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Cluster questions
 Moderated by: Mike69, MaDMaXX Page:    1  2  3  4  5  Next Page Last Page  
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 Posted: Wed Oct 25th, 2017 12:33 am
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JAMMAN

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I have like 3 extra clusters so I'm playing a little.

I have removed some needles in an attempt for a complete disassembly but I'm kinda stuck, can't get it apart still.

2 questions, first what is the best way to separate the gauges so I can see the overlay (have a pretty blue one from a mountaineer) and once I'm done... how do you get the needles back in the right place? I could guess, like fill my tank, plug the new one in and place the needle at full with the truck on but there has to be a pro method, someone did it in the beginning.

I have a spare set of connectors to power things up.

Any clues?



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00 XLT 4WD XCSB 4.0 G2
00 XLT 2WD RCSB 5.0 swap Gherkin
00 XLT 4WD RCSB 3.GO! Jalapeño
"I'm thinking about buying a horse eventually, I'll take half a dozen carts please"
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 Posted: Wed Oct 25th, 2017 02:34 am
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Kealel
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JAMMAN wrote: I have like 3 extra clusters so I'm playing a little.

I have removed some needles in an attempt for a complete disassembly but I'm kinda stuck, can't get it apart still.

2 questions, first what is the best way to separate the gauges so I can see the overlay (have a pretty blue one from a mountaineer) and once I'm done... how do you get the needles back in the right place? I could guess, like fill my tank, plug the new one in and place the needle at full with the truck on but there has to be a pro method, someone did it in the beginning.

I have a spare set of connectors to power things up.

Any clues?
1. Best way to separate the gauges that I have found is a nice sharp thin knife that you slide under all of the connection points.
2. I know you didn't ask, but to put the gauges back on I use double sided scotch tape to hold them until I wedge them in place with the bezel.
Now to realignment.
Left to Right!
Fuel: this needle stays where it is positioned. When I remove these, I put a bit of tape where it is pointing and be sure not to turn the motor at all. To realign after forgetting where it was set, just fill the tank and put the needle on at the gas station after 30 seconds of running the engine.
Temprature: another needle that stays where it is set. While some go back to "cold" when you turn the truck off, others stay right where they are. This varies truck to truck. Best way to realign this (if you have never had issues with over/under heated engines) is to put the needle pointing half way after going on a normal length drive.
Tachometer: this needle likes to fall. So much that there is a peg keeping it from falling too far. Best way to reset this is to read RPM from an engine scanner while the truck runs. If you have no scanner, Autos like to idle at 1,000 RPM after 30 seconds of running and manuals like to idle at around 700 after 30 seconds.
Spedometer: this one also has a peg and is best put back into place when the speed is held at a constant. The easy way to do this is to set it while driving (I do not recommend. I've almost lost my truck doing this and it is not always the most accurate) the safest and most accurate however is to power up an unmodified Speedo the same way you would as if you were going to follow the guide for changing miles and then power up your needleless Speedo (with the same power source) and put the needle at the spot where the other pointed.
Oil pressure: as long as your truck has fine oil pressure, the easiest way to put this on is pointing halfway on the gauge with the engine running. There is no way to put it on without a powered gauge as it also has a stop needle.
Battery: this one is easiest. The needle always re centers to the bottom of the red zone on "low" when it is not powered. Depending on how charged your battery is, it may be harder to align properly when powered.



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 Posted: Wed Oct 25th, 2017 03:14 am
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JAMMAN

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Thanks,the only part I didn't soak in was the definition of "connection points" it doesn't seem obvious where that is.

I can take a picture tomorrow (I'll probably forget) as 2 of them are sitting behind my desk at work.

I should take pictures any way if I succeed for one of our "How To's"



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00 XLT 4WD XCSB 4.0 G2
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00 XLT 4WD RCSB 3.GO! Jalapeño
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 Posted: Wed Oct 25th, 2017 04:04 am
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buggman

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the overlay films have a few spots of sonic welds (or whatever they call it) where the film is bonded to the plastic pods behind them.

i always refer folks wanting to mod the overlays & color change them to a thread over at frf... i'll see if i have a copy of it saved. there's a method using AA batteries that folks have used too.



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 Posted: Thu Oct 26th, 2017 01:27 am
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JAMMAN wrote: Thanks,the only part I didn't soak in was the definition of "connection points" it doesn't seem obvious where that is.

I can take a picture tomorrow (I'll probably forget) as 2 of them are sitting behind my desk at work.

I should take pictures any way if I succeed for one of our "How To's"
Buggman answered with the term I forgot. "Connection Points" was my way of saying "Sonic Welds"
Also if you want I have a silver cluster sitting around that I could give ya cheap and do whatever you want while making a full how to on multiple topics.



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 Posted: Thu Oct 26th, 2017 01:40 am
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JAMMAN

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I should be able to slide a plastic shim under the overlay and separate the welds without damaging the faces? I'll try that, I should have brought it home I have time now.

I have a little plastic pry bar set from snap on, no idea what they were designed for but I use them to remove trim on laptops.

Thanks for the replies and I might take you up on that cluster. Shipping on clusters is a "cluster" lol



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00 XLT 4WD XCSB 4.0 G2
00 XLT 2WD RCSB 5.0 swap Gherkin
00 XLT 4WD RCSB 3.GO! Jalapeño
"I'm thinking about buying a horse eventually, I'll take half a dozen carts please"
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 Posted: Thu Oct 26th, 2017 02:36 am
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buggman

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i've used some cheap dollar store paring knives to slice the welds, just have to go slow in sawing motion & hope the knife doesn't slice all the way through the overlay ha!



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 Posted: Thu Oct 26th, 2017 05:16 pm
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JAMMAN

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OK I see what was meant by connection points. Was easy to separate with a Stanley razor blade, I feel a specialty tool in the brewing.
Embarrassing I didn't know the face contained the color, I thought there was an "overlay" color sheet behind them. Looking inside I have all kinds of ideas.
Here is the one I'm disassembling and playing with:
 

Here's the current one I have in the truck with the burned out top LED (flashes sometimes). I want to go about 2 shades brighter and all even, with the indicator lamps extremely bright also. 




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00 XLT 4WD RCSB 3.GO! Jalapeño
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 Posted: Thu Oct 26th, 2017 07:06 pm
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buggman

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if you sand the color filterng off & paint with a few light coats of duplicolor metalcast spray paint, you can control the depth of color.

white led's are what i'd suggest & if you want to really brighten it up, adding strategically placed led steips inside the cluster housing will really brighten up & fill with more even light.



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 Posted: Sat Nov 4th, 2017 10:23 pm
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mhoward
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Colored gel sheet pieces will yield consistent color depth and also will allow you to easily use different colors for the various icons and such. The pieces can be attached with model glue or super glue brush-on gel. Just another way to get the color scheme of your choice.

EDIT: Yes, you have to sand the original color off first, of course!

Last edited on Sat Nov 4th, 2017 10:24 pm by mhoward



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 Posted: Sun Nov 5th, 2017 03:31 am
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MaDMaXX

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I'd love to do a gauge colour change, or silver gauges, that sounds cool, or even just make them clear so i have a bulb colour option. But that needle stuff, i don't like the probable imprecision of that :(

One thing i can say, if you're doing your own LED's, using the 5 SMD 5050 bulbs will give you bright uniform light through the stock gauges.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2017 09:36 am
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Why not just sand the colour layer off and use multicoloured LEDs?

Then you can change the lighting scheme to suit your mood.....:whatever:



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 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2017 06:32 pm
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buggman

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many times colored led's will make things dim or blotchy... and if you have red/orange needles, the colored led's won't light them up very well.



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 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2017 05:21 am
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One thing to be said about the LEDs you use.

DO NOT buy the cheap ones from china. I've seen them fail time after time after time....

Superbrightleds.com sells good quality bulbs. I've spent a good amount of money with them and would have no issue buying more if I ever need to.

