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Offline dianne

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Dash bulbs
« on: February 23, 2014, 10:09:08 AM »
I need a LOT of dash bulbs for all my cars. I've seen colored LED bulbs around in red, blue, white, green and so on. I would do blue on most.

My question, can you use these with the dimmer switch? Can you lower the light using those? Has anyone used them in their dash? I have LEDs on my bike I swapped for bulbs and they are wicked bright, I love them on there!

So if anyone knows, please let know!
Vehicles:

- 1972 Plymouth Duster (To be a Pro Street)
- 1973 Ford Pinto wagon (registered ride 195)
- 1976 Mustang II mini-stock
- 1978 Mustang King Cobra II
- 1979 Ford Pinto Runabout
- 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
- 1997 Suzuki Marauder

FORD: Federal Ownership Respectfully Denied

Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2014, 10:23:42 AM »
You can get regular dimmable lED's I'm sure you can get them for automotive use too??..
Art
65 Falcon 2DR 200 IL6 with C4.

Offline dianne

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2014, 11:18:03 AM »
Doesn't say they are dimmable? I don't know. I'd hate to buy them and put them in the cars and they don't dim. I want blue in everything but the Pinto, red in that one :) That one is brown, so Milo wants red LOL
Vehicles:

- 1972 Plymouth Duster (To be a Pro Street)
- 1973 Ford Pinto wagon (registered ride 195)
- 1976 Mustang II mini-stock
- 1978 Mustang King Cobra II
- 1979 Ford Pinto Runabout
- 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
- 1997 Suzuki Marauder

FORD: Federal Ownership Respectfully Denied

Offline amc49

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 03:54:45 AM »
LEDs are dimmable just like normal incandescent.

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2014, 04:32:55 AM »
I've wanted to do this myself but haven't got around to it yet. There are a lot of LED's that are either on or off & don't dim. I'd ask 1st before buying to be sure.
'73 Sedan (I'll get to it)
'76 Wagon driver
'80 hatch(Restoring to be my son's 1st car)~Callisto
'71 half hatch (bucket list Pinto)~Ghost
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Offline dianne

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 07:10:56 AM »
I was at O’Reilly's and the guy said that the LED lamps do not dim, so I ended up getting the bulbs.
Vehicles:

- 1972 Plymouth Duster (To be a Pro Street)
- 1973 Ford Pinto wagon (registered ride 195)
- 1976 Mustang II mini-stock
- 1978 Mustang King Cobra II
- 1979 Ford Pinto Runabout
- 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
- 1997 Suzuki Marauder

FORD: Federal Ownership Respectfully Denied

Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 07:13:24 AM »
There are a lot of LED's that are either on or off & don't dim. I'd ask 1st before buying to be sure.
Very true, usually they're marked on the card whether they are dimmable or not.
Art
65 Falcon 2DR 200 IL6 with C4.

Offline dianne

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 07:27:23 AM »
None of them there were at all.
Vehicles:

- 1972 Plymouth Duster (To be a Pro Street)
- 1973 Ford Pinto wagon (registered ride 195)
- 1976 Mustang II mini-stock
- 1978 Mustang King Cobra II
- 1979 Ford Pinto Runabout
- 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
- 1997 Suzuki Marauder

FORD: Federal Ownership Respectfully Denied

Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014, 08:55:58 AM »
Well, I don't know squat about this stuff, but they make them for dash lights and cars all have a dimmer switch, now do new cars have lED dash lights??, been reading bits here and there and from what I gather it's about the dimmer switch not the bulbs??, but could be wrong though. Here's a ton of automotive bulbs and none says dimmable, must be different than household bulbs??.

http://www.miniinthebox.com/narrow/instrument-light_v78029t0/car-led-light-bulbs_c3103
Art
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Offline rramjet

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2014, 11:19:50 AM »
You may get some small amount of dimming with LED's using your stock dimmer switch but they are really on off devices. You can make them appear to dim by turning the current flow on and off very fast and varying the time it's on versus off. It's called pulse width modulation.  They will actually be blinking on and off but so fast you can't tell. The effect will be a dimmer output.

Here is an example of an automotive LED dimmer.

