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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
How to Replace your HVAC Control Backlights:
I was having a hard time finding a good article or description that would give me an idea of how much I was going to have to remove in order to replace these lights. I don't have a lot of time to do work on my car, so I wanted to know that I could do this quickly. It's actually really easy, but hopefully this will help somebody in the future.

Plan to give yourself about 30 minutes to remove, replace, and reinstall this things. Add or subtract depending on your level of experience.

About the HVAC Controls:
This How-To article is going to describe how to replace your HVAC Backlights. My car is a 2003 Spec-V, but this information should be standard for all b15's I believe. The factory HVAC controls knobs (and surrounding icons) are each illuminated by a single bulb. The buttons for rear defrost, AC, and recirculate have independent lighting that I have not investigated. I expect these are probably lights soldered to the circuit board, but I could be wrong. The HVAC Lighting may blow from an electrical problem, or they may just die since they are incandescent bulbs. The bulbs are covered with a blue rubber skin. The rubber skin is glued on and does not come off without tearing it. Each bulb is removed and installed with a half-turn of a flathead screwdriver. The long bulbs are for the far-left (temperature) and far-right (vent-location) knobs. The small bulb illuminates the center knob.



Removing the HVAC Controls:
I'm going to suggest that you disconnect your negative battery terminal before removing any electrical connectors and removing the radio, as it is easy to short something out. This is up to you though; the job can be done without bothering with that. I'll also assume that you've verified that it is the bulbs that are bad and not the circuit board itself, or something else.

I'm going to assume that you can remove the stereo. In short – remove the top console bin by pulling on it, then remove the lower trim piece that covers the lower DIN. Remove the six screws holding the stereo in and disconnect the plugs. Set this aside.

The HVAC Controls are held in by 4 Phillips head screws. Remove them. Once you're at this point, you need to figure out how you're going to get that unit out of that tiny hole. Look behind the unit and disconnect the two electrical connectors with a flat-head screw driver.




The temperature control knob (left) and vent location knob (right) actuate their mechanical parts with cables that need to be disconnected. You can move the unit around at this point, but you won't be able to remove it from the center console with the left cable connected (circled). Luckily, these are easy to remove.



Just lift up on the left side of that black metal clip and remove it. Then, maneuver the HVAC Control unit so that the end of the cable disconnects from the unit (it is a simple Z-shape connection).



At this point, you can remove the unit from the center console (it takes a little bit of maneuvering, but you can do it without breaking anything). The controls will still be connected by the other control cable, but you can't remove this until the unit is pulled out since it is attached from underneath. You can see the underside of the unit here with the clip partially disconnected. Again, disconnect this control cable and you're home free. The unit will come out.



Replacing the Bulbs:
Replacing the bulbs is as simple as unscrewing them and reinstalling them. The only purpose of this section is to provide some figures illustrating where they are located for somebody who has never seen the back of the unit.

This is the back of the unit once it has been removed. I've pointed out the location of the three backlights with arrows. The small light is in the middle, and hard to see in this figure.



Here is a close-up (blurry) of the circuit-board area where the middle-light gets installed:


That's it. Just install the new lights, and repeat the procedure. Connect the vent-control knob first, then maneuver the HVAC Controls back into the console. Reconnect the temperature-control knob. Reconnect the electrical connectors. Reconnect your battery (you DID disconnect it for doing electrical work, right?). Turn your lights on and check that your knobs illuminate.

Congratulations, you now have working lights again!
 

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Thank you for posting this! Just today I said to myself, "what are the chances that I'll find a DIY for this" and then BLAMO! In my case it's the center bulb that's out. What are the part numbers for the bulbs and where did you find the replacements to buy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I'm glad it will help at least one person! I should have also mentioned in the write-up that the large lights for the left- and right- knobs can be easily replaced without removing the HVAC Control unit. The center one you need to replace is the one that requires removing the unit.

I bought the lights used off somebody who had an extra HVAC unit. From the factory they are a little pricey (about $20.. I think for all 3), but for keeping things factory (how I prefer) it is worth it. You can get them OEM here (P/N 27545):
http://www.courtesyparts.com/sentra-parts-b15u-2000-2006/genuine-nissan-parts/body-electrical/272-control-unit/-c-2837_2838_2875_2892.html

I think that P/N includes all 3 lights, but I'm not sure. Alternatively, you can replace them with "Neo Wedge" LEDs or Bulbs from sites like these:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-bin/store/index.cgi?action=DispPage&Page2Disp=%2Finstrument.html

or
http://www.autolumination.com/74.htm

or (this site looks a little more reputable) from here:
http://www.opamp-electronics.com/catalog/14v-80ma-neowedge-base-incandescent-lamp-pack-p-1191.html

Those won't match your factory ones, though, so you'd need to replace them all. I'm not sure which style it is, either. I think they are called "T4 Tall" and "T4" on the second site (Autolumination).


While looking for those bulbs, I stumbled upon this site which has a nice write-up about the same issue. It's worth checking out.
http://www.dannyandeliza.com/V2/index.php/dannyscorner/felipes-car-mainmenu-57/306-never-easy
 

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Procuring theses bulbs from Nissan proved so frustrating! To wit: 2005 Sentra 1.8S (w/AC). When going to order the bulbs and providing VIN to parts person, the computer said Nissan part 27545-4Z400 (about $29). When part came in- all there was in the package was *one* bulb (longer one). Are you kidding me?

Called Courtesy Nissan < www.courtesyparts.com > and told him my dilemma. He also asked for the VIN and verified that the 4Z400 was called for. When I explained to him that, A: 4Z400 only supplied one bulb and B: the listing on their site that was (in my opinion) most appropriate for my son's car < http://tinyurl.com/B15light > was the set pictured in upper right corner (Courtesy internal stock number 27545-B15U003) which was exactly what I removed from my son's car.

He said that if what was pictured looked like what I removed, I should order with confidence. I did and they worked. NOTE- the bulbs came with a blue silicone 'cap' on them- I just removed it and revealed a clear bulb for more light. I got the true Nissan part number, and it is: 27545-6Z560. Three bulbs w/bases (2 long and one short).

NOTE: the set on the lower left (without a picture) [Courtesy internal stock number 27545-B15U002] is a **single bulb only** and that is Nissan part number 27545-4Z400.

Synopsis: Nissan parts computer shows wrong part for this car. 27545-6Z560 *is* appropriate and contains all the correct bulbs and bases (2 long/1 short).

Hope this helps. YMMV

czar

I originally posted this in this thread (towards the bottom), but thought the info would be helpful in this thread as well:

http://www.b15sentra.net/forums/showthread.php?t=177998

BTW, kudos for the tutorial!
 

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