DIY: 1st Gen Acura RL Instrument Cluster LED Bulbs - Page 4 - AcuraZine - Acura Enthusiast Community

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DIY: 1st Gen Acura RL Instrument Cluster LED Bulbs

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DIY: 1st Gen Acura RL Instrument Cluster LED Bulbs

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Old 01-18-2011, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by willhiro View Post
3.5 RLv-tec: Did you find a new cluster? I just change my dashboard to LED's, and the speedometer is showing about 15 mph over my driving speed. I'm going to take it apart this week and try to re-adjust the screws. Good luck finding a cluster.

Willhiro
I'm about to make a deal with a member for a used cluster. If everything goes smoothly, then I'll send my old cluster to let them fix the odometer. How do you know you're 15mph over the driving speed? Did you take out the front while changing the LED? Don't touch the needle man! Anyway the LED looks so cool lol
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:42 AM
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I attempted this yesterday (paid a guy to do it for me). I picked up those LED lights from the ebay seller. I've got an 02 RL. The LED lights wouldn't fit through the back of the twist off holes like the OEM bulbs so we had to take the cluster apart and reach them from the front of the cluster. The problem we ran into is that only 1/2 of the bulbs work. We tried to flip the bulbs that weren't working thinking the polarity was backwards but nothing. So now I've got a cluster that still has 1/2 the bulbs out only it's more pronounced now because the LEDs are 10x brighter than the OEM bulbs.

I'm thinking that it's the bulbs. They were a b*tch to push into the twist off caps that house the bulbs. So either they're not seated correctly or they are just not working. I need to pick up the OEM bulbs because I really just want to be done with this PITA. I'm gonna stop by the acura dealer to check prices on these bulbs but if they are like $10 each, does anyone know the part number or bulb that I need so I can maybe pick them up at an auto parts store or online somewhere?

Thanks!!!
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Old 04-16-2011, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by sdwtchlvr View Post
I attempted this yesterday (paid a guy to do it for me). I picked up those LED lights from the ebay seller. I've got an 02 RL. The LED lights wouldn't fit through the back of the twist off holes like the OEM bulbs so we had to take the cluster apart and reach them from the front of the cluster. The problem we ran into is that only 1/2 of the bulbs work. We tried to flip the bulbs that weren't working thinking the polarity was backwards but nothing. So now I've got a cluster that still has 1/2 the bulbs out only it's more pronounced now because the LEDs are 10x brighter than the OEM bulbs.

I'm thinking that it's the bulbs. They were a b*tch to push into the twist off caps that house the bulbs. So either they're not seated correctly or they are just not working. I need to pick up the OEM bulbs because I really just want to be done with this PITA. I'm gonna stop by the acura dealer to check prices on these bulbs but if they are like $10 each, does anyone know the part number or bulb that I need so I can maybe pick them up at an auto parts store or online somewhere?

Thanks!!!
If you got the LEDs from ebay than it should fits correctly. I have to push it very hard but not too hard or else you going to break the bulb holder. I did chip the bulb holder a little bit but at long as the metal still in contact than it should work. Regarding the OEM bulbs, if i remember correctly Rockauto...com has them for $0.99 cent each!Hope thats help.
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Old 04-16-2011, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 3.5RLv-tec? View Post
If you got the LEDs from ebay than it should fits correctly. I have to push it very hard but not too hard or else you going to break the bulb holder. I did chip the bulb holder a little bit but at long as the metal still in contact than it should work. Regarding the OEM bulbs, if i remember correctly Rockauto...com has them for $0.99 cent each!Hope thats help.
Yeah, some of them light up but others don't so I'm thinking either they are not installed correctly, the bulbs are bunk or the polarity is switched. The problem is that since the bulb opening is too small for these to fit through the cluster from the back, the cluster must be taken apart and the LEDs installed from the front which makes the risk of damaging something that much greater when we are taking it apart and putting it back together so much.

I couldn't find the OEM cluster bulbs on Rockauto for an 02 RL cluster but they have them for earlier models. I just want to be sure I get the right bulbs because I don't want to waste any more cash on bulbs that won't work and having to pay someone to install them each time.

Appreciate all the help though!!
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Old 06-28-2011, 12:08 PM
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To 97_RLer or anyone that can help please.

Would you please tell me how did you upgrade your navi screen to the bigger navi screen that only comes for year 2000-04, did you just swap the screen with the bigger one? Please let me know as soon as possibe, I always wondered if I can do that
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:06 PM
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color question

i noticed where u have different shades of blue and red green orange and yellows did you buy the bulbs in those colors or do they just illuminate that way? i have a 1997 acura tl and im re doing my cluster over in led as well im ordering blue led bulbs but i dont want the entire cluster to be blue i want it to contrast just like yours!
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Old 11-22-2011, 08:43 PM
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look at mine. did them myself
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Old 02-20-2012, 12:24 AM
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Fantastic guide, thanks for all the work you guys have put into this - My blue dash looks great! I've just ran into one problem:

All the gauges work just fine. Except the temperature gauge. If the screw for temp is screwed in snugly/tightly, the gauge will increase past the max point whenever I start up my 2000 Acura RL.

If I loosen the screw, it stays below minimum and never rises.

I never touched any needles, so I think I may have shorted something. Any thoughts?
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:24 AM
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Ah! Figured it out. The ground screw on the temp/gas side of the board was not seated properly.
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Old 04-21-2012, 07:10 AM
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If you are replacing any of the Interior switch neo-wedge lights that burn out so easy in Acuras with LEDs, don't get LED replacement bulbs from "warden jp" on E-Bay who ships from Hong Kong. The bulbs for tHe HVAC control & the green one for my cruise control were ok but the other colors (blue & amber) were too long to fit in the bulb compartment. I sent him pictures of the bulbs being measured with a digital caliper to prove they were longer than his specs he has posted and he wouldn't send me replacements for his screw-up. He wated me to pay $5 in postage to send back $3 worth oh bulbs to Hong Kong!
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:57 PM
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Great DIY thread I plan on doing mine white. Does anyone know if you can replace the bulbs in the ac control and all the switch buttons and lights in The window switches and te memory seats button ? The bulbs look very tiny.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Travis_Gib0 View Post
Great DIY thread I plan on doing mine white. Does anyone know if you can replace the bulbs in the ac control and all the switch buttons and lights in The window switches and te memory seats button ? The bulbs look very tiny.
You could, but it's not as simple as switching out the bulb. I think they're soldered onto the circuit board. There was just recently a thread here on that.
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:11 PM
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#24 from warden_jp2002 a bit smaller

Just to inform you all, if you buy "2pcs 24 T6.5 Instrument Panel 5 SMD LED Bulbs(Blue/White) #24" on Ebay from w warden_jp2008, it won't fit in acura 99 RL cluster wedge bulb holder (The round plastic button type of thing). it will be loose because it is not wide enought also not thick enough.

If you still wish to work with same LEDs, the work around is to put some solder iron on its connecters. Remember to brush on both side of the base on LED but, make sure the +ve and -ve connection are still apart. This will add up a very thin layer on the wedge of LED. Now the LEDs will fit easily in old Twist Lock Bases.

It worked great with me and takes only 15, 20 minutes to put a layer on all the 10 LEDs. Hope this will help, but I take no guarranty of this procedure to work.
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:17 PM
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#24 bulb is a bit small for acura 99 RL

Just to inform you all, if you buy "2pcs 24 T6.5 Instrument Panel 5 SMD LED Bulbs(Blue/White) #24" on Ebay from w warden_jp2008, it won't fit in acura 99 RL cluster wedge bulb holder (The round plastic button type of thing). it will be loose because it is not wide enought also not thick enough.

If you still wish to work with same LEDs, the work around is to put some solder iron on its connecters. Remember to brush on both side of the base on LED but, make sure the +ve and -ve connection are still apart. This will add up a very thin layer on the wedge of LED. Now the LEDs will fit easily in old Twist Lock Bases.

It worked great with me and takes only 15, 20 minutes to put a layer on all the 10 LEDs. Hope this will help, but I take no guarranty of this procedure to work.
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Old 05-24-2012, 08:57 PM
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super-rl - i ran into that speedo problem when i replaced some bulbs in my cluster. i never got mine to come back. the head of the crew makes contact on the top board and then the thread of the screw makes contact inside the unit. mine would say i was going 55 mph like all the time. i ended up replacing the cluster and speedo is fine now. check ebay and your local yard for a used cluster but get the same year and milage to avoid headaches. 99+ is diff from 96-98, 04 won't even plug in.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:35 AM
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Not all ebay led are good

Originally Posted by 97_RLer View Post
A number of folk asked me where they can buy the LED bulbs. So I searched the internet for about half an hour. At first, Im sorry but I had misguided you that the cross reference for RLs gauge cluster bulb is #24 but #37 (6 mm) is right bulb. As I told you #74 (5 mm) is smaller than OEM bulbs. Anyway, you can search on the internet, T6.5 3-LED bulb, then, you can find the same bulbs that I bought. Google will show you a number of Chinese websites. I dont know you can directly place an order at there or not.

