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05-09 Interior and Audio Mods Enhancing Your Mustang's Interior and Sound System

DIY: Modify Instrument Cluster LCD Display Window Color

Old 10/11/09, 11:43 PM
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DIY: Modify Instrument Cluster LCD Display Window Color

Here is the DIY several members requested over in this (https://themustangsource.com/showthread.php?t=477290) thread so here it is. As of right now, I don’t have access to an unmodified cluster so I had to borrow some pictures from AmericanMuscles DIY on a SIMCO gauge overlay install in order to write this DIY. But if someone is close to me or is willing to send me your cluster so that I can write a DIY with step by step pics then I will mod yours for free as long as you pay shipping. I live in the Northeastern Arkansas/Memphis, TN area by the way. That being said onto the DIY!

To start off let me say this is a very easy mod that anyone with basic skills and minimum tools can complete but I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY if you mess up your cluster so DO AT YOUR OWN RISK. Just to clarify things, you are modding the green window on the overlay and not the LCD itself. I will explain how to mod the stock gauge cluster overlay first and then how to do any SIMCO brand overlays.

Items Needed:
3M 1000grit Wet/dry sandpaper
Water and bowl - for wetsanding
Random Orbital Buffer – preferably a small one like the 6” pictured
Meguiars ScratchX 2.0 – any polishing compound will work but this is what I had laying around
7mm Socket driver
Gauge Needle pliers – Not necessary as I used 2 flat blade screwdrivers instead and it worked just fine
Lighting Gels – These can be bought at nearly any costume shop or music store that carries lighting equipment. Buy a sheet of whatever color you want your display to be. I.E. Blue, Red, Yellow, Pink, etc.
Razor Blade – Not needed for stock overlays but needed for SIMCO brand overlays.


Once you’ve gathered all of the stuff needed you can begin

Lower the steering wheel all the way down and then grab the dash trim at the 9 o’clock position of the rpm side and 3 o’clock position on the mph gauge and pull. The clips will disengage and then once it’s loose just pull it out and up.


Using the 7mm socket driver remove the 4 screws shown below


Lean the cluster forward and disconnect it by depressing the tab and rotating the gray arm clockwise and everything will eject.


Take the cluster out of the car and take it your workbench or where ever you'll be working on it.

To remove the Bezel lens just release the 3 holding tabs at the bottom of the cluster and the 2 holding tabs at the top of the cluster (see figure 4 & 5). Then pull the Bezel Lens from the cluster by lifting straight up off of the unit.



At this point it is up to whether or not you want to completely remove the overlay or do what I did. I only removed the MPH needle and gently folded the overlay back just enough to where I could work on it. Now even though it would’ve made this mod easier to do with the overlay completely off, I didn’t have the proper needle removal tools and I didn’t want to risk damaging the smaller needles in the middle. But for those that would like to take it completely off you can follow the steps shown here:


STOCK GAUGE OVERLAY:
Before I started removing the needle I placed sticky notes under the needle so that I wouldn’t scratch the overlay. Then using the flat bladed screwdrivers I placed them under the needle with one on each side. I took my time working the needle up and it came off with little to no problem even though it was on there pretty tight. After the needle has been removed, gently lift the overlay up starting from the lower right hand corner.

After it has been folded back, I placed a piece of paper over the white plastic of the cluster and the LCD so that nothing would get on it in the next couple steps. The first time around doing this I used Acetone to take the green off and it ended up fogging the window a little bit so I wet sanded it down a good bit to make it even and then polished it with the ScratchX and the buffer. Needless to say, I realized just wet sanding it from the beginning is the way to go here. So take your 1000 grit sandpaper (I cut mine into small squares) and dip it in the water and begin to wet sand the backside of the LCD window. You’ll start to notice the water is turning green – this is what you want to happen. Every now and then wipe away all the water and green. Once all of the green is gone, the window will appear ‘frosted’.

Next, take your ScratchX and put some on the side you wet sanded clean and get to buffing! It took me about 2 min of buffing to get it all clear but when I was done it was as clear as glass. Use a clean rag with some water on it to remove any of the polishing compound that remains.

SIMCO GAUGE OVERLAYS:
My Saleen gauge overlay was made by SIMCO so I can only assume all SIMCO brand overlays will be the same as far as this mod goes. I tried wetsanding the green off of the window to only find that the entire window is solid green and not coated green like the stock overlays. So I took my razor, from the front of the overlay, and placed it along the edge of the window and used a screwdriver handle to hammer the razor blade through the overlay. For the corners I had to free hand it to get the curve and then used a rounded jeweler’s file to the make the corners perfectly round. To finish it off I used a black sharpie on the edge that was cut so you wouldn’t see the white plastic.

FOR BOTH STOCK AND SIMCO OVERLAYS:
Take the lighting gel you chose and cut a 4” x 2” section. Then simply put it on the backside of the overlay and the existing glue should hold it in place fine. Lay the overlay back down and make sure there isn’t anything like water, ScratchX, etc behind the window and you’re good to go!

At first, I had a bit of difficulty getting the mph needle to line up right up but came up with an easy solution. I took the cluster, before reinstalling the needle or Bezel, and put it in the car and hooked it up on the back then turned my key to the on position so the cluster would power up. At this point the mph needle post will be at 0 mph. Take your needle and push it on its post to where it’s at 0 mph. Cycle the cluster by removing your key and wait 5 seconds for the gauges to go to their rest position and then put the key to the on position again to make sure it’s still at 0. Remove the needle and repeat if necessary but you get it on your first try if you’re patient and careful.

After everything is copasetic it’s time to reinstall everything. After you have snapped the bezel back into place it’s time to put the cluster back in your car. Plug everything up, reinstall the four 7mm screws, and replace the dash trim. Now sit back and enjoy your work!

Hers a pic of mine done in red!


If anyone has a better way of doing something then let me know and ill add or edit it into the post. And like I said at the beginning, if I can get a hold of an unmodified cluster I will edit everything with step by step pictures.
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Old 10/12/09, 01:18 AM
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do you have aim by any chance?
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Old 10/12/09, 01:46 AM
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LTX I dont have aim and couldnt send you a pm so shoot me an email at [email protected] If anyone else has questions you can either post here or pm me and we can talk there or over the phone.

Last edited by memphisstylee; 10/12/09 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 10/12/09, 12:51 PM
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i am able to receive pm's now.. pm me your number please.

Thank's
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Old 10/13/09, 01:10 PM
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I'm wondering what the actual color of the LCD itself is?
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Old 10/13/09, 01:59 PM
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Torch - The LCD itself is a whiteish blue green if that makes sense lol
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Old 10/13/09, 03:32 PM
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still waiting for a pm reply.

thank's
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Old 10/13/09, 04:27 PM
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LTX I appologize I didnt even notice the PM. Reply sent.
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Old 10/15/09, 01:00 AM
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no problem.

thank you for taking your time to respond.

very much appreciated.
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Old 10/16/09, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by memphisstylee View Post
Torch - The LCD itself is a whiteish blue green if that makes sense lol
Makes enough sense. Thanks.

I'll probably going to switch to blue so that should work fine.
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Old 10/16/09, 04:15 PM
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This is really effin cool. I want the Saleen cluster overlay so bad but I really dont trust myself to do this.
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Old 10/16/09, 05:54 PM
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Torch - Yes the blue should work just fine. I layed a piece of blue lighting gel over the display before I installed the red one and it looked sick so you shouldnt have a problem at all.

06StangSC - Really all youre doing if you get the Saleen overlay is cutting the green window out and putting the lighting gel in place and then you have to send it off to Saleen to have them install it and recalibrate your cluster for the 200 mph portion. So in all reality you arent doing near as much work compared to the stock overlay.
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Old 10/16/09, 06:17 PM
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Maybe it has to do with the 100 charge for tuning. Think Team JDM could just add it to their tune or something?
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Old 10/16/09, 07:46 PM
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I doubt it. I contacted SCT prior to having it done by saleen and they said the only way to get it recalibrated was by saleen or ford.
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Old 12/24/09, 03:09 AM
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Do you have a contact at Saleen for the tuning of this, Saleen Canada has no idea what I was talking about when they bounced me around their phones for a few weeks trying to figure out if I could get them to set mine up for the 320 km version
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Old 12/24/09, 04:51 AM
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Call Saleen at 1-800 888-8945 hit option 2....
Tell em BARRICADE sent ya.....lol

- Actually they will know who that is.
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Old 12/24/09, 11:09 AM
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Thank you, I'll call them in the new year
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Old 12/24/09, 12:58 PM
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haha thanks barricade, ya beat me to it lol and if you cant get someone who knows whats up, try contacting Dave Rivard at (248) 743-6241 Hes the guy at Saleen who did mine.
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Old 3/25/10, 11:10 PM
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Im not understanding the lighting gel you're talking about. its not in the instructions. So I sand down the message center window so its not green any more then place this lighting gel insert in there instead?
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Old 3/29/10, 10:06 AM
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I beleive he just swapped out the colored plastic overlay.
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