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/nvu-99003-04?seid=srese1&gclid=CJ3s-azk57wCFYdgfgod_VAADg

Offline dianne

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2014, 11:53:38 AM »
You may get some small amount of dimming with LED's using your stock dimmer switch but they are really on off devices. You can make them appear to dim by turning the current flow on and off very fast and varying the time it's on versus off. It's called pulse width modulation.  They will actually be blinking on and off but so fast you can't tell. The effect will be a dimmer output.

Here is an example of an automotive LED dimmer.

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/nvu-99003-04?seid=srese1&gclid=CJ3s-azk57wCFYdgfgod_VAADg

Sheesh. I just got a bunch of bulbs. LOL That was easier!
Vehicles:

- 1972 Plymouth Duster (To be a Pro Street)
- 1973 Ford Pinto wagon (registered ride 195)
- 1976 Mustang II mini-stock
- 1978 Mustang King Cobra II
- 1979 Ford Pinto Runabout
- 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
- 1997 Suzuki Marauder

FORD: Federal Ownership Respectfully Denied

Offline amc49

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2014, 11:34:40 PM »
They ARE dimmable, I've done it several times, but not in an instrument lighting situation, more like just getting them at proper intensity.

You simply have to understand that the dimming is varied resistance, when you change it you are changing resistance using a variable resistor. Or what a dimmer is.

I'd bet that linked $34 part could be replaced by something from Digi-Key for like $2-$3, or, another whoppingly overpriced part. I see 3 wires and no PWM occurring there at all, or a simple variable potentiometer. Can't tell without breaking it apart to see if it's chipped or not. Thinking you need more than 3 wires to do a chip. I use like a cheap $3 potentiometer to test/set the volts to where I like, pull meter and measure the value on it with voltmeter then add that value of resistance on the power lead with simple resistors that cost maybe ten cents each.

LEDs may not like going down close to dead zero light, I can't speak to that. ALL LEDs dim using varying amounts of resistance, usually from 300-680 ohm for 12 volt (red or yellow, blue may be different) to get normal light with max life. More light=less life. Most are limited to like 3-5 volts input with no resistance, you add ohms to use higher voltages. Get them far cheaper at like electronics place rather than car parts, you'll pay WAY too much getting them there.

Problem is the car dimmer may be in the wrong range of resistance needed there. Another issue is that LEDs have pretty focused narrow beam light output, they only light say over a small arc of viewing angle, not like incandescent which can light across a maybe 270+ degrees arc. Why you see all the LEDS mounted in taillight bulbs at weird angles to complement each other as well as for the added light output. On instruments that could easily result in too much light on part of the gauge and not enough on the rest of it, like if one bulb is out. Of course you could simply add more than the factory used bulbs for. They are easy to drill for and mount.

The later Ford PCM cars have so much trouble emanating from radiator cooling fan issues that on all 3 of my zetec cars I have LED panels made to indicate when a/c compressor clutch, low fan, and high fan each cycle on, it is super helpful in knowing quickly what can be wrong with the cooling system in the cars since so many issues come from electrical failing there somewhere. The most common issue failing the cars to put them in the junkyard is cooling problems. Keep the electrics working correctly and the engines cannot be blown up, they routinely go 300K miles. One severe overheat though and kiss all that goodbye. The cooling fan resistor on them has a tendency to fail with little warning. You can quickly deduce a/c issues too using that light.

Done right with correct resistance used LEDs last forever, very rare to fail one and ideal for instrument lighting if you get it worked out. Use quality parts, the cheaper Chinese ones can drop in light output quite a bit after only a small amount of time. I've seen blue drop 50% in 2 months. And get the polarity clear in your head before applying power, even one time power applied backwards can fry some almost instantly, even though they ARE diodes and should stop power the other way, it is intended to be only a small amount backwards.

Offline dianne

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2014, 07:46:39 AM »
I put in white ones in my car :D Just plain old bulbs :) LOL
Vehicles:

- 1972 Plymouth Duster (To be a Pro Street)
- 1973 Ford Pinto wagon (registered ride 195)
- 1976 Mustang II mini-stock
- 1978 Mustang King Cobra II
- 1979 Ford Pinto Runabout
- 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
- 1997 Suzuki Marauder

FORD: Federal Ownership Respectfully Denied

Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2014, 09:01:14 AM »
I put in white ones in my car :D Just plain old bulbs :) LOL
A lot simpler,lol..
Art
65 Falcon 2DR 200 IL6 with C4.

