I posted a "how to" a while ago on how to put LED lighting into your dash cluster. It worked out great except for one thing... my orange needles wouldn't show up with my blue lighting no matter how many LEDs I put behind the cluster. So I came up with a solution.
It was suggested to me to find an old set of Ford cluster needles that were white and swap them into my cluster. Sounded easy enough so through Ebay I purchased a '97 Ford Explorer cluster for $25 and got to work. There was a lot more work than I thought...
So the cluster arrives and I take the dash apart to throw in these new needles. Problem #1. The stems on the new white needles are too short to connect up with my dash needles in my 07 f150.
So I had to get creative. I took out my factory needles and took them apart. I took the entire stem "assembly" (stem plus flat part which connects to orange needle part) and shaved it down so I could glue it to the new needles. In order to get this to work I first had to get rid of the stem on the white needles. The quickest and easiest way was to get out the ol' drill.
With the stems drilled out, I then sanded them down to make a smooth surface. With some trusty super glue I then attached my OEM stem to the 97 needle.
With all of this done, I let them dry for a few minutes and then reassembled the whole thing. Needles are finicky to reset and the cluster must be plugged in before you stick your needles back on. Try to remember where the needles sat before you took them off for easier placement. Minor adjustments can be made while the truck is running to move gauges to the appropriate places. These positions will be held until the cluster is unplugged again at which time you will have to reposition them again.
I put my needles on as a group moving from needle to needle and pushing down a small amount each time I move through the group. This makes sure you don't push a needle too hard or too far. Needles on, the truck looked fantastic. The cluster looks awesome now with those darn orange needles gone.
I just remembered there was one needle that came in my 97 cluster that had a metal stem on it. I tried to drill it out like the other ones but that didn't work so well so I just cut it off with a hack-saw and that made my life a lot easier.
In total, it probably took me 30 minutes to do this and the work was definitely worth it. It was a cheap alternative to buying a new cluster for my truck. Including the LEDs, I have spent ~$35 and now have a custom cluster.