A Car Called Bob... Blue Dash

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Changing The Lighting - Instrument Pack

| Heater Controls | Clock / Oil Temp Gauges | Instrument Pack | Switches | Head Unit |

 

The TF instrument pack (the part that contains the rev counter and speedo) is front illuminated with orange lights. In this section I show you how change the lighting to the colour of your choice. I go further than just showing you how to change the lighting, I also show you how to remove the instrument pack completely.
 
Before undertaking this work disconnect the battery and wait for half an hour or so for the electrics to discharge. It would be a bit annoying if you knock something and set your airbags off!
 

The first stage is to remove the cowl around the instrument pack. This is held in place by four philips head screws. Two are underneath the dashboard, just in front of the fuse panel and two are above the instrument pack on the underside. They are highlighted with a red arrow in the thumbnails below.

 
 
Unscrewing lower RHS cowl screw
Upper LHS Cowl Screw
Upper RHS Cowl Screw
 
Having undone the four screws, the cowl slides out. However, you have to lower the steering column to its lowest position in order to pass the bottom of the cowl over the steering column cowl. If you don't have this adjustment, then you will have to take the steering column cowl off too. Once the cowl has come out, disconnect the interior lighting dimmer switch and the wing mirror adjustment switch (if you have one). Put the cowl somewhere safe.
     
Sliding out the cowl
Dimmer and Wing Mirror Adjust
View of the back of the switches
On removing the cowl, you will see that the instrument pack is held in place by four philips head screws. Two are on the top, clamping a metal bracket screwed to the top of the pack, and two are on lugs at the bottom of the pack. Carefully remove these screws.
Top RHS Instrument Pack Screw
Bottom RHS Screw
Bottom LHS Screw
 
 

The shot on the left below shows the pack ready to come out. The screws are removed and put in a safe place. The shot on the right below shows the pack pulled forward slightly and resting on the steering column.

This is as far as you need to go with pack removal to change the lighting. You can now access the two bulbs which are seated under the black electrical tape in the shot on the right (more about that later). As well as changing the bulbs you will need to remove the yellow filter. To do this, simply unscrew the two Philips screws that hold the brackets onto the white plastic. When these are clear, the white plastic lifts up and you can remove the filter. Replace the bulbs with an equivalent slim wedge bulb in the colour of your choice or an LED slim wedge bulb from ultraleds.co.uk.

 
The pack free, and ready to remove
 
The light box on top of the pack
 
Disconnecting the pack is quite fiddly. There are three connectors to remove. Two white ones near the top on each side, and one small yellow one in the middle. The are spring release clips with the spring clip in the middle of the connector. You have to work your hand over the pack and down the back. It helps if you move the pack to one side slightly. Once it is free, it can be slid all the way out.
 
Disconnecting the pack
Slide the pack to the side
Ready to completely remove
 
 
With the pack now out, lets have a look round the back. You can see that there are lots of bulbs for all the indicators in the instrument pack. There is also a connector next to the green one with two grey wires coming out. These are the wires for the dial front illumination. The third shot below is of the lighting box removed from the pack at the top (its held in by those two brass screws shown in the picture of the brackets above) and dangling down. You should pop this filter off, to avoid discolouring your new lighting colour scheme.
 
 
Rear of the pack
Close up of the connections
The yellow filter
When I changed my lighting, I didn't know you could get direct replacements for the slim wedge bulb, so I used normal 5mm LEDs and soldered them onto the circuit board. The shot on the left below shows the light box sideways on, showing the original slim wedge bulb holder in place. I then soldered my LED/shunt resistor combo onto the contacts, and directed the LEDs in the same direction as the original bulbs as can be seen in the shot on the bottom right.
Original bulb holder
LEDs soldered on
LEDs aligned in the light box
 
 
I put a bit of electrical insulating tape over the solder connections for protection, and then put the light box back on. That is essentially it, all that remains is to put the car back together again! Its fairly straightforward, just follow the instructions in reverse.
 
 
Tape covering the solder
Finished!
 

The result is pretty stunning as already shown. However, here is another shot of the dash lighting after conversion. Incidentally I took the instrument pack to pieces to see if there was anyway of changing the back lighting of the LCD screen. The simple answer is no. There is an orange filter laminated into the LCD itself. Oh well......

 
 
 
 

| Images and Text 2006 Iain Ross |

I accept NO responsibility if you attempt any of the mods on this site. If you mess it up - its your fault!