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So is it just me and my tired old eyes, or is the instrument backlighting on '05 Escape gauges just not as bright as newer vehicles? I've played with the lighting level control and it's at its highest setting; I've checked to make sure the bulbs are all functioning (they are), but with headlights on and driving at night, the gauge light is still about half as bright as I'd like it to be.

Is this a known issue with this generation of trucks and if so, how can I remedy it? Or if this is not as designed, what might the trouble be?

Cheers!
 

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2003 model (not much difference) they be too bright at night on the highway so i nearly turn mine off , it could be your peepers? check outside at night and if ok i dunno what is could be , but they are plenty bright imo . good luck
 

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If you want more light, you may be able to get some LED bulbs that will fit at low cost. I checked on aliexpress and ordered a dozen(?) and replaced the bulbs in my Ranger. It had always since new had low cluster lighting. I can now see the gauges after dark. The LED bulbs put out more light per watt of energy, so a low energy/voltage/amp source will be brighter when they are used.
The cluster removal is not difficult. Couple screws in the surrounding bezel, and then about 4 holding the cluster in place. A pair of electrical connectors removed by squeezing on the ends, I think, and the cluster can be maneuvered out past the steering wheel. The bulbs are in plastic carriers.
If you do swap in LED bulbs, make sure they light when power is applied, and if they do not, pull out of the carrier and rotate 180 as they are sensitive to +/- voltage and won't work if the polarity is reversed.
tom
 

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The cluster takes 2 different style bulb holders. 11 total lamps. The Ford part # is 13B765A & 13B765B.

You'll see a picture in this ebay posting. Notice the 2 different color bulb holders. You can not remove the bulbs from their mounts and install LEDs. You have to buy LEDs with the correct mounts, if you are going that route.
 

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Did they change over time? I remember removing and replacing the cluster on a 2007, and the only reason for removal was to change bulbs. I know I did not go to the dealer, and the bulbs must have been available at a parts store... I am sure the bulbs I was concerned about were the backlighting, and not one of the warning bulbs.
The Ranger I have had removable sockets into which I stuffed LED bulbs. Those were from aliexpress, and I can now see(slight blue tint) the cluster after dark.
tom
 
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