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Australian ZC Escape - Weekend Hacks ;)

9577 Views 33 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Nigel
Well, I have my car back. Plan for this weekend is to take the Climate Control and Stereo front Panel Apart and see if I can change the colour. Interestingly enough, the ZC escapes here in Aus have Line In on the Panel, but it doesnt go anywhere.

I pulled the head unit out today, and the Line Ins are on the back of the deck : just two plain old RCA's.
The Stereo is made by Panasonic, and appears to be modular (Front panel, Rear Deck). My Deck is the 6 stack MP3 changer, and it also has CD Changer control (and then a set of CDC-In RCA's as well).

There are good options for expansion here!. Now to think about where to put the Aux in in the car.

Photos, as well as news how I go later on.

Of course, I have a backup plan. The Aus ZC (2006) escapes have silver trim, the Mazda Tributes Black (Piano - ergh). But the Escapes have Blue Back-Lighting (Ergh) while the tributes have Amber. If I cant make the escape Amber, Im going to bolt the tribute bits in instead using the escape trim panels.

I did have a really good look for the Aux power connector : on the BA/ZA/ZB escapes, there was an Aux power connector in the dash. Not on the ZC. The Aux power in the Boot is still there though.

Updates later on if Im awake ;)
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Argh!. Beaten.

Ive changed the colour of the Fog Light Switch, the 4x4 switch, and ive disassembled the Stereo Facia and the Climate Facia.

But theres no way to change the filters in the LCD. And *nothing* beats blue. Grrr.

I may settle for amber lighting of the switches yet, and just have the displays blue. I really did want to change the lot over though.

Does anyone on here have an 06 tribute that wants to convert to Blue Stereo and Climate?

Im in QLD. The answer to Why oh Why is : Because something had to be done.

The BA/ZA/ZB escapes had green backlighting, consistently through the car.

The ZC has Green on the doors, fog switch, 4x4 switch, a little amber on the dash and shifter, and blue most other places.

And that blue - is iridescent. Its really hard to deal with after 500km at night. So Id love to tone it down.

I think I have an answer for the dash... but that may actually be a complete new print on film which the guys on Fordmods here in Aus have been doing for quite some time for the E-Series Falcons. Then I can have almost any colour I want.

Do any US escapes have any other colour other than green for the Cluster LCD? - Green sucks!.

I may even look at adapting a Mazda CX7 or 3 or 6 LCD as they are LED backlit for colour


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No mate, not yet. Should be but may take their time...
Well,enough moaning. I seem to have been reading a pile of great sites, and it looks like I will be able to change the colour of the LCD after all. Actually, I can even invert it. Nice, but too much hard work.

Also - working on a cluster - you can use nail polish remover and a couple of cotton buds to remove the paint you dont want behind the cluster.

My only concern now is repainting it.. and how im going to want that.
Well, I gave up waiting, and ripped the dash out again.

Im leaving the dials Blue (yeah, you US folk should all be jealous....) but Ive changed the ODO illumination to Amber. Turned out really well.

Youve all seen how to remove the dash, so I wont cover that. The 06 Escape here has the same dash layout as the 01-04 model in the US.

To change the LCD Illumination Colour, you'll need to remove the Circuit Board from the back of the cluster. That was 5 screws on the back, and then very gentle manipulation to remove the board from the 4 Gauges on the front.

Next I needed to remove the black clip at the top of the LCD. My Apologies for not taking pics - I was without batterys at this point. The Clip undoes using a small screwdriver - a "clip" on each of the bottom (lower) corners (put the small/jewelers driver down where there is a small "hole", and manipulate the white plastic carefully so that the black cover/clip is released). There is also two "retainers" on the Top (Upper) side, about 10mm in. Gently pry the black plastic away from the lcd to release, making sure you dont put pressure on the LCD and damage it.

At this point, the black Clip should come off, and you will have access to the LCD. At the very bottom of the LCD is the Green Opaque Light Disperser/ Filter. Its glued on around the edges - very, very gently use something to pull the Filter away from the LCD (I used a jewelers screwdriver) and then when all 4 sides have been released, gently pull it out.

I replaced the Filter with a combination of Amber Paper, and some White Photographic Paper (like a photo) which helps to disperse the light. The Amber paper is to the bottom, the Photo Paper, then the LCD. Very carefully cut to size (use the original filter as a guide) and then place under the LCD. You can now replace the black clip you removed, and put the rest of the cluster back together carefully.

Results... Below, As well as other shots of the Climate and Stereo on the Escape.

I also modded the 4x4 switch to Amber (Green has no place in this car) as well as the Fog Light Switch (Amber backlight with Amber on indicator)

Cluster after Mod

Stereo and Climate on 06 Aus Escape. Id like to change both of these to Amber. I think I have that figured out just waiting to purchase the 1206 SMD LED's for the change

Shifter - Note the Blue. I think this will change to Amber

Climate Unit out of Car.

