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4,846 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This DIY has been sponsored by Diode Dynamics. All SMD's and LED's used were provided by Diode Dynamics.

I have decided to make a DIY on how to convert all your interior lights, to any color of your choice. This DIY will show you how to convert your:

-Gauge Cluster
-Window Switches
-Clock (03-05 AND 06 clocks)
-Fog Light Switch
-Stock Radio
-Ignition Ring
-Cigarette Lighter

I am using a local member's car as the "project car" for this DIY. He chose to have a white interior, hence why *most* of these will be conversions to white, but any color you desire can be done, you just need to find that color LED.

Tools Needed:
-Soldering Iron
-Wire cutters
-Needle Nose Pliers

-3mm LED's - color of choice
-SMD's - color of choice
-Scotch Tape
-White Paint
-Painters Tape
-Liquid Electrical Tape

LED / SMD Quantity List:

3mm LED's:
Window Swtiches - 3
Fog Light Button - 2
Dimmer Switch - 1
Cig lighter - 1
Ignition Ring - 1

Gauge Faces - 27
Needles - 4
Center Digital Display - 3
Turn Signals - 2
Warning Lights (seat belt, e-brake, etc.) - 1 each
'03-'05 Clock - 4 (or more if you choose)
'06 Clock - 8

For the HVAC:
If converting to white...
3 - 3mm LED's
22 - SMD's

If converting to blue, red, etc...
15 - 3mm LED's in color of choice.
3 - SMD's in color of choice.
7 - White SMD's.

I tried to take pictures of every step to make this is clear and easy as possible to follow, however I may have missed a few steps. If you have any questions, feel free to post up or PM me.

Dimmer Switch
Courtesy of stevey-wonders

Window Switches

Alright, first off, you have to take the window switches out. You can do this by taking a flat head screwdriver, and prying it up at the marked areas.

Next, unplug the 2 harnesses connecting the window switch assembly to the car.

Now, taking a small flat head screwdriver, pry the tabs up on the window switch cover to get the window switch out. There are 3 tabs on each side (as marked in the picture), you may break a few of them, if you do, don't worry about it, the switch will still stay in place.

Now you should have the window switch as a whole.

Do the same for the passenger side.

Now, you should have this:

Take the passenger side switch, and begin to pry the back face off. There are 4 tabs holding it in place.

Once you have the cover off, you should be able to pull the circuit board out of the casing.

Leaving you with this...

Next, you'll need to disconnect the old crappy orange LED. Flip the switch over so you're looking at the side with the white plastic harness. Then, using your soldering iron, heat up the solder that is holding the LED's in place, while pulling it through the circuit board.

Now, using a resistor, solder it onto the side of the LED with the long lead. You can also look inside the LED and see that one side is bigger than the other. You want to solder it to the side with the small metal piece inside the LED.

Your LED should look something like this...

Now, you're going to want to cut off the little "holder" that held the stock LED in place, so you have room for the resistor.

Now, it's time to solder the new LED in. Solder it just like this:

Alright, it's all set, now go test it out and make sure it works.

WOOT! We have light! Now, just piece the switch back together just as you took it apart.

And voila, one side is DONE! That was easy, wasn't it?

Now moving onto the driver side switch. First, pry off the window lock button with a small screwdriver.

Now, take the back casing off just as you did with the passenger side switch, and disconnect the LED's the same way.

Cut off the "holders"...
And solder the new LED's with resistors in.


4,846 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

Test them out...

Success! Now piece it back together just as you took it apart, and go install it!

Fog Light Switch

First thing you have to do, is pull off the center fascia. Open the ash tray, and get your fingers behind the fascia, and PULL. It should pop off...

Now, you should see the harness to the fog light switch. Un-plug it.

Now that it's unplugged, you'll have to push in the tabs on the back of the switch, and pop it through the front of the fascia. There are 2 tabs, one on top, and one on bottom.

Now, you see this. One of my lights was taken out, so it's not there, but you can see the stock bulb holders. Take your pliers and twist them, and pull them out. Then, take a 3mm LED, and bend it like this:

Now, stick it inside that hole where the stock bulb went and angle it so it's facing the front of the switch.

Now, you want to bend the long lead so it's bends and contours to the copper piece where the stock bulb was.

Then, snip it so it's not sticking out, and solder it on.

Now, take a resistor, and bend it like this:

This will be soldered onto the other side of the hole, and then connect to the short lead coming off of the LED. Once tou get it shaped right, solder it in.

