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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well, I was kind of bored today, so I decided to take a look at the dash and see if there was a way to get to the airbag light. I originally wanted to see if it would be easy enough to pop out and possibly replace with some other custom switch or blank panel. Well, I found out how to get a hand on it at least, though the light-plate itself didn't seem to be something that would just snap in and out of place. But I was able to get at it and disconnect the light to the thing fairly easily, which was one of the things that kind of annoyed me. I don't transport kids and really don't care what the hell my car is deciding to do with my airbags at any given time ... I just wish it would do it and keep it to itself.

Anyway, I know a lot of people seemed to be frustrated with it as well, so I thought I'd post in case anybody else wanted to get at the thing ... and possibly even delve a bit deeper and find some other ideas for replacing it with something else.

The first step to get at the thing is to remove the "plastichrome" bezel on the instrument panel. It consists of a single piece that appears as three rings. To pop it off, carefully pry the edges of each circle outward and then away from the dash. Do it in a series of individual points, progressively working your way around one circle at a time. Don't try to just pull the whole thing off at once. I used my bare hands/fingernails to grasp it so I wouldn't risk gouging or breaking it with tools. Once the bezel is off, adjust the steering wheel to it's lowest point before attempting to remove the black tunnel parts (it took me a few minutes of tugging at the thing before I remembered that the wheel was adjustable and could be moved to a better position). To remove the black part, work your way around each circle pushing the edge inward toward the center of the circle and then away from the dash. That will allow the nubs on the outside of it that snap into place to pop out. Once it's free, you can slowly squeeze the individual points that hang up and pop the thing out. Take note that there are four little "feet" that have rubber stoppers on them on the back of the black plastic piece. They can pop off when you're pulling it out if you're not careful. You should be able to see one of them just above my thumb in the last pic. With that out of the way, you can get access to the airbag light and see what it's about. A mirror and flashlight would probably reveal a bit more, but I was content for now to merely disconnect the wiring harness that snaps into the back so it doesn't light up any more.

At any rate, keep in mind that these are fairly delicate pieces of plastic, so you definitely don't want to force it or rush anything if you decide to dig in. Also, if you're not fairly comfortable with the basic way things like that usually snap together, I'd be cautious with it. Just remember to work each slowly around the edges of each piece to free it instead of trying to pull the whole thing out at once.

I took a few pics so you have some idea how it snaps into place ...
 

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Great post, SlySol. Thanks.

But are you talking about the Passenger Airbag light or the Passenger Seatbelt light? You have to go through the speedometer and/or tachometer area to get to the airbag light?

I'm thinking about just getting some flat black paint and painting the rectangle with a few coats. It would cover up the light AND the lettering. Maybe then paint in the last six digits of the VIN or something else more interesting than the airbag status. I'm with you, who cares about that light?

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
gizmo2004 said:
But are you talking about the Passenger Airbag light or the Passenger Seatbelt light? You have to go through the speedometer and/or tachometer area to get to the airbag light?
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I was talking about the Passenger Airbag light. It didn't seem to want to come out with some gentle prying from outside the dash, so I wanted to see if it would pop out with some sort of release behind the dash. I didn't look too closely, but it seemed that it may have been attached with some form of screws or nuts on the back of the holder ... so it would be a bit more fumbling around with it to actually pull it out for modification.

There may be another way to get at it, but that seemed to be the most direct route I saw to get to the back of it. I want a solution that won't look weird and can be easily undone at some point, although down the road, I'd like to see an aftermarket replacement for that panel that might even add something useful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
gizmo2004 said:
So after all that, the airbag light remains unchanged?

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No ... at least I was able to actually unplug the wire harness that feeds into the back of that panel. So now, there are no more annoying lights at all from that thing. (However, the white lettering that says "Passenger Airbag" is still stamped on it ... it just doesn't light up anymore.) So it doesn't jump out at you like it used to ... particularly at night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
One more reason I went exploring back there was to see if I could get to the High-beam indicator light to dim it somehow (and just poke around a bit for fun). The plexi that covers the instrument panel also pops off easily enough and one other piece that allows you to get to the white face of the instrument panel, but getting behind it to the lights appears to involve either popping off the tach and speedo needles or unscrewing that panel. It might not be that big of a deal, but more than I wanted to mess with at the time. I think I'll just get a small square of dark tint to dim put over that light. So overall, it wasn't an extremely fruitful venture, but it gave me some idea of what's back there so now I know what's involved in coming up with some form of replacement, which I might just try to construct myself if I feel I can make it look professional. One possibilty that popped into my head was a faceplate with a small momentary switch that I could wire into a garage door opener or something like that. All just musings right now though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
gizmo2004 said:
What did you do when you got your first computer? Did you disassemble that too? And your lawnmower? And your telephone?

