: Changing the radio buttons

02-21-13, 11:50 AM
Just a quick heads up to anyone searching this topic--the Cadillacfaq page on it is wrong. The micro bolts on the inside of the face plate aren't 1/8 inch, they're smaller. They appear to be 1/16 or 3/32. I'd recommend buying a micro-socket kit--at that size you're depending heavily on the manufacturing tolerances and since most of those kits will be made in China, you should just use whichever socket fits best.

But 1/8 inch is very definitely not the right size. A 1/8 inch socket will just spin on the bolt head. So, you know, don't do what I did and order the socket from Amazon (you're not going to find that socket at any chain stores), wait for it to get to you, only to find out it's not the right size.

02-21-13, 12:15 PM
Haven't done this yet though I bought a new set of buttons from Luke a couple of years ago. Could these "micro bolts" be metric?

02-21-13, 01:54 PM
I need to purchase those buttons as well...thanks for the info.

02-21-13, 02:00 PM
I don't really know what the nominal size of the bolt is--it's listed as 1/8 inch or 3.2mm on the faq.

It could well be that they are in fact that size and the sockets are just machined poorly. But the point is that the best idea is to get a set of several sizes and use the one that actually works. The kit I got has 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, and SAE from 3/32 inch up.


Or, to put it another way, don't so what I did--order a 1/8 inch Armstrong socket from Amazon (because you won't find it locally) and expect it to work. Get from 3/32 to 1/8 inch and metric from 3 to 4 (including all half sizes) and use the one that actually works.

02-22-13, 08:35 PM
Do you have a part number for these buttons? Mine are starting to look a little aged and I would love to replace them.

02-22-13, 08:59 PM
No, the only place I know to get them is Lindsay Cadillac. Though I think we should try to find another source--they're $8 each. That's $50 if you're doing all of them. That's just silly.

02-22-13, 10:25 PM
The 1/8" socket worked very well for me. Perfect fit actually.
I bought the socket in the link below, couldn't find it anywhere else.


02-24-13, 10:55 PM
I got the flat black model paint pen from Testors - look to a hobby store.... it works good enough for me. Color dries to a flat black that is a spot on match to the factory. Works great on the buttons on the right side. The left side has the words on them... so you can only do so much with those if they go to crap.

Right now for the $4 pen I'm extremely happy with the results. Fixed up all the common issues.

02-24-13, 11:00 PM
^^ I may have to give that a try. Any pictures of your work?

02-24-13, 11:11 PM
^^ I may have to give that a try. Any pictures of your work?

Sure, i'll snap some pics and be back with them in a bit, see if they turn out at night.

Here an idea of what I did. My radio was as bad as any other one when I purchased it at 90k miles. Nearly every button had white edges, the rotary wheel's edge was white almost all the way around. At night the buttons glowed all over the places where they shouldn't. I didn't want to put a $100+ into new buttons that might do the same thing in a year, although I am gentle with them. Taking the radio apart is kinda my thing but I'd rather not to replace buttons.

So here's how it looks with the Testor's flat enamel paint. With the phone flash you can see the difference between them but in daylight they are near identical. So far it has been holding up fine.

photos are low quality from iphone at night, but for reference every single button was in a bad state of peeling along the edges all the way around their corners. Had to careful repainting right up to the indicator dots or in between some letters on the left buttons.



02-25-13, 09:54 AM
Not bad!! It's worth a shot...Thanks for the photos!

02-25-13, 11:04 AM
Is the SEEK button an option to be separately? I had my NAV replaced under CPO warranty due to chipped buttons. 2nd one came with discoloration on the screen, so they got another one. Now years later, the SEEK button chipped :-( even being as careful as possible.

02-25-13, 11:21 AM
Call Luke at Lindsay Cadillac. If he doesn't know, no one else will either, most likely.

Anyone try refinishing the buttons after swapping them? I've got six of the side buttons that the previous owner did the Testors paint thing on and they look bad (at least compared to the new ones). I'm thinking about sanding them and trying to repaint them with the white dots. Maybe I could mask over where the dots should be and spray them with flat paint.

At $8 each, I'll be trying to refinish them for the next time.

(I'm a little surprised I am about an $8 button. Compared to what I want to spend on the engine, $50 to make the radio look new is nothing.)

02-25-13, 11:32 AM
The $50 may be worth it but they will just chip again. My radio was replaced because of a few buttons wearing, within 6 months I had 3 more buttons chipping. There needs to be some type of clear coating over the replaced buttons help protect them otherwise you back in the same boat.

02-25-13, 11:39 AM
The radio looks so much better that I don't mind repeating the process every six months if I have to. Once you do it once, it's not too bad. I just don't want to buy new buttons each time. I like the flat black look, so I think I'll try re-spraying them.

The guy I bought the car from did a good job with the paint pen, but you could still tell and it annoyed me. Since the radio/DIS is the thing I look at most when I'm in the car (after the road), I'd like to not be annoyed with it.

02-25-13, 11:43 AM
Here's some daytime pics from phone. Every button in this pic is repaired including the seek button. If you stare at them up close you can tell but for me it's not a show car.


and the whole unit


02-27-13, 03:56 PM
I replace my buttons, but before then I used to "touch up" the buttons with a Sharpie (felt pen) non-erasable worked pretty well.
Note: the new buttons seem better than the original for durability

02-27-13, 06:53 PM
good to know.... this is slowly working up the list on my "to-do" list. lol

04-01-13, 10:21 PM
I actually bought some clear coat and glossed the replacements before I put them on. Just putting her back together this week.