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Old 01-05-2013, 03:06 PM   #1
broodwich
EOC Rank: Hydrogen
2005 4WD EX
Sunset Orange Pearl (SOP)
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 8
Another Dash Removal Thread

The Element Owners Club has been a big help to me over the years that I've owned my Element. There are so many useful threads here on the Element. I just completed a project to replace some bulbs that had burned out in my dash. This forum was a big help again to get me started on the project.

During the process I learned a few things so I thought I would pass along this information in an effort to contribute to the community. I've been a member for a long time but haven't had much to contribute. So I hope someone will find this information helpful.

I own a 2005 SOP Element EX AWD and over the years I've lost some of the dash bulbs. There were two bulbs out behind the instrument panel, one at the bottom of the tach pod and one at the top of the fuel gauge pod. Replacing those lamps was pretty simple after reading the directions on how to remove the drivers side dash posted here.

I also lost the lights behind the hazard button and the light behind the automatic gear position indicator, the one next to the shifter, not the one in the left most instrument panel pod. Finally, I had intermittent issues with the HVAC temperature knob and HVAC position knob lights. I could get those lights going again most of the time by rotating the knobs back and forth a couple times.

While removing the drivers side dash cover was simple, removing the center dash trim is tricky.



Trying to pry at the edge of the trim will most likely damage the trim or the dash around it. Here's how I removed this piece of the dash. Start by removing the dash trim around the stereo. To do this I noticed there are two openings under the trim piece above the fan speed control and above the HVAC mode knob. There are trim removal tools that would be ideal to remove the dash trim but they are expensive and I don't own them. I thought for some time on what I could use to remove the dash without marring the surface. I think you could get away with a flat tipped screwdriver covered in a cloth but these notches are still pretty narrow.



After thinking about it for a while I came up with the idea to use a tire lever from my bicycle tool kit. That's the black plastic piece I'm holding on to in the photo above. These tools are used to take a tire off the rim on a bicycle so you and fix or replace an inner tube or the tire. They have a little curled bit at one edge and a hook at the other end. The curled edge is the side I used for this project. Here's a photo of typical tire lever.



You can buy these at just about any local bike shop for just a couple bucks. With the lever in the small gap, I just twisted the tire lever a bit to get the clip to pop free and then repeated the process on the other side under the radio.



Here's a shot with the stereo trim piece loosened. You can see how there is a small notch allowing you to insert the tire lever or tool of your choice.



There are four clips on this trim piece. Two on the left and two on the right. With the lower two clips released, I just pulled outward on the trim piece to release the top two clips. It's tough to pull out. Try to pull it straight out, don't tilt the piece upward, I think that could break the trim or the plastic where the clip attaches in the back.

Here's a photo of the radio trim piece removed and turned around so you can see the back.



Two of the clips are circled in Green and the top right slot the receives the clip is circled in Pink.

With the radio trim removed you'll notice there are some angled ribs of plastic on either side of the radio.



Also not there is a small notch on the trim piece near these angled ribs on each side of the stereo.



I used these notches to pry off the center dash trim. I covered a large and fairly long flat blade screwdriver in a cloth and pried the trim with the length of the screwdriver blade resting on those plastic ribs.





I pried a bit on one side and then the other which release some of the upper clips. I then repeated the process on each side until all of the upper clips around the center air vents released. With the top clips released, I was able to simply pull off the entire trim piece.

When I pulled the center trim off the dash I lost a couple of the metal retaining clips. They pulled off the plastic tabs behind the trim piece and ended up somewhere inside the dash.

Here's one of the plastic tabs.



And here's what one supposed to look like with the clip installed.



When I had the center dash removed, I also removed the HVAC control model from the dash. This isn't required to replace the bulbs. I just removed it to make taking these photos easier. Here is the center dash with the HVAC module removed.



Here is the back of the HVAC module. Here are six lamps total on the HVAC module. Three for illuminating the knobs, the fan speed, the temperature, and the mode selector. Then there are three for illuminating the buttons, the recirculation button, the AC button and the rear defogger button. All you need is a small flat blade jewelers screw driver to remove the bulbs.



Here is one of the knob lights removed. Notice there are instructions molded right into the plastic.



Here is one of the button lights removed. Notice the button lamps are different than the knob lights.



I was having intermittent issues with the HVAC knob lamps. The one I had the most problems with was the center temperature knob. I replaced that bulb and re connected the HVAC module to the wiring harness in the dash and found that the lamp behind the mode selector knob was out.

What I noticed when I replaced the lamp with the new one was that the old lamp turned very easy in the socket. When I installed the new bulb though, it was very tight and tough to turn with the small jewelers screwdriver. I decided the reason I was having intermittent problems with these bulbs was because the connection was loose. Instead of having to deal with this issue again. I ordered two more bulbs from the dealer and replaced the lamps behind all three HVAC knobs. When I installed the other two bulbs they were also very tight. I don't think I'll have problems with these bulbs anymore.

Another thing I discovered is that it can be hard to tell if the bulb you replaced is working or not if you're working in the day time. I found it was easiest to look at the lamps from behind. You should see distinct light coming from the lamp socket if the bulb is working.



Be sure you see a bight light from the tiny holes in the back of the lamp. If it looks dim, it might just be light from another lamp spilling over.
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Old 01-05-2013, 03:08 PM   #2
broodwich
EOC Rank: Hydrogen
2005 4WD EX
Sunset Orange Pearl (SOP)
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
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Now on to the bulbs in the hazard button and the gear position indicator. You could probably replace the bulbs without removing the trim piece around the automatic gear shift lever but I opted to remove the trim piece with requires you to remove the handle on the lever. There's a good set of instructions on how to remove the automatic handle here...

www.handa-accessories.com/element/07shiftat.pdf

First carefully pry the overdrive button off with a jewelers screwdriver.



Then remove the two screws holding the handle in place.



Then lift the handle off, making sure you don't loose the button or the spring behind it.

With the shift handle removed, you'll be able to lift the round trim piece off the handle. The trim piece is held in place with four clips, two on the left and two on the right.



Note: The gray wiring harness plug in this photo attaches to the back of the hazard button that was removed when I removed the center dash. With the hazard button removed you're turn signals won't work if you plan on driving the car without the button in place.

Here is a picture of the top clip on the gear shift lever surround.



And a shot of one of the bottom clips.



Just pry outward a little bit at each tab to release this trim piece and then lift it over the shifter lever. You might have to loosen the wire that leads to the lamp (if it's still attached) before you can slip the trim up and over the handle.

With the trim piece removed, here's a shot of the back of the gear indicator and the wires leading to the lamp socket.



You remove the socket by turning it 1/4 turn and then pulling it out. This bulb is a tiny grain of rice type bulb that plugs into the socket.

Dead blub


Working bulb


The hazard switch is removed with the center dash by disconnecting the gray wiring harness connector pictured above. You won't be able to remove the center dash from the car without disconnecting the hazard button and the HVAC controls. I removed the hazard button from the center dash to make it easier to take these photos but you can probably replace the bulb without removing the button from the dash.

Here is the hazard button removed.



Two screws go through the tabs circled in Pink to hold the button to the dash. The lamp is indicated with the green arrow. Here again, you just need a flat jewelers screw driver and a 1/4 turn to loosen the bulb from the socket. I had to pry on the bulb a bit to get it to come out of the socket.

Last edited by broodwich; 01-05-2013 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 01-05-2013, 03:08 PM   #3
broodwich
EOC Rank: Hydrogen
2005 4WD EX
Sunset Orange Pearl (SOP)
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 8
Here's a list of all the bulbs I replaced and their Honda part numbers for your reference.

