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Another N3ELZ 2002 Ford Ranger Regular Cab post...

  • Nov 15, 2013

General Index[1 - Overview] [2 - My wreck!] [7 - Crazy Robin!] [9 - Candy's Ranger] [10 - Keypad entry system] Meets and Outings[11 - Centralia adventure Part I] [11 - Centralia adventure Part II] How-To Articles[3 - Overhead Console Install] [4 - Overhead Console Wiring] [5 - MAF mod] [6 - LED switch mod] [8 - Homebrew Remote Bass Control] [12 - Headlight/4x4 Switch LED Mod] [13 - General LED tutorial] [14 - EATC install how-to (pages 14-19)] [20 - IAT Resistor Mod (older engines only)] [22 - Automatic Power Windows] [23 - Cruise Control Pod LED's]95 Ford Ranger Headlight and 4x4 Switch LED ModThis "how-to" describes in some detail how to change out the unreliable illuminator bulbs in the 4x4 and headlight switches over to "everlasting" LED's.You will want to use "ultra bright" LED's of some sort. The color you can choose since there are no "filters" in the switch itself, only on the bulb.Also, I'm not going to explain how to get to the switches. You can find out how to remove the dash and get them out easily enough.First off, the bulbs are mounted in "carrier" assemblies that are made of a plastic cylinder about 1/4" in diameter, with a disc shaped mounting flange at one end, and the bulb at the other.The bulbs can be found as small circular patches about 1/2 inch in diameter on the back of each switch. The headlight switch bulb carrier unit is typically black, and the 4x4 switch bulb carrier is typically gray. This photo shows the two carriers with bulbs attached, 4x4 on the left and headlight on the right. These bulbs usually have colored silicone rubber covers over the bulb end, which you can't see in this photo. These discs is what you'll see on the back of the switch. Turn these a 1/4 turn counter-clockwise, and you can pull them out.Removing the old bulbs and prepping the carriersThe 4x4 switch is the hard one. The wires from the bulb bend over and tuck under brass contacts. You must use a small pointed object as shown here to "tease" them out and up from under the brass contact. This is kind of a pain and hard to describe and what "tool" finally works for you is up to you. I've used very tiny jeweler's screwdrivers as well as "hat pins" like I'm using here. Persuade both wires out from under the contacts and bend them up so they stick straight out from the mounting disk.The headlight switch is easier. The wires are just wrapped around the disk to make the contacts. You can easily pry the wire up and unwrap it from the base. Here you can see one wire unwrapped.Below are two views of the carriers with both wires detached and unwrapped.Now carefully grab the bulb of each one, and wiggle and pull it out. Be very careful not to shatter the bulb. We won't be reusing any part of it, but you don't need to cut your fingers. They are very lightly glued in there sometimes, but usually come out with a little wiggling. The wires will come out with them.Now if you look down inside the cylinder, you will see it is recessed about a 1/4" or so inside. Cut the cylinder back to the base of the recess where there are two holes for the wires. The result looks about like this. Neatness doesn't count, but make sure you cut all the way back to the bottom of the hollow.Assembling the new LED lamp carrierOkay, we're ready to proceed. But first a couple of words about LED's and resistors. We are using ultra-bright LED's, and the value I use for the resistor is 470 ohms, 1/4 watt.I'm going to give you a method here that won't require soldering, though if your good with delicate and QUICK soldering that's useful and makes the 4x4 switch easier in my opinion, since you don't need to bend the "hook" -- you'll see.Here is a typical LED and resistor. This LED has been "frosted" by filing it's end to make it diffuse light more. This is a "standard" T1-3/4 LED. It's just about the size of the T1-3/4 lamp you just removed, coincidently. Note that one lead of the LED is longer. This is the plus ( ) lead. If you accidently trim the leads, look at the base of the clear LED body and you will see a tiny flat area molded into one edge of the bottom flange. This is the minus (-) lead, should you need to know that after trimming the leads.First we'll insert an LED into the black headlight bulb carrier. Notice the plus lead sticking out further. You will take this lead, bend it over to the side through the groove in the flange, follow the flange around, and bend it back up. If necessary, trim it so as you bend it back around towards itself so it ends up in the groove as shown. Most ( ) leads are barely long enough and require no trimming. Now cut off the minus lead of the LED flush with the back of the flange. Now, notice how the resistor has been prepped. Cut one end (it doesn't matter which) to about 1/2" in length and leave the other full length.Now insert the shortened lead of the resistor into the hole with the minus LED lead you just cut flush. It's a very tight fit. Wiggle and push gently to avoid bending the resistor lead and having to straighten it and start over. After you get it all the way in, bend the long lead down and wrap and trim it the same as you did the LED plus lead, as show.The final result. This one is ready to be put back in the headlight switch -- but don't do that until you've read the section on polarity and installing the new LED's in the switch, in a section at the bottom of this page.The procedure for the 4x4 switch is similar, but a little harder. Start by inserting the LED in all the way, then trim the longer ( ) lead to about 1/4" or so. Now bend a tiny hook in it as shown, and push the end of the hood between the brass contact and the plastic base like the original bulbs wire was.When you get it in there, the LED will be standing off from the other end of the cylinder a little, but that's okay. When you get the plus lead done it looks like this.Now prep a resistor like this. The unbent lead should be less than 1/2" long, but longer than 1/4". The bent lead should project about 1/8" below the base of the resistor when bent.Cut the LED (-) lead flush to the mounting disc and insert the resistors unbent lead into the (-) lead hole. It's a tighter fit than the other one, but it can be done. As it goes down, guide the bent lead so it goes between the brass contact and the plastic base.The finished product. You can put a small dot of silicone in between the LED and the base to keep it from pushing down and disconnecting the tucked contacts.DiffusionLED's project a narrow cone of light, but light bulbs produce a light that "spreads". You can try several things with the LED to make it spread better.1. File the entire dome rough. This doesn't help as much as it might.2. Use a dremel or sanpaper to flatten the dome out completely. Leave the flat roughened for diffusion.3. Use a file, sandpaper or dremel to make the end of the dome "pyramid" shaped with the point of the pyramid right where the center of the dome was. The faces of the pyramid should be rough. This gives the most spread of light I've found.Polarity and InstallationLED's have polarity so they MUST be installed in your switches properly. Both switches are similarly made. The mounting hole for the carrier is right next to one of the mounting tabs (and far from the other one). When you insert the carrier, the plus ( ) lead of the LED should be on the mounting tab side of the hole. That is, the plus lead be close to the closest mounting tab, and the resistor should be away from the closest tab. This will ensure correct polarity.Hope thay helps you with this mod. I get a LOT of questions about it.