'70 XR7 Gauge Lens Replacement

Hello All,

Over the next few weeks I am going to take the leap, remove the dash pad (and cluster?) and replace my somewhat cloudy gauge lenses…any words of wisdom or things to watch out for???

Thanks in advance!

Joe V.

You can detail everything (clean) The black rings cab be removed, but be careful bending the tabs. Only bend 2 slightly and the other 2 just enough to get them off. Paint w/ SEM trim black

Polish “wood” with brown shoe polish(Thanks Royce!) . Replace all bulbs & possibly replace the diffusers

Carefully clean the contacts on the printed circuit board, assemble (watch out for static & dust)


Great insights…did not even think about those…thanks Bill!

And the cluster itself does need to fully come out to replace them, correct?

Joe V.

LED bulbs and diffusers are a huge win. Don’t miss this opportunity to swap those out.

Get a second pair of hands for dash removal/install. It’s possible to do it by yourself but so much easier with two.


If you have to remove the circuit card and back side of dash cluster, you may have problems with the gauges not working when you re-install everything, as it is relatively easy to have the gauge posts short against the metal back housing. A quick and cheap solution is to wrap the rectangular holes, that the gauge posts stick out from, with black electrical tape.
This was a very bad design decision by Ford engineers to use a metal housing and circuit cards, as you cannot see what’s going on with an insulation pad, a circuit card, and a nut obscuring the ability to see if the posts are touching the housing.

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Best to remove cluster totally from car. Attention to what other have mentioned is easier. I’m not too sure on the LED’s as I’ ve heard they are too bright & not dimable (?).

Of note: 70 requires the steering column loosened (3 -9/16" nuts) & lowered to allow the trim piece below pod & above steering column to be removed.

They had a rubber piece ( usually the same as the side of the wiper cowls) held in place w/ duct tape to act as a bumper above steering column.

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Definitely replace with the LEDs. Get the brightest ones you can. They draw more current and will work better with the dimmer. I did that with my 69 XR-7, and it’s great to be able to see the cluster at night.

I did the same with my 66 Mustang. Again, 100% satisfied with the brightest LEDs.

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My two 70 Cougars both had that same rubber bumper taped on with the same black assembly tape. It was the same tape the factory used on the taillight assemblies and looks just like black duct tape.

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Thanks all…it also looks like the diffusers for sale on WCCC are blue in color…mine right now are green (the color itself)…what was the "standard color? Or does the blue just push through green in the cabin???

Thanks…funny thing is I don’t really end up driving a lot at night…someone at some point replaced the Clock lens and it is crystal clear vs. the 4 gauge lenses which are scratched up and just a little cloudy…that is what bothers me most!

Repops are avail in blue, orange & yellow? I did mine w/ a white face conversion… pics if I can find them…

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Green! Was this not the original diffuser color?

The original blue diffusers gave a green light when using the old incandescent bulbs.
WCCC has a good video on the heater core removal which also includes the removal of the instrument cluster.
The first 3 1/2 minutes of this video will show you what you need.
Heater Core Replacement & Dash Disassembly - 1969-70 Cougar / Mustang - Updated - YouTube

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Got it thanks! My exterior is red so may go with those…

I did mine on a 67. The plastic is brittle so take it slow and gentle. After successful completion, my gauges are off, and I don’t know how to adjust or reset them, so I had problems I didn’t know I would have. My RPM reads about a 1000, and my speedo is about 7mph off and my fuel gauge is off by about 7gal. I don’t know how to reset any of it and can’t find info, so, my experience says, does it really need it?

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Well, someone previously had replaced the clock which is now crystal clear…so now staring at the driver’s side gauges yes they need to look brand new!

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Rocketman can recalibrate the gauges : fuel oil pressure and temp. It’s just $15 per gauge. Did you use the gauge tester to determine they are all off?

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@Midlife will disconnecting the battery prevent any chance of shorting out the circuit card(s)? If not, is it just being careful when fully removing the cluster to avoid touching any metal? I do have to remove the cluster to replace the lenses, bulbs and diffusers no doubt.


It is always a good idea to disconnect the battery before performing anything to do with electrical devices.
This is the second time in the past week I’ve gotten an inquiry regarding circuit cards shorting out. In my 15 years of working on Mustang/Cougar electrical stuff, this is the first I’ve heard of such a thing. If it happens, it must be very rare.

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Midlife, I think JoeViking might be talking about your earlier post warning about gauge posts shorting to metal housing and being hidden by the printed circuit.

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