Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
2014 Impreza WRX 5 speed manual
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
How to replace the center console lights on a 1998 Forester, 5 speed manual.
Tools you will need: Phillips-head screwdriver, pliers, magnet.


Step 1: Remove the shifter knob.
I would advise on how to do this, but I put on an aftermarket knob years ago, so I don't remember how the stock shifter comes off.



Step 2: Remove the shifter cover.
As seen below, hook your hand under the back, inside edge of the cover and pull up.



The black and the tan covers should both come up as a result.



Take the cover off the rest of the way.
Note the gaping hole that has now appeared.
When removing the screws in the steps to come, have a magnet handy to grab them as they come loose, or to retrieve them if they should fall.



Step 3: Remove the faceplate of the center console.



Once again, my radio is aftermarket so I was able to remove the unit beforehand.
One way or another, get a grip on the faceplate (preferably near the top) and simply pull.



The result should look like this.
Notice that I removed the cupholder... you don't have to do that.



Now the tricky part, removing the bottom.
Push the top back in, but not all the way.
Gently pull at the bottom until it pops off.
This part can be rather stubborn, so try not to break the faceplate.



Step 4: Remove the radio and climate control unit.
There are 4 screws on each the radio and climate (don't forget to use the magnet).
The radio and attached cubbyhole/cigarrette lighter/ashtray should have enough slack in the wires to put it off to the side.
Note: there is a light that shines down through the top of the ashtray (don't ask me why) so you might as well check that bulb (mine was burnt out).
Now that the radio is out of the way, it's time to loosen the climate control unit.
Once gain, there are 4 screws.
What I did not know is how primitive the controls are.
Instead of using electronic switches, 3 of the 5 knobs (temperature, mode, and air intake) actually have thick wires running back into the dashboard that link the controls to other mechanisms deep within the vehicle.
That said, DO NOT PULL OUT THE CLIMATE CONTROL UNIT!
Else, you'll have to crawl under the steering wheel to reattach the mode wire to the mode mechanism and remove the glove box assembly to reattach the air intake to its respective mechanism.
You can access the bulbs from the front of the unit.



Step 5: Remove the climate control knobs and faceplate.
The 2 knobs and 2 levers simply pull off.
You may have to use some force.
Now, there are 3 tabs above the unit and 3 below.
Lift these up, and the faceplate should pull off.



Step 6: The bulb!
Sorry about the close up, but that little green thing is your bulb.
Unlike other accessory bulbs, these pull straight out.
I found it helps if you remove the center, clear illuminator and use the pliers to GENTLY pull out the bulbs.
It's really quite a fascinating system once you get in there, but I'll let you do-it-yourselfers find out for yourselves.



This is a larger view of the climate control with the cover off.



Finally, here is the reassembled center console.



I hope this tutorial was helpful to those who can use it. If not, send me a message and I'll see if I can clarify anything. SubaruForester.org; it's what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.

LIP89
 

·
Registered
2004 Forester XT-5MT
Joined
·
425 Posts
Great Job... I'm glad you got it fixed ..... Also,, thanks for spending time on the write up :Banane37: ..... You probably saved yourself and other members at least $100 by not bringing it to the dealer....
 

·
Registered
1999 Forester S
Joined
·
1 Posts
Thanks for the step-by-step. It's been a while since I had to replace bulbs. Could you please tell me where you get those bulbs you show in the close-up? They are larger than the regular Radio Shack replacements (272-1092 #7219). I've replaced bulbs for a bunch of the switches, including the AC switch, but never the AC backlights. Now that I have the console open, I'm scratching my head trying to figure out what bulb I need.

--
thanks,
Tom
 

·
Registered
1999 Forester L manual
Joined
·
79 Posts
Could have used this a year ago.....

Oh well.....I like my Dealer's service department....

No really.....I do:icon_redface:

Thanks for the writeup....
 

