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Brighter Instrument Lights for your Porsche
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Brighter Instrument Lights for your Porsche

Bob Tindel

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$8

Talent:

**

Tools:

Stiff putty knife, paint stir stick, tiny flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

Porsche 911 (1965-89)
Porsche 912 (1965-69)
Porsche 930 Turbo (1976-89)

Parts Required:

Eight 12-volt, two-watt light bulbs

Performance Gain:

All your instruments will be lit up like Christmas at night

Complementary Modification:

Clean the gauges' glass
     A frequent complaint from the owners of older Porsches is that the instrument lights are not bright enough. In most cases, the instrument light bulbs are the original factory ones, and over the years, they have lost their brightness. Often, the only thing that is needed to make the lights brighter is to replace these old bulbs with new ones, a procedure that can be done in just a few minutes' time. For a 911SC, you will need a total of eight 12 volt, 2 watt bulbs-"indicator lamps", as they are termed by Osram, one of the manufacturers.

     To begin, pull the instrument from the dash. In the early cars, before the early 70s, this takes a bit more work, because the instruments are held in the dash with a U-shaped bracket, which must be unfastened from the luggage boot. On the 911SCs and later, only the rubber collar around each one holds the instruments, and they can be pulled or pried out from the driver's seat. If an instrument is stubborn, I use a stiff putty knife to pry it out, with a piece of wood (paint stir stick works well) to protect the dash from dings. Once you have an instrument out, you can reach behind the others and easily push them out.

     It is not necessary or desirable to completely remove or disconnect each instrument. Just pull it out far enough to access the light bulb holders. The fuel/oil tank combination gauge and clock have one light bulb each, and the other three gauges have two light bulbs each. Use a tiny screwdriver to pry the bulbholders from the instrument-don't pull on the wire. The bulbs are bayonet mount, so just push in slightly and rotate the bulb to remove it from the holder. Replace the bulbs with new 12 volt, 2 watt bulbs, put the instruments back in the dash, and enjoy gauges that are much more readable at night.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Bert Comments: I have a 1987 944 turbo. I recently purchased a chrome overlay to highlight the otherwise dull-looking guages. I also have dim illumination, and got great information here about that. I have a lot of other tips about cluster removal, that has come in very handy. But what I haven't been able to find, are instructions on how to remove the glass cover on the cluster, so that I can stick on the overlay. It may be a simple thing to do, but I want to be cautious, and do it correctly. Can anyone help?
October 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not 100% sure. I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Craiger Comments: Somehow this thread for instrument lighting for 911's of various vintages found it's way into the 944 section. Please put it where it belongs.
August 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. I will have the article updated.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
tom Comments: I have a similar problem with dim instruments on my 914-6. I talked with a mechanic don't remember his name from Eurosport in Bensenville IL. who worked on my car. He said that there was a reflective foil or paint on the inside of the instrument. Over time, this becomes dull, reflecting less light into the instrument. This contributes to the dimming. I haven't taken my instruments out yot, so I don't know for sure. Maybe I'll try this when I put the car to sleep for the winter.
July 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: let us know what you find. Would love to know if you get it fixed by repairing the reflective material. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
chasman Comments: Thanks, I will contact them. on a side note, I went ahead and used the 12v-2w lamps, in the BA7 holders.
February 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Chasman Comments: I have the service manual and the elect wiring diagrams, there is no call out for the holder. This is a 12v-1.2w wedge bulb holder. I included pictures in my previous posts for id. Surely some pelican has replaced these holders in a rebuild. Please help me locate the correct holder.

My only option is to you the BA7 dual spade holder, I could but there are no 12v-1.2w BA7 bulbs. I am a bit wary of putting in a BA7 12v-2w bulb where a 1.2w should be.

Someone must be able to id the holder from the photos I have in my earlier posts. Maybe even have a part number for it.

Many thanks
Chasman
February 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm not coming up with anything obvious. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the bulb holders.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
chasman Comments: Here is another view
February 13, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The sockets pull out for replacement. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
chasman Comments: Ok, so I have the 8 LED lights, new 2 prong lamp sockets for low oil and alt, now I need to know what is the 2 blade socket number for the turn signal and low fuel lamps? The bulbs are spade 12v 1.2 w.
February 13, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: See if the diagram you need is here:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/911/911_parts/911_electrical_diagrams.htm