Also, viewing angle of the LEDs are important. You want the viewing angle to be 360 degrees or real close to it. Viewing angle can be thought of as 'light dispersion'. Incandecent bulbs throw light all the way around them in every direction. The LEDs must mimic this in order for light dispersion to be constant.



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 Posted: Sun Nov 12th, 2017 12:52 am
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TheArcticWolf1911 wrote: One thing to be said about the LEDs you use.

DO NOT buy the cheap ones from china. I've seen them fail time after time after time....


Superbrightleds.com sells good quality bulbs. I've spent a good amount of money with them and would have no issue buying more if I ever need to.

Also, viewing angle of the LEDs are important. You want the viewing angle to be 360 degrees or real close to it. Viewing angle can be thought of as 'light dispersion'. Incandecent bulbs throw light all the way around them in every direction. The LEDs must mimic this in order for light dispersion to be constant.

Stop diss'ing my chinese bulbs! LOL

He's right.  I've done that a couple of times.  They can't handle the vibration and start failing pretty quick.



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So many mods... so little time...



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 Posted: Sun Nov 12th, 2017 03:53 am
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buggman

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we don't say superbri....led's around these parts lol.

buggman led's FTW



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 Posted: Sun Nov 12th, 2017 04:16 am
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MaDMaXX

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Buggman, anything you do for a light bar or spots for behind the grille?



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 Posted: Tue Dec 5th, 2017 01:33 pm
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Resurrecting this thread, I have a collection of clusters and a tester I am building to ignite certain bulbs separately.

Recently Kegan posted a picture of one completely disassembled so the insides were exposed for placement of "Mo LED's". I don't see an easy way of disconnecting the gauges from the back board, perhaps we could get a mini tutorial?
Thanks-



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00 XLT 2WD RCSB 5.0 swap Gherkin
00 XLT 4WD RCSB 3.GO! Jalapeño
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 Posted: Tue Dec 5th, 2017 06:39 pm
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I have a dark tint on my '04 and a very dim display and it makes it hard to see the gauges. I have considered the white-faced gauges but for the '04 all I can find is overlay stickers. I have a buddy with an '08 that has the same setup and he used an overlay kit he got off Ebay and they are up to the standard I would want on my truck.

The replacement LED route may be the thing that helps the most. I see where ArticWolf likes the Superbrightleds.com

I have not researched the type so I am looking for recommendations on lights and any ideas converting to a silver or white-faced gauges.



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 Posted: Tue Dec 5th, 2017 06:41 pm
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JAMMAN wrote: Resurrecting this thread, I have a collection of clusters and a tester I am building to ignite certain bulbs separately.

Recently Kegan posted a picture of one completely disassembled so the insides were exposed for placement of "Mo LED's". I don't see an easy way of disconnecting the gauges from the back board, perhaps we could get a mini tutorial?
Thanks-



I am assuming since you are talking about my cluster that the "back board" is the white casing and now the see-through plastic that the motors are physically screwed to. If I am wrong, just let me know!


Looking at the cluster with the outer lens off looks something like this... Notice how the gauge outlines split off into 3 sections... Each section is removed separately with the outer two removed first.






The way you do this is to pry the black base plastic up with a screwdriver ( I have done this so many times however I can do it with my hands) carefully. It feels like it will break but unless you are prying too forcefully or at an obvious weak spot (like the sections that pop out for screws) it will not.






The reason it pops up is because how this cluster works. Let me break it down to how everything is powered.


Lights: All of the lights on this cluster are attached to the white housing meaning no wires or extra electrical mess, they just clamp themselves down directly on the circuit board to get power.






Motors: that's really all that is getting power on the circuit board, motors and lights. The motors in a way get their power the same way as lights - Their connection contacts are press fit into (lets call them clamps) clamps mounted on the circuit board (The silver things in the previous picture.






The only two things holding this whole cluster together (well the parts most people want to remove) are screws (7 T15 screws) and tight fittings.


