Replace steering wheel bulbs with LEDs (How-To w/Pics)

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Cadillac Tech Tips - How to fix it Discussion, Replace steering wheel bulbs with LEDs (How-To w/Pics) in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; Hey guys, Been lurking for a while, have gotten TONS of help from you guys, so first I would like ...
  1. #1
    Bam1234567 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): 2001 DeVille
    Join Date
    May 2014

    Replace steering wheel bulbs with LEDs (How-To w/Pics)

    Hey guys,

    Been lurking for a while, have gotten TONS of help from you guys, so first I would like to say thanks!

    On to the write up....

    Almost all the bulbs were out in my DeVille's wheel for quite some time, and it finally annoyed me too much. First off, these are the bulbs I purchased, best part is, they have INLINE RESISTORS!! (Yay for no extra work!)

    If you plan on converting to LED, I HIGHLY suggest these bulbs. Another perk of these LEDs is that the little blue condom from the old bulbs fit these perfectly.

    So, assuming you have everything torn down on the steering wheel already, heres the tools needed:
    Small Needle Nose Pliers
    Small Wire Cutters
    Soldering Iron For Micro Board Work (i.e. not a chisel tip)
    Solder (typically optional, since the solder left should be enough, unless you use de-soldering braid to remove the old stuff)
    Flux (typically NOT optional, unless you *really* enjoy a challenge xD )
    A 24 pack of your favorite beer makes this a lot easier, trust me. And not because of the beer, but we will get to that.
    Razor blades

    Alright, first thing, these LEDs are great, but they come shrink wrapped, and we don't need that. So go ahead and take that razor bade and rip that shrink wrap off.

    Attachment 214705

    As you can see, I've partiality removed one of the wraps, you will need to remove both wraps, the one on the resistor and the one covering both wires.

    In case you haven't already, tear down the switch to the Circuit Board. A small flat blade screwdriver and some perseverance should do the trick.

    Next, we get to that 24 pack. Now, since the Circuit Board has a bunch of pins of the back, plopping it on a table at a 45 Degree angle and digging at it with an iron is gonna make you wanna claw your eyeballs out. So, take a small knife, or your razor blade and cut a slit in the beer box, just wide enough for the pins to all slip in. Then press the Circuit Board into the box. Now it is stable and flat, and soldering will be a breeze!

    Now that you have the Circuit Board secure, desolder the old bulbs. You can do this by pulling the top of the bulb to the right, then hitting the solder on the left side with the iron. The wires are pretty weak so the left side will pop up easily. Then pull the top of the bulb to the left and hit the right side. Rip off the bulbs and white spacers underneath.

    Alright boys and girls, cats and squirrels, now the fun part. You have to take the needle nose pliers and position the resistor UNDER the LED. Is should cross underneath the leads. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are two thousand words:

    Attachment 214721

    Attachment 214729

    Take your time with this! Don't break the leads on the LED. Make sure to leave a little gap in-between the resistor and +POS lead. Like this:

    Attachment 214737

    It shouldn't matter or short out if you don't leave a gap, but I'm not taking any chances.

    As you can tell, these are pics after I soldered them onto the board. Soldering them onto the board is pretty straight-forward. Adjust the negative terminal as needed, then cut it to length with the wire cutters. For the -NEG side, you should *only* be using the lead, NOT the wire that was soldered onto the lead. This is going to allow you to solder on the negative side while the LED is in place, and once that side is on, it will be held in place by the strength of the terminal. If you use the wire, it wouldn't have any structural integrity to stick straight up, since we can't reuse the spacers with the resistors in the way.

    For the +POS end, I cut the wire attached to the resistor down to about 1 inch. After that I slid the sheath off and this was a pretty good length to work with. 1/2 inch of wire could've been better, though. Either way, most of the lead and resistor's prongs will be used to wrap the resistor under the LED and hold it there, then you will use the small length of wire to solder it to the board. OH! And spin the braided wire so it stays together!! This will save you headaches when you go to solder. Here are a few pics of the end result:

    Attachment 214745

    Attachment 214753

    Viola, you are done! Remember, if you want to keep the little blue condoms, they will fit:

    Attachment 214761

    Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!


    Attached Images
    Avaya likes this.

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  3. #2
    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Woodstock Ill.

    Re: Replace steering wheel bulbs with LEDs (How-To w/Pics)

    I'm going to copy this to the Tech Tips section.

    I just did all 6 on my daughters '04 SLS. Although there are many similarities, it was a bit different.
    I also found out that there is no need to remove the air bag. The switches can be pried out with a small flat bladed screwdriver.

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