Instrument Panel (Gauges) Bulb
35505-SCV-A01

Hazard Switch Bulb
35871-S3N-901

HVAC Knobs Bulb
79629-S3V-A01

Transmission Selector Bulb
35505-692-003

Dash Trim Panel Metal Retaining Clips
90666-S84-A01

Last edited by broodwich; 01-05-2013 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:11 PM   #4
Mcdirtymetal
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2005 4WD EX AT
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Location: PA
Posts: 320
Nice write-up.
I bought my E used and now that I'm thinking about it, I'm not even sure what's supposed to light up. My hazard light has never been on; I just figured it wasn't supposed to light up. I did replace the bulb behind the fan speed knob.
Can anyone post some photos of their interior with working lights?
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:15 PM   #5
Slobadon
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Very nice, I actually just went through taking this apart today. The hardest part for me was taking off the big U shaped piece. I ran to harbor freight and while they were out of this $7 dash trim molding removal tool kit, I picked up this $5 one instead. All I needed was the one and pulled toward me like this from the top.

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Thanks for the Part numbers... My Hazard bulb worked when it came off, but not back in. Everything looks ok, but I did make a mess of it taking it out to look at it and probably messed up the thin wires. All this time and I didn't even know the shifter indicator had a light! Gotta get one of those also.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:11 AM   #6
broodwich
EOC Rank: Hydrogen
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I don't know why so many of these bulbs fail on the Element. I never had any bulb failures on my 1994 Civic. I guess they don't build em like they used to.

I didn't know Harbor Freight had trim tools. Thanks for sharing that.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:21 AM   #7
MikeWS1
EOC Rank: Hydrogen
2003 4WD EX MT
Sunset Orange Pearl (SOP)
 
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Location: Union, OH
Posts: 15
Slight Change to Procedure for Removing Radio Trim

Broodwich,

Thank you for posting this very helpful pictorial guide. I used it to remove the radio trim so I could pull the radio in my '03 E in order to read the serial number sticker (I need to provide the dealer with the serial number to get the radio code from my local Honda dealer).

Your directions said, "There are four clips on this trim piece. Two on the left and two on the right. With the lower two clips released, I just pulled outward on the trim piece to release the top two clips. It's tough to pull out. Try to pull it straight out, don't tilt the piece upward, I think that could break the trim or the plastic where the clip attaches in the back."

I used a bicycle tire lever, as you suggested. Great idea! The bottom two clips released with no problem. The top two clips were extremely tight. It seemed likely I would break the trim piece if I tried pulling it out with only the lower two chips released. To avoid doing this, I inserted a vinyl pry tool between the radio trim and the center console trim at the very top of the radio trim. I gently levered the radio trim until the clip released and then I repeated on the other side. If I didn't have the pry tool, a thin butter knife wrapped with a single layer of electrical tape probably would have worked.

BTW: The first tire lever I tried was too thick. Fortunately, I'm an avid cyclist and I had other tire levers to choose from. A tire lever from Performance Bike worked great.

http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...400234__400234
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Last edited by MikeWS1; 03-30-2013 at 09:13 PM. Reason: Link didn't work
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:53 AM   #8
broodwich
EOC Rank: Hydrogen
2005 4WD EX
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Location: Sacramento, CA
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Good points Mike. Most of the trim pieces are held in there pretty tight. I also did my best to pull straight out rather than bending the trim piece as I pulled.

I'm glad you found this guide helpful. As I mentioned, the forum has been a good resource for me over the years so I thought I would contribute in the hopes that someone else could benefit.

Mission accomplished.
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:32 AM   #9
Baker
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The wife's Cd/radio is quirky and has trouble playing Cd's, will be replaced with another stock unit and she said it could be pain to get out, I now see why.

Nicely written and good detailed pics for this "How to".
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:52 AM   #10
ElDuderino
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcdirtymetal View Post
Nice write-up.
I bought my E used and now that I'm thinking about it, I'm not even sure what's supposed to light up. My hazard light has never been on; I just figured it wasn't supposed to light up. I did replace the bulb behind the fan speed knob.
Can anyone post some photos of their interior with working lights?
I'd like to see this, too. I just replaced the only bulb that was clearly burned out, but the fan speed knob seems to be darker than the others. Not sure if that's how it's supposed to be or not. A picture of the knobs lit up would be very helpful.
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