Now take the other end of the resistor, and conntect it to the short lead from the LED.

Once you get it all lined up, solder that together. Make sure that the short lead from the LED is NOT touching the copper on the switch, as this will bypass the resistor, blowing the LED.

Check to make sure that nothing is protruding out of the switch. If anything is, fix it so it sits flush, or else the switch will stick and not function properly.

Now, go check it out! (this switch was converted to blue).


4,846 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

03-05 Clock

Since you already have the center fascia off, unscrew the 4 screws holding the clock in place (My clock is missing a screw, lol).

Now that you have it out, there are 4 tabs (again, I know). 2 on top, 2 on bottom. Un-do those and it should slide apart.

Should look like this:

Next, you may have to break the tabs, but try not to, but bend back the display with a small flat head screwdriver.

Now, flip up the circuit board, and heat up the marked solder points while pulling off the white rectangular piece on the front. These are the stock LED's.

Now, break the plastic piece off from the LED board. There's 6 points where it's attached, you'll have to break the plastic to spearate them. Use a small screwdriver, and yet again, pry them apart.

Now, take that small flathead screwdriver, and separate the orange film from the back of the display.

This is where it begins to get tricky. Take a spare LED, and cut the leads off from it.

Stick those through the circuit board on the right side where you unsoldered the stock LED board, and solder them in place.

Then bend them like this:

Now taking your SMD's, solder one in place. On the SMD, there is one corner that has a flat side to it, this corner will go on the bottom left when you solder them in.

Then, solder a second one in place.

Now you're out of room. Time to extend the leads. Take another spare 3mm LED, and yep, you guessed it. Cut off the leads and solder them onto the existing ones, extending them the length of the clock.

Now, solder in a 3rd, and 4th LED. You can put as many as you like, but 4-5 does the job just fine.

Test it out!

Now, securing it. This is optional, but I do this so the solder points can't come undone. Take painters tape and tape off the cicuit board under the SMD's.


4,846 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

Now, you might be asking "hey speedy, what is this for??", well, this is so you will have a clean surface for the liquid electrical tape. Go ahead and apply it over the tape, and around your solder points and let it dry.

Now, if you put it back together and plug it in, you'll notice that there are hot spots. Not good. In order to smooth those out, you'll need a frosted like surface.

What I did to fix this, was use scotch tape on the back of the display. Put as many layers as you want on there, but make sure to not make any bubbles in it, as they will show on the screen. So, after each layer of tape, hold it to the light and make sure it's all smooth. The more layers you put on, the more even the display will look. I put about 7-8 layers on...

Now, put it all back together, and go install it.

Done! Now you have a custom clock! Enjoy it!

Gauge Cluster

First thing you need to do. Go start your car, let it idle for a minute, then take a picture of the cluster and the location of the needles. In addition, you need to take note of where your temperature needle is at during normal operation and where it stays after the engine has warmed up. You will use this later on in case you need to calibrate your needles.

Next, you have to do is take out the gauge cluster. To do so, look at the gauge surround, see those 2 screws under the gauge hood? Those gotta come out.

Now that you have those screws out, all you have to do it PULL, it should pop right off. pull the top until it pops out some, then pull the bottom part of it until it comes off. Next, you have to take out the cluster itself. There are 4 screws holding it in, 2 on each side of the cluster. Take them out.

Now you should be able to wiggle it around and pull it out some. Once you pull it out enough to reach the back of it, un-plug the 3 harnesses.

Now the cluster is free, and you can take it to your working area. It should look like this.

First off, you need to take off the plastic cover, do so by un-doing the 7 tabs. 3 on the bottom, 4 on the top.

Now that the cover is off, you need to take the gauge bezel off. Again, there's 7 tabs holding it on. 3 on the bottom, 4 on the top.

Now the cluster should look like this:

Next, using needle nose pliers, slide them under the base of the needles, and pop them off. They pop off by pulling straight up. Do this for all 4 needles. Make sure you place all the needles in a safe place making sure not to scratch them or damage them as they are delicate pieces.

Now it's time for the needle stoppers, take them off by using pliers and pulling them straight up. You'll have to pull relatively hard to get them off.

Now, it's time to take the gauge faces off. You can do this by sliding a flat head screwdriver under the face, and pulling them up and off, they should pop right off.

Now, when you get to the center face, it comes off the same way, but there are 2 little "hooks" holding them down by the gas and temp gauges, so make sure to slide it down after you pop it free, so you can pull it off.


