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Lights in vents for cavalier/sunfire | Dash removal


Joined: Jul 20 2003
Posts: 2809
Location: WV

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Post Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:24 pm

A lot of folks have these and those that don't always ask how you did it...so I had to take my dash off today and while I was at it, I decided to show you how I did mine.

What?: LEDS (2) in each of the four ac vents in my '04 Cavalier.
Total Time: Aprroximately two hours total install if you have to solder the leds and resistors + you've never taken your dash off.
Tools: Drill, 3/16" Drill Bit (if using 5mm leds), ratchet (and socket, of course. I didn't think to check the size while I was in there. If you have a socket set, you'll have no problem finding the right fit.), screwdriver (flathead), lights, and wire.
Notes: Be careful when removing the dash cover (airbag is right below it). You can click on any image for a larger size. Silicone might come in handy if you get drill-happy icon_smile.gif Read everything before starting.

1) Using your flathead screwdriver, gently pop off the covers for both the left and right side of dash.

2) On the driver's side of the dash, you'll see a screw directly across from the a/c vent. It's black and obviously is holding the dash (see step one, image one). Remove it. Do the same for the passenger's side.

3) Open up the glove box and remove two more of the same type of screws. One on each side of the glove box near the top.

While in the glove box, there's a hole towards the left of center that contains two brass screws. Remove those (they're connecting the airbag popout). These are easy to lose and hard to remove. Patience.
It's a good idea to have an extension for your rarchet at this point.

4) Go to the center of the dash and remove one screw that holds the defrost vent cover on. Using your screw driver, remove the cover if it's not already loose (clips hold it on..you may have to pull a bit). Now, there are two more screws just like the others holding on the dash cover at the top. Remove these.

5) You can now begin pulling your dash. Pull directly upwards. Near the gauge cluster, there are a few clips that like to stick -- be careful near this area. You might want to pry this part loose first using a screw driver.

6) Using the 3/16" bit, drill two holes on opposite of each vent duct. Make the holes angle towards the back of the car (so light shines back and not directly downwards). Also, drill them about 1.5" from the actual vent opening (so to hide the leds from direct sight). The 5mm leds will be very tight in these holes so if you want to make them a little larger, feel free (do not bump up to a 1/4" bit, though -- too big). If you make your holes too big, just silicone around your leds after you place them in.

7) Your leds should be in the vents now. A good idea would be to check them one more time to be sure that everything is working correctly and no silly wiring mistakes have been made thus far.

8) Considering you probably want your switch to be near your driver's seat, run your power and ground towards the drivers side (duh moment?)...
I hooked power to the leds and searched for the closest, cleanest ground I could find. For me, there's this handy brass screw right on the side of the dash easily covered by the plastic popoffs removed in step one screaming to have my leds grounded to it.

9) Run your power line like below -- it's the only way to run it down the side of the dash without it being visible when everything is put back together. (Notice it's running down the curve of the dash and through the bottom of the hole for the fuse box.)

10) Hook it up to a 12v source (assuming you have your leds hooked for 12v) and you're golden.

Finished product:

-- And with a direct shot into the vent -- led is visible if you look hard enough at a direct, eyelevel. Otherwise, just purty glow.

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Last edited by Kevin_S on Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:32 pm, edited 2 times in total

Joined: Nov 08 2005
Posts: 1560
Location: Kentucky

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Post Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:55 pm

Pretty decent write-up. When I did mine I used a bolt on the bottom of the steering collumn for my ground, one less wire running around the fuse box area.
Losing quickly

Joined: Apr 26 2005
Posts: 5706
Location: SC

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Post Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:27 pm

nice write up

Joined: Jan 10 2007
Posts: 32

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Post Wed Jul 04, 2007 7:59 pm

Nice gun in the glovebox! I might have to do this to my car for a little extra light. Plus, the Impala has vents that can either be closed off completely, or opened. This means I can control the light coming through. Maybe I should close them and then you would just see the light peering through the lines, that would be cool. Thanks for the write-up!

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