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Removal Of '98 Climate Control Display Unit

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I have continued to lose night backlighting for various buttons in my 1998 LS 400's climate control display (non-navigation)--notably all those above the LCD display, the driver's TEMP adjustment button, and a couple below the LCD display. ALSO, the backlighting for the passenger's-side heated seat button and VSC button (both located in the lower wood console) is also gone.

I have read some of the board discussion about part numbers and purchase options for the bulbs themselves--however, I'm curious how difficult it would be to remove the climate control unit from the dash and gain access to the bulbs; if it's something a person of average intelligence and patience can do himself, what are the steps involved? And how about getting to the bulbs behind the heated seat and VSC buttons?

Any advice or redirection would be appreciated!


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Luckily here we have LexLS and his buddies who to awesome write-ups. I used his brake one today and his bleeding and coolant flush next weekend. Got busy today and was not able to get them in when I did the pads.

Console and CC removals

Although, I thought I had to do something with the armrest in my 1996 when I took the console out but maybe I am confusing this with my BMW...

OEM bulbs for the VSC/Htd Seats are kinda $$ if I recall. They are the size of Hot Wheels tires and gree. I inquired my local about them three/four years ago and ended up passing but will call again on Monday to see if maybe they've done down. I need to do that and get an antenna off eBay and we are getting there.

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OK, thank you very much! I checked out that tutorial, but the pictures and descriptions relate to a 1990-1994 LS 400. In 1995, they changed the dash layout and in 1998 yet again. My 1998 has the clock/temperature display BELOW the vents, with a wood trim strip separating that display from the climate control display below. Also the lower console strip is ONE wood piece (as in your 1996), rather than a lower console wood and separate ashtray as part of the dash. I'm still kinda scared to try... But I'll bet I could take the climate control unit out once it is somehow removed from the dash. Did you imply you already did this with your LS?

I like that you have a 1997 740iL also. I drove a Mojave Brown 1997 for about 10K miles--a superior car to the LS 400 in terms of pickup, handling and driving feel, despite its larger size all around. Plus I really miss those neat LED spotlights for the ambient interior lighting at night. At some point I'd like to get a 1998-2000 528i or 540i 6-speed as a second car. I've already owned two older 5-Series previously.

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You know, you're right. I didn't even think about the 98. Maybe go out there one day and pull on the vent and see if it wants to come out of there.

I was just reading that tutorial an it is a lot different from the 96 and definetly the 98. I may need to refresh my memory again by trying to get that radio out. I need to get it fixed and am waiting to hear back from this place I emailed. The thing is stuck on AM now! Glad my Nokia phone has a radio. I listen to that on my way home at night.

Anyway, I remeber taking the vent out but not sure if I pulled the clim control. I think I did but when I got to the radio I thought 'hell with it' and left it alone since it was in there and looked comfy. Wake up! Im tired of AM.

Thanks for the comp on the 7. Yeah it is my project car. After driving these cars though I can see myself handing the keys over for a 98+. I drove a 98 once and was impressed with its jump right off the line but higher up it seemed to fade. The 7 in sport mode is a beast. I drive 99% in D to save on gas money and it's working! I am getting 20+ in it and 21+ in the LS. I enjoy driving both of them for different reasons and having one of each wouldn't be so bad! Too bad this one I have to share...

I did the Ultimate Drive with a BMW buddy yesterday and out of everythign we drove (from the 135 to the 760) my favorite was the 550 sport. That thing was a BEAST. I was in love with it. Paddle shifters, night vision, radar cruise. It had everything. My buddy was eating up whatever we drove but I drive a lot nicer on the roads so I was babying it. The oil light came on twice. Once for the ppl before and once on me so I was being very nice. Although we did pull over in a lot to switch and I floored it in a turn (light turned back off). That was fun. Too bad I had the traction control on. I mean that thing was like a E39 M5 but with a ton more and it had the auto trans which I love. I am not a fan of a stick. All I know is now I want a 550is!!!!

