Have you ever wondered where you could get white faced gauges for your Classic Mustang? wonder no more; you don’t even have to replace a single gauge.
AAPD.NET offers these Scott Drake Exclusive Electro Luminescent Instrument Panels. These panels have white faces and actually glow! The light intensity can be changed with a dedicated controller and the color can be changed from soft blue to soft green with the push of a button.
These panels are available for all classic Mustangs from 1965-1973, they are fairly easy to install and require a minimum amount of tools. Read this article and watch a video of the installation process and then go purchase and install a set, you wont be disappointed.
If you don’t want to go with the white faced gauges or don’t want to shell out the $100 bucks, you can opt for changing the stock color of you lighting by putting in new instrument panel light filters or diffusers available in Blue, Red or Amber.
Tools you will need
The panels will be installed on a 1966 Mustang, and requires just a few tools to do the installation which can be performed in about an hour or so.
- Philips screw driver
- Electrical test light
- Wire cutters
- 3/8 inch nut driver
- electrical tape
- Adhesive tape or glue (I recommend using Mini-Glue Dots)
- Bright paint for the gauge indicator needles
You can do the installation without removing the steering wheel however, it can be annoying to have it in the way and you probably need to replace the turn signal switch anyway, so plan on having the tools listed below available so you can remove it.
- Steering wheel puller
- 1/2 inch ratchet and a large socket
- and a wrench to disconnect the battery and remove the turn signal arm.
Disconnect the battery
Disconnect the battery to avoid shorting anything out or causing an electrical fire. Always disconnect the battery ground or negative cable first, this will spare you the “shock” you may experience if you grounded out the wrench while disconnecting the positive side.
Remove horn button
Removing the horn button is as easy as pushing down on the center of it and then giving it a twist counter clockwise. If you perform this and your horn is blowing then you missed the step above.
Remove the steering wheel
Remove the nut that secures the wheel to the steering shaft with a 1/2 ratchet or breaker bar and an appropriate sized socket. Then use the steering wheel puller to pull the wheel of of the steering shaft. Then remove the spring from the shaft and unscrew the turn signal arm by hand or with an open end wrench on the flat spot if its too tight.
Remove the instrument gauge assembly
Remove the instrument assembly from the dash with the Philips screw driver. Pull the instrument assembly toward you a couple of inches so you can disconnect the speedometer cable. If your lucky enough you will be able to unscrew the speedometer cable by hand, if not then you’ll have to get an open end wrench to get it loose.
With the speedometer cable disconnected you should now be able to tip the instrument cluster face down exposing the wired connections and light bulbs on the back so you can disconnect them and remove the assembly from the car.
It’s a good idea to take a digital photo of your instrument assembly before you disconnect any of the wires, the picture will be a great reference piece if you cant figure out where something was connected.
Another tried and true method is to label each wire with masking tape using names or numbers or both, its entirely up to you.
Remove the bezel and gauges
Remove the instrument bezel and lens from the instrument housing, this takes the Philips screw driver.
Then remove each gauge from the housing, use a 3/8 inch nut driver for fuel, oil, amps and temp gauges and a standard screw driver for the speedometer
Instrument gauge restoration
Since we have the gauges out of the housing, this is the opportune time to do a little bit of restoration on them. Being very careful with the indicator needles is very important, breaking one of these delicate pieces can result in a failed or delayed installation.
Find some matching or florescent orange paint and restore the needles, they’ll look great against the new white faced gauge panels!
Installing the Electro Luminescent Panels
Before going to bat on the installation you should do a preliminary fit on each gauge to see if each piece is going to fit in its place and determine if you need to modify or trim anything. Trimming some of the gauge housing is necessary on some models, for this 1966 Mustang the only trimming needed was on the speedometer gauge.
Once you have all of your fitting and trimming done you can secure the new panels to the gauge face with some adhesive, like glue or double stick tape. I used Mini-Glue Dots to secure the panels, positioned a few of them around the perimeter and near the center. The glue dots are very sticky and should secure the panels in place for years.
Reassemble the gauge cluster
Reassemble the gauge cluster, determine your wiring rout and remove a light filter or two to feed the panel wires through the back of the gauge housing. Be sure not to rout through the turn signal lamp holes, and keep this space in mind while routing the panel wires out of the housing.
Now that you have the assembly ready to install you should do a mock up of all the connections and controls at the bench; this will give you a good idea of how to approach installing the assembly back in the Mustang.
Installing the instrument gauge assembly
Before installing the assembly into the Mustang you will need to locate a power source that is only on when the ignition key is in the on position. Since there is no on/off switch for the panels you wouldn’t want them to be left on to drain the battery.
Use a test light to locate the power source; you should be able to find an available lead just behind the instrument panel. Once you find a power source you can install the luminescent panel control module and controller in an accessible location.
Using a wire tap splice clamp is the easiest way to tap into an existing power source and only requires a pair of pliers, no cutting or splicing. Locate an existing ground wire and tap splice into it as well.
Do a test run on the gauge assembly before you button everything up. If you don’t test your assembly before you reinstall everything you may end up removing it again if something does not work.
If everything checks out and the test went well you can now secure the control module and controller. Secure the module to the under dash harness with electrical tape, and then rout the wiring and the control panel into the desired location and secure the controller.
Plug in and install the gauge assembly, don’t forget to connect the speedometer cable; then sit back and enjoy the new look.
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