Friday, July 8, 2011

How to replace instrument panel lamps on 2003 Buick LeSabre ?




  • Remove the IP upper trim pad.
  • Remove the IP cluster trim panel.
  • Release the 4 IP cluster pins. Pull the cluster rearward.
  • Depress the steering column closeout shroud in order to gain enough clearance in order to remove the IP cluster.
  • Tilt the lower end of the IP cluster rearward, over the steering column closeout shroud in order to remove

  • Align the upper portion of the IP cluster to the IP cluster opening.
  • Rock the lower portion of the IP cluster over the steering column closeout shroud in order to fit the IP cluster into the opening.
  • Align the IP cluster pins to the corresponding openings in the retainer.
  • Press in the cluster in order to secure. There will be an audible snap when the cluster is fully seated.
  • Install the IP cluster trim panel.

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    With more detailed view:---

    Starting from the top....

    1. Disconnect battery ground cable.
    2. Remove upper trim pad, Fig. 19, as follows:
    1. Remove defroster grille, then the A/C outlets from upper trim pad.
    2. Remove instrument panel trim plates, then 10 instrument panel pad retaining screws.
    3. On models equipped with twilight sentinel, pop up photocell retainer, then remove photocell by turning counterclockwise.
    4. On all models, slide panel pad out far enough to disconnect aspirator tube and in-car temperature sensor electrical connector.
    5. Remove pad.

    3. On models with analog cluster, Remove steering column filler panel, Fig. 20, then disconnect shift indicator cable from steering column.
    4. On all models, remove five instrument cluster attaching screws, then the cluster, Fig. 21.
    5. Reverse procedure to install.

    Here is the radio part.
    1. Remove lower RH trim plate.
    2. Remove four radio retaining screws, then pull radio out of dash and disconnect electrical connectors and antenna lead.
    3. Remove radio, Fig. 32.
    4. Reverse procedure to install.

    Once you have the unit apart, you have to gain access to the board that contains the dead bulbs. Then you have to de-solder the bulbs one at a time. After de-soldering you then have to do whatever modifications are necessary to fit the bulbs that are readily available from radioshack / mouser. Then rebuild the component.

    Keep in mind that the electrical system typically runs about 14.5 volts when the engine is on, so typical 12 volt bulbs will tend to have a much shorter than specification life.

    I used #8111 miniature lamps, they are rated 14 volts and 50,000 hours. Bought in bulk (like 40 or so) and replaced all lamps in each display device I opened. (Easier to replace all once than go back in a year later when othere burn out). LED's might work but need current limiting resistors that take space and you have to get the polarity right.

    The existing bulbs are a combination of bin base and wire base, soldered in place, and many also haev a plastic space under them. Most also have a blue filter over the bulb that with care you can remove and install on the new lamp.

    You need the skills to do fine soldering work, and a bit of patience. You may need to remove the steering wheel and air bag to get the the lamps there.
    On some models the bulbs are screw type.In that just unscrew and remove the bulb.
  • Sit in your drivers seat. Place your hands round the back of the steering wheel until you locate the tab which allows you to adjust the height of the steering wheel. Lower the steering wheel to its lowest possible position within the column. This will provide you with the best access to the instrument panel.

  • Find the rubber bezel which is around the instrument panel. Use a phillips-head screwdriver to remove the two screws which hold it in place. Pull the bezel off the dash and place it in the glove compartment for reattachment later.

  • Take off the three screws which fix the instrument panel to the dashboard. Slide the panel half way out of the dash. Reach around the back of the panel until you locate the electrical connector. Pull the electrical connector out of the back of the panel. Remove the instrument panel from the vehicle and place on a clear work surface.

  • Unscrew the broken LED bulbs in a counterclockwise direction until they come free from the instrument panel. Discard the bulbs in either the trash or recycling. Insert the new bulbs by turning them in a clockwise direction in the panel. Keep turning them until they can no longer turn anymore to ensure they are firmly in place.

  • Reattach the instrument panel and bezel to the dashboard by following the removal steps in reverse. Place the negative cable back on its respective battery terminal and fix in place with the clamp bolt. Turn on the engine to check that the instrument panel and its bulbs now work correctly.