Question about 1981 Chevrolet Corvette

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1981 corvette instrument panel lamp replacement

I need to replace instrument lamps, in particular the indicator lamps. I need instruction on how to access them.

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I'll tell you, but when you go to do it, you'll probably curse Chevrolet, your car, and me! lol!

You have to reach behind the dash. Even with the seat in the back position, you'll turn into a contortionist! Place an old couch cushion, or something similar on the ground/driveway next to the car, with the door open. Kneel on the couch cushion. Reach up under the dash, and back behind it, with your left hand, while holding onto the steering column with your right.

It's hard to describe this to someone who has never done this before. (Just think. You'll be the expert, when someone you know asks you, when you're done!)

You are feeling for a plastic bulb holder. This holder is about the size of a dime. It resembles one of a gas stove's knobs. It has a round base, and from the middle of the base, it comes up into rectangular shape. If you look at this -> T <- the base is the top of the T. Turn the T upside down, and you'll have the basic shape.

This plastic holder has the lamp bulb in it. You turn it to the RIGHT.
As you face the instrument cluster, it is turned to the Right. You just turn it one quarter turn, then it will come out.
Once you get one in your hand, you'll know why it was difficult to describe. You'll also immediately see how it turns in, and locks into place.

The bulb itself it extracted, by holding the bulb holder in your hand, bulb facing you. You push in, and turn the bulb to the Left.
It is at this point, that I advise you to wear some protective gloves of some kind. The bulb base, could be corroded down in the socket. You may exert enough force to break the bulb, and cut your fingers.
I advise Safety above ALL ELSE!

I also advise that you replace one bulb at a time.
Notice the brass metal ring around the bulb holder base?
This corrodes after time, giving a poor contact. You can take a little fine steel wool, and clean it up. Use care as the steel wool can catch, and bend the brass ring, misshaping it.

Behind the dash panel that you can't see, is a thin plastic flat strip.
Another thing hard to describe. Envision a large U shaped flat piece of plastic, on the back of your instrument housing. The U shape will be upside down, in relation to how it sits on the back of the instrument housing. It's about 1/32nd of an inch thick, and about 2 inches wide.

There are thin flat strips of copper, making a path all the way around this strip. There are holes in this strip, for the various lamp bulbs. The flat copper strips go around these holes, making a connection to the bulb holder. That's what that brass ring on the bulb holder contacts, when it's screwed in.

Posted on Apr 18, 2009

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Rotate the floor shift control indicator lamp socket (2). Pull the socket from the trim bezel.
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Remove the rear floor console. Refer to Rear Floor Console Replacement.
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Set the parking brake, then shift the transmission into drive and push the shift indicator down until it locks, to allow clearance to remove the console.
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Does the radio play ? Are any other back lighting components not lighting ? Does the HVAC control panel light up ? You probably need new radio !
The second interior lighting group includes lamps which may be dimmed. This group may use a combination of vacuum fluorescent (VF) illumination, LED illumination and incandescent lamps.
When the ignition switch is turned to the RUN position, the radio VF display turns ON at maximum brightness. When the park lamps are ON, all incandescent and LED back lighting turn ON at the dimming level indicated by the instrument panel (I/P) dimmer switch. At the same time all VF displays dim to match the indicated dimming level. The panel dimmer switch potentiometer is an input to the body control module (BCM). When the driver selects a dimming setting by moving the I/P dimming switch potentiometer, all incandescent back lighting lamps are provided with a specific voltage. When the I/P dimmer switch is moved from MIN to MAX, all VF displays, as well as all incandescent back lighting respond from minimum intensity to maximum brightness in response to the I/P dimmer switch.

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Ignition voltage is supplied to the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL). The powertrain control module (PCM) turns the MIL ON by grounding the MIL control circuit.
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MIL Function ?€¢
The MIL informs the driver that a malfunction has occurred and the vehicle should be taken in for service as soon as possible.


?€¢
The MIL illuminates during a bulb test and a system test.


?€¢
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You could have a bad instrument cluster ! Here is part of diagnostic flow chart for your vehicle !

1

Did you perform the Diagnostic System Check-Engine Controls?
Go to Step 2
Go to Diagnostic System Check - Engine Controls

2

  1. Turn OFF the ignition.
  2. Disconnect the PCM.
  3. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine OFF.
  4. Observe the MIL.
Is the MIL illuminated?
Go to Step 3
Go to Step 5

3

  1. Remove the instrument panel cluster (IPC). Refer to Instrument Cluster Replacement in Instrument Panel, Gages, and Console.
  2. Test the MIL control circuit for a short to ground. Refer to Circuit Testing and Wiring Repairs in Wiring Systems.
Did you find and correct the condition?
Go to Step 6
Go to Step 4

4

Replace the IPC. Refer to Instrument Cluster Replacement in Instrument Panel, Gages, and Console.
Did you complete the replacement?
Go to Step 6

5

Replace the PCM. Refer to Powertrain Control Module Replacement .
Did you complete the replacement?
Go to Step 6

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?€¢
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?‡'
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?‡'
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?€¢
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1

Was the Transfer Case Diagnostic System Check performed?
--
Go to Step 2
Go to Transfer Case Diagnostic System Check

2

  1. Install the Scan Tool .
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--
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Go to Step 4

3

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