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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i want to change the color of my cluster lights...
cuz my car is blue i want them blue also...
i know how to remove everything... but is it possible to change them with no modification...
 

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I've been wanting to do this as well...I'm told it is possible with some very detail oriented work. JP is better at explaining it but basically the color that is being emmitted from your cluster is from a thin lining that is on your gauges which displays the light. You would have to lightly sand off that lining then I guess spray paint on a new one or get new lights after you do the sanding...JP is that close?
 

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Yup, sort of.

Here's a how-to:

First, you'll need these paints:



I found the "Whitewash" paint (Design Master #769) at Michael's (it's a art-supply and home-decor chain). This stuff has a milky-white finish that won't chip off of plastic.

The ideal blue color is Dupli-Color MC201 "Metalcast" Blue, which I found at Pep Boys. It's transparent blue, and it matches the color of blue LEDs perfectly.

To get started, remove the instrument cluster and the lens. Move all of the needles in the opposite directions of their stops and mark the tip locations with a small piece of tape. Make sure the tape stays on the gauge face sheet during this entire process (this is important!!!).

To remove the needles, carefully twist them up and away. Start by moving each one opposite from their stops, then gently turn and pull at the same time. If you do this violently, you'll damage the stepper motors.

Now peel the sheet away from the cluster housing. Try to do this without bending the sheet too much, because violent bends will damage the printed surfaces.

If you get the sheet away in one piece, remove the adhesive on the back by using duct tape to grab the adhesive and pull it away. This will take a lot of repeating, but it's better than using chemicals, and definitely better than trying to scrape it off (why do people try to do that?).

Once all of the adhesive is gone, use 200 or higher sandpaper to sand away the inside areas around the gauge markings only, until the color is completely gone from each marking. Shine a light through each marking to make sure.

Mask everything on the rear side of the sheet except the clear gauge markings. You also need to mask the red gauge markings (this must be done), and the entire front side of the sheet (just to be on the safe side, and use clear tape and clear plastic). Shine light through the sheet to make sure that the only markings not masked are the clear gauge markings.

Spray several light coats of the blue paint on the rear side of the sheet. After each coat is dry, shine a light through the sheet to make sure the coat is uniform, and continue to add coats until the color is both deep blue, yet still light enough to let most of the light through.

Here's where your artistic talents will be needed. Don't remove the masking yet. Spray one light, uniform coat of the Whitewash paint on the entire surface. Wait for it to dry. Connect a 12V wall-wart power pack to two wires, and run those two wires to one of the gauge lamps in the cluster. This will light the rest of the gauge lamps as well. Put the gauge sheet over the cluster, and you'll see that some markings are brighter than others. The brighter markings are the areas you'll need to hit with a few more shots of the Whitewash paint. This is why the original sheet had a gradient pattern on the back. Each time you add a Whitewash coat and let it dry, place the sheet over the cluster with the lamps lighted to see how you're doing. If you do this right, the entire sheet will look uniform. Hint: take pictures with a digital camera at low exposure each time. It will pick up the brighter areas really well, and help you to figure out which markings need more Whitewash.

Get a roll of 3M double-sided tape (commonly available at Target). It's in a red package. Look for the thinnest tape if there are several thicknesses available. This is the tape you'll use on the cluster side, mainly around the edges and only on the flat surfaces. Carefully position the sheet in place, but don't press too hard. The gauge sheet needs to lie flat.

Replace the needles by carefully pushing and twisting, and avoid being too violent against the motor stops. Line them up with your markings. This may take several tries, but be patient and careful.

Reassemble the lens and install the cluster. You're done.

Finally, if you want to buy a used cluster on ebay and send it to me, I'll do all of this for $50, shipped. I'll leave the sheet unattached so that you can replace the one on your cluster. You should use your original cluster assembly and just change the gauge sheet.
 

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jpark said:
Finally, if you want to buy a used cluster on ebay and send it to me, I'll do all of this for $50, shipped. I'll leave the sheet unattached so that you can replace the one on your cluster. You should use your original cluster assembly and just change the gauge sheet.
You will??? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the HOW TO: but i like to see pics...
i know jp that u dont have an escape to show us...
but i might wait to seee some pics...
or maybe try it if i mess up :censor: :cuss: :wall:
but it will be my fault...

THANKS AGAIN MAN :yahoo:
 

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Go in 1/2 the cost with me and I will send him my cluster so he can take pics for you :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
in that case ill just send him mine...
ill help with shipping..
or just tell me how much the total is going to be...
and ill help out...
 

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I want him to do mine too! lol

JP do we get a 2 for 1 discount? lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
lol :hyst:
yea, but thats a really reasonable price he gave us though...
how long would it take to get the cluster back
 

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I could probably do each one in one day.

BUT...I've never seen the inside of a 2001-2004 cluster---just my 2005's cluster. The 2001-2004 clusters are totally different from the 2005-2007 clusters, even though they look similar.
 

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02Xcape said:
dang...
can i send you a guinea pig...
and we can see from there
I still think you're better off sending the cluster myself.

The Guinea Pig will probably just turn up dead and to be honest, I don't even think they have any lights in them anyway. :shrug:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
ill se what i can do...
im just wondering how long would the whole process take...
from shipping to sending it back...
 

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That would depend on how much work is involved. If I could see the insides of a 2001-2004 cluster, I could tell how long it could take.

I'd probably ship ground only because of the shipping costs. With fuel prices the way they are, shipping costs (esp next and two-day) have really gone up.
 

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ground is fine with me :)

Does the mileage that displays on the cluster get stored in the cluster?
 

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That's what I'm not sure about. The wiring diagrams don't make that clear.

You could buy a 2007 cluster from ebay to find out.

PS...here's a shot of the experiments I've done on my '05 cluster sheet (since I left the Tribute sheet on my Escape when I sold it). I wanted to see how these would turn out before I started messing with the Edge's cluster (I tried one with white letters and one with blue). I had a "Job 1" 2005, which didn't have white temp and fuel gauges. The "Job 2" 2005 models, and all other models through 2007, look like the gauge faces on your 2007 Escape.

 

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Is that as bright of blue as it is in the 2008s or do the pictures not do justice of how it really looks?
 

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I'd say it's brighter than the 2008's cluster, but only if you use the brighter (#24) bulbs under the gauge faces. If you use the stock bulbs, they'll be about the same.

Ford's 2006-2008 corporate clusters are actually pretty dim, although the one on our Fusion is about twice as bright as the one in my Edge. That will change soon.

:D
 

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FedEx seems to be the cheaper ground service :)
 

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i removed my cluster in the timmies drive through the other day. its easy. and it will only reset your trip meter back to 0 when you plug it back in. i did notice that there are 2 extra spots for lights that are not used on mine, but if you look through them one of them looks like a fog light indicator., i cant remember what the other one looked like. does anyone with an 01-04 have a fog light indicator on their cluster??
 
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