Report: Multiple control switch back lights out on the steering wheel, climate control (and other places)
Buick LeSabre Problem
Model Year Affected: 2001
I is not uncommon for various back lighting bulbs to fail, sometimes one right after the other. Most commonly the related switch our component is replaced. However with a little time and effort the bulbs can be replaced individually.
I just bought a used 2001 Lesabre Limited in great condition except for multiple switch back lights out on the steering wheel, Climate control (and other places):
- steering wheel cruise set / resume switch
- steering wheel volume switch
For the steering wheel switches and as was mentioned in earlier posts, you can used 2 small flat screwdrivers and gently rock out the switches, disconnect, gently pry open the switch at the tabs, remove the circuit board, de-solder the old lamp/holder (worked easiest for me than to try to retain the little white holder), gently slid off there blue rubber lamp cover, wet it slightly and slip it on the new lamp, then solder on the new lamp as close to the lamp as possible, clip the excess leads, gently do a final position in place to ensure it fits in the rubber pening (when re-seated) and reassemble. I used the Eiko 38111 14v T1 .065A lamps that DonP mentioned in another post and they worked perfectly. Amazon had the best price,$.73 ea with $4.99 shipping, so I bought 10 to have in case other lamps go out in the future.
Other issues that I have experienced:
- Steering Wheel cruise control switch would not stay clicked on - took it apart but there was nothing to repair as a small plastic piece inside broke -- I put it back together and slid a plastic sliver between the switch button and the channel that it sits in and the friction kept the switch on..I did order a new switch ($20 @ Rock Auto) and it came out like the other switches and works per spec.
- manual headlight and parking light switches seemed to be frozen in place. I forcefully pushed in the light switch and then needed to take a small screwdriver to pry it out (and off)..the plastic trim snaps off (start prying from the door side), unscrewed the and unplugged the switch. Pried open the switch and see that the outer portion of the switch slides through an inner channel, both are clear plastic and it seems the heat fused them together over time. The light switch had some movement but was VERY resistant, so I removed the headlight switch portion and took a dremel tool (a powered hobby shop tool that allows you to drill, grind, sand, buff..) with a sanding bit and slowly worked my way around the inside channel and also the outside of the headlight switch until they once again slid together easily...did the same with the parking light switch and they work now (saved me between $70-100 in part cost).
- I ended up having to replace the bulbs found in each push button switch and behind both slider switches..
Other mini project:
Fan and mode switch back light in the climate control switch:
- Open glove box and remove 2 black screws
- gently pry off faux wood trim starting at the edge nearest to the passenger door
- on each side of the climate control module there are 2 tabe; gently squeeze the tabs to each other as you pull it our of the dash and it will easily unplug from the connector.
- unscrew the 4 screws using a 5mm socket hobby nut driver
- with the faceplate (face down on a soft cloth), separate the faceplate from the casing
- gently unplug the ribbon cable
- place the casing aside and with the faceplate still face down, pull out the circuit board (the reason for this is the membrane and switches can fall out of the faceplate if you open the case any other way).
- I needed to change the fan and mode bulbs..
- de-soldered each bulb from the circuit board
- I needed to break the old bulb to pull out the old leads and then fed the new 8111 bulbs mentioned above through the holder..I did this because the blue rubber cover that I took off of the old bulb happens to be bigger than the 8111 bulbs, so using the old bulb holder allows me to reuse the blue rubber cover again..in retrospect, 'next time' when the last bulb goes, I might not use the blue covering again as the 8111 bulbs seem to be a little dimmer than the original bulbs in this application so it might throw off more light w/o the rubber covers (Using the blue rubber covers worked fine in the steering wheel switch back lights)
- Put it all back together in reverse order and done!
Other back light issue:
- Radio channel buttons 3, 4, 5, 6 - also on my list of to-dos -- I hear this is more difficult to do..we'll see..
Out of 10 bulbs, I have one left.....might need to buy another 10 for future replacement needs.
Hope this helps...