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Actually, yes on my first computer and yes on the first telephone of my own in college. Taking my cheap phone apart allowed me to fashion one with alligator clips on the ends instead of a phone plug that I then used to screw around with my friends in the dorm from the master phone room (there's a whole panel with hundreds of bare metal phone connections that you can clip onto and pick up their phone line as if you were in their room). Gaining access to the phone room was accomplished with the help of what I learned about locks by taking one of those apart. :lol:

Yeah, I guess I'm an engineer at heart and always liked to find out how things work. Seems like the best way to do that is take it apart and "reverse-engineer" it so to speak. I'm pretty good at putting things back the way they were when I started.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
gizmo2004 said:
But are you talking about the Passenger Airbag light or the Passenger Seatbelt light? .
I just realized that the Passenger Seatbelt light was on that same faceplate with the Passenger Airbag light. The wire harness I disconnected cut them both ... nothing on that faceplate lights up anymore, which is fine by me.
 

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SlySol said:
I just realized that the Passenger Seatbelt light was on that same faceplate with the Passenger Airbag light. The wire harness I disconnected cut them both ... nothing on that faceplate lights up anymore, which is fine by me.
Hey, you've got ELEVEN idiot lights in that space, including oil pressure, water temperature, battery, etc, etc.

Do you not see any of those anymore? I would suggest reconnecting!

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yes i would make sure those other important idiot lights come on when you first turn on the engine...if you disconnected the important ones it could spell trouble
 

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Gee, when a small piece of black vinyl electrical tape on the face of the light solves the problem . . .

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
gizmo2004 said:
Hey, you've got ELEVEN idiot lights in that space, including oil pressure, water temperature, battery, etc, etc.
No, no, no ... it seems we have a failure to communicate here. I did not disconnect any lights in the instrument cluster. Look at pic #3 and in the top, right corner of the picture, you will see the "Passenger Airbag" faceplate. That same faceplate also contains the passenger seatbelt indicator (even though the driver seatbelt indicator is with all the other idiot lights in the instrument panel). Once I had the instrument panel apart, I was able to reach off to the right and behind the dash to disconnect the wiring to Passenger Airbag faceplate. So the only things affected are the "Passenger Airbag" backlight, the "ON" and "OFF" backlights, and the passenger seatbelt indicator light.

I only looked at the area that lights the instrument panel idiot lights, but did not change anything there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
SolWhat? said:
Gee, when a small piece of black vinyl electrical tape on the face of the light solves the problem . . .
Tacky, tacky, tacky ... not gonna happen in my car. I don't like doing things half-assed. Besides, I have eventual plans to turn that into something useful and wanted to see what exactly I'm dealing with for future reference.
 

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SlySol said:
No, no, no ... it seems we have a failure to communicate here. I did not disconnect any lights in the instrument cluster. Look at pic #3 and in the top, right corner of the picture, you will see the "Passenger Airbag" faceplate. That same faceplate also contains the passenger seatbelt indicator (even though the driver seatbelt indicator is with all the other idiot lights in the instrument panel). Once I had the instrument panel apart, I was able to reach off to the right and behind the dash to disconnect the wiring to Passenger Airbag faceplate. So the only things affected are the "Passenger Airbag" backlight, the "ON" and "OFF" backlights, and the passenger seatbelt indicator light.

I only looked at the area that lights the instrument panel idiot lights, but did not change anything there.
Whew! I feel better now! Thanks.

I think I'll stick with the flat black paint or some black tape. I'm lazy.

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In regards to the passenger air bag light which should be relocated on future Solstices, I was thinking about killing two birds with one stone.
A small coin holder with a suction cup mount should cover and help me with change. Then I could throw the coin holder in the glove.


The other issue I thought about was the instrument lights not coming on until its dark enough.

A small rubber hollow ball cut in half and slips over the light sensor.
Yes the auto lights would come on, but if it improves my vision on the instruments, I don't care if my headlights are on.
 

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Slysol - among the things you have told us during this adventure is that the chrome bezels come off very easy and therefore should not be a problem to change the color and reduce glare.
 

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Critterman said:
Slysol - among the things you have told us during this adventure is that the chrome bezels come off very easy and therefore should not be a problem to change the color and reduce glare.
thanks for that heads up ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Critterman said:
Slysol - among the things you have told us during this adventure is that the chrome bezels come off very easy and therefore should not be a problem to change the color and reduce glare.
Yep ... it was very simple ... just a matter of taking the time to pop it off carefully. So pulling it for painting should be easy enough. And maybe we'll see a polished aluminum aftermarket piece or something at some point.
 
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