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DIY: 1st Gen Acura RL Instrument Cluster LED Bulbs

 
Old 05-12-2008, 08:29 PM
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EVERY screw must be put in exactly where it belongs or else your gauges and lights will not work properly. First time I did it, I goofed the temp gauge. Fixed it immediately.
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Old 05-13-2008, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by super-rl
Thanks 97 Rler for all the information, I really like the new look I been wanted to get ready of those yellow light for the longest, I just replace my light bulbs with the led bulbs I run into a little problem, now my speed cluster not working, I fallow all the instruction all the screws or in the right place, do you know if there a fuse that I can check or if it expensive to replace
I'm sorry to hear that! But, yeah! as others stated, you gotto check your screws on the back of the cluster again. If they are correct and didn't mar the threads, you may need a new gauge cluster.
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Old 05-13-2008, 06:34 PM
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got mine in!! wooo. i'll have to barrow my gf's camera and take a pic. however, my D4 light doesnt come on anymore i forget, do you have to take off those 20 bulbs to get to the gear lights? i think it may have come loose, lets hope!
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by MasterD86
got mine in!! wooo. i'll have to barrow my gf's camera and take a pic. however, my D4 light doesnt come on anymore i forget, do you have to take off those 20 bulbs to get to the gear lights? i think it may have come loose, lets hope!
Your D4 filament light bulb is out of lifetime. The same thing happened to me because you agitated all the bulbs which were weakened by aging causing some of them broken.

In my case, I exchanged the D4 bulbs with 1st gear bulb which I never use it. You may swap the bulb with some other in the guage you don't use at all or buy an wire-lead bulb.

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Old 05-14-2008, 08:55 AM
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ah makes sense, any idea what kind of bulb it is? and if those 20 screws got to come out to replace it? I want to know for time reasons because it was a hell of a job
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:29 PM
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I just got mine all done. It didn't take me as long as I thought. I am real plaesed with the look. I did all white for mine. I will post pics soon!
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Old 05-18-2008, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 97_RLer
I'm sorry to hear that! But, yeah! as others stated, you gotto check your screws on the back of the cluster again. If they are correct and didn't mar the threads, you may need a new gauge cluster.
I tried this a while ago and stripped the threads on the board putting one of the screws back in. Now only half my cluster lights up. I'm pretty sure it's the board that stripped and not the screw. So, am I screwed? or is there a way to fix this?
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by thrillhouse
I tried this a while ago and stripped the threads on the board putting one of the screws back in. Now only half my cluster lights up. I'm pretty sure it's the board that stripped and not the screw. So, am I screwed? or is there a way to fix this?
I don't think you busted the board but you put the LED in wrong polarity. As I mentioned earlier, do not trust the polarity indicator on the LED bulbs. Some of them are wrong, you may write which bulbs are not on and put them in reverse, and then, they will all light up! If you had busted the cluster by screws, the needle will not move.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:37 PM
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How can you tell what is the correct polarity? I had to do trial and error for mine. It was not marked at all.
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Green Acura
How can you tell what is the correct polarity? I had to do trial and error for mine. It was not marked at all.
I had to do it by trial and error too
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Old 05-20-2008, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Ken1997TL
I had to do it by trial and error too
Whew just checking to make sure I wasn't loosing my mind, or overlooking the obvious.
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Old 05-20-2008, 03:00 AM
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You can check the LED polarity with 9V, 12V, or 14.4V tool battery. Don't worry about LED burn out. LED will do nothing even though you connect it in wrong polarity.

The only error and trial required is to figure out which side is positive on the board. You may install a LED bulb on the board and connect wire harness to light it up and then you will know.

Or you may install all LED bulbs on the board regardless of polarity and connect wire harness to light them up. Some of them will on and the others will off. Now you reinstall those LED, which were not on, in reverse.
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 97_RLer
I don't think you busted the board but you put the LED in wrong polarity. As I mentioned earlier, do not trust the polarity indicator on the LED bulbs. Some of them are wrong, you may write which bulbs are not on and put them in reverse, and then, they will all light up! If you had busted the cluster by screws, the needle will not move.
I actually didn't replace the bulbs, I didn't even get the board off. I had to put it back together before I got that far.

I don't think I busted the bulbs either, because at first when I put the cluster back it was completely dark except for the needles and indication lights. After moving the cluster around a bit a couple of the back lights came on. I tried moving it some more and tapping it and was able to get half of them to light up. So it seems like the stripped screw is causing some loose circuits. Other than the backlights the rest of the cluster works fine.

I'm not sure if this means my board is necessarily damaged, but if it is can I simply swap the whole cluster with a new one? What would happen to my mileage?
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Old 05-21-2008, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by thrillhouse
I actually didn't replace the bulbs, I didn't even get the board off. I had to put it back together before I got that far.

I don't think I busted the bulbs either, because at first when I put the cluster back it was completely dark except for the needles and indication lights. After moving the cluster around a bit a couple of the back lights came on. I tried moving it some more and tapping it and was able to get half of them to light up. So it seems like the stripped screw is causing some loose circuits. Other than the backlights the rest of the cluster works fine.

