Can the faded digital Dash of the 1985 ELAN be replaced with GAUGES?


Asked by Jul 20, 2013 at 03:06 AM about the 1985 Ford Thunderbird Elan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

The digital dash INFO -of my Elan dashboard -cannot be seen in daylight

3 Answers

Tracy Hooks

Your digital dash is dark because the bulbs back-lighting the display have burned out. Ford made a good effort with that cluster to use Halogen Bulbs but the reality is that they never lasted very long. It's a lot of delicate work for a Rookie but not difficult. I say delicate because plastic is easy to break and fingerprints in the inside of your cluster suck. - OK - You'll need to drop your steering wheel into the front seat (disconnect the PRNDL indicator - easy to break). Remove the instrument Bezel (the trim around the cluster) and remove the cluster. There should be 3 electrical connections on the back of the cluster (2 on some models). Count the number of light bulbs and pick up enough good ol' 194 bulbs to replace them all. You don't want to do this twice. Not as bright as Halogen bulbs but they work well and do not cost $4-$6 each. More like $6 for 10 bulbs.

What would make the bulbs suddenly burn out all at once? have seen this condition on an old bronco II where voltage regulation was inoperative and simply burned ALL bulbs with 17 volts or before you go replacing ALL the bulbs, measure the voltages to make sure the regulator is working properly~..thank you~

Tracy Hooks

Usually a bad ground causes a system-wide failure. Honestly, I wouldn't doubt that you've only been running on a couple of bulbs till now. As I recall (without looking it up) there aren't that many bulbs anyway. Question: Does everything else work on the cluster? If you use a flashlight, you should be able to see the speed. How about the Turn Signals, High beam Indicator and Engine or Oil Pressure lights. If everything else works, it's the bulbs. If they don't then I'd look for a bad ground (possible but unlikely). There is no regulator for the dash except for the fuel level. While the Voltage Regulator on the Alternator can fail, it's easy to check at the battery with the engine running. 17V is high...I saw an early model Probe GT put out 24V once - made the electronic cluster do all kinds of weird stuff!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions


Looking for a Used Thunderbird in your area?

CarGurus has 1,169 nationwide Thunderbird listings starting at $5,495.


Search Ford Thunderbird Questions

Ford Thunderbird Experts

#1 oldtimer37
Reputation 1,410
#2 Tom Demyan
Tom Demyan
Reputation 1,380
#3 tennisshoes
Reputation 1,080
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Ford Mustang"
725 Great Deals out of 41,224 listings starting at $900
Used Chevrolet Corvette"
424 Great Deals out of 20,186 listings starting at $3,688
Used Chevrolet Camaro"
814 Great Deals out of 39,044 listings starting at $2,650
Used Ford F-150"
3,173 Great Deals out of 215,805 listings starting at $1,000
Used Mercedes-Benz SL-Class"
129 Great Deals out of 3,648 listings starting at $1,500
Used Pontiac Firebird"
11 Great Deals out of 893 listings starting at $2,995
Used Chevrolet Impala"
892 Great Deals out of 35,540 listings starting at $795
Used Dodge Charger"
671 Great Deals out of 30,154 listings starting at $1,995
Used Mercury Cougar"
270 listings

Used Cars For Sale

2005 Ford Thunderbird For Sale
3 Great Deals out of 90 listings starting at $7,500
2004 Ford Thunderbird For Sale
8 Great Deals out of 154 listings starting at $7,998
2003 Ford Thunderbird For Sale
5 Great Deals out of 146 listings starting at $5,495
2002 Ford Thunderbird For Sale
13 Great Deals out of 340 listings starting at $6,777