Stereo Face Plate Dissasembly..

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Poor, Poor car!.

One of the biggest deficiencies in the ZC escape here is that the Low Beams switch off when the Highs go on. They in fact use pre-05 wiring (Switched Ground).

So - did the adjustment so they stay on.

(Pics to come). Wired the Low Beams switched wire to ground so that they are always on.

I also ran a pair of wires from the Two original wires to the globe, to a Relay. The Relay doesnt switch anything - it just presents a load. This at least lets the dash light illuminate. Its quick, and it works.

Later on I'll investigate doing a "nicer" hack inside the car so that the globe has full brightness.

Pics will come later - but then youve all seen an 05 or later with all the lights on.

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So do I ;).

The Stereo backlighting has to change though. I have 2 choices - I have the Amber SMD Led's, or I can put a filter in there. Im thinking the SMD idea for now. The Blue is just waaaay too intense.
Well, got bored on the weekend and finished the job.
First Pic is Original, Second is how its finished up. Clickable links of course
Very happy. I did neglect to take pics of the process though - sorry!

Only the shifter left and Ive ridded myself of the blue. And the one green light left for key illumination.

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The Amber is much, much nicer to see at night. Especially from the Climate/Radio. Im a little disapointed how dim the stereo is, but another LE upgrade should take care of that. At least now my (and my wife's) eyes arent burning out 500km into a 950km trip.
Wow. This was some time ago.

The Stereo Fascia is attached to the fascia including the Centre Vents, and the Cluster. You need to remove that, and the fascia comes away with it. You can then remove the stereo.

Best of luck.

Oh no- I still have the zc. I haven't had the dash off for 24 months and my daughter gets my time, along with my toy (5.0 xf falcon) and daily (5.0 el falcon)

The one thing I did do is discuss with my engineer engines : I've always felt that the escape would really suit a windsor for towing and daily driving as a rwd instead of awd

Engineer tells me 7.2 liters or so is the limit... So when my el falcon dies of old age I'm fairly sure it's power plant will end up in the escape

Few challenges there, hopefully ill have the time to do it. Not for another year or so thankfully
I dont think the 5.4 will fit - its too wide. (thats the thought) - and I am well versed with the 5.0 (I have an XF with an EFi 5.0 and an EL with the 185... which used to be a 6.
So I'll stick with the 5.0, EFI, 4 speed Auto, and RWD. For someone else Im sure that using a Territory 4 speed auto Extension housing, and perhaps an exploder front diff might give more options but I never use 4x4 anyway - its just a great driving position car.

Im still considering the swap, however I may have to go back to a BA Escape to do it (01 model) so that I can use the 01 or 02 engine from an AU Falcon (or an EF or EL...)

I can still retro-fit the ZC interior to a BA - the wiring is 99% identical anyway so just need to wait until their price drops. For now, just get the 5.0 running eh?
Wont be for a little while yet. Have to get it into my head to sell the XF, find the right BA, then find an AU Body to cut the trans tunnel out of so I can mount the engine high enough to get over the rack. Then should be easy enough.

In the meantime... my wife wont let me touch the ZC :(
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Well, I bought a BA Escape, 01 model, Gearbox dead, nice Red Colour.

Arrives in 2 weeks. ive also just stripped a ZC 4 Cyl for some insider knowlege, and Im about to get into the task of V8'ifying the BA

Wish me luck.
The Territory Engine is most likely a little too long. I did a measure up from my EL V8 against the engine bay. Looks like almost *exactly* enough room for the 8....

Oh the escape bay is about 10cm wider though - thats nice
Howdy. PM Me, and I'll get you my email address.

No pics here, but its a very quick fix. I'll walk out and take some photos on the weekend.

Interestingly, a 4 Cyl ZC I pulled apart (08 model) did the right thing with the lights. Shortcuts to the V6 I guess.

I have a ZA sitting out the front of the house at the moment, and as soon as It passes RWC, Im going to pull the engine, and start working on a 5.0 for it ;)
OK. Still have a BA Escape out the front. 01 model, XLT. Arrived with gearbox not working. One connector back on, and its ready to go.

Im having no end of fun now with TMR Queensland, trying to work out if I'll be allowed to convert it to a 2WD. Apparently because its Complianced as a MC Class Vehicle I have to meet all ADR's for a standard Car - Meaning Steering Column, Instrument Panel, and Offset Front Impact Crash testing.

That last one is a deal breaker. Im still chasing this down, but if I cant sort that one out Im not doing a V8 Escape. Pity too - Im pretty sure its an easy fit.
Well, if I lived in NSW I could do my V8 Escape. unfortunately, I dont. I have to crash test the car after I do it.... its a destructive test, soooo.. no V8 Escape for me, for now. Im keeping that one in mind though in case I ever move to NSW

So the BA is up for sale - and soon I'll have a complete set of ZC (larger, and disc rear) Brakes for an Australia Escape for sale as well
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