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2005-2009 S197 Appearance Section For all appearance mods to the 2005-2009 S197's

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Old 03-20-2011, 09:40 PM   #1
Torch_Vert
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Default Ford-a-tude gauges installed

I've been working with Eric (Ford-a-tude) for a while now as an undercover guinea pig to test his cluster design for V6 cars, as well as helping him identify any general QC issues so he could address them before he makes the cluster overlays generally available.

We've reached the stage where everything is pretty satisfactory, so he gave me permission to let the cat out of the bag and post up some photos. I'll start with some "installed" shots, then follow up with some details of what's required to install the panel:

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Old 03-20-2011, 09:41 PM   #2
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This is a nightime shot of the first revision overlay:

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If you'll look closely you can see a couple issues:

1) My car is early ('05) and the cluster doesn't feature discrete LED cells for the wrench and stability control icons that were inserted into the speedo area in later cars ('07 and up I believe). This allows the backing illumination through these areas Look right above the speedo needle in the photo above). This was discussed and the decision was made to leave these icons to reduce the numbers of separate parts that Ford-a-tude will need to produce. It's a very simple matter to apply a couple small patches of black tape to the reverse of the overlay during install for the cars that don't have those LEDs.

As you can see, a couple dabs of black tape behind the overlay on the early cars, and it's like those icons were never there:

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2) More importantly, the message center window (where the odometer, etc displays) on the rev 1.0 version was a problem. The nice OEM style texture of the overlay was disrupting the light transmission through the window making it difficult to read easily. This got fed back to Ford-a-tude, and it took some time, but he was able to devise a good solution. The message window on the current part is easily readable (about the same legibility as OEM, just not that crappy green color) You can see below, the vast improvement here (For those that thought Ford-a-tude was holding up the works just to torture you, it was fixing stuff like this that lead to delays. He didn't want to release parts with problems).

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3) One small thing, which is inherent in the way Ford designed these clusters, is the lighting on the 4 small central gauges is brighter in the center, and less at either side. There isn't really anything to be done about this (other than using shorter graphic sweeps for those gauges like the factory setup). Personally I don't find this objectionable, but serious nitpickers should be aware.

Last edited by Torch_Vert; 03-20-2011 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:42 PM   #3
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Install overview:

First thing is to get the gauges out of the car. Putz da steerin' weel in itz lowiest positionation, da dash sirround in frunt o' da gaziz jest pullz strait oft. (the preceding sentence provided as a courtesy for Hamhole, as he clearly really needs something to do) There are then 4 screws, one at each corner of the cluster. Remove those, unclip the single wire harness in back, and you should have this:

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The clear lens assembly is secured with clips, very easy to remove:

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Now it's time to remove the needles. What I did on mine was to rotate them all to the low end on their reading range. There's a mecanical stop there (keep in mind the lower two small gauges go CW to get to the low end, the others go CCW. I then marked the old face so that I could measure and compare the positions:

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You then need to (as carefully as possible) pry each gauge needle straight up. Mine took a LOT of force, each one making a loud snap when it finally let go, to be honest each time I was half expecting to find the stepper motor shaft still imbedded in the needle, but they all came off ok (tough little motors apparently)

Once the needles are removed, peel off the factory gauge face (just held on with tacky glue) and you'll see this (note the 4 plastic light guide panels inset into pockets in the cluster face):

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These clear acrylic guides lift right out, and Ford-a-tude supplies some white adhesive backing for the back side (the side that sits against the cluster) to help even out the light spread. The guide on the left here already has the new backing installed, the other shows the way it comes out of the cluster:

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The cluster with the 4 light guides reinstalled:

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Then the new gauge face and needles (needles positioned by turning each shaft against it's stop and than matching needle positions to the marked old gauge face):

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Reclip the plastic cover on, and reinstall in car by reversing removal process and voila...

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Last edited by Torch_Vert; 03-29-2011 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:45 PM   #4
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Damn that looks great! Price set or anything? I think this just made my wish list.
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:00 PM   #5
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Aww god damn it that looks good. Another thing added to the list

What someone needs to do is integrate all the lights in the interior with the mycolor. Hint hint
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:02 AM   #6
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^+1,000,000,000,000
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:02 AM   #7
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Wow that looks awesome. Any plans for the guys who just have the 4 gauge cluster?
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:03 AM   #8
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:12 AM   #9
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Wow that looks amazing, please hurry up and have this available to the public already!
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:26 AM   #10
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great news. myself and many others are waiting for these!!
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:26 AM
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