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Author Topic: 1976 wagon instrument cluster bulbs.  (Read 534 times)

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Offline Nudemaple

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1976 wagon instrument cluster bulbs.
« on: December 17, 2018, 11:42:27 AM »
Found a lot of info already on how to replace bulbs on instrument panel. I have the general idea and started to do it. Only 2 or 3 bulbs are not working in the middle of the cluster for general illumination, all the important ones such as battery, alternator, brake and turn signal bulbs are working. I don't drive the Pinto at night very much but would like to have the entire cluster illuminated. I can live with it the way it is. A few more questions however if anyone can help before I launch into this job.....

1-When I began unscrewing the left screw at the top of the plastic I heard a crack and then it kept spinning so I assume I cracked the screw. Both halves of the cracked screw remain in place. The other screw came out fine. How difficult will it be to pull down the cluster with that broken screw still in the hole?

2-I read about changing ALL the bulbs at the same time. Should I stick to the regular 194 or go for the LED version? Assuming I can get that far.

3-Many have reported about the "white backing crumbling" but no one has posted a photo so I can't tell how integral this backing is to the function of the cluster. Is it simply a thin layer to protect the soldered circuit board? If my backing also falls apart, does this backing need to be replaced?

4-I've seen a few photos of the cluster but they are mediocre quality and shot at bad angles so I can't tell if there is a female receptacle on the cluster for a male wiring harness? I'm assuming the answer is yes.

Any other thoughts would be helpful. I'll wait a few days for some responses before attempting to do this. Thank you everyone.


Offline russosborne

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Re: 1976 wagon instrument cluster bulbs.
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2018, 05:49:56 PM »
Short answer, the white backing IS the cluster. Everything attaches to it.
Yes. Replace all the bulbs while you have it apart. LED or not is personal preference. But don't use the cheap ones.
Russ
In Glendale, Arizona

RIP Casey, Mallory, Abby, and Sadie. We miss you.

79 Pinto ESS fully caged fun car. In progress. 8inch 4.10 gears. 351C and a T5 waiting to go in.
74 Pinto Wagon.  To be or Not to be a Pinchero, that is the question.

Offline Nudemaple

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Re: 1976 wagon instrument cluster bulbs.
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2018, 06:01:09 PM »
Hey Russ. Thanks for the quick reply. Gus

Offline russosborne

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Re: 1976 wagon instrument cluster bulbs.
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2018, 10:38:41 PM »
Oh, be very careful handling it. They are not available anywhere unless you get really lucky and find someone selling one. But it seems almost all are brittle at this point. Ford used some really bad plastic for all the clusters in the 70's . My 72 Ranchero is just as bad, so I will be making something to replace it, changing to all aftermarket gauges on that car.
Russ
In Glendale, Arizona

RIP Casey, Mallory, Abby, and Sadie. We miss you.

79 Pinto ESS fully caged fun car. In progress. 8inch 4.10 gears. 351C and a T5 waiting to go in.
74 Pinto Wagon.  To be or Not to be a Pinchero, that is the question.

Offline JoeBob

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Re: 1976 wagon instrument cluster bulbs.
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2018, 11:50:42 PM »

     76 is the worst year. Mine was dust. Many others years seemed just fine. I looked t a lot of years in the junk yard looking for the nonexistent 76.  I bought my car with just 55,000 miles. The cluster was collapsed. The owner did not know what to do. He stopped driving it.
    You will find that different years have different color cellophane printed circuits. 76 was pink. I think 72 was green. I bought the 72 thinking all were same. Each year also has different number of prongs on the plug connector. My parts yard has 20 or so pintos. Every 76 was crushed to pieces. I found that 77 had had same circuit board color, pink,  and identical plug. All 77's had good solid white backplates. 78 might be same as well. I know for sure 79 and 80 have different cluster.

     The former owner destroyed printed circuit on my car in a fail attempt to fix back plate.
 I carefully removed pink circuit board from a junk yard 76 and attached it to the white 77 backer. All seemed well but, I lost my health. I sold the project to someone else. Did not install it.
     If this information is important to you I will call him to find out if all is well.
     If you can't find the 77 part, as I said the wrecking yard here has many pintos. I would be glad to get it for you if they have it, but like I said I am too sick to work. The wrecking yard is called Speedway. The number is 720-938-4055
The only worker there is Greg. It is located in Decono CO. 30 miles north of Denver. Greg once told me he shipped parts. If you have other questions send me a PM with your phone number and I will call you.
I would not even try to save 76 back plate. You will not last 5 minutes. You might also get a wiring diagram and try to convert to other years. I don't know how they differ. They all look the same to me.
If this turns out to save your project. It will do my heart good. Let me know if I helped
     I have a few original light bulbs. Don't know if they are any good, but you can have them if you have need. One more thing, I believe the wagon panel differs from the sedan, but not sure. I gave the 72 panel to the new owner. It was from a wagon. He doesn't need it. If you want to try conversion, I will try to get it for you. I do not believe I have the plug. So it is not likely to help, but if you have pink circuit you may be able to alter white plastic to accept plug. Then you may not have bulb fittings for lights in correct places
Good luck
Bill
77 yellow Bobcat hatchback
Deuteronomy 7:9