If not,


I would grab a repair manual. It will have the wiring.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
chasman Comments: Does anyone know how many of each type of bulb and holder are required in a 1985 911 Instrument set? I have looked on line, in my owners manual and in the repair manual to no avail.
November 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not 100% sure. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mike Comments: Hello I have the porshe 996 turbo 2002 and I want to change the instrument lights with led can you help me?
April 4, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have not replaced standard bulbs with LED. I cannot offer any advice on the topic. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Venezia Comments: Hello,
I replaced all the instrument lights with 12v2w bulbs - unfortunately no any improvement. No I am on the hunt for the main ground to make sure it is tight. Can someone give me an idea on exactly where it is located. Thanks and Merry Christmas. Tim
December 17, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Rather than search for the ground, add a temporary one. If it fixes the problem, attach a new permanent ground.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tim Comments: Yes, the bayonet style LED was quite the disappointment. Many group buys over the years, but nothing with upset members. To increase the light output with your gauges, you really need to take them apart. I did a DIY writeup on just this. A few hours and under 20 dollars. Cheers!
http://www.914world.com/bbs2/index.php?showtopic=212130&hl=
December 7, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dr. Guy Comments: Well, I spent about $80 on LED lights for my 911, and my son's two 914's from autoillumination...the improvement is there, but, in my opinion, not worth it, and not enough...I'd say maybe 10% brighter...and it introduces a "color" problem: the standard incandescent bulb has a fairly broad color spectrum and is easy on my 59 year old eyes...the led's are bluish white...so while the instruments are brighter, they're a bit harder to read...
November 27, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
travels68 Comments: For pulling stubborn gauges I've found that a thin piece of twine fishing line would work well - strong stuff wrapped around the the gauge between gauge and dashboard will give you a 'handle' for pulling on the thing to get it started. Once you get one side out a few millimeters rotate the mess over to the opposite side and work the gauge out this way. Works great.
November 24, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
drWireMORE Comments: I forgot to write that I ordered the replacment bulbs for my 1987 911 convertible. The dashboard was no so bright, I actually dimmed it down. Maybe just a bit. Some advice:
2w bulbs are for the primary dash lights.
1.2w bulbs were for the indicator lights.

The instruments come out fairly easily, as I took the speedo out first, to make it easier to get to the rest. But getting them back isn't always so easy. The rubber may bind or get compressed on one side, and not the other. It is a simple thing to do, as anything a little bit of patience and good advice from Pelican will go a long way to a good P-Car experience. dw
November 19, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I find a little dish soap on the rubber mounts makes it easier the get things back together. The soap wipes right off afterward. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
drWireMore Comments: 1987 Porsche 911 is part # 900-631-132-90-M97. It is a 1.2w bulb; not 2.0w.

Dw
August 13, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Chip Comments: I went to sportscarleds.com and got eight led gauge lights for under twenty buck. instead of that dull yellow color the lights are now a nice clear white.. great fix for the money
May 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
wolds Comments: Over the winter I did a dashpad restoration. In the process I removed my gauges which ment that I had to label, pull and then reinstall all wires going to them. Additionally I replaced my radio and discovered that the main ground wires going to the main ground point under the dash were not tight. Upon returning the car to service I was delighted to find that my gauge lights were now much brighter without replacing any bulbs.
April 4, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Gazza Comments: I just replaced my gauge lights with all new ones, seems it was a waste of time, it is still dull and old looking : and that is with the dimmer switch on full brightness! maybe 4W would be better?? i,m just not sure if upping the watts is going to cause any electrical problems??? Thanks. Gaz, 1978 911SC Targa
March 18, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check that the ground for the bulbs is good. You can either voltage drop test it, or add a new ground and see if the bulbs become brighter. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
supercarrera Comments: After spending almost $50.00 on leds I was disappointed to received very poorly made bulbs that are difficult to install due to is construction. The clear "lens cover" pops off while installing the bulb in the socket of your 911 gauges. I bought 10 bulbs and 5 had with this problem. I ended up leaving the lens cover off on 3 and two of the lights did not work. Without the lens cover the light is not dispersed as well and unfortunately the only way to remove the bulb if the lens cover comes off is to use long nose pliers which will damage the bulb. After multiple emails back and forth, the customer service with Autolumination wanted me to send back the bulbs to repair/replace the two dead ones, this is ridiculous. I would recommend finding another source. At this point, I am going to go back to the standard bulbs in 3w or 4w as the warm color looks better on my 83 SC.... who wants 8 crapy leds slightly used?
March 16, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That's terrible, bummer you have to deal with that. I hope this info helps people in the future. Thanks for sharing your story. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Fleen Comments: I have a 1986 Carrera and want to replace the dash bulb lights. What is the part # for 12v 2w bulb. Thanks Fleen
October 31, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Stacy Comments: My low fuel level light is no longer working on my '74 911. I pulled the gauge and the bulb tests good with an ohmmeter. Since there are separate wires for this low level warning light I assume it gets its signal from the sender not from an internal position of the gauge, is that correct? If so, how can I test the sender?
September 27, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you remove the sender, attach your DVOM to it, as you move the sender float, resistance should change. Full should read low resistance, full should read high resistance.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
esquared Comments: I have a 1983 944 . I need a brighter instument light bulb part # can anyone help.
August 22, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Here are the bulbs for your vehicle:

https://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/shopcart/944M/POR_944M_ELlite_pg4.htm#item16 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
george Comments: i have a 1997 993 some of the dash lights are not too bright, especial the on board computer, how can I replace it? can I just pull out the instrument from the driver seat?
December 22, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There are some companies making LED bulbs that are much brighter than the OEM ones, but I haven't used them personally. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
TeamAguilar Comments: Where is link on Pelican to buy bulbs for 79 911sc?
December 5, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Here are the interior bulbs for your vehicle:

https://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/shopcart/911M/POR_911M_ELlite_pg7.htm#item32


If you don't find it there, Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Hmansports Comments: I just replaced the bulbs on my 1979 911SC and I needed 10 bulbs not 8. Unfortunately I only ordered 8 based on the article... Also, if like my car you have a dash cover, it may be difficult to remove the odometer. I was able to get it out just enough to get to the bulbs...
November 23, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
JohnJuan Comments: So it appears from the conversations that, on a 1987 Porsche 911 all you have to do is pull the gauge forward to remove it. Are there any retaining rings or screws holding it in place that have to be removed first? On the speedometer should I disconnect the cable first?
November 21, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The gauges just pull out of the rubber insulator. You should be able to get the speedo out far enough to disconnect the cable, If not, disconnect it underneath, then pull it out. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
rEd Comments: Does anyone have photos of the blue Ba7's in the dash? I'm thinking of doing this, but would like to see it first.
August 31, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't.

I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mike Comments: How about dimming the LED replacement bulbs? Is there any issue here? Thanks. Mike.
June 2, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: To dim an LED, there has to be a module in line that can regulate the voltage while monitoring the input. Not sure it will work in this application. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
whiz05403 Comments: I have an 87 911 Targa. What is the parts number for these indicator light bulbs??
March 29, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The part number should be 900-631-132-90-M97 - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
79 Euro Comments: I just ordered LED's for my 79 911 SC from www.autolumination.com Go to the bottom of the article then work your way up until you see "3x brighter than regular Ba7s LED Instrument Panel Bulbs. Ba7s Single Contact Midget Flange Porsche Instrument Panels" They're $4.99 v. Ba7s for $2.99. I went with BLUE
February 18, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
donnie Comments: on 67-69 912 do not start with clock,it is behind window wiper motor. start with speedo,and pull out far enough to access clock bulb. next put bulbs in tach,then speedo,replace . then you can access bulbs for remaining guages from inside of front trunk area.
January 20, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Gary Comments: Will the 12V 2W bulbs also work in a 944 dash?
April 4, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't think so. Here are the bulbs for your vehicle:

https://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/shopcart/944M/POR_944M_ELlite_pg4.htm#item16 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
ZTS Comments: Yes , You can change bulbs to LED. I changed my 911sc to blue LEds. Look Great & Brighter.

http://autolumination.com/otherleds.htm
March 9, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Luke Comments: I was wondering, would it be possible to replace the bulbs with LED's? Thanks
February 11, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You could, but you will have to do some experimenting. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
TriTom Comments: Folks- best way is to first remove the clock far right and then reach in and push out the back of the speedo, and move on down from there. Even w/ heating it up w/ a hairdryer, it is tough, espec on older cars, to pull them out...
December 27, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
TriTom Comments: I am the happy new owner of an '87 Targa w/ 28K on the clock...can you plse advise exactly where the 87-89 911's instrument light bulbs are located- I am scared to yank off the instruments only to have some brittle 22 year old part break on me......;- Thanks!
December 7, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There's an article on gauges in our tech section here. Simply grab the gauge with your fingernails and pull - you're not going to break anything. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Dr. Guy Comments: I have a 1976 911s Targa...the instrument lights are a bit dull...tried replacing the bulbs..no difference...the worst though, is the high beam indicator-it's just too dark of a blue. Too bad they don't make 3W bulbs...I'm thinking of wiring up an LED for the high beam indicator...
November 28, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Let us know what you decide to do. We'd love to hear about the results. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
993CAB Comments: My 1995 993 bulbs are soldered in place - not fun. Any suggestions? Am I expected to simply buy new bulbs and the base from Porsche? If so, can I purhase this through Pelican?

Much Appreciated!
August 26, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Hi there. Yes, you can purchase the replacements from Pelican - give our sales dept a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help you out. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
TonyV Comments: Hi There:
I have a '74 911S Targa in need of having a number of its instrument bezels replaced. Do these cars use the U bracket or do they get pried out from the front as described?
June 24, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I believe with your year car, you can just pry them out. To be 100% sure, you can simply pop your front hood, remove the cardboard panel and take a peak in there with a flashlight - you should be able to see the backs of the gauges very clearly. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
John1413 Comments: I took out my electronic speedometer to replace lights but figure out how to put the rest of the wires back into the right place.
May 25, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Which component are you having trouble with? What is your vehicle? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
phil Comments: Hi There,

I am a new owner of a 964 911 and need to remove the speedo gauge to replace the indicator light for the transmission setting. I wasn't actually sure how to get at the gauge lights untll I read this article. As it is my first go at the dash board, just wondering if you have any additional hints on removing and re-installing this gauge so as to minimize any damage. Thanks
May 17, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You might want to get a hair dryer and heat up the seals around the gauges a bit just to get them nice and warm and pliable. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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