Well after getting some advice that this should just be a simple plug & play issue I went back to the wreckers and pulled the cluster w/tach from a 97-98 f150 w/4.6L motor. Took me about 20 min. Cost $50+tax.
Got home and cleaned it up, then did the swap. I finally figured out how to get the cluster out without the gear selector cable attached. There are two small plastic tabs that you press, 1 to the left 1 to the right. As you do that you gently pull down on the gear selector face plate and is slips right out.
I took some pics and scanned some pages from the Hayne's manual so I'll try to make a How-to this weekend. Some of the pics are out of focus a bit but still manageable.
New cluster works perfect, all trouble lights work and as a bonus I now have fully function dash lights so I don't need those two blue LEDs 3M'ed to the dash. Tach works fine, truck idles at about 950rpm.
KMs on old cluster 247494, on the new 263781, diff of 16287kms. With the amount I drive it would take about 1.5 yrs to make up the diff. I didn't want to wait that long.
Maybe I'll submit it as my MOTM