Anyway, the best way to get the LED bulbs that I would recommend is email to eBay ID, warden_jp2002. Im sure that he is the cheapest and fastest in the world.

Another choice is.
http://cgi.ebay.com/PAIR-12v-T6-5-WE...QQcmdZViewItem
I found the seller on eBay (ID: brightlightautoparts) who are in Australia. The seller are selling the same LED bulbs and a pair of the LED bulbs at AU $8.50 plus AU $15.00 shipping to USA. So expensive!!!..

Another choice is
http://cgi.ebay.com/T5-37-Wedge-12V-...QQcmdZViewItem
The eBay seller (ID: p0o0ohbear) is also from Australia. The LED bulbs are not the same type but are also 3-LED wide angle bulbs. They are selling at AU $3.95 as a pair plus AU $6.00 shipping to USA. Each additional shipping fee is AU $1.00.

Good luck to find good LED bulbs at cheap price.

97_RLer
I have bought a lot of led lights all diff sizes and colors for other car never had a prob I bought some blue LEDs off ebay paid $15 for 10 so I ended up buying 30 of them I put them in my heater and all my buttons like heated seats (3) bulbs each I did my fog light switch that took (2) bulbs same as my deforster cruise controle I even did my tcs and memory seat pretty much all the inside ones and after a few days some stopes working some flickered so out of 30 I prob got like 8 good ones so I have to change the non workin ones and flickering ones out so I kept the ones that worked and put the rest back oem told the guy on ebay he gave money back but it was a lot of work and like u said if u don't kno what ones + u have a 50/50 chance getting it in the first try but I did do my speedometer pink at first looked nice at night but in the day it sucked so I switched em out with the pure white wanted to do blue but didn't kno if it would b like the pink wish I seen ya post sooner seeing that imma do the speedometer again blue now that I see yours in the day light thanks man
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Old 08-16-2014, 01:27 AM
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Hey 97_RLer ...I noticed that in one of you pics you had changed out the bulb in your ignition ring to blue...I understand the 97 acura part number is "35505-TA5-A51" and it is called "bulb (14v 1.4w)"...but I have no idea how to get a custom blue one...I don't know much about sizes of bulbs or anything but I am definitely going to hook up my dash with the config you did. Do you know which bulb you got to make you ignition ring light up blue instead of the green?
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:31 PM
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For those who want to change the bulbs for the AC unit; the LCD take 3mm neox LED bulbs(3), u need another two 3mm for the left knob, 4mm for the right knob and the 3 buttons on the right side (3). So there are 8 bulbs total (3mm=5, 4mm=3). Make sure to get the high power one, they are brighter and of course 2.59$ a pop. Hope that's helpful.
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Old 03-01-2015, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by 3.5RLv-tec? View Post
For those who want to change the bulbs for the AC unit; the LCD take 3mm neox LED bulbs(3), u need another two 3mm for the left knob, 4mm for the right knob and the 3 buttons on the right side (3). So there are 8 bulbs total (3mm=5, 4mm=3). Make sure to get the high power one, they are brighter and of course 2.59$ a pop. Hope that's helpful.
Hi 3.5RLv-tec, where do I get these bulbs?

I got really excited when I saw this thread tonight and am going to make the change to my 2003 RL cluster as soon as I can figure out what I'm going to order (can't decide on white or blue). After reading the whole thread, I realize that I want to do the full job so I want to do the AC unit lights too. btw, is this what you ended up doing? if so, could you post pics?

Thanks!

