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Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
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miguel.760ti Offline
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Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
So you're an owner of a 1992 740 and you do alot of night driving, but you have noticed that the stock yellow/green-ish lighting is not only dull to look at it can also be kind of harsh at full brightness. On another long, lonely drive home one night you find yourself wishing you could change your lighting from meh to awesome. I'm gonna show you how to do it.

Step 0 - before anything you need to determine what direction you want to go with your lighting. Do you want to be flashy like all the honda kids in your neighborhood or do you want something subtle and easy on the eyes?

Step 1 - Make your way to Super Bright LEDs and browse around, they have everything from instrument cluster bulbs to LED strips to even household replacement bulbs!

Step 2 - Time to get serious, for the instrument cluster you're going to need 4 wedge base bulbs #194. There are a few types available ranging from 1 high powered LED to 6 wide angle LEDs. I went with the 5 wide angle LED (WLEDx5). They'll set you back about $4 a piece and are available in several colors. I chose red. *note - x will be the color LED you choose*

Step 3 - You're also going to need a twist-lock base LED as well, T1.5xHP #74 with the high-powered LED, you don't want a dim-spot at the top of your speedometer. For 90 under 740 you're going to need two of these LEDs.

Step 4 - Now after a couple days you'll get your nice LED's in the mail enclosed in cute red baggies. Now comes the fun. Click yourself over here for a guide on how to remove your instrument cluster.

Step 5 - After following the above guide you will see about 36 different twist-lock light bulb sockets. Don't freak out, you'll only need to remove 4 (or 6 depending on year). Just twist the socket counterclockwise 90 degrees and the socket & bulb will come free.

Step 6 - The 4 (of your possibly 6) bulbs simply pull right out of the socket, the LEDs press right into place. Direction doesn't matter with these as they aren't polarized (meaning you can't install them backwards).

Lucky Step 7 - Now for the two twist-lock base LEDs. On 90 under 740 there's two that go on either side of the speedometer, 91+ 7/9 there's only one that goes way up at the top in between the two larger bulbs for the turn signal indicators. Twist the base 90 degrees counter-clockwise, the base & bulb come out together. The twist-lock LED installs the same way, except you will twist it 90 degrees clockwise, however this LED is polarized (meaning that it will only light up when power is at the positive lead and ground is at the ground lead) unlike the rest. Unfortunately you won't know if it's in right or not until you plug it back in.

Step 8 - As the saying goes, assembly is the reversal of removal. However do not button everything back up completely yet as you want to be able to tell if your new LEDs work or not right?

Step 9 - Plug all your instrument cluster connectors back in and flip your lights on. If all your lights come on and dim with the rheostat you are done. If not pull your cluster back out and check your connections and LEDs.

Step 10 - Enjoy your nice new lighting that is (probably) different colored than stock and easier on the eyes. This is one of those mods that will make people wonder "Wow I wish my car had fancy colored dash lights!"

If you want matching switch trim order 5 or 6 of the 74-x wedge base LEDs. On 90- 740 these LEDs plug and play, you need one LED per switch bulb. 91+ cars use the same bulbs however you'll have to yank the stock bulb out and solder the new LED into the factory socket. This is what I did:

i - Remove the switch trim, be careful with it, it can be delicate. Start from the side away from the steering column and gently pull the trim away.
ii - Remove the bulb from its little light guide, it pulls right out.
iii - Now carefully bull the bulb & socket out of the wiring harness. Be especially cautious of pulling the wires out of the connector.
iv - Here comes the fun, twist the existing bulb around in its socket. However do not pull on it, you'll see why in a second.
v - After twisting on the bulb for a little bit it should fall right into your hand! That's what we want as we're going to solder the leads from the LED to the old bulb leads.
vi - Now get yourself a utility knife, a dremel, a pair of dykes (sidecutters) or a small hacksaw and carefully cut around the top half of the socket (above the ridge. Be careful that you don't cut through the leads of the old bulb, otherwise you're really gonna have to ghetto rig this. Now is also a good time to get your soldering iron out to get it warm.
vii - Business time, get your LED and carefully straighten the leads outward so you can solder it to the old bulb leads. Once that's done, carefully steady the bulb and socket so you can get some tin (rosin core solder) flowing for a nice, solid connection. Try not to melt the plastic socket.
viii - This step is optional, but if you have access to a 9v battery and some extra wire check your work before putting it in the car.
ix - Plug your bulb in and check that it comes on and dims with the rest of the lighting.
x - Once everything is in check, wrap a little electrical tape around your handywork and button the trim up. You are done.

