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DIY - LED Dash Lights

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Old 03-21-2009, 11:59 PM
EndIsNear's Avatar
EndIsNear EndIsNear is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Vehicle: 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 2WD with a 5.9L 360 Magnum
Location: Amarillo, Texas
Posts: 1,145
Thumbs up DIY - LED Dash Lights

Alright guys, I have completed my LED Dashboard DIY for a 2001 Dodge Ram 1500! Now before we get started, listen: I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY SCREW UPS, PROBLEMS, OR INJURIES. YOU ARE DOING THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK. Not that there is any risk in injury, there is the potential for breaking something, which is typical with all modifications. I did mention I fried my circuit board inside my passenger door switch, so just be careful. This project will turn your dash into a one of a kind, beautiful masterpiece. Just so you know, around 2-3 hours of your time will be needed to complete the installation AFTER all parts have been purchased and recieved, depending on your level of skill and tools. The LED's including shipping cost me around $50, and I got them in the mail within four days. You will need all LED's and tools listed below before beginning any work. So lets get started!

This is what you need:
1.) Needle Nose Pliers
2.) Flathead Screwdriver
3.) Phillips Screwdriver
4.) Small pick or screwdriver (to pry with)
5.) 7 of WLED-B5 LED WIDE ANGLE BULB (Page 1)
6.) 1 of T1.5-B INSTRUMENT LED BULB (Page 2)
7.) 3 of 5mm NEO5-B (Page 2)
8.) Go to AutoZone or Advance Auto Parts and purchase a small pack of pre-wired LEDs. They come in packs of four. That’s the only way I can describe it.
9.) Hacksaw
10.) Drill with bit. (Not sure what size)
11.) Aluminum Foil
12.) Tape

Procedure:
1.) With your hands, pry the black bezel surrounding all the instruments VERY CAREFULLY. I’ve cracked mine in two places. Those of you who know, they crack very easy.

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2.) Underneath the steering wheel column, the gray panel needs to be removed to access the gear shift cable. Notice the three small screws underneath the panel. Remove with Phillips screwdriver and pry the TOP towards the seat. It will pop loose in the same manner the black bezel did. Remove and place out of the way.

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3.) Inside the removed panel area, there is an orange cable located on the left side of the steering column. Twist sideways and remove. The cable is still connected to the white tube. Pry downwards and remove.

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Click the image to open in full size.

4.) Notice the four small BLACK screws securing the instrument cluster to the dash. Remove all four and place in a safe place to avoid loss. Place ignition in the ON position, but don’t start. Put parking break on tightly, and place gear shift to first. This is obviously optional for manual transmission.

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5.) Cautiously wriggle from the bottom of the cluster until it releases from the two connectors behind it. Pull out away from its holding area and turn over. Notice the 7 orange-brown colored twist-locks and 1 light gray smaller twist-lock.

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Click the image to open in full size.

6.) All twist locks will unlock with a slight turn to the left. Pull each one out one at a time. The next process takes place with EACH twist-lock, so only undo one at a time. Unlock one, I started with the High Beam indicator light for reference. I forgot to take before and after pictures, so I’m showing you what you should DO, not what you see in my picture. You will have a stock bulb connected rather than the LED. I started with the High Beam indicator light pictured below:

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7.) Once removed, pull the stock bulb out of the twist-lock. You will notice on the inside of the twist-lock two metal connectors. DO NOT LOSE THEM. Take your new LED (T1.5-B INSTRUMENT LED BULB) and bend the two wires down into a V shape. Your new LED replacement and empty twist lock should look like this:

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8.) Once bent into V shape, bend them so they touch the OUTSIDE of the LED. You will understand what I mean if you study the twist-lock. The two connectors on the twist-lock are what your trying to touch the wires to. You might have to double them up to make it a snug fit.

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Finished should look like so:

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9.) Install the High Beam Indicator back in place and remove one of the seven orange colored twist-locks. This next process is slightly tricky and is the same process for ALL SEVEN orange twist-locks, still noticing that my LEDs in the pictures are already installed. Yours will have the stock bulb. On the bottom of each twist-lock, you will see two small metal parts that are part of the connections on the other side.

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10.) Take a small prying tool, and push both metal connections upward simultaneously. This will release the glass stock bulb. ::CAUTION:: There is the potential for broken glass. Watch your fingers and handle carefully.

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11.) This may not release the bulb completely, which calls for a small amount of force. I used needle nose pliers and pulled the metal tabs out. The stock bulb wires will be soldered to the tabs for reinforcement.

