Instructables

DIY - Save ~$200 and replace Dash Cluster bulbs w/LEDs

The car dealer wanted over $200.00 (Parts and Labor - most of it labor) to replace the light bulbs in the instrument cluster of our 2001 Voyager.

If you follow these instructions, you can do it yourself for about 20 minutes of your time and ~$22.90 in parts. Also, once you replace the bulbs with LEDs, you shouldn't ever need to replace them again. This picture is of one of the new LEDs connected to a 12V power source.

I got the idea for this instructable from a 2007 forum posting at http://forum.chryslerminivan.net/showthread.php?t=6856 which provided the basic instructions on how to disassemble the dashboard.
 
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Step 1: Parts and tools

The LEDS:

The instrument cluster of the 2001 Voyager needs 8 bulbs. The replacement bulbs are PC74 (a #74 bulb with a twist-lock holder for mounting). I ordered QTY - 10 of #T1.5-B Blue LEDs (8 plus a couple of spares) from http://superbrightleds.com. They have LEDs for just about any vehicle, and not just dash bulb replacements, but others as well.

Tools:

A small pair of needle nose pliers - to twist out the old bulbs and install the new LEDs

#1 Phillips screwdriver(s) (short and long reach) or a combo type with a drive extension (preferably with a magnetic tip).

Small flat blade screwdriver - for prying a cover later.

Step 2: Getting started

Make sure you have a small container of some kind to store the LEDs and the screws that you're about to remove.

Also, adjust the tilt the steering wheel as far down as it will go and WITH THE VEHICLE OFF and the PARKING BRAKE APPLIED move the gear shift lever to its lowest position. This will help in later steps, providing better access and some wiggle room for the dashboard cluster.

In this step there are two(2) Phillips screws that need to be removed. They're located under the upper edge of the instrument cluster bezel. Remove these two(2) screws and set them aside.
yankie.scholz made it!2 months ago

Great instructions, I have tried superbrightleds but they made some parts of the dash brighter than others. I came across a place called EnlightenOz, the bulbs they use have much more even light, they even had a kit for my car with the correct number of bulbs and everything! Here is there facebook page: www.facebook.com/enlightenoz

I ended up getting some more colours for my dash too

20140212_202714.jpg1111.jpg
MarkDask1 year ago
Not mentioned in these instruction, but something I encountered on my 2002 Voyager is a second cable connected to the back of the instrument cluster. The wire harness mentioned in step 5 has plenty of slack, but the other cable (speedometer cable?) which was connected to the lower right corner (backside) of the assembly had little or no slack. So it was difficult to get to the bulb on the right side (temperature gauge), but I did manage to get to it. I also removed the plastic steering column cover which made it easier to pull out the cluster. It is held in place by 3 screws on the underside.
hey, great instructable, but just as a caution, I noticed that you said to put the gear shift in the lowest position. It is probably safe to say, either you were on fairly flat ground, you were on jack stands, or you put the parking brake on. The last one I mentioned is probably the safest idea to add to this or any automotive instructable, especially in case your or anyone else's vehicle is like mine. As they say, better safe than sorry right?
fireballxl5 (author)  Metalshadow242 years ago
Yes, you're absolutely right, if fact I changed this step today (10/13/2012) to add the note about applying the parking brake.