If you're not sure how to cut the old socket refer to these pics that a tb member sent me when I asked about this same conversion. Credit goes to Natural244 for giving me this idea.
[Image: CameraZOOM-20120203171452182.jpg]
[Image: CameraZOOM-20120203171510612.jpg]

Changing the color on the heater controls is also just as easy. Unfortunately this walk through only applies to 91+ 7/9. I'll update it when I play around with an older 7. For this conversion you will need two 74-xHP3 wedge base bulbs (again x represents the color you choose), these LEDs are special as they have a 360 degree beam, which is what you'll need to get even lighting for the controls. If you want to change the color of the halo rings around the recirc/AC buttons get two more of the 74-xHP3 of your choice.

Uno - Carefully pull the trim off that goes over the climate control module (it's probably a good idea to do this while you're changing the switch lighting over to LED as well)
Dos - Remove the 4 screws that hold the climate control module into the dash.
Tres - Carefully pull the controls out of the dash and unplug the two connectors at the back.
Cuatro - At the top of the unit there is a black plastic plate that is held in with 2 screws. Remove the screws and gently pull the cover off.
Cinco - Now you'll be able to see the prewired twistlock sockets that contain the bulbs. The two were changing should have black leads going into the sockets.
Seis - By now you should know how to remove the twistlock sockets, so remove them and pull the little bulb out. Replace with the LED (which is polarized as well so you may have to pull it back out and flip it around if it doesn't light up)
Siete - If you're changing the color of the halo rings around the recirc/AC off buttons, those bulbs also have prewired twistlock sockets. Removing those is the same as removing the main control lighting.
Ocho - Famous last words: Installation is the reverse of removal. Just don't button everything up tight yet as we still have to check our work!
Nueve - Turn your lights on and make sure it all works. If it does great, you're done. If not, pull it back out and flip the LEDs around.

Enjoy your lighting!

[Image: img00204201202171820.jpg]
[Image: img00203201202171820.jpg]

'88 760ti - Rattley k-car
'89 240dl - Non-running 240 #3 in krisverde's shop
(This post was last modified: 02-22-2012 08:11 PM by miguel.760ti.)
02-08-2012 09:35 PM
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miguel.760ti Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
I know I'm not the only one that's done this conversion. However I think I'm the first to actually document it. If you have done this conversion feel free to add to your suggestions & tips to my guide.

'88 760ti - Rattley k-car
'89 240dl - Non-running 240 #3 in krisverde's shop
02-08-2012 09:37 PM
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nathaninwa Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
(02-08-2012 09:37 PM)miguel.760ti Wrote:  I know I'm not the only one that's done this conversion. However I think I'm the first to actually document it. If you have done this conversion feel free to add to your suggestions & tips to my guide.

Great write up and documented bulb numbers. I did this when I had a stock dash. Sure wish there was an easier way to change the heater control color.
02-08-2012 10:57 PM
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volvogeek Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
(02-08-2012 09:37 PM)miguel.760ti Wrote:  I know I'm not the only one that's done this conversion. However I think I'm the first to actually document it. If you have done this conversion feel free to add to your suggestions & tips to my guide.

Yeah I'm doing the same for a 240. Lots of people have done it, nobody has written anything up or given part numbers and quantities.

[ Richard Langis ] [ Yeti | Betty | MooMoo ]
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02-09-2012 03:12 AM
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miguel.760ti Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
Updated the guide.

'88 760ti - Rattley k-car
'89 240dl - Non-running 240 #3 in krisverde's shop
02-09-2012 01:18 PM
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Natural244 Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
(02-08-2012 10:57 PM)nathaninwa Wrote:  
(02-08-2012 09:37 PM)miguel.760ti Wrote:  I know I'm not the only one that's done this conversion. However I think I'm the first to actually document it. If you have done this conversion feel free to add to your suggestions & tips to my guide.

Great write up and documented bulb numbers. I did this when I had a stock dash. Sure wish there was an easier way to change the heater control color.

There is a way to change the heater control color, I did mine. The bulbs are off the shelf and can be ordered from SuperBrightLEDs.com. I'll see if I can dig up the info on the bulbs I used.

Tim
02-10-2012 06:34 PM
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blu92in99 Away
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Post: #7
RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
(02-08-2012 09:35 PM)miguel.760ti Wrote:  Step 3 - If you have a '91+ 7/9, you're also going to need a twist-lock base LED as well, T1.5xHP #74 with the high-powered LED, you don't want a dim-spot at the top of your speedometer. This one will set you back about $3.
TL;DR but I'm almost positive that this T1.5xHP is the same bulb that the ambient temp gauge uses as well (for the 91+ 7/9 cluster).
02-13-2012 06:42 PM
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miguel.760ti Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
(02-10-2012 06:34 PM)Natural244 Wrote:  There is a way to change the heater control color, I did mine. The bulbs are off the shelf and can be ordered from SuperBrightLEDs.com. I'll see if I can dig up the info on the bulbs I used.

Tim

Please do share if you can! Edit: It turns out that the heater control cluster uses two #74 bulbs, just like for the switch trim. However it looks like I'll have to use the 360 degree beam LED as the 74xHP LEDs with 120 degree beam give off spotty lighting.