4,846 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

Your cluster should now look like this:

Now, looking at the back of the gauge faces, you'll see a white backing. Now you won't have to worry about changing the color of that, right? WRONG! Hold it up to the light and you'll see the red is on that too!

In order to get it off, you have to sand the back of the face. I used 400 grit sandpaper and water and wetsanded it. It took a few minutes, but eventually it all came off.

NOTE: Do not sand anything you don't want to change the color of. If you want it to remain red, Don't sand it!

Woo Hoo! It's working! Keep going until it looks like this:

I left the "redline" red, so I was careful to sand around that, but not the redline area itself.

Ok, now back to the cluster. Flip it over. There are 7 screws you need to take out. They are marked here. once they're out, the back cover should be able to come off

Once you have that off, use a pen / pencil / marker to mark the 4 "motor-like" things (can't think of a better description of them, lol) that move the actual needle itself. You want to mark them so you know which way they go in, and where. I marked the top by a line and used arrows pointing toward the outside of the cluster.

Now, flip the cluster back over. There are 2 brass screws within the clear pieces in the middle of the speedo and the tach. Take those out, and pull the plastic piece out. This should also allow those "motors" on the back to come off.

Do the same for the middle plastic piece. Take those 2 brass screws out and pull it off. This time, it won't release those "motors". You have to take out another 2 brass screws to release those. Once you have all 8 brass screws and 3 plastic pieces out, the 4 "motors" should come off.

What I did was re-assemble the motors and the plastic pieces off of the cluster so I couldn't lose any of the parts. I would recommend this, but it's not necessary.

You can now remove the circuit board inside the casing by simply pulling it out.

Now, looking at the front of the cluster, you can see the SMD's that light up the gauge cluster. Take your soldering iron and heat up each side of the SMD, melting the solder holding it on. Thenthe stock SMD will be able to be removed. Then, take your SMD's (color of your choice), replace them where the stock ones were making sure to put that flat corner on the SMD the same way as it was on the stock SMD (flat corner, to the bottom left).


Now that you've replaced all 7 of the SMD's, go plug it in and make sure it works.

Pro-tip: You only need to plug in the harness on the left side on top (side toward the driver side door) in order for it to illuminate.

Woot! Success. Now do the same for the Tach. Also, you can swap out ANY of the SMD's you see with your own if you want. For the gas and temp gauge, there are 2 SMD's on the top, in the middle. I swapped those out.

Here's what it should look like with the Tach, Speedo, gas gauge, and temp gauge converted to white, yours will be whatever color you chose.

Now for that little display in the middle of your cluster. Take a flat head screwdriver, and pry it gently along the edges. It will pop out.

Next, you need to pull the display away from the plastic spacer. You can do this with a flat head screwdriver or you can simply use your fingers.

Next you need to take out that orange film between the display and the plastic spacer. It should just come right off...


4,846 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

Now that you took the orange film out, stick the display and the plastic spacer back together making sure all the little pins went back in their designated hole.

Now looking at the cluster, you'll see the 3 SMD's that light up that whole display. Replace these 3 with your SMD's. Again, making sure to put them in the same way as the stock SMD's.

Now go plug it into the car, and make sure they work. (I did the display first, so all the other SMD's are still stock)

Next, you want to put the circuit board back into the casing, re-assemble the "motors" the same way you took them out, re-install the clear plastic pieces holding the motor in. Then insert your display back into the cluster. Make sure all the leads are going into the proper holes. Once they are in, push it down until it sits flush and fits nice and snug in its place.

Now, put the back casing back on and screw in the 7 screws attaching it to the front case, sealing the circuit board inside it.

Re-install your needle stoppers by simply pushing them back in, and put your needles back on. Make sure to lightly push the needles back on, just enough so they will stay on. If you push them on too hard, they won't function freely and will stick instead of moving smoothly like they should.

Clip the gauge bezel back into place using the tabs.

Then, clip the plastic piece back into its place using the tabs.

Now, go plug it in, screw the 4 screws holding it in place back in, and re-install the gauge hood.

You're all done! Enjoy your new custom gauges!

Also, if you see that your gauges are not reading properly after this DIY, then take the cluster back out and take the plastic piece off so you can get to the needles. Then, (assuming you haven't driven much) pull the needles off and replace them where they should be. You may need to refer to that picture you took before you took it out ;)

Gauge Cluster Hotspot Fix

First thing you have to do, is take it apart again if you've already put it back together. Now that you have it all apart again, using the painters tape, tape off the sections between the stock SMD's...