I'm not sure if this means my board is necessarily damaged, but if it is can I simply swap the whole cluster with a new one? What would happen to my mileage?
What is mileage of your car? As I mentioned earlier, high mileage cars can apt to be broken the filament gauge bulbs caused by aging if you agitate the bulbs. When I took off all ten gauge bulbs and then put them back in for a test, 8 of 10 were not working. My baby had 170,000 miles at the time.

I think your instrument cluster board is working fine. The screws are only related with gauge needles but are not related with bulbs. Your gauge needles are light up and moving properly. That does mean they are fine. The problem is the aged filament bulbs, which are weakly connected inside bulbs or broken.

It is time to upgrade to LED bulbs, which have 180,000 hours lifetime theoretically. LED fails sometimes not because of the LED itself failure but because of resistors or diodes built-in LED failure, but it's rare.

Good luck on your project! If you need diagrams for the instrument cluster removal, just pm me with your email. I can send you PDF documents for better understanding.

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Old 05-22-2008, 11:00 AM
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Well I hope your right. Broken bulbs are much less of a problem than a broken cluster. I'll take it apart one day to test the bulbs. I pm'd you for the diagrams. Thanks for your help!
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Old 05-22-2008, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by thrillhouse
Well I hope your right. Broken bulbs are much less of a problem than a broken cluster. I'll take it apart one day to test the bulbs. I pm'd you for the diagrams. Thanks for your help!
PDF diagrams sent to you.
Trust me I'm sure your gauge clusters are working and the filament bulbs are gone.
Good luck!
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:05 PM
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ok, here's something to help everyone who's doing this: pictures and a 'which direction do I put the darn things in?' guide

First off, the LED's. If you buy them from the seller that 97_RLer recommended, as i did, there are some that are facing the right way with respect to the little (+) symbol on the bottom of each LED, and some that are not. You can figure out which is which (which side is the positive vs negative) by comparing your LED's to this picture. I strongly recommend using a marker to indicate which side is positive (red) and which is negative (usually black). The lines with the arrows indicate the direction the longer, insert board is polarized.

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This second picture is of the place where the LED's go. For instructions on how to get to this phase, see the original instructions (here) and the PDF version of the service manual (here) . Insert the LED's so that the positive terminals from the first picture (now inserted into the holders) are in contact with the parts of the sheet that are labeled as positive in the second picture. I got 10 for 10 on the first try after some circuit tracing.

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For your convenience, I have included a color-coded diagram of which screws go where. Take it easy on the coarse thread ones (orange and red), use a #2-#3 philips and make sure not to strip them. I used a new leatherman wave and it was pretty much perfect. note that in this picture, the rear of the console is shown oriented upside-down

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Old 06-10-2008, 09:14 PM
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Exclamation stupid 5-minute editing rule

All told it took me about an hour and a half to do the process. I strongly recommend the Service Manual , as it has pictures and more detailed instructions on how to get the panel out.
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:28 AM
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Nice job, jerm1386! You just made this LED gauge cluster conversion DIY perfect. All forum members would appreciate of you!
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:25 AM
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i dont know if its just me, but the bulbs dont light up evenly. I got the same ones in white that 97RLer has, but its really noticable that 40 and 80 are prett dim and the brightest is where the bulb is located.

just wondering if I did something wrong or if this is normal.


thanks jerm for the pics! would havecame in handy before haha, but if i ever change it, this will be helpful
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:32 PM
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Nice job guys,I had this done almost 2 years ago and I was unhappy with the outcome.The inconsistency in the cluster lighting pissed me off and I took them out. I guess my sickness is I,m to much of a perfectionist , which can make me crazy at times. Anyway to bad sylvania dos'nt make a blue bulb # 24 you can get them in any straus store.they only have white & amber . tell you one thing there bright as hell.I tried them both just to see the outcome, and they fit and work great.....but I really wanted blue.....again nice job guys and keep up the good work modding RL's
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by GSARL
Nice job guys,I had this done almost 2 years ago and I was unhappy with the outcome.The inconsistency in the cluster lighting pissed me off and I took them out. I guess my sickness is I,m to much of a perfectionist , which can make me crazy at times. Anyway to bad sylvania dos'nt make a blue bulb # 24 you can get them in any straus store.they only have white & amber . tell you one thing there bright as hell.I tried them both just to see the outcome, and they fit and work great.....but I really wanted blue.....again nice job guys and keep up the good work modding RL's

hahaha yeah I'm the exact same way, I think I'm going to look for some white incandescent bulbs so its all consistent. Damn our perfectionist nature!!!

or maybe even amber would be good, hmm.

what did you put in GSARL after you took the LEDs out?
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by MasterD86
hahaha yeah I'm the exact same way, I think I'm going to look for some white incandescent bulbs so its all consistent. Damn our perfectionist nature!!!

or maybe even amber would be good, hmm.