[Image: img00195201202140800.jpg]

It also uses 2 small twist-lock base LEDs to light up the A/C off and recirculate buttons, and two more #74 bulbs to light up the orange ring around those buttons.

(02-13-2012 06:42 PM)blu92in99 Wrote:  TL;DR but I'm almost positive that this T1.5xHP is the same bulb that the ambient temp gauge uses as well (for the 91+ 7/9 cluster).

You're right.

'88 760ti - Rattley k-car
'89 240dl - Non-running 240 #3 in krisverde's shop
(This post was last modified: 02-14-2012 11:24 AM by miguel.760ti.)
02-13-2012 07:53 PM
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Orie Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
Nice writeup! I did this to my 90 745 (older style cluster) and it was equally successful (and easy). I do have some spotty lighting though, sounds like I need to switch to the 360deg bulbs. I don't recall exactly what I needed though.

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02-14-2012 03:43 PM
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miguel.760ti Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
So I ordered 360 degree LEDs for the heater controls, put them in and I have to say those little suckers are bright! They took care of the spotty lighting. I also changed the bulbs for the A/C & recirculate buttons to LEDs.

[Image: img00200201202161407.th.jpg]
[Image: img00201201202161407.th.jpg]

Also changed the dome light, rear seat reading light, hood & trunk lights to LEDs as well.

'88 760ti - Rattley k-car
'89 240dl - Non-running 240 #3 in krisverde's shop
(This post was last modified: 02-16-2012 06:03 PM by miguel.760ti.)
02-16-2012 05:58 PM
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blu92in99 Away
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Post: #11
RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
Put the write-up to use this morning, ordered the bulbs to swap my cluster over to LED. Thanks Miguel! Smile


As a side note, I didn't order the bulbs recommended for the HVAC control panel as I just replaced those bulbs, and they were a different form-factor than what you outlined above (I think the HVAC controls changed again in 94-95, I have a '95). When I get to that point I'll let you know what bulbs I had to use.
02-17-2012 12:58 PM
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miguel.760ti Offline
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Post: #12
RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
(02-17-2012 12:58 PM)blu92in99 Wrote:  Put the write-up to use this morning, ordered the bulbs to swap my cluster over to LED. Thanks Miguel! Smile

Cool man!


(02-17-2012 12:58 PM)blu92in99 Wrote:  As a side note, I didn't order the bulbs recommended for the HVAC control panel as I just replaced those bulbs, and they were a different form-factor than what you outlined above (I think the HVAC controls changed again in 94-95, I have a '95). When I get to that point I'll let you know what bulbs I had to use.

If you can please share what bulbs those take!

'88 760ti - Rattley k-car
'89 240dl - Non-running 240 #3 in krisverde's shop
02-17-2012 05:10 PM
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Magnum TE Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
(02-17-2012 12:58 PM)blu92in99 Wrote:  Put the write-up to use this morning, ordered the bulbs to swap my cluster over to LED. Thanks Miguel! Smile

here I am reading this thread and ordering the LEDs and I see that^

"great minds" eh Justin

(humm 50$ in LEDs maybe I'll wait to see how you like yours Tongue)
(This post was last modified: 02-17-2012 07:37 PM by Magnum TE.)
02-17-2012 07:32 PM
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+Kardboard+ Offline
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Post: #14
RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
Awesome guide, thanks! Just put it to use during my lunch break and swapped my dash over. Going to re-order bulbs as these eBay ones are crap.

[Image: 6921596791_3c8fc34101_b.jpg]

[Image: 6775490286_77cbe9469f_b.jpg]
02-22-2012 06:36 PM
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blu92in99 Away
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RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
(02-17-2012 07:32 PM)Magnum TE Wrote:  
(02-17-2012 12:58 PM)blu92in99 Wrote:  Put the write-up to use this morning, ordered the bulbs to swap my cluster over to LED. Thanks Miguel! Smile

here I am reading this thread and ordering the LEDs and I see that^

"great minds" eh Justin

(humm 50$ in LEDs maybe I'll wait to see how you like yours Tongue)
Hahahaha great minds indeed.

They showed up in the mail yesterday, will be installing them today after work. Fingerscrossed2

I also ordered their 1156 and 1157 LED replacements in red to swap out my brake lamps, and some amber 194 LEDs to do the sidemarkers. Depending on how those actually perform I'll order up the front & rear turn signal bulbs (1156 & 1157 amber) next.
02-22-2012 07:12 PM
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blu92in99 Away
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RE: Converting your 7/9 instrument cluster bulbs to LED's
In & done. Green LEDs yo! Tongue

[Image: 141685655.jpg]

Sorry for the shitty pic, took it with my cellphone this morning leaving for work. (yes, my bulb out indicator is on)
02-23-2012 11:42 AM
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