: Headlight Switch Removal

12-16-05, 09:50 AM
Does anyone know how to remove the headlight switch assembly? It appears that all of the lighting switches (twilight, fog lights, etc.) are integrated into a single panel, and the entire panel needs to come off of the dash, correct? My headlight switch won't stay "pushed in" when it's in the middle position, so the interior lights pop on when I don't want them to. I'd like to pull it apart so I can try to fix it. The replacement is anywhere from $130 -$180!

01-18-06, 11:15 AM

I figured out how to take the lighting panel out, but I can only half-heartedly recommend doing it, as the unit does not seem very DIY-friendly once you get it out. I will describe how I did it now, and will try to post again with pictures this weekend.

1) with the drivers door open, you will see a flat panel at the far edge of the dash (sort of shaped like a stretched out capital "D"- with the door closed it is flush between the door and the dash). Pry open, starting at the edge facing the drivers seat- it should pop out/off pretty easily. Taking this piece off shows you where the wiring connects the to lighting assembly and allows you to help to push the assembly out.

2) the assembly itself is held in place in the dash by 2 spring clips on either side. Wedge something flat and thin (I used a couple of butter knives) into the seam between assembly and dash to push in one of the clips (I found it easier to start on the left side)

3) with your wedge in place, use another flat tool to gently insert in the seam between the assembly and its housing behind the panel and *GENTLY* try to push the assembly forward/outwards. Wiggling might help. What you are trying to do is to help move the assembly past the point where the clip will re-engage AND gently separate the connection socket in the back. Patience! It will not move very much or very easily, but it doesnt need to move very far.

4) you may be able to worry the assembly out of the dash by the front by hand at this point. If not, try to work on the clip on the other side of the assembly, with more gentle wiggling from behind. once the assembly gets loose, it will practically jump out.

5) the assembly is held together by several notches (about 2 per side). prying it open is relatively simple - there are no adhesives or anything at work here. I found nothing that I could easily or obviously affect, however, once I got the thing open, and i wasnt willing to take the risk of ruining it fumbling around. If you get this far, BE VERY CAREFUL - the pastic is thin, and i think it was only luck that prevented a break. Also, there are a number of springs in there, especially engaged with the buttons - some are VERY small and could easily be lost forever. Putting this back together was also very complicated: the wheel switches that control the twilight timing and the cabin lighting need to be reattached to slides which are very small and need to be carefully positioned. Also, there are about 20 (or a million) pins comprising the plug, which separates if you take the assembly apart - all of these need to fit back into their very tiny holes out the back when you put it back together - DO NOT FORCE.

I hope this helps! Again, I will try to provide some pictures this weekend.

01-18-06, 02:51 PM
Thanks for the reply ... I actually DID manage to fix the headlight switch. I managed to get the assembly out of the dash (the same way you did). Once it was out, I saw that there was a ball bearing, bb sized, that was spring-loaded on the side of the assembly. This device is meant to allow the headlight switch to "ratchet" (for lack of a better term) through it's various positions (off/running lights/on). Well, the bearing and spring was "loose", in other words, it was no longer spring-loaded, so the ratchet-action wasn't working and the switch would move due to the car's vibration. All I did was push the ball bearing all the way in on one side of the assembly, pushed the spring back in place on top of it, and then jammed a small object (a set-screw, actually) into the hole to keep the bearing and spring in place. It works beautifully! And to order a new switch assembly was $200+!!!!

Hope this helps someone else in the future!