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AM only, wow that sucks! One of the reasons I'm hesitant to do this is because the dash is put together so snug and the car overall so tightly built (even at 133K) that I'm afraid that the dash will never be quite as tight after I pull it apart. But as more bulbs burn out, I guess I'll become so annoyed that I'll end up doing it myself--or getting the work done somehow.

I meant to ask you earlier--what do you think of the Nakamichi sound in your LS? It seems to be a relatively rare option. I've driven two '93's, a '90, a '95 and of course my '98, and they all had the standard [Pioneer-derived] system. Sounds excellent IMHO...I think the best in ANY car I've driven. I can only imagine what the Nakamichi must sound like.

My future budget is limiting me to a 528i 5-speed or 540i 6-speed, but I have desperately wanted an E39 M5 ever since those came out. Now they are becoming "affordable," but $25-30K is still out of my price range, especially for a second car. I prefer the control of a manual, especially if I already have a big automatic sedan to commute and take long trips in. And eventually I'd like to replace my LS with an '04+ LS 430 or [i'm starting to think] an '04+ Audi A8...but that will probably not be as reliable (will anything?)

You have clearly driven more and nicer cars than I have. From what I have heard and read, the newest BMW's (including the 550i) are dynamically superior even to BMW's fantastic earlier models--and anything else on the road. I just dislike the styling of the 5-Series from '04 on and 7-Series from '02 on (although the upcoming '09 or '10 7 looks much better!) I prefer the contemporary styling of Audi, Lexus and the more high-end Mercedes models, and thus am probably more likely to buy one of those in future years, I guess. But it seems like the engineers at BMW recognize what the joy of driving is all about, while other manufacturers merely try to add "sport" to their cars.

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Look at my ten minute response! I am all over this board trying to figure out what is up with those bolts on my shifter. It just bugs me! Only good thing to happen today was my radio allowed me to go back to FM!

I've only driven two other LS cars. One was a 99 and the other was a 97 and both of them had the stock stereo and in the 97 it was raining and in the 99 I was with someone so I didn't get to turn it up but I know the Nak radio has amazing bass. It blows my 7 with DSP away as far as bass though. Clairty isn't too bad as well as some of the other buttons. I think because of the interior you get a lot more sound and with the 7 bing longer and more spread out you get a bit more difference, if that makes sense. I think DSP was designed for opera people since the 'settings' just make it echo which I hate. Overall though I think I would take Lex Nak over BMW DSP.

I hear you on the upgrade to the 04. I would love to put myself in one of those someday but I am still pretty young so I have to tell myself to wait! I could see myself getting either a 98+ or 01+ in the next couple of years. I think I would have to sell the 7 though which kinda stinks.

When I went to Irvine for a big 7 meet we had there, the guy who picked me up from the airport had a 540/6 and it was pretty quick. I mean like you said, after driving a new BMW it is hard to compare but for the age and stuff it definetly had it going on. I would look into one.

I think the reason I liked that 550 so much was the M5 body kit it had. Much like they did with the late model E39 sports. It really gives it a better look over the standard car. I couldn't do a new 5 and would not even look at the 545. I would have to have that M5 body. It looks too good to ignore. Especially in the back.

The current 7 is my favorite body style since 2001. The new one grew on me really fast. Once I saw the pics of it I was like 'I can handle this.' It has the 460s rear and the Audis front but inside is all BMW. I think the grille is a bit much but who knows. I do like the 2004 Audi A8 though. I think it looks really good. One of the better looking ones in 04. Definetly beat the 7.

Anyway, back to these cars! I had my console out today and it is a breeze. To remove that one you slide a slotted in the sides like that link and pull up. Then pop it out and put the car in a low gear and pull it out fully and disconnect the TRAC and seat heaters. I think I used the same 'pop out' on the air vents and after that you get right to how the CC unit is held in place. Really I don't think you'll hurt anything and fit and finish should be fine. You'll even be able to clean up things you couldn't reach before. Just don't go to far and mess up your shifter area though!

Email me sometime. I would like to talk more car stuff with ya. A guy here in STL I know has an Imola M5 from 2003. I still need to go for a ride in it with him but it was nice to see in person.

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