Tiller
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Old 03-01-2015, 10:56 PM
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I'm heading to the junk yard tomorrow as there's an '02 RL that has a dash in mint condition with my name on it. Gonna take everything for spare parts and it'll be good practice for when I do my own car. Can anyone tell me the exact socket I'll need to take out that radio? Any other tools you guys think I should bring besides a flat head screwdriver for removal of the cluster?
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Old 03-01-2015, 11:12 PM
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I already did the LED for the AC unit, but I'm still missing 3 more 4mm bulbs. It looks really good, way better then stock color. I bought all of the LEDs at superbirhgtled.com. As for the cluster, my is a 96 so it is easy to remove with flat head and 8mm socket. I dont know about the 99+ model. I'm on IG if you want to see the LED, too lazy to post pic here lol
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Old 07-28-2016, 05:20 AM
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Wow! looks great!
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Old 10-21-2017, 08:29 PM
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Thanks for all the info about the dash lights, i plan in upgrading soon as i get off here.
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Old 06-11-2018, 05:44 PM
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looking for bulb source

Hi, ty for all the info, looking to do part of this now, my odometer temp and trip mileage are no longer visible.
does anyone have a current (06/2018) source for the bulbs? i tried several of the ebay stores listed here and they are no longer working links....
Y!.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:56 PM
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NRG200- This was my post from a about a year ago about my odometer/temp/trip meter experience, it can be a bitch:

​​​​​​​ Long story! Just got my RL back from the dealer after 10 days with my odometer/temp/mileage gauge functioning. I took my car to the Acura dealer last December to have the timing belt, water pump, and radiator hoses replaced and to have them troubleshoot my odometer which had been dead for about 2 1/2 months. The tech said it was the bulbs for the unit that were bad. I ordered the bulbs for the whole cluster ($371.00) and was going to have the tech install them but he had reservations about taking the dash apart and possibly damaging the trim piece around the radio and climate controls. The reason he had reservations is the OEM piece costs over $1200.00, and he didn't even think he could get one. I told him to wait and I would research getting a back-up trim piece before he tries to fix it. I found a trim piece on eBay and told him I would bring the car back in July or August, 2017 to have the bulbs installed which is what I did. The end of the first day I get a call that the bulbs didn't fix the problem and that it need the odometer, trip-meter print ($411.00) to fix it. The end of day two I get a call that the that part didn't fix it and "oh-by-the-way" the tech inadvertently broke the instrument cluster glass. At this point the tech says it's most likely the circuit board that runs the whole length of the dashboard and depending on what reference you use it runs anywhere from $612.00 to over $900.00. At this point with me having spent over $780.00 they decide to buy me a used instrument cluster and ship it with my old cluster to a company in California that is authorized to download the mileage information from the chip on my old cluster and upload onto the replacement cluster's chip. The cluster came back Friday the 18th and on Saturday the 19th after they install the new bulbs, odometer, trip-meter board and the new glass on my used instrument cluster I pick my car up on the 19th with 106,403 miles (my current mileage) displayed along the the outside air temperature. I'm a happy-camper at this point until I get in to drive away and notice the SRS light is on, and the first thing that comes to mind is the seat belt buckle the dealer replaced last year under warranty. The tech comes back with his laptop and runs a diagnostic resets the light when I asked him why he didn't notice it before he said that he thought my car came in with the SRS light on I said I wouldn't drive with an SRS lite because it disables the airbag system but he said a lot of people do because of the related costs of replacing parts in the system. My guess is the light was set by the system of the car the instrument cluster came from because it cleared no problem and has not come back. This is why I didn't attempt to fix this gripe myself and was willing to eat the cost of parts and the dealer's hourly labor charge to get this problem fixed. As it turns out it only cost me the price of the bulbs and the circuit board and they ate the the cost of the new glass, the used instrument cluster, shipping costs to and from California and the labor cost for putting it all back together. I feel fortunate that this worked out the way it did since the original estimate for new bulbs and the two hours labor to install was $621.37 which is high but a car without a functioning odometer is unacceptable to me. These are the issues that come with owning older vehicles and in the long run it's worth it to me. My other car is a "cherrie" 32 year old Mazda RX-7 I have had for 23 years so you can see I tend to hang on to my vehicles.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:31 AM
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That is a very frustrating experience and a a sobering story!
did the $370 bulbs come from a place you recommend? What is the source? Don't really want to pay for OEM parts if I can avoid it.
I guess based on this my only choice is to have them open it up and try the bulb replacement and see if it works. Sounds like a huge hassle, anything you would recommend doing after your experience?
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:24 PM
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The $371.00 I quoted was the "dealer's" cost for the instrument cluster bulbs. I figured if I was going to pay to have the cluster pulled for bad bulbs on the odometer/OAT/Trip Meter gauge I would have all of them replaced at the same time to avoid future bulb related problems. Your problem may be as simple as just replacing a few bulbs but you won't know until you get the unit out and try replacing the bulbs. I just wanted to give you a "head-up" about what you might run into trying to repair your gauge. You don't say what year RL you have or how many miles you have on it, can you live without that part of your cluster not working? Do you intend to fix it yourself? Do you have a second car to drive while repairing the RL if you run into problems? My decision to pay the cost to have the dealer fix my unit was two fold, one if they break it they got to fix it (as opposed to me driving my disassembled car to them in pieces after I tried to fix it and screwed the pooch) and two I cruised around in 2017 Acura MDX for ten days while they fixed my car. I Googled instrument cluster repair and there are places that fix clusters but can you go without your car for while it's being repaired. You can buy a used one and hope the mileage is about the same as what is on yours. I knew the dealer could send my old cluster and the replacement cluster they bought me to Acura of California and have my original mileage transferred to the replacement cluster which is what they did, so I know exactly how many miles I have on my car. I know how many miles I drive in a given month/year but I'm anal about things working on my cars and was going to get it repaired and knowing my limitations chose the expensive dealer route. Only you can decide what approach is right for you but for me at 66 years of age and having a cherry RL with 107K miles on it I don't plan on buying another car in my lifetime. I drive about 1,400-1,500 miles a year and when I make trips I rent a car. I wish you luck with whatever choice you make.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:55 PM
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$371 is more than I really want to spend so if I can save money by using aftermarket parts I want to do tgat.
i appreciate the heads up. It is a 2002 RL with 90k miles and I think I need to fix it to pass NJ inspection.
I can live without it for a couple of weeks, my independent mechanic is going to try to fix it.
ty and if you can recommend source for aftermarket bulb or places.to send cluster if necessary I would appreciate it!!!
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:25 PM
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Will these work?
https://www.ebay.com/itm/10pcs-T5-1210-Bright-Blue-Gauge-Cluster-Light-Instrument-Panel-Bulb-27-12v-27/222430756290?fits=Make%3AAcura%7CModel%3ARL&hash=i tem33c9e7fdc2:g:3TQAAOSwGUBZ7CtL:sc:USPSFirstClass !08904!US!-1