Thanks
fireballxl5 (author) 3 years ago
Well, I guess I was wrong, something has started to happen to the LEDs that I installed. I'll update this project (or possible start a new one) to replace the LEDs. The first symptom that we noticed was that some of the LEDs are intermittently going on/off.
Did you find out why the LEDs were going off and on? Was there a problem with the LEDs or some other issue you can help me avoid?
Thanks! Ed
fireballxl5 (author)  emcarey3 years ago
Right, here's what I found: of the 8 original LED "bulbs" that I installed, two had gone bad (one didn't light at all on the test bench and the other was very weak). I had pre-tested these LEDs before I installed them, and I had even ordered a couple extra, just in case. I suspect that a third bulb just wasn't seated properly or had worked itself loose. The way these "bulbs" are constructed (see the third picture in this Instructable - in the Parts and Tools step) could make for a loose connections if the + or (-) connections don't make good contact. Make sure the little +/(-) tabs are flexed up toward the tip of the "bulb" prior to installation. When you install them, give them a little back and forth twist to scratch the contact surface of the circuit board (instrument panel) to make a good connection. Hope that helps, and good luck with your project.
Thanks for the info. It's very helpful. So in the end, once you got 8 good LEDs, everything worked out fine? Thanks again!
fireballxl5 (author)  emcarey2 years ago
Yes, 8 new, slightly brighter, LEDs are now installed and so far no symptoms of the previous failures.
bradleyrxz5 years ago
How does this save $200, is it the price of the other bulbs? or is it something else?
Exactly what I thought! One can save about $200 by replacing old bulbs with new ones, instead of asking car dealer to do it. I don't think replacing bulbs with LEDs instead of bulbs, is much cheaper (little, but not much). So savings come from DIYing the job, not from using LEDs.
You also save with LEDs because once you've got them working, they should never have to be replaced. I think the OP might have gone with a more DIY approach, adapting his sockets to use bare LEDs with dropping resistors, but still a substantial savings over what a dealer would charge.

If I were rich and could find an honest mechanic, I'd never turn another wrench, but neither condition has yet been met. Firestone 'noticed' that my radiator hoses were 'soft' when they did an oil change. The estimate for replacing the hoses and flushing the cooling system was $300.

I could do that job--had it really needed doing--for about $30...in less than an hour.
fireballxl5 (author)  bradleyrxz5 years ago
The dealer wanted approx. $240.00 for the parts and labor to do the bulb replacement (and they would have just used the standard bulbs). Others can attest to this pricing on the forum that I got the procedure. The bulbs at the dealer where around $6 ea., the LEDs were only $1.79 ea. (and I paid $5 for shipping). Hope that helps.
chrisayad5 years ago
ledwholesalers.com
fireballxl5 (author) 5 years ago
The manufacturer replacement bulbs are PC74 (a #74 bulb with a twist-lock base for mounting). I ordered #T1.5-B LED "bulbs" from superbrightleds.com, described as; "T1.5 instrument LED bulbs consist of a T1-1/2 (#73/74) standard miniature wedge LED bulb installed in a twist lock socket base 12 Volt DC - 100 degree beam pattern". I can't say for sure if the B8.5Ds or NeoWedge LEDs would work or not. PS: If you liked this Instructable, please be sure to give it a rating and vote for it in the Epilog Challenge contest. Thanks.
I got the lights replace in the center console and they really are a lot brighter than the OEM. Now on to the gauges. Thanks
Thanks again, now I've got the bezel off of the center console but I acn't figure out how to get the 3 wireing plugs out of their sockets. Does something have to be squeezed to release them. There is a red clip in each plug that looks movable.
fireballxl5 (author)  anchor8875 years ago
It sounds like yours is a slightly different model, mine only had one wiring harness and I didn't end up disconnecting it, because I had enough slack in the cable to turn the instrument cluster around to replace the bulbs.
anchor8875 years ago
anchor887 says: Thanks for the great instructions & pictures. The panel in the picts looks like mine on my 2002 Chrysler T&C. My gauges in the corners, fuel & temp, are hard to see in the daytime. I'm considering using Superbrightleds B8.5Ds for the central console, Are the T1.5D's better? I think I need 4 NeoWedge 4mm for the H&AC switches and a 3mm & 4mm for the mirror & dimmer group. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
dchall85 years ago
The lights in the last picture look uneven. How do they look in person? For the record, red lights at night are easier on your eyes.
fireballxl5 (author)  dchall85 years ago
It's from the angle that I took the pictures (due to the steering wheel). They look pretty even across all the gauges. Good tip about using red vs blue, maybe next time.
Fixerdad5 years ago
Do you still have the dimming function for the dash lights? (was there one to start with?) When I drive at nite, I turn the dash lites down really low cause I hate the eye strain from the brightness. Thanks for the great link!
fireballxl5 (author)  Fixerdad5 years ago
I forgot to mention it, but yes the dimmer still works with the LEDs. Also, the company where I ordered the LEDs http://superbrightleds.com offers different colors for differed "temperatures" of light; White, Blue, Green, Red & Amber.