what did you put in GSARL after you took the LEDs out?
I have the silvania amber # 24 bulbs and I was thinking about putting the white ones back in? gotta be real careful this time ...already broke one cluster....thank god for ebay I found a used one on there for $149.00 with almost the same milage...It was a miracle.As I,m sure you know the dealer wants $1100.00 for a new cluster and thats with my connection in the parts dep..I think rregular price is about $1500.00
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Old 08-06-2008, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by GSARL
I have the silvania amber # 24 bulbs and I was thinking about putting the white ones back in? gotta be real careful this time ...already broke one cluster....thank god for ebay I found a used one on there for $149.00 with almost the same milage...It was a miracle.As I,m sure you know the dealer wants $1100.00 for a new cluster and thats with my connection in the parts dep..I think rregular price is about $1500.00
I'll buy your ambers off you if they're still good

also whats the difference between these white bulbs?
http://www.servicelighting.com/EiKo-...ent-Light-Bulb
and
http://www.servicelighting.com/EiKo-...ent-Light-Bulb

may just go with amber though. i can't trust LEDs anymore and not sure how those white bulbs would look
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Old 08-06-2008, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by MasterD86
I'll buy your ambers off you if they're still good

also whats the difference between these white bulbs?
http://www.servicelighting.com/EiKo-...ent-Light-Bulb
and
http://www.servicelighting.com/EiKo-...ent-Light-Bulb

may just go with amber though. i can't trust LEDs anymore and not sure how those white bulbs would look
Those are tail light bulbs......It would'nt make any sense for you to buy those bulbs from me .you can buy them in any straus store for 3.99 a pack
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:05 PM
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ohh duh

these right? thinking of goin with amber. whats the difference between natural amber and amber?

http://www.bulbtown.com/24NA_NATURAL...ASE_p/24na.htm
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MasterD86
ohh duh

these right? thinking of goin with amber. whats the difference between natural amber and amber?

http://www.bulbtown.com/24NA_NATURAL...ASE_p/24na.htm
it looks like the natural amber are a little less orangy
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Old 08-09-2008, 05:05 PM
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Here are my pics during the day...There is not so much glare as the pics show. but they look absolutely amazing. I wish i could change the odometer to match the hyper whites!

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 08-09-2008, 06:33 PM
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nice,what kind if bulbs are they
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Old 08-10-2008, 10:46 PM
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The bulbs are the same bulbs that 97_RLer bought from the guy on ebay...look on page one and it says who the guy was...its the same bulbs that are pictured above.
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:08 PM
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Here are night pics from brightest on the control knob...then in the middle and last as dim as possible.

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97_RLer: It looks as though my odometer is yellowish and yours is hyperwhite?
Am I wrong?
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:16 PM
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i still hate how 40 and 80 are dim. at least its not just me.

but i do like the newer version gauges
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Old 08-11-2008, 02:58 PM
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trust me its not that big of a deal..i know that some people are perfectionists but your not driving down the road and staring at the gauges and its not really noticible...definately worth the $18
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:41 PM
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The cluster needs bulbs that shoot 360 degrees of light.Those led ,s only shoot straight beams,although the white looks pretty good.If you use the sylvania #24 bulb the cluster will light up perfectly....there clear bulbs are very bright.someone should give it a shot and post the pics .as for me I,m done messing with my cluster.....I have so much other shit going on with my car, this is the least important to me right now....just looking to help out .
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by GSARL
The cluster needs bulbs that shoot 360 degrees of light.Those led ,s only shoot straight beams,although the white looks pretty good.If you use the sylvania #24 bulb the cluster will light up perfectly....there clear bulbs are very bright.someone should give it a shot and post the pics .as for me I,m done messing with my cluster.....I have so much other shit going on with my car, this is the least important to me right now....just looking to help out .
I cannot find the sylvanias anywhere (link if you can find it would be helpful) are they incandescent? still debating on white and amber incandescent since im not digging the LED that much. but I'm in the same boat as you, got other problems like EGR mess to deal with first
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Old 08-12-2008, 04:57 PM
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sorry for the confusion...its philips that makes the bulb...heres a pic of the amber ones

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Old 08-22-2008, 01:22 AM
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oh ok, thanks for the pic.

I wish i could see how it would look with clear bulbs but afraid if i get em and take all the time to put them and and they turnout bad, i will kick my self.
are they more of a white?
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Old 08-22-2008, 09:10 PM
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clear or white ..its all the same shit....I wish I had a pic to post ,I thought it looked pretty damn good..nice and bright and even
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:49 PM
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Hey guys.

I need to replace my bulbs as well. Below is a link with all the items sold by jwarden. I would like to get the all white. Can someone please tell me which ones that I need to purchase? Thanks.

http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZwar...QQfsooZ2QQrdZ0
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Old 08-27-2008, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by chitownRLer View Post
Hey guys.

I need to replace my bulbs as well. Below is a link with all the items sold by jwarden. I would like to get the all white. Can someone please tell me which ones that I need to purchase? Thanks.

http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZwar...QQfsooZ2QQrdZ0
Its # 74 wedge bulb or you can get the # 24 bulb at strauss
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