How to replace your steering wheel control lights, 2000-2006

Discussion in 'How-to Guides' started by Pikey, May 2, 2013.

  1. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    I replaced my steering wheel control lights today. The top controls took a total of 10 minutes each removal to reinstall. The bottoms were a pain to get back in due to the short wire harness. I used eight 272-1092 bulbs from Radio shack, they are 12v 60ma. They run $1.99 for a pack of two. They were brighter than the three remaining factory installed bulbs on my controls. But, if you do them all then it does not matter. Alternatively, you can use 272-1154, they are 12v 50ma. They come with a new plastic base and run $2.20 for one.

    IMG_0807.jpg I just slid a pick in behind the switch and pulled them out. Trust me, you can deform the crap out of the rubber,(did it during install of the bottom) it will go back to it's original shape.

    I used the pick to depress the tab on the connector for the harness shown here

    If you slide a flat head screw driver into the seam in the back you can separate the switch. Be careful, those red push pins fall out if you do not keep the button part down. They are not that hard to get back in with a small set of needle nose pliers.
    Here is the circuit board and the new bulb. The pins for the connector make it so the board will not sit flat, this makes soldering it a little hard. I set the board on the handle of the small needle nose pliers, it made it sit level.
    Just put a small amount of pressure on the bulb and touch the soldering iron to the pad. The solder melted nearly instantly and the bulb came loose. Do this on both sides.
    Here is the bulb and base removed. If you do not pull the blue rubber cap off of the old bulb and put it on the new bulb, the light will be very yellow instead of white. (I found this out the hard way). Simply bend the leads from the old bulb off of the base, slide the new bulb in, bend the leads around and cut them to length. Reinstall them. I just set them on the board, touched my soldering iron to the pad, the solder melted, I pulled the iron away and let it cool for a second, there was enough old solder on the pad so I did not have to add solder to any of them.
    After doing this to both sides of the bulb and both bulbs I just put the switch back together and reinstalled it. As said above, the bottom switches do not have much slack in the harness. I was able to get one back together by tying a piece of dental floss to the connector. I then held the connector in place with the floss and pushed the switch onto the connector. Then I cut the floss and slid the switch into the final position. For the other bottom side, I took the airbag out. It was easy and gave me just enough slack to get the connector into the switch. If you don't know how to pull an airbag out, Then don't do it!! You can be hurt or even killed it you screw it up. If you are not hurt or killed it is still a costly mistake. If you want to know how, PM me. If I know you and have confidence in your ability I will explain how I did it. If not google it and I am sure that you will find a video. The bottom circuit boards are slightly different. The leads for the bulb are soldered to the back of the board and the bulb goes thru a hole on the board. I found soldering these easier than the top buttons.
    Here is the final product. I got some weird glare from my garage lights on the driver side buttons.
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  2. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Good write-up. What heat setting did you use on your soldering iron? If not variable, what wattage iron were you using?
  3. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    I have a cheap radio shack 25 watt soldering iron that has 2 settings, on and off. :great: A smaller tip would have been nice, but it worked out OK. like I said, after the iron warmed up, I just touched the tip to the solder for a second and it melted.
  4. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    K, just asking since I have two irons -- a variable setting Weller and a 25w/40w (two setting) Radio Shack unit. I tend to prefer the variable unit for board work if I know the heat setting I need. In this case I'll use the 25w setting on the Radio Shack unit when I elect to tackle this. (I'll probably be a while ... but I'll get there. I'm gathering facts, right now!)
  5. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    It was REALLY easy, other than getting the bottom right switch reinstalled. I was slightly concerned about my 25 watt iron producing too much heat and melting the board. I used it to change out about 45 capacitors on a tv circuit board last year and burned the board in some spots. It still worked, but was not pretty. I was not sure if it was my inexperience at the time or my iron temp. Now I have to say that it was my inexperience. The tops took less than 10 minutes each.
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  6. j cat

    j cat Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    what I have is a variable ac transformer. when you do get into really small soldering . I drop the voltage down so the 25 watt iron is cooler don't want to lift the runs off the board.
  7. j cat

    j cat Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    what manufacturer TV was it ? you have the leaky cap issue ? a few years back this was a manufacturing defect at the capacitor manufacturer .
  8. Pete Ramirez

    Pete Ramirez New Member

    I replaced the two big ones, thank you. You saved me some cash. In order to put the switch back I pulled the connector towards the switch using a piece of pliable wire. It goes right in by pulling the wire while pressing down with your thumbs. The you can just cut the wire and pull it out. This gave me some courage to try and replace the little ones. Thanks again.
  9. xPosTech

    xPosTech Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Sorry about bringing up an old post but thought I'd throw this trick out there since it's in the how to guides.

    I got caught with a busted pencil iron years ago and had to rig one up using a 40 watt. Take a length of fairly heavy solid copper wire, say 10 gauge, and wrap it around the tip of the too-large iron about 4 or 5 turns and leave about 1 to 2 inches sticking out. Cut the wire on a slant so you have a flat working surface. Once you find it you have a lower temp pencil iron. I didn't list any specific sizes because the wire size and length you leave will determine the working temp. If it's too cool and won't flow solder shorten the length sticking out.

    It's better to start too cool than too hot. Also if you give the copper wire a few hot/cold temp cycles the copper will work harden a bit making it easier to use. Also when removing components if you flow a tiny bit of new solder before trying to remove the component it will go a little easier.

    I use a "solder sucker" rather than braid to remove copper. It's a spring loaded vacuum tube that makes solder repair easy as pie.


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