Do this for the whole speedometer.

Now, do the same for the tachometer..

Then, lay the cover back on top of the circuit board, and using a marker or pen, mark the middle spot between each of the stock SMD's...

Now, using some spare LED's, cut of the leads like you did for the clock, and bend one into an "s" shape. This is where the customization comes in ;)..

Now, using that other lead, bend it so that it goes from the outside solder point on an SMD, and around it. The goal is to run the power to between the stock SMD's. Rig it up so it looks like this, and solder in an SMD. Make sure that you match the SMD's. The lead that come off of the flat side of the SMD in the stock location, should be soldered onto the flat side of the SMD you're putting in between the stock locations, and the side with the flat corner on the SMD in the stock location, should be soldered the same flat corner on the new SMD. It's pretty straight forward even though it may not sound like it, lol...

Make sure that neither of the leads are touching each other as this will cause a short.

4,846 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

Now, rig up something similar for the next SMD, but filling in the next gap between the stock SMD locations.

Go test it out! Make sure they work. If they don't you may have them in backwards...

WOOT! Look how pretty it is :p

Now, work your way around the speedometer, filling in those gaps with new SMD's...

Once you've filled in all the gaps, now you have this:

Go test it out to make sure they all work!


Now, do the same thing for the tachometer!

NOTE: While rigging up the leads of the "doner LEDs" to get power to the new SMD's you're putting in, make sure that there is tape under all the leads. If there isn't, you could end up having the lead hit the circuit board, shorting it out.

Uh oh, Houston, we have a problem. Look at the cover to the gauge cluster, there's 2 tabs blocking 2 of our new SMD's!

Gotta cut them out. Use a dremel to do this. If you don't have one, you can simply use those wire cutters and snip them out, but it's a tad harder...

Much better.

Now, over to the tachometer side. Since the speedo only had "MPH" and "km/h" on the bottom of the gauge face, we could get away with only 1 SMD back there without having bright spots. Now, on the tach, we have "x1000". One SMD just isn't going to cut it like it did with the speedo. Time for more customization. Get the tape, and tape off the sides of the solder points of the stock SMD location that's there, and using 2 leads from those "doner LED's", solder them on like so:

Then, solder in 2 SMD's, making sure to put that flat corner on the bottom left again.

Ok, now put the cover on! Uh oh, ANOTHER problem.

Get that Dremel again (or wire cutters), and cut a nice recantular shaped hole in there so both SMD's will shine through...

Much better.

And see that tab on the top blocking the SMD we just put in? Yep, that's gotta go too...

Now, you should have ALL the SMD's showing!

Piece the cluster back together, and voila! Hot spots are, for the most part, gone! There are only 2 spots that are difficult to get to, the "0" and the "160" on the speedo. You can do the "0" fine, but you'd need to cut away the cover so the SMD would shine through, but the "160" has some components on the circuit board in the way. I'm sure you can get around that, but it's not too noticeable (at least in white).


4,846 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

Gauge Cluster Needles:

First thing you'll need to do, if you already haven't, is take the needles off. Do this by using needle nose pliers and popping them straight upward and off.

Now, you have this:

Ewwwwwww, Orange. Yep, that's gotta go. Flip the needle over.

See that paint? Using sandpaper (I used 400 grit), CAREFULLY, wet sand the back side of the needle making sure not to break it. As you can see, once the orange is gone, the needle should be clear...

Make sure you get all of the orange paint off. Look at the needle closely to make sure it's all off. I noticed that I missed a few areas. On the edges and toward the base of the needle. Make sure it's ALL gone.

Now, using the white paint, brush a good amount on the back of the needle where the orange paint was.

You want to make sure to put enough on so it covers it fully. Hold it up to the light to make sure there aren't any thin spots where you can still see through the needle.

Once you finish painting, it should look like this:

Now, set it in a safe place, and allow it to dry. While it's drying, move on to the cluster itself. You have to replace 4 SMD's. One for each needle. Those SMD's are circled in this picture:

Once you have all your SMD's soldered in, go plug the cluster in, and test them out, make sure they all work. If they do, time to assemble the cluster and plug it in!

That's all there is to it! Do this for all 4 needles and you're DONE! That wasn't so bad, was it?


Okay, I FINALLY have this done...sorta. I'll be adding more to it at a later date if you're changing the color to white, if not, this DIY will tell / show you everything you need to do!

First things first, take out the HVAC. After you pop off the center facsia, there are 2 harnesses you'll need to disconnect and 3 phillips head screws holding it in that will need to be removed.

