way down and carfully wiggle the panel loose, at this time you will need to get your hand in behind the panel to disconnect the speedo cable - tach is electric on mine so nothing to disconnect, not sure on older models tho...
speedo cable is threaded on, kinda like a coax cable for cb antenna. Once you get that loose you will be able to move the panel out some more and disconnect misc wires that run to other lights and such, simple plug connectors....You will probably need to do a little wiggleing with the steering wheel and panel, but it will come out. The back side of the instrument cluster is a circuit board....have fun!

As I said, my stock dash lights dont work at all (bad dimmer switch), so I wired in some large green LED's mounted at the lower edge of the guage cluster inside the dust cover so they dont glare, works great! they are wired into the light system so go on and off with my headlights. They are also availlable in red or amber from radio shack - wish they had blue, but no go there.

#4 electryc_monk

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 10:22 PM

been there done that and geeked it up a notch yo!

sitting in drivers seat you have several screws to deal with.....

lower the steering wheel to maximum place. for use of space with screwdrivers. I recomend the short stubby type for several of these screws especially the top two for the dash upper lip.

there are two short screws into the top lip (dash's sun visor).
The A/C control for DEF and OFF if you use a small flat blade screwdriver to pop off those buttons then the screws on that side will become obvious to remove.

Same position and technique for removing the left side section except one twist. The lower left is still there but the upper right corner is true diaganol as the temp. slider isn't in the way.

There are a few screws under the vents, and rear view mirror control.

then the housing pop's off.

The actual dash is still screwed in by 4 goldish(in color) on the tabs they are very visible to see, the long screw driver would be best here only.

once done, then you can unplug the clips on the backside and the speedo cable connector.

...on the back side of this unit you can then slowly unscrew the the clear cover and then the translucent flat piece too.... the little lightbulbs are under these two plates.

try that on for size. Some assembly required, your results may vary, some settling due to shipment,batteries not included.

#5 subiemech85

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 10:46 PM

remove or disconnect
two top screws
two bottom screws
temp control cable by gas pedal
trimplate
you can use color "caps" try wal*mart or truckstop

#6 Setright

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 04:02 AM

Torxx, I have been through most of the rainbow, and settled on orange. Yes, it may sound odd, but it makes the needles glow in a cool way, and combines with the faded green backing of the numbers to give a nice neutral whitish colour.

#7 torxxx

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 03:47 PM

Ok, my buddy has a 92 Loyale and hes got green lights..
they are easier to look at and are a hella lot cooler.

Thats whats inspired me to do that..

I tired painting the bulbs blue with fingernail polish and all that did was burn off and get me high off the fumes as I drove....

can I get a hell yea? lol

#8 electryc_monk

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 10:18 PM

rosco theatre Gel material. Able to withstand serious heat from 100+W and higher hal. bulbs for hours at a time. I think you'll find that their ranbow of colors is worth a looksee.

as for what to do? Get the little bulbs out of other dashboards and slide the little green rubbers off the bulbs for your lights okay?

#9 Hank Roberts

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 02:18 PM

Can someone narrow this down for me, for the heater/air conditioning pushbuttons? 1988 GL, not the digital type dash, the back-lighting for the pushbuttons on the right side that control heat/AC/fan have gone dark.

How little can I get away with taking apart here?

#10 hooziewhatsit

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 02:51 PM

Can someone narrow this down for me, for the heater/air conditioning pushbuttons? 1988 GL, not the digital type dash, the back-lighting for the pushbuttons on the right side that control heat/AC/fan have gone dark.

How little can I get away with taking apart here?


I believe you will only need to remove the dash cover; (screws behind the 'def' and 'off' covers, same on the other side, then two screws right above the instrument cluster, and a couple on the edge below the rear wiper switch.)

Once that snaps out, unplug everything and get it out of your way. That should give you enough room to work with the heater module and associated lights.

#11 zyewdall

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 03:33 PM

As I said, my stock dash lights dont work at all (bad dimmer switch), so I wired in some large green LED's mounted at the lower edge of the guage cluster inside the dust cover so they dont glare, works great! they are wired into the light system so go on and off with my headlights. They are also availlable in red or amber from radio shack - wish they had blue, but no go there.


More choices of LED's than you know what to do with
http://www.ledsupply...g-5mm-leds.html

I put a super bright green one in the center of each of the stars on the subaru logo on the grill. Till I got pulled over for impersonating an emergency vehicle. Ooops. Should have used white I guess.

#12 Numbchux

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 01:27 AM

my buddy did it on his newer impreza....little different idea though

our overlay is tinted a bit, your yellow one will be more responsive to colored LED's behind it, the green one, probably not so much.

The green dash will swap right in....so you can go that route too, by the time I junked my '85, the only things left with the yellow were the fan controls, and rear defroster button, and headlight switch, everything else I replaced with working parts (all happened to be green too)

#13 JohnKos

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 08:01 AM

Sorry about reviving this thread but is there a special type of LED to use? Most of the ones i've seen run on a lower voltage than 12V. do you have to step the power down?

#14 Jurrel

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 01:53 PM

Check out http://www.superbrightleds.com they have LEDS specifically for Dashes in automotives. They just twist and lock in as do your current ones.




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