Since I can see this thread may become a sticky, I'll toss out some more information.


Lighting:

~There are 6 gauge illumination bulbs, size 194 on these clusters. 


~ There is a total of 18 spots for smaller (I believe 74) bulbs, however none of our trucks use all of them, whether it be the 4x4 ones, the overdrive or cruise control ones, or the Check Suspension light (Yes that actually exists, it is located left of the battery gauge).


LED: There is only one stock LED light, the red flashing "Theft" light that you see when your truck is parked and off.


Gauges: if you are removing your gauges to sand them down and do a color swap, or just swapping in a new gauge here is how each gauge operates from left to right.


Fuel:



This gauge stays at the spot it was last positioned, so if you remove the needle mark where it was pointing and try not to bump the motor when the needle is off so you can put the needle on immediately rather than wait until you fill your gas tank. Giving power to this gauge before you put the needle back on may cause the motor to move to a new location and mess your calibration up (Until you fill your tank and put it at full)


Temperature:

Operates the same as the Fuel gauge but instead of putting the needle at "hot" or "cold" when you mess up, go for a drive in your truck and put it where your truck normally rests.


Tachometer: 


There is a stop at this needles end and if you remove that stop the gauge will spin around and be untraceable to where it is pointing while powered. Best way to realign is to put it on while your truck is idling and point it to where your truck likes to idle (with a OBD-II reader you can read exact RPM and put it on a such). I have yet to find a way to align without being in a truck.


Speedometer: 
Similar to the Tach only there is a way to realign with a battery (I like to use 2 AA in series however other power methods work as well). I will go more in depth on this another day. I do not recommend setting the speedometer while driving on public roads.


Oil Pressure:

Similar to the previous two gauges this one also has a stop for a reason. Similar to the Tach I only know how to set it with a running truck. If your truck is in good health after 30 seconds of idling the gauge should be pointing dead middle.


Battery: 

The easiest one, the needle when not powered always returns itself to the red zone. Just remember if yours sets on the bottom or top part of the red.



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 Posted: Tue Dec 5th, 2017 06:55 pm
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Kealel
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Tsquare wrote: I have a dark tint on my '04 and a very dim display and it makes it hard to see the gauges. I have considered the white-faced gauges but for the '04 all I can find is overlay stickers. I have a buddy with an '08 that has the same setup and he used an overlay kit he got off Ebay and they are up to the standard I would want on my truck.

The replacement LED route may be the thing that helps the most. I see where ArticWolf likes the Superbrightleds.com

I have not researched the type so I am looking for recommendations on lights and any ideas converting to a silver or white-faced gauges.
I have a set of 2004 white stock gauges. Sending you a PM now!



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 Posted: Tue Dec 5th, 2017 07:57 pm
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JAMMAN

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And after reading that, I reached behind my desk, grabbed a cluster and pulled the black plastic off without prying. Didn't need a screwdriver just needed confidence :)

Thanks!



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00 XLT 2WD RCSB 5.0 swap Gherkin
00 XLT 4WD RCSB 3.GO! Jalapeño
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 Posted: Tue Dec 5th, 2017 08:03 pm
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mhoward
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Clusters are fun to work on! I am thinking I may give mine a facelift during my Christmas vacation.



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So many mods... so little time...



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 Posted: Tue Dec 5th, 2017 08:04 pm
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Well poop. That ONE led for anti theft isn't 12 V is it.

Is it a flasher or does the circuit flash it?

I can tell you, 12 volts will flash it! only once though.



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00 XLT 4WD RCSB 3.GO! Jalapeño
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 Posted: Tue Dec 5th, 2017 08:05 pm
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Oh, Dood! You didn't!



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-- Michael

2003 Ranger Edge / Extended Cab / Flareside / 3.0L FLEX / Auto / 2WD / 8.8 Open 4:10 / Sonic Blue Pearl

So many mods... so little time...



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Ford-Rangers.com Ranger Forum > The fun starts here! > General Modifications > Cluster questions

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