I could have used a post like this when I swapped out my meter lights for new LEDs. I'm a complete mechanical idiot and I this was an easy one to do, so I figured I'd document it a little for any other noobs like myself who want an easy upgrade.
I had three lamps go dead in my meters so I needed to get in there and fix it anyway. I read a couple of the posts about LEDs and decided to go that route and swapped out all of my bulbs in one sitting. Start to finish - 45 minutes.
First, these two threads were a big help:
Panel lights discussion
Meter bulbs chart
I ordered bulbs from SuperBrightLEDs.com. I bought all white LEDs for now because I was doing this more out of necessity than for personal drool factor. It's so affordable I may go back in to experiment now that I know how easy this was to do. I had read in a few places that the LEDs don't radiate outward as much as traditional lamps do, so I was concerned that a single LED to replace the three larger lamps may not provide enough back light for the speedo and tach, so I went with the WLED5 to replace those three lamps. These have one LED that points straight up and four more that shoot out to the sides:
It looks great installed but the four LEDs that shoot out to the side stick out of the edges a little more than what the hole in the receptacle will allow, so I had to do a wee bit of drilling. I'll explain in a sec.
So here's the steps to the operation.
1) Take off the windscreen - 4 bolts.
2) Unscrew the speedometer cable from the instrument cluster:
3) Flip over the instrument cluster and pull out three screws that hold it together:
4) Remove the 5 bolts holding the bracing onto the bottom of the cluster. This is really just to allow easier access to the lamps. You might be able to skip this step.
5) I replaced the three larger bulbs first. You'll notice the WLED5 bulb doesn't fit inside the chute. I dropped it in backwards so that the LEDs held it into place and I marked where the 4 outer LED bulbs hit against the sides.
I then took a tiny drill bit and made little channels all the way down the chute at each point to give the bulbs some space to go inside. These grooves are small enough that they don't keep the rubber plug from having a nice tight fit when you plug it into place. The alternative to drilling was to open up the cluster and pull off the speedo needle, faceplate, and trip meter reset screw. I didn't want to risk the needle and I couldn't figure out how to get the trip reset screw off, so I chose to drill.
* The large bulbs came on no matter which way I plugged them into the wire so no need to worry about them being oriented the wrong way.
6) Then I changed out the smaller bulbs. These only work when plugged in with the correct orientation, so check each one before you close up the instrument cluster.
7) Close everything back up in reverse order, shut the garage door and turn out the lights: