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I've been slowly adding LED lights to my 2005 Acura MDX. First I did the interior which was a humongous improvement. Then I slowly added LED lights to the exterior. The problem with the exterior LEDs is that Acura kicks off a "brake lamp" error code. I had seen various videos on how to pull the instrument cluster out of the MDX and change the lights to various color LEDs. So I thought it would be easy to do.

Umm...yes and no. All the videos must have been on older MDXs. My 2005 has LED lights directly on a board. You can't replace them easily. Secondly, in order to get to the lights themselves, you have to pull off the gauge needles. I was feeling a bit foolish so I pulled the needles off. The board detached very easily and it was easy to identify the light that controls the brake lamp indicator. I figured I already did the stupid part, so I just took a screw driver and pull off the LED that lights up the brake Lamp indicator (honestly who needs that indicator light anyways?). The problem came with putting the needles back on. They went back on, but were they correct? I had no idea. The fuel gauge one was probably wrong. I plugged the the instrument cluster assembly back into the dash and went for a drive. I filled up my gas to the brim and used a GPS speedometer app to measure my speed. So far speed was good. RPMs seemed good but all I can do is set it to zero out when I turn the key to on but haven't started the car. Fuel and temp gauges are way harder. When the car is in the "off" position these two gauges fall well below the "C" and "empty" spots on the dash. When I turn the car on, where should the fuel gauge end? I know the car is full...but should it be on the full line or just above it? I just don't know. Same with temperature. Then I sorta wondered...does it matter if it is 2 degrees off where it should be? Probably not. I did study a lot of images and videos (of people starting their 2005 Acura) and did my best to approximate where the needles sat when the car was in the "off" position. That seems to make it fairly accurate. Maybe I'll find the gas gauge is more accurate (I always felt the dummy light went on for empty way before it was close to the "E" indicator.

I'll get an OBD reader that does live data and see if I can take some measurements to see how closely the gauges align. They are extremely easy to adjust albeit tough to get it by a 1 degree or so in movement. Very difficult to make very, very fine adjustments. For example, I wanted the Full tank indicator to be in the very top of the white line. Making that fine a detail adjustment was difficult to impossible, especially with my shaky hands....LOL.

Anyways, I'll keep you posted but it is possible to eliminate the brake lamp indicator light instead of adding 4 resistors to the brake lights. Adding resistors the brake lights just didn't seem to work. They get super hot and there isn't a lot of room to put 2 of them back on each side. I played around with various possible wiring configurations but couldn't figure out how I was going to isolate the hot resistors from the plastic housing of the brake lamp assembly.
 

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I wouldn't get my knickers in too tight a twist over most of those gauges. The important thing with the temperature is that you figure out where it is "normally". If that's a 1/4, 1/2 or 3/4, just don't get excited if it doesn't deviate from there. The fuel is a little more important, but you DO have the low fuel light to warn you (in case the gauge is still showing 1/8 or 1/4 tank).

Personally, I'd just leave the brake lights incandescent - just SO much easier. ;-) I did convert my turn signal lamps, but mainly for aesthetic reasons (to eliminate that "egg yolk look" in the otherwise clean and clear turn signal housings). I mounted 20 watt (IIRC) resistors on the wiring harness, leaving them to "float". It didn't seem like they were going to cause any problems, but then again they also generate only 1/2 (or so) of the heat of a (constantly on) brake light resistor. If you're concerned, just add enough wire to the properly-sized resistors and lash them to something stationary and non-plastic.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's already done, LOL.

The LED on the brake lamps makes a HUGE difference in light output. I was going to go back to incandescent bulbs and even tried some supposedly high output bulbs. But when I put in the high output bulbs and compared them to LED, it was a stark difference. I couldn't go back. I was resolved to just leave the brake lamp indicator on and just drive around that way. I only decided to get to mess with the instrument gauges after seeing videos showing how easy it was. But it was another year of MDX. Still wasn't too hard except for messing with the needles.
 

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Update: I did several tests and adjustments on the needles. For many of the gauges I looked at sales videos of 2005 Acura MDX on youtube and saw where the needles were at when they put in the keys and after they started the vehicle up. I think I got everything where they need to be and where I'm comfortable. I did get get a OBD reader but I didn't really use it much.
 
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