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i have a 65 fastback(see link in bio..just got em posted, still working on getting one on here)with a standard interior..along with the car, the po gave me a guage cluster, that i believe is out of a 66(camera case finish)question is... ive read posts about the lighting on these(being poor at best) and the current one in the 65 is terrible, with 1 light not working..do you think its advisable to remove the blue lenses to get more lite, or just clean them up, and deal with it..your comments would be welcome..
 

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Yeah, they're dim at best, but there is a lot that you can do, inexpensively, to brighten them up. Here's what I did when I put a '66 cluster in my '65: removed the blue lenses, got 3 candle power bulbs (standard is 2 CP, if I remember correctly) and colored them with a light blue Sharpie to get a lttle color, added two bulbs (for a total of ether seven or nine, I can't remember), and then painted the inside of the plastic and metal that doesn't show when everything is installed semigloss white for better reflectance. It's pretty bright and having full gauges beats the idiot lights in my opinion. Even if you keep your '65 cluster, you might consider the other treatments I mentioned. Oh yeah, make sure all of the grounds are clean and the power connection bullett for the lights (blue with a red stripe wire I think) is clean too. That also includes the female socket that the connector fits into. That can make a difference as well. Lastly, pull out the headlight switch and inspect it to ensure that the dimmer portion is clean and not broken. They are not expensive so I replaced mine.
 
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Just in-case, if you dont have this link yet, heres any easy way to change the 65 to a 66 with minor modifications. Unless of course you plan on changing the harnesses as well. Good luck with the change, I plan on doing the same in the future, I have all the parts needed from my old 66, just dont have the time yet, maybe over the winter.

http://pwp.clearsource.net/dsigns/james/Installing%20Gauges.htm

SCOTT
65CONV, C-CODE, T10, 4BBL
ITS ALMOST DRIVABLE, WOOOOHOOOOOO
 

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I simply rebuilt mine including refinishing the interior of the shell to make it gloss white. Put all new bulbs in. The reason for this is tungsten lamps blacken with time and any with black traces inside can have far less output than rated candlepower. The plastic lenses should also be cleaned and I would not colorize these since it will only reduce the available light. Its better to have acceptable white lighting than dim blue lighting. Paint the needles carefully with modeler's international orange paint. Clean the dials with a mild detergent solution (don't rub hard, just clean them gently). The result won't be like a modern car but it will be acceptable. My '65 has a nice and acceptable nightime glow but its only half as bright as my '98 Mustang.
 

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I agree with VictorII. I pulled my 5-gauge '66 dash, ditched the blue plastic covers and used a blue sharpie on upgraded bulbs (I have the bulb number for the drop in 2 or 3 cp brighter bulb somewhere). I repainted the inside flat white and WOW, I can see! The only thing I didn't do was put 2 additional bulbs on the extreme left and right ends. However, If I go back in there I think I will. It fades to dark a little at the extreme left and right with the stock 4 bulbs. Hey, replace the turn signal bulb while you are there. Maybe then you can see it in the daytime too!
 

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Something else to consider is going to white face gages...with the blue lenses out and the white faces, it's as bright as any modern car.

Check out my page on that too...
 

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I found all this stuff on the old site a few years ago. The summary is:

Brighter brake/stop/turn: repalce 1157's (32cp) with 3496's (43cp).
Brighter dash: replace 1895 (2cp) with 1816 (3cp, longer). Remove blue dome and paint the bulb blue with a sharpie.
cp=Candle Power

Here is all the archives I collected if you want the details. Sorry it is long.

-reedbr

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****Tail Light Bulb Swaps****
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Subject Found brighter tail light bulbs Posted by 66Coupe Posted on Thu Sep 16 07:10:47 1999

I had been looking for somewhat brighter bulbs fo the taillights. I tried halogens once, but I couldn't do that again since I now have T-bird lights and the cost of six halogen bulbs would be prohibitive and the current load to the flasher might be too high. Also, I melted a lens one time when I had the turn signals on too long.