·
Registered
2001 S 4EAT Automatic
Joined
·
34 Posts
Just out of curiosity, the part # for the bulbs is 72351FA001 and you need two bulbs. Is everyone getting these from the dealerships for $9 each or does the Radio Shack replacement part listed above work? I need to do this fix but was wondering if I should special order the bulbs from the dealership or go hit up Radio Shack. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
2001 S 4EAT Automatic
Joined
·
34 Posts
Just out of curiosity, the part # for the bulbs is 72351FA001 and you need two bulbs. Is everyone getting these from the dealerships for $9 each or does the Radio Shack replacement part listed above work? I need to do this fix but was wondering if I should special order the bulbs from the dealership or go hit up Radio Shack. Thanks!
So I ended up ordering from the dealer for $18 for both bulbs. Wasn't so bad. Parts were ordered Tuesday and arrived on Thursday. Took me 5 min to swap out the bulbs. Rather than removing the shift knob, boot and plastics, I just lifted it up and turned it 90 degrees to get it out of the way.

Awesome write up!

:woohoo:
 

·
Registered
2001 Forester
Joined
·
2 Posts
Great DIY guide! For those in Canada you can get the switch bulbs from Digi-Key part# CM7219-ND for $0.49 instead of Radio Shack (USA only).
 

·
Registered
1998 Forester L 5MT
Joined
·
400 Posts
Wow, great How-To. I've been meaning to do this on my car, my HVAC controls are completely dark, have been for a while. When I called the dealer, Parts told me it was actually 3 bulbs - not two. He said 2 of one type, plus a third. I ordered all three and if one isn't needed I'll bring it back. This guide will definitely help on the installation - thanks very much.
 

·
Registered
1999 Forester S
Joined
·
6 Posts
I just wanted to add my findings after replacing all the bulbs in my climate control unit. First off, the 2 backlighting bulbs are easy to find in an auto parts store - they are BP37 which come in a 2pack for around $1.99 in the US. The Subaru replacement bulbs are 72351FA001 and they cost $9.76 each at the dealer. One thing about the BP37s is that they are clear whereas the ones from the dealer are green. When all is said and done though I don't think it makes too much difference to how the climate control looks at night. The little bulb that goes in the AC switch is 72351FA120 and costs $12.24 at the dealer! I'm not sure about a retail replacement for this one since it is not the same as the backlight bulb. You have to remove the switch in order to replace the bulb since there is no way to get to the bulb otherwise. The switch is a bit of a pain to remove since it is held in by a tab in the back and you have to push it from the front once you lift the tab - very fiddly! I took some pictures which I have attached and hopefully people can see.

The first picture is the A/C switch bulb in the parts bag from Subaru.

The second picture is the A/C switch removed with the replacement bulb (on the left), and one of the original (burnt out) backlight bulbs on the right.

The third picture is probably the most important because it shows the tab that you have to lift up in order to remove the A/C switch. The white plastic bit on the left is part of the climate control housing that the switch slides into (the black plastic is the switch). The white part that extends above the A/C switch is the tab that you need to lift up in order to slide the A/C switch back and out.

The fourth picture is the front of the climate control panel showing the A/C switch bulb (it's just below the center of the picture).
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
I found this thread very helpful when I replaced my A/C bulb and stereo yesterday. On the attached photo, see the plug I have circled? Does anyone know where that plug (attached to the stereo harness) goes, or does it remain unplugged? There's an identical plug on the harness (cigarette lighter/ashtray light) below for the ashtray lamp. I couldn't find any open plug that could connect to the plug on the stereo harness though.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2007 Mitsubishi Pajero 5spd Automatic
Joined
·
3,594 Posts
^checked if all 3 plugs on the ash tray is connected? oh... forget it. I need to learn to read before I answer :lol:
 

·
Registered
2001 Forester L
Joined
·
1 Posts
bulb replacement

I just followed your procedures in my 01 Forester with an auto shifter in the console. All I had to do was move the shifter into neutral and the plastic cover slid right over the shifter. Total cost 71 cents at my napa store. :bananapartyhat:
Now, any advice on how to get the rear defroster switch off so I can replace the bulb behind it?
Thanks,
HR:
 

·
Registered
2014 Impreza WRX 5 speed manual
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I just followed your procedures in my 01 Forester with an auto shifter in the console. All I had to do was move the shifter into neutral and the plastic cover slid right over the shifter. Total cost 71 cents at my napa store. :bananapartyhat:
Now, any advice on how to get the rear defroster switch off so I can replace the bulb behind it?
Thanks,
HR:
Assuming your '01 isn't too different from my '98, I would guess that you have to remove the plastic around the 2 air vents right above the switch.