Offline dianne

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2014, 09:32:27 AM »
A lot simpler,lol..

Yeah, heck with the LEDS. I could have painted bulbs blue I guess LMAO
Vehicles:

- 1972 Plymouth Duster (To be a Pro Street)
- 1973 Ford Pinto wagon (registered ride 195)
- 1976 Mustang II mini-stock
- 1978 Mustang King Cobra II
- 1979 Ford Pinto Runabout
- 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
- 1997 Suzuki Marauder

FORD: Federal Ownership Respectfully Denied

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2014, 07:17:22 PM »
The advantage of LED's is lower current draw & less heat. The strain on the headlight switch is reduced by at least 7-15 amps & the PC board on the back of the dash wont deteriorate under the heat & stress of carrying all that current. LED's can remove enough current draw to overcome the additional strain caused by halogen headlamps on the headlight switch, wiring & fuse.
'73 Sedan (I'll get to it)
'76 Wagon driver
'80 hatch(Restoring to be my son's 1st car)~Callisto
'71 half hatch (bucket list Pinto)~Ghost
'72 sedan 5.0/T5~Lemon Squeeze

Offline dianne

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2014, 07:19:07 PM »
The advantage of LED's is lower current draw & less heat. The strain on the headlight switch is reduced by at least 7-15 amps & the PC board on the back of the dash wont deteriorate under the heat & stress of carrying all that current. LED's can remove enough current draw to overcome the additional strain caused by halogen headlamps on the headlight switch, wiring & fuse.

But not easily adjustable...
Vehicles:

- 1972 Plymouth Duster (To be a Pro Street)
- 1973 Ford Pinto wagon (registered ride 195)
- 1976 Mustang II mini-stock
- 1978 Mustang King Cobra II
- 1979 Ford Pinto Runabout
- 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
- 1997 Suzuki Marauder

FORD: Federal Ownership Respectfully Denied

Offline tbucketjack

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2014, 07:37:50 PM »
I didn't know you could get LED's in the old bayonet type bulbs. I always used the colored covers that went over the bubs.

Offline amc49

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2014, 09:36:08 PM »
'LED's can remove enough current draw to overcome the additional strain caused by halogen headlamps on the headlight switch, wiring & fuse........'

As he says and important with a crap little 40 amp alternator like these have commonly. I put a 55/60 halogen headlamp in my bike because it had a crap 40 watt bulb there and had to compromise with LEDs in other places like taillight to make up the difference, the alt there did not output enough power. Result? The taillight AND headlight MUCH better light output there and system not loaded as much as before.

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2014, 11:15:34 PM »
This is a worthwhile upgrade to take some strain off the headlight switch with halogen headlights. My sockets were cooked & crumbling on my 80 so I wired them direct but if your sockets are ok then it's a simple plug in.
 
http://www.ebay.com/itm/OEM-Ceramic-H4-Headlight-Relay-Wiring-Harness-2-Headlamp-Light-Bulb-Socket-Plug-/380852842227?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&fits=Model%3APinto&hash=item58ac992ef3&vxp=mtr
'73 Sedan (I'll get to it)
'76 Wagon driver
'80 hatch(Restoring to be my son's 1st car)~Callisto
'71 half hatch (bucket list Pinto)~Ghost
'72 sedan 5.0/T5~Lemon Squeeze

Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2014, 06:59:02 AM »
That looks like a pretty good item there, cheap fix too.
Art
65 Falcon 2DR 200 IL6 with C4.

Offline dianne

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2014, 08:53:11 AM »
I dunno. How much strain is there on there? My car was made in 1973, others in 1970 and yet another in 1978. These cars all have no issues with the switches. Are you saying there will be problems with older cars if we don't install this setup?
Vehicles:

- 1972 Plymouth Duster (To be a Pro Street)
- 1973 Ford Pinto wagon (registered ride 195)
- 1976 Mustang II mini-stock
- 1978 Mustang King Cobra II
- 1979 Ford Pinto Runabout
- 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
- 1997 Suzuki Marauder

FORD: Federal Ownership Respectfully Denied

Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2014, 09:24:23 AM »
Could be if you switch to Halogen lights.
Art
65 Falcon 2DR 200 IL6 with C4.