Now that you've got it out, and over to your work area, pull the knobs of the HVAC off by simply pulling them straight off, and take out the 4 small phillips head screws on the back.

Then, once that's all done, you can pull the HVAC apart by squeezing it at these tabs and pulling.

Alright! It's apart!

Next, flip over the HVAC, and take the phillips head scre off from the blower control. Once you've done this, you can twist it, and remove it.


4,846 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

Now, flip over the cover to the HVAC, and remove the 3 screws holding in those clear plastic pieces, and remove them..

Ok, now set that aside, and grab the other piece to the HVAC.

Now, you should see 3 bulbs sticking out from the circuit board, take them out. You do this by simply twisting them and letting them fall out the hole in the back of the HVAC.

Now, grab that blue painters tape, and take off around where the symbols are around the knobs. This will prevent any wires to make contact with the circuit board and short it out.

Next, grab some paper and a pen / pencil / marker. In my case, it's a Sharpie. Cut a circle out and hold it up to one of the HVAC dials. Then, with a screwdriver, poke a hole in the middle of the paper and through the little guide on the HVAC cover. This will make sure that your paper is centered, and doesn't move. Then, take a flashlight, and shine it from behind the HVAC, illuminating the symbols...

Now, take the marker and mark where all the symbols are and anything else that will help you place it so it's in the same position on the other half of the HVAC.

Now, stick it on the other half of the HVAC where you just taped off.

Using those markings, put more markings on the tape that you just laid down. You might have to use white out to mark on the black plastic like I did...

Now, using a resistor, wire it up like I did here. Each resistor can power 2-3 3mm LED's. I did 2 LED's per resistor...

Now, looking at the little "boots" inside the LED. You'll, again, see that one is larger than the other. The lead with the larger "boot" will go on the side with a resistor.

Now, bend the leads to an LED, and solder it into place over the marking you made earlier like I did. I have my LED's sticking up about 3/4" from the circuit board.

Now, solder in a second LED over the other marking.

Then, do 2 more...

Then, do the other 2.

Go check it out!

Now, do the same exact thing for the blower dials.

As you'll notice with this one, it requires you to place an LED right over where the bulb used to go. Here's how I wired mine...

Again, work your way around adding one LED at a time...

There you have it! You're almost done!

2,245 Posts
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

dang thats awesome i know how to sodder but where do u get the led's and resistors ??

4,846 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

Now over to the temp dials. After trying both SMD's and LED's, I found that the SMD's are better for a few reasons. 1. They have a wider viewing angle, so they will disperse a more even amount of light, and 2. They sit almost flush! You are still able to fit on the plastic piece on the back of the cover to allow an even better distribution of light evenly.

So, grab a few white SMD's...

And again, it's pretty much the same thing as before. Mark off where you want to place your SMD's.

Then, using leads cut off of spare LED,s I was able to rig this up:

Now, solder on your SMD's. The corner that has the "chip" or "slot" in it will go on the side with the resistor.

Now, using your resistors, wire them all up! I put 8 SMDs in mine, with 3 resistors.

Go test it all out!

Now, you can replace that one plastic piece that goes over the temp dials...

Snap the cover back on, and go see how it looks!

Now for those 3 little lights on the top...

First, take out the 3 screws holding the circuit board in place.

Now you should have this:

Now, flip it over, and you'll see the leads holding those LEDs in place.

Unsolder the leads, and pull out the stock LEDs.

Now, slide your LED in, amking sure to match the boots the same way the stock LEDs were,and solder those in place on the back of the circuit board...

Woo Hoo! Most of the HVAC is DONE!

The final parts to come when I get time to complete them :p (converting 3 buttons, converting to a white HVAC)

1,595 Posts
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE...Im speechless at your impeccable work.

1,045 Posts
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

wow awesome DIY and very nice work. That looks amazing!

765 Posts
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

speedy you did it :D

now sell me the clock that you said you would! :D that seems to be the only thing out of the DIY so far that i'm afraid to attempt. please sell me the clock :)

excellent diy

129 Posts
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

great DIY, I think I'll be doing this as soon as you have the gauge cluster posted.

Still lurks on occasion
6,300 Posts
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

Just an excellent DIY sir. A certainly welcome update to the gauge cluster conversion series that has long since gone by the way side.

I will add this to the DIY section and add all relevant updates as you post them. :)

409 Posts
Re: LED Conversion DIY by speedy

Once again Mark good job! ^_^
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