https://www.ebay.com/itm/30Pcs-T3-Neo-Wedge-LED-Car-Instrument-Cluster-Panel-Lamps-Gauge-Bulbs-A-C-Lights/312092729873?fits=Make%3AAcura%7CModel%3ARL&epid=2 7016992441&hash=item48aa2d2211:g:dyoAAOSwEBpas2xQ
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:38 PM
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I can't advise on bulbs because I have no experience with aftermarket bulbs, I used OEM bulbs because the work was done at an Acura dealer and they don't install aftermarket parts. Google "instrument cluster repair" and you will find plenty of options, you can also do a parts search for used clusters from online salvage yards which are mostly all online now but check local first.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:46 PM
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Thanks, I appreciate all your feedback.
So I was thinking about a cluster, I can just take the old one out and put the new one in without worrying about the bulbs right? But what about the mileage chip you mentioned? If my local mechanic does that he will have to send it out to some special place right?

Is this what you are referring to as a cluster?
https://www.ebay.com/itm/96-98-ACURA...ss!08904!US!-1
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:48 PM
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Also I just found this listing. they claim they will rebuild for 189.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/96-97-98-99...0AAOSwnLdWtQye
This rebuild service includes the following work performed on YOUR Acura RL cluster:
  • Restoration of odometer
  • Replacement of main voltage regulator (as needed)
  • Test and replacement of tell-tale indicator lamps (as needed)
  • Upgrade to LED illumination to restore original brightness and clarity of cluster
  • Full test before and after rebuild
  • 5 business day turnaround from the day we receive your cluster (turnaround time may vary).
  • Five year guarantee against return failure - face-plate is required for warranty and to protect needles during shipment.
  • We DO NOT charge a bench test fee.
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:44 AM
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Yes, that is the instrument cluster. Contact the seller on his eBay site and tell him you have a 2002 Acura RL instrument cluster that that has a non-functioning odometer/oat/trip meter. If he says he can rebuild it for you ask him if you will have your cars original mileage information retained. The mileage information is retained on a chip on the cluster circuit board. If your problem is just a lighting issue you should be good to go, if you have other issues he will have to tell you what he can and can't do to fix it. The dealer had to send my old cluster along with the used one they bought me to Acura of California to have my chips information transferred to my new used cluster so it has my original information. There are tutorials online for reprogramming odometers but there can be legal issues involving that procedure. The guy on eBay has a very good customer rating so contact him through his site there and ask all the questions you need answered before you pull and ship.
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