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510 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Before Doing this mod, make sure you know what your getting into and what options there are and what the outcome will look like.


First off this is still in testing. I am in the process of doing a total dash (gauge cluster and center dash) change over to blue. While there are a few options, so far what I have labeled in this pictorial is the basics on how to get to the lights and converted to blue, (or any other color that suits your fancy)

Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will have a better idea on what items work the best, and which ones look the best. (THIS WILL REQUIRE TIME TO TEST DIFFERENT METHODS, so please be patient so I can test different ways and post pics of what they look like)

The idea is to keep a perfectly stock dash and turn it from amber to another color entirely.

Keep in mind this is a work in progress, there will be changes, upgrades, editing, and screw ups. Eventually the plan is to have the entire changeover in 1 how-to.

THIS IS WITH A 2005 6S ATX NonBose Auto Climate A/C
So if there are any difference with your setup, please let me know, (with pictures if you can) and I will add it to the post.

There are 5 main sections for right now.
1. Information/ FAQ
2. Parts that need to be ordered.
3. Center Dash change over
4. Gauge Cluster change over
5. Updates and Changes

So lets get this started.



This section will be used for whatever information needed that is frequently asked or talked about. Your FAQ basically.

1. What size are the bulbs?
There are many different size bulbs our dash uses. Check this picture to get an understanding of the physical size difference between the bulbs. We would have to break it down into seperate dash pieces to get a better understanding of what uses what. We will list the dash piece, what kind of bulb, bulb size, and what is used to make it colored.
A. ATX Center Console - 2 Filament Bulbs - #74 - amber silicon covers
B. A/C Controls - 5 Filament Bulbs - (smaller then #74) - amber silicon covers
C. Radio Controls - 12 Filament Bulbs - (smaller then a/c bulbs) - amber silicon covers
D. Instrument Gauge Cluster - 7 Surface Mount LED - (size tbd) - amber color by design
E. Gauge Cluster LCD - (TBD) - (TBD) - (TBD)
F. Center Dash LCD - (TBD) - (TBD) - (TBD)

2. How are the bulbs colored amber?
For the atx console, a/c controls, and audio controls the bulbs are covered by a silicon jacket. IN THIS PICTURE you can see the silicon covers and their sizes. The blue cover in the picture is an aftermarket piece that will fit over the bulbs with no issues.

3. How will the dash look if I use just the blue silicon covers?
Well that is up to personal taste. To get an idea of what it would look like, check this picture out. The silicon covers will only work on the atx console, a/c controls, and audio controls.

4. How will I know if I want to change the "entire" dash to blue or another color?
To get an idea of how the dash will look, check this picture out. This is not an exact replication of what it will look like, but you can get an idea of what it "might" look like.

5. So what is the deal with the instrument cluster gauges?
The lighting uses amber surface mounted led's. In this picture you can see the 2 small led's underneath the MPH face. In order to turn these to blue while still keeping your stock black face gauge panel, you will have to unsolder these amber led's, and buy and solder on blue surface mount led's.

6. So what is the deal with the 2 LCD's we have in the car?
Right now that is to be determined. Dave is sending me an extra LCD that I can experiment with so I can provide that information in the future. This is only the center dash radio/ac lcd. If anyone can provide an extra gauge cluster LCD that would be great. (or if someone can send me the whole gauge cluster itself)

7. How long will it take?
Depends on what all you want to do. Just to do the a/c and radio lights, it should take about 30-45 minutes. To do the gauge cluster and radio and a/c it will take around 3-4 hours. Estimated to do "everything" including the lcd's I think it will take about 10-12 hours.

8. What if I don't like the colored change?
Keep everything!!! and do not try to rip, break, pry, or tear anything off. Store everything in zip lock bags, and put them in a safe place. Be very cautious and carefull when taking anything apart, so that you won't have to buy replacement parts later on.

9. Are there other options to changing the dash color besides the bulb covers?
There are always other options. It is only a matter of how much work and money you want to spend. Even one of the most expensive options I have planned out won't cost more then $50 for the entire dash conversion, and that is with shipping charges. But then you are talking about alot of work and time to make it look right. No matter what you do, if you want a full conversion you will HAVE TO solder. And the soldering is on very small surface mounted components.