Offline dianne

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2014, 09:45:29 AM »
I have halogen bulbs with the halos on there (those are LED though).

Maybe I should look at them? I mean what is worse case? It will burn out the switch?
Vehicles:

- 1972 Plymouth Duster (To be a Pro Street)
- 1973 Ford Pinto wagon (registered ride 195)
- 1976 Mustang II mini-stock
- 1978 Mustang King Cobra II
- 1979 Ford Pinto Runabout
- 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
- 1997 Suzuki Marauder

FORD: Federal Ownership Respectfully Denied

Offline Wittsend

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2014, 11:22:12 AM »
Has anyone even tried the LED bulbs without dimming them?  With the incandescent bulbs I can barely see the speedometer, much less read it at night.  The possibility exists that maybe they are dim enough even at full intensity.  But leads me to ask why the desire for brighter light..., and then dim it?

There may also be a replacement incandescent bulb that is brighter, yet dim-able.  I put my Turbo Coupe Tach/Boost Gauge in the left pod and the bulbs in it are significantly brighter. 

Regardless, there are diffusion and light decreasing materials used in the film/TV industry that might be placed in proximity to the LED.  They are made for high heat application. The diffusion both cuts down intensity and evens the light out.  This would be a trial and error, one setting process but it is another way to alter light output.

Tom

Offline amc49

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2014, 05:31:56 PM »
ALL LEDs used with 12 volt to begin with MUST have some slight resistance, they will only work unresisted at 3-5 volts max. Put them in 12 volt and super bright for maybe a second until they burn out. 680 ohm commonly used unless it is already resisted, you can see the slight bump in the wire insulation if done so and the card will say it. You can gain intensity by lowering the 'at bulb' resistance but past a certain point life will drop. They can get pretty freaking bright though. Again I bring up the limited focusing issue, they will NOT diffuse light like a regular bulb will sideways since they are only focused on about a 30 degree arc. A big problem say on motorcycle taillight, the brightness is incredible from directly behind but almost none when you come much closer and now looking at the light coming from the SIDE of the lighting unit. I added incandescent on both sides of the tail LED to greatly improve side view too, dangerous issue there. The same issue will show up using LEDs inside an instrument package.

The incandescent bulbs get dimmer because of bulb being old and resistor in switch the same, typically the switch is much of the trouble. The resistance coil gets more resistance with age from heat. One could easily cut out the resistor coil and use switch without it and a separate resistor from electronics store, but you purists can kiss that idea off.

The few Pinto gaugepacks I have run across are cheaply done, they have no reflective inside them at all, only base white plastic. I was able to improve the problem by using Krylon 'chrome' (NOT silver) paint inside the housing, allowed to dry it actually reflects quite a bit more light to diffuse better. I removed the blue shields to get white light too. I chopped the resistor to not have dimmable lights on mine, never used the feature at all. Problem cured.

FYI if the 'halogens' mentioned are headlights then if using stock replacement 55W/60W halogen sealed beam there is no difference in load, the load is the same as a stock incandescent headlight. An easy upgrade. You worry about wiring and other when you ADD more wattage, say different separate halogens like offroad intended standalone stuff.

There is more than one wattage bulb there, you check the Wagner or Sylvania online catalogs for basic bulb type and then start researching the wattage, higher is brighter. Bear in mind brighter is hotter as well. May affect the socket longterm although I've never changed wire gauge when going up in brightness on small bulbs like that and no issues. I do it all the time.