Anyway, I went to the local Pep Boys and bought several cards of 12V bulbs with the same pins. I took them home, pluged them into the t-bird housing side by side to compare them with the standard 1157's. Using my highly trained, but uncalibrated and subjective eyeball, here's what I found:

2057 - no noticible difference from the 1157 $1.99/pair
2357 - slightly dimmer tail light but noticibly brighter stop light. $1.99/pair
2397 - tail light about the same as 1157, noticibly brighter stop light $2.99 / pair
3496 - different shape bulb, package said "krypton", base was nickel instead of brass, much brighter stop light, tail light slightly brighter. $9.99 pair (I later saw these same bulbs at K-mart for $6.99)

I later bought two more cards of the 3496 and they seem lots brighter than 1157, IMHO.

Just wanted to pass this on.

Jack
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Subject Re: Found brighter tail light bulbs Posted by HarryZ Posted on Tue Sep 21 19:59:19 1999

Good idea on trying out the different tail light bulbs! I decided that maybe I could find some other reference on the web to compare bulbs, and it took a while, but I did: http://lighting.mbz.org/tech/info/signal_bulbs/

On this page is a chart of specifications for signal light bulbs. This guy's published specs almost exactly match what you found out by trial and error. The old 1157 puts out 32 candlepower, the 3496 is the way to go with 43 candlepower. It also shows there is a new bulb (maybe not available yet?) that puts out 50 candlepower (1297K)

Again, thanks for taking the time to post your results!

Harry Z.
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Subject Re: Found brighter tail light bulbs Posted by Victor Posted on Thu Sep 16 16:49:52 1999

Good call! Another idea is to scuff the talight buckets and paint them semigloss white. They reflect much more than stock and are much more visible even with the stock bulbs. Did the same with my dash board. It's brighter. I'm going to try your idea, too, though.

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****Dash Light Problems (dim)*****
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Subject 65' Dash lights help Posted by Kory Posted on Sun Aug 1 22:47:08 1999

I need some help in finding out why the dash lights in my 65' fast back are dim.

All of the lights in the dash/guages seem to be dimmer then they should be. I am comparing them to the brightness in my 65' convertable.

One weird thing in the fastback is that the oil idiot light is nice and bright, but the alt light is like 40% less. Thus all the rest of the lights match the alt light brightness it seems.

The problem does not change when the car is running. The car also has a Solid State voltage reg for the alt and not the older style one.

Does power run through that to the guages? Could that be bad, or set for too low of a voltage? Does the volt. regulator on the back on the guage panel effect the lights at all?

Any help would be appreciated! Thanks,
Kory

Kory Hankin
64 1/2 Convertable
65 Fastback
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Subject Re: 65' Dash lights help Posted by Doug67 Posted on Mon Aug 2 08:39:48 1999

In my most recent Jeg's catalog, I saw in their gauge section that they have covers for instrument lights, in blue and one other color. My lights have also burned through several of the tinted plastic covers in my dash, yielding a dim lighting effect. I've thought about ordering some of these bulb covers and cutting out the plastic inserts in the dash.

Jeg's is at www.jegs.com
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Subject Re: 65' Dash lights help Posted by Don Nelson Posted on Sun Aug 1 23:09:22 1999

I had the problem of dim dash lights, and found that the blue plastic which surround the bulbs to give a pleasant glow to the dash had burnt to a black! I have not seen any repro company offering these either, but I was fortunate to find a used cluster with them relatively unburnt (and clear). My oil light is also much brighter than the alternator light just as you state.

I'll be interested in your other advice, as I can learn also
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Subject Re: 65' Dash lights help Posted by kenbeard2 Posted on Sun Aug 1 23:08:14 1999

I dont know about 65 but my 66 had the same problem and it turned out to be the rheostat(light dimmer switch) was just old and corroded. Use a volt meter to check and see that your lights are getting all 12 volts. The rheostat is cheap and easy to replace. Good luck.

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Subject Re: instrument lights Posted by Victor Posted on Tue Jun 1 12:04:37 1999

I brightened mine ('66 dash in a '65) by painting the inside surfaces with semigloss white paint. I'm pretty happy, but will continue to experiment by "painting" the bulbs to get the green tint and then removing the plastic lenses. If I still want more, I'll double the number of bulbes in the back of the dash.