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12.) Break the wires from the tabs, but KEEP THE TABS. Do not lose them. It is extremely difficult and time consuming to fabricate new ones. Trust me, I know from experience. Bend the wires on the new LED’s ( 7 of WLED-B5 LED WIDE ANGLE BULB ) into a V shape, but this time, do not bend to the sides.

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13.) Place the LED inside the twist-lock, allowing the ends to protrude from the bottom.

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14.) Place the two small unlost connections back in their slots, ensuring a secure fit. Bend the two small protruding wires around the connectors, and tuck them into the twist lock. They should look similar to the way the stock bulbs did when they were installed.

Click the image to open in full size.

15.) Once finished with the lights on the back of the cluster, ensure once more that everything is secure and has a good connection. Reinstall the cluster in the same manner that you removed it. Keep in mind that the gear shift cable needs to also be placed in the right slot that will allow you to access it from underneath the dash. Push cluster into dash, and you will notice the lights to indicator lights to come on. Hold in place and test your new LED’s. If there are problems, review your steps and ensure all connections are connecting and secure. Keep in mind that they may be directional. If so, untwist and rotate 180 degrees and replace. Replace gear shift cable and proceed to step 16.

16.) This next step is slightly tricky as well. We will install the one LED inside the headlight switch. Remove the three black screws and pull the headlight switch from the holder.

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17.) Unlock the red tabs securing the wiring and remove. There should be one small one and one large one. Pull them from the switch and turn switch over. You will notice a small light gray circle on the back. Using your flathead screwdriver, twist slightly to the left. It should come loose. Remove. The tube is long with a bulb mounted on the end. Untwist the bottom and remove the bulb. Using a hacksaw or something of the sort, cut the tube in half. Using a drill bit, drill through the tube just to the end. Do not penetrate the end. Using a pick, clear the two holes. Using one of the LED’s that you bought from Advance Auto Parts, cut the wire to about two inches, including the blue shrink wrap sleeve. Splice the ends so that the two wires will enter through the twist-lock holes. Pull the LED through the holes as close as possible. It will be a tight fit. Wrap in the same manner you removed the stock bulb. Should look similar to this. Disregard the black wire protruding from the rear of mine, I will discuss this later.

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18.) Replace the twist-lock and plug in both other wired connectors. Test the LED. This one IS DIRECTIONAL. If it doesn’t light up, remove and turn 180 degrees. Replace. Once it works, replace the headlight switch.

19.) Now on to the Climate Controls. Remove the four black screws securing the Climate Control Unit and pull out. Do not remove any wiring or vacuum hoses.

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20.) Looking above at the rear of the unit, you will notice two more light gray twist-locks. Remove them now. They are not as long as the headlight one.

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21.) Unwrap the wiring and pull the stock bulb out. Using one of the 3 of 5mm NEO5-B LED’s, unwrap them from their twist locks as well. You will notice they are not the same size. My mistake. Replace stock twist locks with the removed LED’s, but do not reinsert into unit quite yet.

22.) Using your prying tool, remove the front cover by prying the 8 tabs located on the sides of the unit.

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23.) You will have to pull slightly to release the ***** from their positions. WATCH CAREFULLY. The mirror defrost button has TWO SPRINGS. The button is likely to fall off, along with the small springs. Keep and eye on them. Remove it slowly enough and they should stay intact. There will also be a clear plastic reflector.

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24.) You will notice in my picture that I have wired in two more of the lights I bought from Advance Auto Parts. The two LED’s by themselves are not bright enough, so I made it into four. I also placed aluminum foil behind them to help reflect the light. Just tape the aluminum foil onto the inside, leaving all holes open. Wire in the two extra LED’s into your replacement twist-lock LED’s and put them in front. You can test this one right away. Remember that they are directional and may have to be flipped 180 degrees.

Click the image to open in full size.

25.) Replace all the climate control components back together when lighting is complete. Remember the way you removed it, and replace in the same manner. Keep in mind that the two springs can bind themselves, so put it back together carefully.

26.) This optional cubby hole installation is really easy. Remove the three screws mounting the cubby hole in place, and remove it.

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27.) Drill a hole large enough to accommodate the third 5mm LED. Glue the LED into the hole and simply splice some wiring from it to another lighting source, keeping in mind that it is directional. I wired mine to the LED inside my Headlight Switch, which is what the black wiring is in the pictures.

Click the image to open in full size.

Well guys that’s how you do it. I really hope this helped a lot of y’all out there. If anybody has any additions to make this DIY better, please do so! When you accomplish yours, post some pics on here so we can all get a look at it! If anybody needs help, message me and I'll do what I can to help. Thanks everybody and GOODLUCK!

Whoops, sorry y'all... here's a picture of the finished view:

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 03-21-2009, 11:59 PM
 
 
 
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