Interior Lighting Upgrade Plus Tag Light

Since it was an easy and quick job, I chose to upgrade my interior lighting to LED for my next project.  The first trick was to find and order the correct replacement LED bulbs.  I used my shop manual to find the correct bulb information for the existing lights.  Then I used the search function on to find an LED equivalent.  For people who don’t have access to the shop manual (and I highly recommend getting one if you plan to work on your car), here is a link to a bulb chart.

The bulbs I planned to replace were the dome light, console lights, and under-dash courtesy lights (which I’ll talk more about in a moment).  The following chart shows the factory bulbs and the recommended LED replacements.  I included the license plate light in this chart since I planned to replace that one as well.

Orig. Incandescent Replacement LED
Application Orig. Bulb Type Base Color LEDs Lumen Beam Angle
Dome light 1003 67 BA15S Cool White 12 125 360
Console Light 1445 or 1895 1816 BA9S Cool White 5 96 360
Under Dash Courtesy 631 1156 BA15S Cool White 18 325 360
License Plate 97 1156 BA15S Cool White 18 325 360

What I found when I installed the bulbs was that I didn’t agree with all of the recommendations.  I felt that the license plate light would be way too bright (325 lumen) and the dome light was not bright enough (125 lumen).  I ended up switching the two and am happy with the outcome.  I’m still deciding about whether the under-dash lights are too bright, but for now I’m sticking with the recommendation.  I may swap them both to the 125 lumen model.

As part of the project I also chose to install the under-dash courtesy lighting which was optional from Ford when these cars were new.  I found the sockets online at Auto Krafters.  They may not be concours correct, but they looked close enough for me.  Here is a link to the sockets:

I also found this thread that included a picture of how the sockets should look when installed (hopefully Photobucket won’t be a problem for viewing the photos):

The wiring for the sockets was already present in my car, and the driver’s side mounting hole was present as well.  On the passenger side I shared an existing screw to mount the courtesy light.  I may come back and drill the correct hole sometime down the road.

Replacing the license plate light bulb would normally be a simple job.  But I discovered that the license plate light shield on my car was badly deteriorated and needed to be replaced.  That required removal of the rear bumper, which required removal of my spare tire and part of my trunk carpeting.  After I installed the light shield and reinstalled the rear bumper I cleaned up the license plate hardware and installed the new bulb.  Testing of all my lights, both inside and out, showed that everything was working as expected.  At this point all of my lighting is LED except for the headlights (which are Cibie housings with H4 bulbs) and the fog lights (which are standard sealed beam bulbs).

Actually, as I write this I realized that the seat belt warning light is still an incandescent bulb.  Guess I missed that one.  Maybe I need to look into replacing it as well.  In the mean time I have more important winter projects to take on.  I need to get started on them so I can finish in time for spring.