Dash Lights & GPS
by Pat Goss
If, like me, you happen to be the proud owner of a 20-10 Ford F-150, well you’ll know it’s a great truck, but that it has one major failing: and that’s the instrument cluster. You see, there’s no way to turn the back lighting on in the instrument cluster during the daylight. Yes you could cover the sensor up there on the dash, and that’ll turn on the instrument cluster, but it puts all of the other LEDs and so on, on the dash, into night mode and you can’t see them. So it’s a matter of one or the other. Well, I didn’t like that arrangement.
So what I did is I went to the local parts store, and I bought some of these. These are small LED dash lights. They’re adhesive on the back. They have very small wires. And we found strategic spots in between each one of the gauges, and applied these to the surface of the instrument cluster. Ran the wires up behind it, and then made a connection on the back so that whenever I turn the key on, what I get is…this. You can see very plainly now the instruments. You can read them. Because before you didn’t know how fast you were going, you couldn’t tell if something was overheating, or anything at all. So this is an easy, inexpensive solution to that problem.
Now another thing that a lot of people are faced with: they buy a car that doesn’t have GPS. Just like this one, I bought it used, and: no GPS. Well I need GPS for a lot of the places that I go. So I bought an aftermarket unit, which has some advantages in that there are a lot of things that it can give you information wise that you’re not going to get with a factory unit. Number one, they’re going to give you the location of speed cameras, and different things like that. And those locations are updated very frequently. But, now that you have this…what do you do with it?Well you could use one of their sand bag mounts, and put it up on the dash. But then it blocks vision. You could use suction cups, but again you’re advertising that you’ve got a GPS, and that sets it up for being stolen.
What I found, and these are available for most popular vehicles, is a custom made mount, that’s designed for this one to fit into this blank opening in the dash. These do a good job of mounting the GPS, keeps it in the line of sight, and they’re much less apt to be stolen. Expect to pay $20 to $60, depending on the vehicle.
And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line, right here at MotorWeek.