10. I have soldered before, but what is so special about surface mounted components, especially the LED's?
This topic can be an entire new HOW-TO, but short and sweet, surface mount components are very small. Usually needing a magnifying glass or microscopes to work with. They are sensitive to heat, and can be easily burned up if you don't use the right soldering iron tips and heat settings. As long as you have a steady hand, the right tools, and going into it with full knowledge then for most people it isn't a big problem. And with surface mounts or any soldering job, "the bigger the blob the better the job" never applies. Solder joints need to have a smooth, shiny, concave finish (see told you this could be an entirely new topic ;) ). The LED's are polarity sensitive, so you will need to understand where the anode and cathode need to go when you install the led.



This section will provide you with the parts you need. If there is an alternative it will be listed.

#74 COLORED LED $1.19 each
#74 COLORED BULB $0.99 each (alternative)

T1 3/4 Bulb Cover Part #16925K12 $4.67 Pack of 10 (need 2 packs) (note: type the part number in the search field to bring up the part)



1. Prepare a nice size table/bench with plenty of clear area to work with. Place a sheet or a blanket down so you don't scratch the dash pieces when working with them. Also ensure you have an area to place all the screws so they won't get lost. There are alot of them, and some are pretty small.

2. Go to THIS SITE to remove your dash unit.
(side note: if you have an ATX center console, the 2 lights for the atx plate, you can change out with the #74 led or colored bulbs at this point)

3. Once you have the unit out of the dash, take it to your cleaned off table.

4. Remove all of the screws shown in the picture and be sure to disconnect the connector.
First Bolts to Remove

5. Remove the 4 red screws from the headunit. (2 on each side)
Headunit Bolts to Remove

6. Carefully pull the HeadUnit straight up and out and set it out of the way.

7. Remove the 2 screws and the 2 braces and set them to the side.
HeadUnit Braces to Remove

8. Carefully lift the A/C unit straight up and out and set the A/C unit to the side for a moment.

9. Remove the 2 bolts holding the headunit brace in, then lift the square bracket out and set it to the side.
HeadUnit Brace to Remove

10. Set the center dash to the side and grab the A/C Unit, and remove the 4 corner screws from the A/C unit, and then carefully pull the tabs out to release the white plastic cover. Unhook 1 side at a time is the easiest way. Set the cover to the side.
A/C Cover to Remove

11. Take out all of the screws from the back of the A/C unit, then carefully pull the board up and out from the controller box. There are 2 small little tabs on the bottom to pull out.
A/C Board to Remove

12. With the board removed, take off the 5 amber bulb covers, and replace with your colored T1 3/4 covers, or paint the bulbs the color of your choice. The T1 3/4 covers will slip over the bulbs and bulb holder and should fit snug.
Before Stock A/C Covers
After Blue A/C Covers

13. Reverse the steps 10 to 8 to put the A/C unit back together, carefully, and set it aside.

14. Now we must take off the 2 radio turn knobs from the headunit. Carefully place a thin flathead screwdriver underneath the knob, lightly pressing down on the handle, turn the knob until it pops off. Do not let the screwdriver slide from side to side. (I tried to pull the knobs straight off with my fingers, but they were really stuck on. So try with your fingers, and if not try this route)
Knobs to Remove

15. Next is to remove the black cover from the audio controls. Take out all of the screws and set the black cover to the side.
Black Cover to Remove

16. Now remove the 5 remaing screws from the audio board itself. Also you have to take out the 2 screws from the hazard switch board up on the top. Lightly lift the small board up, and the board will snap out from the switch. (the connecting wires are not removeable so you must take out both boards). Life the audio board up and out from the dash piece and set the dash aside.
Audio Board to Remove

17. Now just remove the amber covers, replacing with the T1 3/4 covers, (which will fit over the bulbs and holder) or paint them to whatever color you want.
Before Audio Bulbs
After Audio Bulbs

18. Now just reverse steps 16 to 14 to install the audio board back in.

19. Reverse steps 9 to 4 to put the audio unit and A/C back in.

20. Now you have a different colored center dash.



(this will not be overlays, but the stock black gauges with blue lights)
(this is also not easy since it requires removing the needles, unsoldering surface mounted led's and resoldering the new led's)


Reserved for LCD change over
(note: thanks to dave, I will be getting an extra center dash LCD to play with, so this stage might get done sooner then I think)


Notes, Changes, & Additions

08JULY2005 = Added a FAQ to the top with some pictures included

07JULY2005 = Fixed the mcmaster link and added the technical thread on this issue to the top

06JULY2005 = First Release of Dash Change Over


510 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
forgot to add, the pictures are full resolution, LARGE pictures. That way you can see exactly what is needed. 2 of the pictures are blurry, camera wouldn't work with me on the shiny surfaces with the flash off. Will try again when I get to it. But you can still see what is needed.

510 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
well shit I missed a step lol. All it is is 2 screws and removing the headunit brace out. That comes after you pull the AC unit out. I have the pic just forgot to add it. Will get to it shortly. :slap: :swearin:

edit..there we go. it should be complete now.

questions concerns, ideas, whatever let me know.

510 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Autographs will be given at the next available meet I can get to :nana:

Well, don't consider me a god, I'm not deserving a title like that. Crossbow, 84ford, and a few others are more worthy of that title. Just consider me your friendly neighborhood crackhead. :slap:

Pictures using the bulbs so far.

If you have an atx, don't use the bulb covers for the 2 #74 lights. Right now, based on specs of the bulbs, I think the led is going to be the best bet. They are in the mail. (STILL :swearin: ) but when I get them I can post za picz.

just consider me your color changing guinea pig :huh:

1,648 Posts
Originally posted by HyTeK@Jul 7 2005, 11:38 AM
oh lolwtf, if you go to the meet, and can't get your dash out....I am sure we can help ya. but I think you are determined to get it out by then  :)  :laugh:
Hahaha, I'm keeping my colors red. It compliments everything else I did to the car. If I had known blue was possible (well, back then at least), I would've gotten blue neons instead.

Oh well.

You can help me with other stuff, like giving me money. That'd be much better than taking out my dash :p

981 Posts
This is a cool mod, I'd liek to see more. The only problem I see is the radio LCD and the gauge cluster odometer are both LCD's and LCD's generally have LED's soldered into them to provide lighting. Have you had a chance to look at them? If they are soldered and can't be covered, I guess paint could work.

932 Posts
sweet, thanks! Hey, do you think this is a difficult install? Should I have someone else do it or do you think someone with like zero experience could figure it out? I'm good with instructions and they look pretty detailed. What do you think? Thanks by the way for all this effort! They look sweet too!

510 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Originally posted by MadMardigan@Jul 7 2005, 01:57 PM
This is a cool mod, I'd liek to see more. The only problem I see is the radio LCD and the gauge cluster odometer are both LCD's and LCD's generally have LED's soldered into them to provide lighting. Have you had a chance to look at them? If they are soldered and can't be covered, I guess paint could work.

They do have surface mounted led's. Same as the instrument cluster gauges. I have found and ordered replacement led's because you can't paint the stock led's, as they are amber in color.

the lcd's aren't that bad, but for the casual modder without solder skills or 2m certification and bench, then it would be hard. I am 2M certified and have a workstation I can use. for me it isn't a problem to crack open a lcd and change the led's.

right now I need to find the best solution to the center dash before I move onto the surface mounts, as the surface mounts is actually the easy part :huh:

510 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Originally posted by anjyl_99@Jul 7 2005, 02:07 PM
sweet, thanks!  Hey, do you think this is a difficult install?  Should I have someone else do it or do you think someone with like zero experience could figure it out?  I'm good with instructions and they look pretty detailed.  What do you think?  Thanks by the way for all this effort!  They look sweet too!

it's not to difficult, but make sure before you start you check the technical thread on this. (link is in the top of the how to now)

that way you know what your jumping into. ;)

but with just the bulb covers there are no soldering, no rewiring, just unscrew, take covers off, put new covers on, your done. there are just alot of screws to take care of.

981 Posts
So pretty much all the LED's are easy except for the LCD's? Are the lights in the tachometer and spedometor just like the audio lights, or are they soldered like the LED's in the LCD's? Lol gotta love the accronyms.
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