Replacing instrument cluster bulbs

Discussion in '5th Generation 1998-2001' started by DaHose, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. DaHose

    DaHose New Member

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    Hey there people. I had a heck of a time trying to find bulbs for my instrument cluster, so I figured I would write it up.

    So first things first, you have three kinds of bulbs you need. The 5 orange plugs are for main illumination, the two blue are signal lights, and the 4 dark brown ones across the bottom are your dummy lights.

    20170722_215443.jpg

    The bulbs for the signal lights are 158's and can be found at any auto parts place. The rating is 12v, 3W. They work fine, so I had no desire to track down canbus bulbs that provided the proper resistance so I could convert to LED.

    20170721_164040.jpg

    The main illumination bulbs are in the 5 orange plugs. Those are a T10 base bulb rated at 12V, 1.7 watt.
    Uprating those bulbs is an issue for two reasons. Too hot a bulb will melt things, and our electrical systems are already underpowered. The best way to get more light in the dash would be to go with LED's. I was able to get 10 LED based bulbs for $10 through Amazon, and they run at just 0.7 watts. That's less than half the OEM. Notice that the diameter of the biggest part of the bulb is almost the same as the base. Pay close attention to diameter, as some bulbs could be too big around to fit into the opening of the cluster.

    VFRclusterled.JPG

    Now for the real bugger to find. The dummy lights use this tiny little guy.

    20170722_093544.jpg

    That is a 12V, 1.7 watt bulb, and cannot be purchased just anywhere. Also, contrary to what I saw in a few posts around the net, all 4 of the dummy lights use the same bulb. The part number is 34908-MG9-951. I called all over, and every dealer seems to only keep two of them in stock, so you need to think ahead and special order them. These bulbs were just a couple of bucks each.

    [​IMG]

    I still have to do final assembly, so I can't speak to brightness of everything yet. Based on how hard it is to get the dummy light bulbs, I would advise anyone with a VFR to just buy a set of 4, and keep them ready for when you need them. Also, the dealer pointed out that you cannot get the holders for the bulbs anymore. So do not lose, or break any of those bulb holders.

    Jose
     

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  2. VFR4Lee

    VFR4Lee Member

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    What all did you have to take apart to get access to the bulbs?
    Looks like a chore.
     
  3. DaHose

    DaHose New Member

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    The upper fairing had to come all the way off. I was fixing a failed multi-display so it had to come apart anyway, but tear down was easier than I expected.

    The process was as follows.
    Remove mirrors, but don't pull the cowl retaining screws under the mirror mounts yet. I have lit mirrors, so that was some extra work to disconnect/reconnect.
    Remove the upper corner covers on the inside. That gives you access to the screws that hold the dash surround on, and remove those.
    Remove the plastic push-pin connectors that hold the upper plastics together. Look at a schematic to see where they all are. You just use a stubby phillips and give them a 1/4 turn backwards. That lifts the pin, then you pull them out.
    Remove the signal lights.
    Remove all the allen head screws that hold the fairing and nose cowl together. Just the sides and top.
    At that point you should be able to remove the final two screws at the mirror mounts and pull the whole upper cowl off. Go slow, and remove the headlight connectors from the bulbs. They just pull off.

    With the upper cowl off, you can access the three #10 nuts that hold the dash to the sub-frame.

    Now that I have taken the upper cowl off and know what to expect, I could probably tear it all down in 30 minutes.

    I also learned something really useful. I gave it a try, and you CAN change out the flasher bulbs with LED's without needing to purchase a new flasher module!! The LED's s I bought are an intense white, and the signal light lenses in the dash ended up looking kinda slime green, but they flashed at normal speed. I decided to stick with the incandescent bulbs as they work just fine, I like the warm, amber color, and the draw from the inefficient bulbs only happens when you are actually signaling. If you do want to change to LED's, you just need to be sure and buy amber colored LED's.

    Jose
     
    Mark 024 and Lint like this.
  4. VFR4Lee

    VFR4Lee Member

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    Thanks. I think whichever bulbs are burned out on mine can stay that way.
    Sounds like too much trouble considering I almost never ride after dark.
     
  5. ksoholm

    ksoholm New Member

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    I've read reports of uneven dash light from LEDs.
     
  6. DaHose

    DaHose New Member

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    I could see uneven light being an issue with earlier bulbs that only had one large LED to put out light. These SMD based bulbs send light out the front and all around. The result is more even distribution of light. I don't really notice any uneven light in the dash.

    Jose
     
  7. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    I'm with DaHose. I have LED instrument bulbs in my 2000 VFR and they are great. No gaps or bright spots anywhere in the dash.
     
  8. ksoholm

    ksoholm New Member

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    By the bye, dash bulbs are readily available from any Honda parts house.
     
  9. DaHose

    DaHose New Member

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    I'll tell you what's curious, ksoholm. Yes, the dash bulbs were at the dealer, but they only had 4 of them in stock. You need 7 to replace all the bulbs in your cluster, so if you plan to do that, you better call ahead and get them order more of the dad-burned things so you aren't making multiple trips. :mad:

    Jose
     
  10. ksoholm

    ksoholm New Member

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    True, I ordered mine from Motosport online. Nice discount too.
     
  11. jackleftzuo

    jackleftzuo New Member

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    LED the best choice´╝ü
     
  12. lone_wolf

    lone_wolf New Member

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    Does anyone here have photos of their illuminated LED dash?
     
  13. DaHose

    DaHose New Member

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    Keeping in mind that pictures of lights aren't really good at giving you an "honest" image, here is what mine looks like.

    With the garage lights on.

    vfrleddash1.jpg


    With the garage lights off.

    vfrleddash2.jpg

    Jose
     
  14. mark641

    mark641 New Member

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    Interesting thread...thanks for info...and they look very cool and bang up to date
     
  15. lone_wolf

    lone_wolf New Member

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    Thanks for posting, like the look
     
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