I'm glad that so many people are finding this how-to helpful. It feels good to give back when so many of you have helped me out over the years.

LIP89
 

·
Registered
2001 Forester
Joined
·
18 Posts
Center console bulb issue

Wow, I have had this exact problem with my center temperature control panel not lighting up properly, for about six months now. The temp control dial and the fan speed control are all out. Guess that explains why the ac little button does not light up either...The air flow contol still lights up...I spent weeks looking in various manuals, and online-for the correct FUSE to replace..Your post explains why I could not find what I needed. Since the fuse is apparently not the issue, I am willing to try the bulb replacement. I admit to being a mechanically challenged female, but my boyfriend is willing to try based on the extensive and detailed diagrams posted in this site
I do have a few questions and concerns. First of all, with the car in park, the automatic transmission control handle (for lack of a better description) is directly in front of the faceplate. I don't see how it will be possible to remove the lower portion with that handle in the way. Like I said, mechanically challenged female, so bear with me...
My second concern is with the radio. Mine is original equipment-never been removed, so I have no idea how to remove it, or if I actually need to remove it to get the faceplate off...Help
 

·
Registered
2014 Impreza WRX 5 speed manual
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
First of all, with the car in park, the automatic transmission control handle (for lack of a better description) is directly in front of the faceplate. I don't see how it will be possible to remove the lower portion with that handle in the way.
The simple solution is to not have the car in park. Turn the ignition until you can move the gear selector as far back as possible. Also, the plastic around the gear select does not necessarily have to be removed as I did. Simply turn it 90 degrees once it's loose and you should be in business.

My second concern is with the radio. Mine is original equipment-never been removed, so I have no idea how to remove it, or if I actually need to remove it to get the faceplate off
If you look at the last picture under step 3, you'll see that, once the faceplate around the radio is off, there are easily accessible screws holding it in place. You don't necessarily have to loosen the radio, but I did to give myself a little more room to work. Your bf may also need to loosen the climate control unit itself to get at the tabs that hold on the cover. Now what I'm about to say is critical and can be found under step 4. Do not let him try to pull the unit out! Just remove the screws and let it hang. Otherwise, the wires that link the mode and temperature switches will pull off and they are a real pain to access. Best of luck.

LIP89
 

·
Registered
1998 Forester
Joined
·
1 Posts
I too have replaced both the backlighting bulbs in 98 SF heater control. I found the larger, plug in green bulbs (already green so you don't have to reuse the dried up green covers). Also the correct clear AC light bulb. This tiny green cover is usually reusable. I sell all three bulbs for $10.00, including shipping.
Or, send me $50.00 for a tested heater control for 98-01. When you send yours back, and it is rebuildable, I will credit you $25.00.
Both options will be available in eBay in a few days.
Call 865 379-7229.
 

·
Registered
2001 Forester L Automatic
Joined
·
1 Posts
AC Switch/Button Light Problem

Hey all.
New to Subarus, and these forums, and you guys have already helped me more than I could have hoped for. This place is awesome.

I replaced the 2 (larger) lights behind the AC Mode panel, and I'm trying to replace the AC switch (smaller) light. Got the bulbs from digi-key, and tested them with a 12v motorcycle battery, and the switch is functional. But the switch didn't work in the vehicle. So I tested the pins in the AC button connector (connector B168 in the service manual, for anyone interested), and sure enough, there are about 30 mV across the pins. Does anyone have any idea what might be causing this? I checked the appropriate fuses; they seem to be OK. If it turns out to be a huge hassle to fix it, I suppose I can live with 1 tiny bulb out, but this has become a bit of a mission. Any help is appreciated!
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top