Offline Wittsend

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Re: 1976 wagon instrument cluster bulbs.
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2018, 11:42:59 AM »
My son is into 3D Printing (and a student in Industial Design).  I previously asked him if he would be interested in printing these housings and he said, "No."  I'll ask again (but don't hold your breath). Seems there is a market for them and it would be great if someone would step up to the plate in the 3D printing field.

  My son and his friend do a live 3D printing show almost every week on You Tube. When he does it from our house (holidays) I typically get a guest appearance. If that happens I'll put out a call to the 3D community to see if anyone is interestesd.


FWIW my '73 wagon had a white cluster housing that was in really good shape. Fortunate me.., or just a good year?  Given the rust on the roof I get the impression that my car spent a lot of time under a pine tree and in a foggy bay area climate that might have eliminated heat and indirect UV damage (if there is such a thing). Here is a picture when I modified (I'm sure purist woud say "butchered") my housing to adapt the Turbo Coupe Tach and Boost Gage. As can be seen the condition is very good. BTW the black line over the tach isn't a crack, it was an indicator for centering it.

Offline LongTimeFordMan

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Re: 1976 wagon instrument cluster bulbs.
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2018, 12:09:29 PM »
My flexible circuit board was trash si after several attempts to repair it I finally just resorted to removing the circuit board and rewiring the cluster module.  I posted some info in one of my posts about it..  i also replaced the main connector with a  couple of multipin connectors from

Allelectronics .com in los angeles.. i ultimately used a 9 pin for the gauges, a 2 pin for the alternator light.. I also used led lights form amazon.



 and made a separate harness for the illuminator lamps, also lined the interrior of the white area with aluminum foil to provide better light diffusion..

Make the pigtail on the wires to the gauges long enough so that you can remove the cluster withu the wired connected than disconnect the wires.

I found that you dont need the bottom retainers on the cluster module, only the top 2 screws.. the top screws are screwed intk tinnerman nuts.. the flat metal tabs with holes in them. Thats prolly that broke or stripped in your situation.

I found that i can disconnect the wires and speedo by kneeling outside the dr8ver side of the car, door open and reaching with left hand/arm up under the dash.  Then tip the cluster out from the top, rotate it a bit and finess it up and out. It wont come out sideways..

Anyway now i have bright white instrument lights.

I also replaced the instrument voltage regulator with an electronic one i made with an adjustable voltage regulator so i can calibrate my fuel gauge accurately.

I lllook up links to then posts and pix and post them here. I alsk found a wiring diagram for  72 fords that includes pintos.

http://www.fordpinto.com/index.php?topic=27669.msg173376#msg173376

Link to wiring diagram

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.gt40s.com/images/torino/72ford.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwix69Cot4zTAhVsyoMKHWqfBtYQFgghMAI&usg=AFQjCNFbJ-K_deDtVQH2SpYXeeOrSMN6WA&sig2=yAdu-LjCiwEqAKaj_gpBkw



Red 1973 pinto wagon DD, SoCal desert car, Factory 4 speed, 3.40 gears, Stock engine, 14" rims and tires, 60 K original miles

Offline LongTimeFordMan

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Re: 1976 wagon instrument cluster bulbs.
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2018, 01:05:33 PM »
Pix of rewiring cluster.. with details of voltage regulator and new cable connectors replacing original.. and potentiometed (blue cylinder) mounted thry cluster to allow regulator calibration
Red 1973 pinto wagon DD, SoCal desert car, Factory 4 speed, 3.40 gears, Stock engine, 14" rims and tires, 60 K original miles

Offline PonyRider62

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Re: 1976 wagon instrument cluster bulbs.
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2019, 12:41:23 PM »
Sorry, A Little Late,
I Have A 73 Wagon ....Way Different But Still A PITA!
I Did Replace All My Bulbs With LED Ones.
Used Nice Blue Ones For Illumination.. .............. ..Love It!