Instrument Cluster Bulb Help Please!

Hello, I’m back again! I have a 2006 Ford F-150 XLT, and I have a couple of lights burnt out in the instrument cluster. I decided when I replace the burnt out bulbs I might as well replace all of them to LED, and probably even change the color. I’ve searched a lot but can’t find the exact answers to my questions, and I’m hoping some of you can help me out and answer them before I take the entire cluster assembly out to change the bulbs. My questions are:

  1. When bulb would be best to use? I know the actual Ford part numbers (YL3Z-13B765-CA and -DA), but wondered if there is an actual bulb number that I can find the LED lights for? I have read anything from bulb type #74, to 161, 194, 37. I’ve also seen T5 and T10 type LED bulbs. What would be the best and brightest?

  2. Does the bulb separate from the socket? Or do I have the buy the entire part together? Also, if it does separate, how easy is it to put a bulb back in? Do I need to solder or mess with the wires coming from the bulb at all?

  3. I know Ford used the green/teal backlight on the instrument clusters, and I have read sometimes the needle doesn’t show up very well after you change the bulbs to LED bulbs. I am going to go with green LED bulbs anyways (my truck is green), so in your opinion will green show up decent enough to see?

Thank you very much to anyone with any help!

You can’t just plug LED lamps into your instrument cluster and expect them to work.

On a DC circuit, LED lamps only need 2 volts DC in order to illuminate.

So unless you’re willing install resistors to drop the voltage to 2 volts DC to the LED’s, save yourself a lot of trouble and install the original lamps.


Thank you Tester. I know absolutely nothing about LED lights, just that they supposedly last longer, so I figured if I’m going to take apart the dash to change 2 bulbs, might as well change them all. If it’s going to be that much work, I’ll just go with the stock bulbs. Thank you!

I’ve replaced most of the bulbs in my Mazda with LEDs, no resistors, and no problems, suggest you check at for bulb swap info…

To properly install leds, you need a drop resistor. Otherwise it is a short to ground once the led byasses on. A 1k ohm resistor is standard.

Not necessarily. Companies are now making commonly-available LED replacement bulbs with built in resistance, designed to be direct-replacement. They offer charts for which bulb is designed to replace which incandescent bulb. And they’re making them for instrument cluster applications too.

However, LEDs are polarity sensitive. Plug an LED replacement in backwards and it’ll act like an “open”, mimicking a burned out bulb.

Re: the colors and reflectivity: many years ago I had to replace the instrument cluster bulbs in my '89 pickup. The scheme was a flat black background with white numbers and needles. I looked up the replacement bulbs in the Sylvania replacement guide and picked some up. After removing the cluster (that was the old cable driven system, and it was a PITA), I discovered that the OEM bulbs were green. The replacements I’d picked up were clear. I put them in anyway. That evening I turned them on and the white light washed out everything. I had to find some bulb covers (called “mood lights”) remove the cluster again, and install the covers on the bulbs. It worked. Turns out that the green lighting reflects beautifully off of the white pain on the needles and endices but not off of the flat black background. It was a hard-earned lesson in cluster lighting that I’ll never forget.

It looks like there are two types of bulbs used in the dash. One uses black bases (GE #37) and the other gray bases (GE #73). Both are the same bulb design (T1.75) but the #73 has a slightly less lumens brightness. Here is a link that you can refer to. Their model 74 will replace the ones you have now and come in different brightness and colors.,74,1,4023:

Hey everyone, just wanted to post a followup. I got some bulbs off of ebay (green led’s) and installed them yesterday. They were fairly cheap so I figured if they didn’t work, I was only out $12. I’m attaching a pic of the finished results. I love it! The picture doesn’t do it justice. It looks like the LCD is super bright, but it’s not that bad when driving. Also, on the speedometer and tach the needles show up pretty well, even though the pic doesn’t show it. Just wanted to let everyone know that it is possible to replace the bulbs…and cheap!
Thanks for the input everyone!

Congratulations and sincere thanks for the followup.

Happy motoring,

If you want to go with a less bright LCD display you can get a dimmer LED from the web site I provided earlier.

Hi, the Ford bulb your looking part # YL3Z-13B765-CA can be found here -

best price on the internet!