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Thread: dash light bulbs

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    Super Moderator 77rr2x4s's Avatar
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    dash light bulbs

    What are you guys using for dash light bulbs? Mine are so dim it`s crazy. I think the OE were 158 IIRC. Or should I use LED bulbs. If so are they dim-able? What part number should i use?

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    Aspen and Volare Super Moderator aspen79's Avatar
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    I put LED in and I need to turn them down or they're TOO bright. Need to look what I put in. They are the COB type anyways. With the regular bulbs I could barely see the gauges at night they were so dim.

    They look like this:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails led 194.jpg  
    Last edited by aspen79; 06-08-2021 at 05:36 PM.
    1979 Aspen Sunrise 500". Bought in 1987 with 72,000 miles and a mighty E24 California emission 90hp leaning tower of power/4-speed
    1996 Dakota with a torque monster (not) 3.9L V-6 and automatic owned since 1998. Now demoted to winter duty
    2008 Ford Mustang V6, the new summer daily driver

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    Aspen and Volare Super Moderator aspen79's Avatar
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    Hard to get a good photo of the dash with the lights on with the camera I have so, this is what I ended up with. They're plenty bright but not as bright as it looks in the pic.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails led.jpg  
    1979 Aspen Sunrise 500". Bought in 1987 with 72,000 miles and a mighty E24 California emission 90hp leaning tower of power/4-speed
    1996 Dakota with a torque monster (not) 3.9L V-6 and automatic owned since 1998. Now demoted to winter duty
    2008 Ford Mustang V6, the new summer daily driver

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    Super Moderator 77rr2x4s's Avatar
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    Ok, look really bright. WOW. So I assume they come in colors? I would want something that is just brighter than what they currently are. BTW, Is there something that causes them to be so dim? I mean I`m sure that weren`t that way when these cars were new.

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    Aspen and Volare Super Moderator aspen79's Avatar
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    As I mentioned, they look brighter in the pic than they actually are. I normally have the dimmer turned down to roughly 3/4 or so. I'm not sure why they seem so dim (the regular bulbs). I thought maybe voltage drop but when I checked the voltage under load, it was within 0.2 volts of battery voltage with the rheostat on full bright. In the cluster, 3 little 168 bulbs can only produce just so much light. I'm thinking they never were very bright. Maybe they seemed brighter when I was 25 but now when I'm 57, they look dim(?) The original green diffusers didn't seem to be obstructed or discolored either so doubt they were blocking any more light than they did when new. I even tried putting foil tape in the cluster housing to try and reflect more light forward but it made little difference.

    You can get the LED's in various colors, I chose blue because it's easier than green to see and easier on the eyes (for me anyways). My Mustang and Dakota are green (with red needles) and it's harder for me to read at night. They illuminate through the dials instead of around which makes it easier to see but I still prefer blue.
    1979 Aspen Sunrise 500". Bought in 1987 with 72,000 miles and a mighty E24 California emission 90hp leaning tower of power/4-speed
    1996 Dakota with a torque monster (not) 3.9L V-6 and automatic owned since 1998. Now demoted to winter duty
    2008 Ford Mustang V6, the new summer daily driver

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    Aspen and Volare Administrator Rattle Trap's Avatar
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    Just spitballing. But you have Voltage and not Wattage. That would suggest increased resistance in old wiring and your Ohms are off. (?) I'm no electrician. I just know that old wiring doesn't transmit "power" as efficiently.
    Volare Magnet

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    Aspen and Volare Super Member doublechaz's Avatar
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    Mine is all LED converted in and out. I must have gotten the wrong LEDs for the cluster as it is every bit as dim as the OE bulbs, and mine dim like 100...100...100...99...98...0...

    But it works for me the way it is, so I haven't torn that apart again.

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    Aspen and Volare Super Moderator aspen79's Avatar
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    I was mistaken. The bulb number for the cluster is 158 (not 168) but,,,,,,,,,,I never found 158's, which I believe are slightly higher wattage than 168, which are higher wattage than 194's. If you check voltage at the load, with the load turned on, and it's at or very close to battery voltage at the battery posts, the wiring is capable of transmitting the need amperage for the load. If you check voltage without the load applied and it's fine, but is low or there is no voltage at the load, then there's a circuit problem. It's more important on high amperage circuits than dash lights but the same thing applies to both. A wire with only one strand intact will give you battery voltage but as soon as a load is applied, it drops to zero.
    1979 Aspen Sunrise 500". Bought in 1987 with 72,000 miles and a mighty E24 California emission 90hp leaning tower of power/4-speed
    1996 Dakota with a torque monster (not) 3.9L V-6 and automatic owned since 1998. Now demoted to winter duty
    2008 Ford Mustang V6, the new summer daily driver

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    Super Moderator 77rr2x4s's Avatar
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    Do you have a LED bulb part number? Do they come white?

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    Aspen and Volare Super Member doublechaz's Avatar
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    Mine are white 194s from superbrightleds.com. I don't know about the specifics. They carry many varieties of each bulb. Different lumens, different color temps, CANbus ready, etc...

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