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2014, 06:57:56 PM »
I have 3 Pintos with cooked headlight sockets & wiring from halogen lights. I haven't looked at the other 2 but I'm sure they have similar issues. Everything I've ever read says halogens create more heat, stress the wiring & put excess load on the headlight switch. The relays are a good idea to alleviate the dimming when the engine idles.
'73 Sedan (I'll get to it)
'76 Wagon driver
'80 hatch(Restoring to be my son's 1st car)~Callisto
'71 half hatch (bucket list Pinto)~Ghost
'72 sedan 5.0/T5~Lemon Squeeze

Offline dianne

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2014, 07:04:52 PM »
Hmmmm what to do now I guess....
Vehicles:

- 1972 Plymouth Duster (To be a Pro Street)
- 1973 Ford Pinto wagon (registered ride 195)
- 1976 Mustang II mini-stock
- 1978 Mustang King Cobra II
- 1979 Ford Pinto Runabout
- 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
- 1997 Suzuki Marauder

FORD: Federal Ownership Respectfully Denied

Offline amc49

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #28 on: February 27, 2014, 08:29:57 PM »
The federal legal requirement is 55watt/60 watt and that stayed the same on the incandescent bulb too. I' have noticed no difference to small difference on all the cars I've ever switched the bulb type on. The element itself DOES get hotter but deep inside the unit, it radiates most of the heat to the glass surrounding since molded to it. Can't be too bad, all the later headlight housings have the bulb mounted in plastic socket on plastic light unit.

Biggest trouble I've seen are the newer filament type taillight socket bulbs used, the wire so small it overheats to melt commonly brakelight sockets, I had to cut with a dremel to remove them from both cars, carefully done you can recover the taillight lens but the intention is to melt the part so you buy a new one there. The receiving metal warps from the heat to then expand and at a certain point very slight clearance leads to arcing which just really eats things up. Melted both in two years, how's that for Ford quality? All about planned obsolescence and profit generating there again, and why your plastic headlights get cloudy looking so you buy $200 headlights. They have actually changed the plastic from a longer lasting one to one that now fractures internally to combat all the people who refinished the older plastic to look like brand new part. They also intentionally make wire gauge and contacts smaller and smaller in defiance of electrical laws while claiming they are making car lighter. The result is now so many fire issues they cannot keep track of them all. Almost everything on a modern Ford that passes power can melt now. The war goes on............ .

Now, accumulative heating after 40 years on a Pinto being an issue? Of course that is possible, but I see it on incandescent old connectors too. I generally replace with simple spade connectors anyway, a few cents to nowadays $20 light sockets. A little grease or cheap heatshrink tubing to waterproof it and good to go. Lasts for years with no issue at all. Screw expensive light sockets.

I have gone much further to buy the correct several sizes of small pin connectors commonly needed on like PCM late model cars for various sensor connections. Digi-Key has them at maybe $.25 each, just replaced two Focus coil connectors with wire and all at maybe $3 each, the replacement over-the-counter connector now going for like $20 again. I need to increase MY profit margin, not that of the company selling expensive Chinese made connectors. Easiest $34 I ever made but I do that all over the cars in hundreds of ways. Just rebuilt (impossible they say, RIIIGHT) both radiator cooling fan resistors on both Focus, $70 each, my cost maybe $2, they work fine, they certainly weren't before. $200 PWM controlled alternator? I fixed one for $19 and the other for $.30, both now running after for years now. $400 fuel pump modules? Both redone for free except I had to crawl under the car. Of course, if one intends to keep all original parts there he is in for an extremely expensive ride in the cars of the future.

I keep NOTHING the same, I learned that years ago. The only thing that matters at the end of the day is was my fix cheaper? (a LOT cheaper), and will it last forever? I don't lift a finger to fix something if I think I will be fixing it next week again, a waste of my time. The other side of my intensely pessimistic nature, you can see things most others never give thought to to nix the whole works.

You should see the ATXes I've fixed for $5 here and there that were diagnosed as 'you need a new transmission there guy' by major shop chains. Pretty........ .....dang..... ..........funn y. Just because you have no bands to adjust any more does not mean you cannot adjust the bands LOL.

Offline dianne

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Re: Dash bulbs
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2014, 07:10:17 AM »
Well, I have halogens and nothing melted. I need to ask someone locally about doing this. Other than doing body work I'm not good at anything...
Vehicles:

- 1972 Plymouth Duster (To be a Pro Street)
- 1973 Ford Pinto wagon (registered ride 195)
- 1976 Mustang II mini-stock
- 1978 Mustang King Cobra II
- 1979 Ford Pinto Runabout
- 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
- 1997 Suzuki Marauder

FORD: Federal Ownership Respectfully Denied