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Subject Re: instrument lights Posted by john68 Posted on Sun May 30 14:23:23 1999

JPL Hotrod, in Aliquippa, PA sells backlighting kits for hotrod dashes and other older cars, like the '32 fords they build and sell. the kit includes wiring from the original lights, the sockets, tiny mega-watt bulbs that will make you go blind. it really brightens up the whole car and will seriously blind you. I just placed the bulbs in the original sockets, and taped the old ones up to the back of the cluster. I have a superpro tach mounted on the steering column, and my panel lights are just as bright as it is. I think the kit cost me about $80 but there were other pieces in the kit I got, for wiring courtesy lights, floor shifter, neon tubes, and radio/accessory plug ups.

John, owner of many unique toys.

"Weird is the word that boring people use to describe those they are jealous of." - J.A. Gobvitz OV
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Subject Re: instrument lights Posted by Gary Posted on Sun May 30 06:46:40 1999

It's the nature of these cars, dim to none at idle. The other comments were correct and might help, another way is to change the alt. pulley to a smaller size. ID try checking the regulator and switch first as it's a cheaper fix.
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Subject Re: gage lights Posted by Stang73 Posted on Wed Mar 24 23:46:15 1999

True, the early Mustangs use clear bulbs, but other makes of cars use tinted coatings on the dash bulbs, and using these will change the color of the dash light, which is what Cliff was asking.
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Subject Re: What's the Best Way to Paint a Lightbulb? Posted by Victor Posted on Sun Mar 26 03:19:32 2000

I change colors on a whim. Mostly interior but front signals too. Strip the bulbs, if possible, with laquer thinner then use a Sharpie to apply the color. Works great and doesn't come off. I now have green interior courtesy lights to match my exterior paint. Kinda cool lookin'. The Sharpie doesn't cost much either!
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Subject Re: How can I brighten-up these dim dash lights? Posted by charlie65/67 Posted on Thu Dec 7 17:49:25 2000

After you've finished the cleaning and refinishing of the instrument housing, try replacing the two candle power 1895 dash light bulbs, with three candle power 1816 bulbs. The 1816 has a longer glass globe than the 1895, but it still fits in the cluster. One drawback is the longer 1816 may, over time, discolor and/or slightly melt those blue/green plastic light lenses.

I converted my '65 standard style cluster to white face gauges and made the chnage over to 1816 dash lights. What a difference.
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Subject Re: How can I brighten-up these dim dash lights? Posted by JeffTepper Posted on Thu Dec 7 12:09:59 2000

I'm planning to tackle the same job this weekend along with trying to get my clock working and replacing a dead ammeter. I recall an article in Mustangs and Fords magazine earlier this year in which they recommended flat white paint rather than gloss, but I don't remember why. In any event they suggested painting both the inside of the dash bezel as well as the inside of the bezel backing (the part where the gauges and bulbs are mounted). In addition to the other suggestions, they also recommended cleaning all the bulb sockets to make sure the bulbs are getting full voltage. Not knowing whether my green/blue bulb diffusers are toasted, I appreciate the tip on using a sharpie pen. I'll let you know how it turns out.

67 390 GTA Fastback with nearly all the bells and whistles
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Subject Re: How can I brighten-up these dim dash lights? Posted by Victor Posted on Thu Dec 7 10:23:27 2000

How I solved this problem in my '65 was to remove the dash, use semi-gloss white paint on the inside surfaces to increase reflectivity, remove the blue bulb lenses, got all new bulbs and "painted" them with a blue Sharpie pen, added two bulbs -- one to the left of the gas gauge and one to the right of the temp. gauge. Works great. By the way, scuffing the tailight buckets and then painting with semi-gloss white will brighten the tail lights significantly. I also used a green Sharpie on the interior courtesy lights (my car is dark green) and the effect is very nice. I get compliments on it. I did all of this over a year ago and the colors haven't changed.

Victor
 
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