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Hi guys
This is my first post since joining. I have found the forum to be very helpful so far. I have searched lookin for a post on removing the center console on my 2002 caravan, I have light bulbs out but can not get to them. They are near the heater controls. Can you help direct me?:ask_wsign:ask_wsign

kway
 

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Kway,

You have to pull off the rectangular panel that's right above the cup holder. It's about 3/4"x8" and just snaps off, but it's hard to see that it's a separate piece. Under it are two phillips head screws. Remove them and the front of the console will pull off.

Bill
 

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Center console bulb repair[with pics]

I just completed a repair of the illumuniation lights in the center console. Thought I'd share my work and some pics to help others.

When you remove the center console (two screws behind a small snap in plate above the cup holder -- the console then snaps out), there are two modules that are illumunated. The upper one (at least in mine) has heated seat controls, emergency flasher, and rear wiper. The lower module is the HVAC control. The two modules are screwed to the console by Torx head screws. The upper module can be pried apart -- see the interlocking plastic tabs.

The lower one has an additional 4 screws to open up. You need to remove the HVAC control knobs from the front. Keep the unit face down when you disassemble, else the switching membrane falls out (not a big deal but a little unsettling if you're not expecting it). See pics.

The bulbs on both modules are soldered in. The upper module bulbs have plastic bases and rubber colored boots over the bulb. I re-used the boots on the new bulbs, but discarded the bases. I don't know how you would solder these with the bases there.

I replaced with long live (50,000 hrs) T1 3/4 base bulbs, obtained from a electronics supply house. Mine were 80mA, 14V, and cost about $0.80 each. After soldering in the wires, I used some epoxy between the bulb base and the board to seal the wires and provide some structural support.

There are 5 bulbs in each module -- total of 10 bulbs; took a good hour to remove the old ones and resolder everything. I replaced all the bulbs, as I don't want to re-open this beast for a while.

Overall, a PITA for a component that is bound to fail (thanks Chrysler), but saves some big $$$ over replacing the module.
 

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Hi guys thanks for the info, I will attempt to change the bulbs tomarrow.

I also need help with my keyless entry remote, The one I got with the van does not work. I found the thread on how to program it but I do not have a working remote.
Is there a thread to tell me the pinout on the obdii connector, so I do not have to take the dash apart?

Thanks again
 

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Are they all out or just some of them? The reason I ask is that all of my center console lights were out, and simply resetting the IOD fuse cured the problem.
 

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Hello:

Excellent Post.

Question If only the HVAC control lower background lights are inop would this be a fuse ? (as the upper light work)

How could all 5 lights go out at once?

What is the skinny wire plug from the HVAC control to the looks like the light sensor in between the air vents.

Thanks
 

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The skinny wire is a thermal sensor (I think infrared) for the automatic temperature control.

As to all the lights going at the same time... it's possible, but there could be other causes as you suspect. I'd check all fuses first before pulling things apart. This said, I didn't notice individual bulbs going out until several were gone, and I wondered why everything was going so dark. I didn't have all go at once, but 2-3 in each module were bad.

Good luck.
 

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Thanks

Hello sapp4l:

I cannot thank you enough for not only an excellent post but for all pictorial help.

You truly took pride in you effort and it shows.

We did buy this 2001 Town and Country used over the summer and the lights did not work. I did replace all with mini 14volt as I was told that the led might not be as bright.

All my bulbs (5) on the HVAC control panel work now.

You are a genius.

Thanks again,

Fixandfly

:beerchug::beerchug::beerchug:
 

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Thanks for the valuable information! The photos submitted were excellent in helping me define a similar problem on the HVAC controller.
 

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Center Console Lights Out

I want to report on my experience with replacing a single light in the '04 T&C auto HVAC controller. As I indicated earlier, based on sapp4l's excellent post, I had indentified the bulb that was not working.

Next, I got a quote from the local Chrysler dealer on the cost of a replacement module. It was about $450, and with sales tax was going to be just short of $500. The decision was easy, give it a try.

The easy part is getting the module out of the console. Just as sapp4l said, one must be careful when disassembling the module, as the things are put together in layers. If you are not careful, you could easily lose track of all the parts if they sprinkle out onto the work surface. Also, it took ten little screws to undo to get my module out and open.

There are two printed circuit boards, and the bulbs (and LED's) are in the first one under the frontal layer. I did not have a tiny-tipped solder gun, and found it very difficult to heat the solder at the tips of the bulb pins on the backside of the circuit board. Finally, I was able to heat both pins at once, and the little bulb lifted out of the board with no detrimental effects. I have determined that a small soldering iron is a must to reinstall, as the holes are very small.

I examined the little bulb under a 10x magnifier and found the following markings on the bottom of the plastic base: "OL" and "36". Then I spent hours on the internet trying to identify the maker/retailer of the bulbs. I think I may have attained my goal, but will detail final results in a third thread post (after I am able to check with a certain retailer by telephone). Getting the correct bulb is important, not only for light intensity and life, but because the length of a replacement is critical due to limited distance between module layers. Also, these small lights are called "sub-miniature" bulbs in the industry, and the bulb base configuration used in my module is called a "bi-pin" type. I found that many similar bulbs are manufactured, and the "life" specification can vary from under 100 hours to 50,000 hours.

Overall, I would have to term this repair "moderate" to "difficult" in terms of complexity. Resoldering the pins into the circuit board will be difficult to do without damaging the circuits. For now, I have reassembled the module and reinstalled it back into the vehicle's console, as we needed to use it; everything works like it is supposed to, so, so-far-so-good! Will be back for a final report when the bulbs are in hand, tested, and reinstalled.
 

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This is very interesting! If anyone comes up with an online vendor of these bulbs and a suitable soldering iron please post it! Chrysler wont be making big bucks off these anymore!
 

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Would this unit be covered under warranty if there was some warranty left on the vehicle for the bulbs being out? I have a 100K warranty from Chrysler.

I had a few bulbs out and took the unit out and shook it and reinstalled and some came back on and others went out. Might be bad circuit board connections?
 

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If you have bumper to bumper warranty, maybe.
Sometimes light bulbs are considered a "wearable item" and aren't covered.
Warranties are sneaky like that.
I'd give it a try regardless.
 

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As an interim report, I am communicating with Osram-Sylvania regarding a sub-minature, bi-pin based bulb that is the size of the originals in the A/C contoller. The rep sent me a small batch of tubular bulbs, but the base was wrong. I found a very close match on their web site, and she is trying to find me some now. All this takes time, so I must wait before proceeding with a conclusion for this forum. Once, the correct bulb is found, I will have a part number and distributor source that any of us can go to.

eddielx: I found many of the small (40-watt) soldering irons with the pointed tip advertised on Ebay.
 
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