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DIY: How To Swap Cluster Lights (Inlcuding Needles)

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Old 07-01-11, 12:17 PM   #1
chi123
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Default DIY: How To Swap Cluster Lights (Inlcuding Needles)

To start off, this isn't an easy mod. I don't take responsibility if you mess up somehow so do it at your own risk. I'd only recommend this if you know how to properly solder and if you already done the dash LED swap, this part will be a lot easier since there is more space and you're working with much larger LEDs than in the radio and navigation controls. This DIY isn't in great detail and is my first one. Any questions you can ask me if you need help or if you're in Chicago, I can do it for you if you're scared to attempt it.

Supplies Needed:

* PLCC-2 LEDs (Quantity depends on how many LEDs you want to switch out, each light is basically one LED) I replaced 29 of them.
* 0603 LEDs (If you want to change the speedo and tach needles, 4 LEDs needed for each)
* Larger Phillips and smaller flathead screwdrivers
* Soldering Iron and solder
* Needle nose pliers or something to hold the LEDs with when soldering them on.

A de-soldering iron may be useful to some but I didn't use one. I just put the soldering iron on one side of the LED, heat it up, gently lift it up, go to the other side, heat up, and the LED falls out. Be careful if you do it my way to avoid messing up the metal trace.

First thing to do is remove the side panel on the dash. Simply pry it off starting from the bottom going up. Once out, pull the panel with the gas/trunk/traction/snow-ect out towards you. All these panels are held on by clips. Now, lower your steering wheel and pull it all the way out to make room. To remove the cluster, there are two screws on top and two on the bottom behind the panel you just took out. Take the screws off and pull out from the top, you should hear clips loosening and the cluster comes out. Disconnect the two cables on the back near the top. Face the cluster down and slide it out towards the door.

With the cluster out, remove the (9) Phillips screws circled below.

Click the image to open in full size.

Three tabs hold the lens to the assembly, push in and take off.

Click the image to open in full size.

Now take off the lower sides with the warning lights, held on by two tabs each.

Click the image to open in full size.

This is what is should look like below at this point.

Click the image to open in full size.

Take off the needles, to do so, simply wedge a flathead under the needle in the center and pry out.

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To take off the board from the rest, there are two tabs and also disconnect the thing at the top.

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Once all is done, this is what you'll have. The two things are the speedo and tach needles, the two LEDs mounted diagonal are the gas and temp needles. I didn't change my two main needles but to do so just pull out the assembly out from the plastic and you'll see 4 LEDs. I don't know the exact size of them but 0603 LEDs will work but you'll have to mount them sideways.

Click the image to open in full size.

Remember where you take off the needles, if they are off, just turn them to the proper beginning position. When the needle gets tight, keep turning it barely beyond the E on gas, C on temp, and below the 0 for both main needles. To put back, simply do the reverse. Also, when you start the car for the first time, the needles will act funny for a few seconds. Good luck and here's mine!

Click the image to open in full size.
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Last edited by chi123; 07-01-11 at 12:25 PM..
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Old 07-01-11, 01:13 PM   #2
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i see you did this because your cel,abs, and batt lights are on . lol


kidding!!! They look good. Where did you buy the LEDs?

I am going to do this to mine soon
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Old 07-01-11, 01:18 PM   #3
chi123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miggs View Post
i see you did this because your cel,abs, and batt lights are on . lol


kidding!!! They look good. Where did you buy the LEDs?

I am going to do this to mine soon
LOL, no warning lights at all, just pressed the Start button twice without starting the car. I got all my stuff off eBay. I actually took the LEDs out of an LED strip of my friends that wasn't working. Doing it the cheap way!

Unique-LEDs is good but they are just a little expensive.
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Old 07-01-11, 01:29 PM   #4
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When you do it, make sure your LED placed with right direction (look for little arrow on the corner of LED) otherwise, LED won't light up.
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Old 07-01-11, 01:33 PM   #5
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^ Forgot to mention that. On the board, there are printed arrows. The side the arrow points in negative and the PLCC-2 LED have a corner that is chipped off, that is the negative side of it. No arrows or anything is printed on these LEDs for the cluster.
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Old 07-01-11, 01:43 PM   #6
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here is what i'm talking about

Click the image to open in full size.

The cut side on the LED should Match the arrow marked on the board (PCB)
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Old 07-01-11, 03:02 PM   #7
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thanks for the DIY! now i can complete my interior lights swap. i didn't attempt this because i was worried about the needles being off.
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Old 07-01-11, 06:05 PM   #8
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Unrelated, but does anyone know how I can become a vendor here or how I can post a ad to offer LED swaps? The swaps are super easy to me and I'm willing to do full swaps including the needles for $120 including labor and parts.
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Old 07-01-11, 08:59 PM   #9
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Nice work. thanks for the DIY
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Old 07-04-11, 08:31 AM   #10
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Great work! That's great that you'd be willing to offer your skills!!
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Old 07-07-11, 11:52 AM   #11
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Do the needles pop right out?
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Old 07-07-11, 12:26 PM   #12
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^^ you have to pry it out with flat screw driver and its not as easy as it sounds ...it took me awhile because i was careful.
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Old 07-07-11, 12:29 PM   #13
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Needles is little hard to pull out but it will be.
Note : LED size is 1210 LED Not 0603 (or my cluster is different) check careful before you order it. LED is so cheap but wait time is hard (at least for me) cause i can't wait once i'm down to mad my ride.
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Old 07-07-11, 12:46 PM   #14
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^^ how did you find out the led size? and you are talking about needle leds right? they seem to be smaller then other once in there.
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Old 07-07-11, 02:44 PM   #15
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Wow, thanks for the write up. I'm still a long way from daring to attempt this myself, but it's good to have available for reference!
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Old 07-07-11, 02:44 PM
 
 
 
 
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clublexus, cluster, dash, diy, is300, led, lexus, light, lights, ls400, needle, put, swap, tach, wont, work

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