Coloured Interior Lighting

This is a daunting task, to say the least. To do it right, you should plan on a day, at least, but the results are remarkable and your car will have a completely new personality. I customized the lights of my MKII (my only car) so your mileage may vary.

Tools Required

Materials Required

Instrument Panel - Removal

  1. Remove the knee panel using the 7mm wrench to remove the bolt on the side and the slotted screwdriver to remove the posts. Remove the other screws as necessary.
  2. Remove the frame around the instrument cluster.
  3. From below, remove the speedometer cable and two wiring plugs.
  4. Remove the screw holding the cluster to the dash. Turn cluster 90, drivers-side in, and pull through space in steering wheel.

Instrument Panel - Lighting

  1. Locate white plastic piece on top of cluster (should be "welded" in eight places).
  2. Remove lightbulbs.
  3. Gently pull the circuit board off the four smaller pins.
  4. Break "welds" and remove piece (use slotted screwdriver if necessary.
  5. Remove the green piece of plastic on the underside.
  6. Using the transparency and marker, colour a piece of transparency desired colour.
  7. Cut out a piece of the transparency the same size of the green plastic removed from the cluster.
  8. Put the cut-piece of transparency in the white piece and attach both ends (using glue or epoxy).
  9. Replace white piece on top of instrument panel, making sure that each hole is realigned with its stud. Place a drop of glue or epoxy in each hole and allow to dry.
  10. See Instrument Panel - Removal and follow in reverse for reinstallation instructions.

Instrument Panel - LCD Display

Note: This is an extrememly delicate and tedious procedure. Read carefully before attempting. It would be a good idea to have an extra LCD display handy as well.

  1. Remove lightbulbs and circuit board from white piece (if not done so already) and to top of the cluster. Be careful not to rip the circuit board.
  2. Remove the eight screws holding the rear of the cluster in place.
  3. Remove lower plugs by gently lifting the outer ends with a slotted screwdriver.
  4. Remove the rear of the cluster and set shell aside.
  5. Remove the two screws holding the LCD display in place.
  6. Turn LCD display over and remove the two screws. Hold assembly as you turn display back over (should now be face-up).
  7. Carefully remove the outer white casing around the display.
  8. Note the position of the LCD and it's relation to the two black "bars" beneath it. If possible, remove display and "bars" as one unit.
  9. Remove the green plastic beneath the LCD, colour and cut another piece of transparency to the same size and shape, and put cut-transparency in place.
  10. Replace the display and bars in position.
  11. Replace the white casing around the LCD, turn over, and insert screws.
  12. Follow steps 15 in reverse to reassemble instrument cluster.
  13. See Instrument Panel - Removal and follow in reverse for reinstallation instructions.

It is possible to skip steps 8 & 9 by taping down the LCD to the board and cutting the "legs" off the green piece and inserting a rectanglular piece of coloured transparency in its place. This, however, will not look as good, though it is safer and less complicated.

Cigarette Lighter - Light

  1. Remove the instrument panel and knee panel as outlined in Instrument Panel - Removal.
  2. Gently pry open the sides of the cigarette lighter panel using the slotted screwdriver. Note: There is one clip holding the bottom of the panel to the dash. It is imperative that you retain this clip or else your panel will fall out when driving.
  3. Disconnect wiring by squeezing the clips on the plug.
  4. Remove the light bulb. You can now:
    • Use a marker and colour the lightbulb (semi-permanent)
    • Cut a piece of transparency to cover the holes in the lighter casing where the light shines through (can melt if the lighter is used often)
    • Replace the lightbulb with a coloured LED light bulb of same wattage (no apparent difficulties)
  5. Place the lightbulb back in its socket and replace cigarette lighter panel.

    Note: Make sure the clip attaches to the cigarette lighter panel or else the panel can fall during driving. Remove and replace the cigarette lighter to make sure the panel in being held in place.

Cigarette Lighter - Ring

  1. Follow steps 1 through 3 under Cigarette Lighter - Light
  2. Remove lightbulb from the cigarette lighter casing.
  3. Remove the cigarette lighter casing from the panel.
  4. To change the colour of the ring, you can do a number of things.
    • Colour your current ring with a permanent marker (shades of green through blue)
    • Use an Audi cigarette lighter ring (shades of orange through almost red)
    • Use an Audi (sports model) cigarette lighter ring (shades of red through purple). Note: A red coloured ring is unconfirmed, though surmised.

      Note: An Audi cigarette lighter casing will not plug into a VW. You must either change the wiring in your car or move the Audi ring over to the VW casing.

  5. Follow steps 1 through 3 in reverse for installation.

Ash Tray Light

  1. Remove the ashtray.
  2. Remove the green tab of plastic on the back of the ash tray and replace it with a coloured piece of transparency (glue or epoxy the transparency to the ash tray).
  3. Replace ashtray.

Small Gauge Light

Note: I did this by completely disassembling my gauge (to install a coloured gauge face; voltmeter). This could easily be done by finding a 5mm (.20") rubber lightbulb cover and putting it on the lightbulb in the rear of the gauge.
  1. Remove your shift knob and shift boot.
  2. Remove the screw by the shifter, two in the rear of the storage area (in front of the shifter), and two on each side of the center column.
  3. Remove the environmental control panel (disconnecting light).
  4. Remove the two screws from the top of the center column. The whole column should now be ready to come out.
  5. Remove the two thumb nuts from the rear of the small cluster, remove the lightbulb, and unplug your gauge.
  6. Pry off the square cover on the front and the gauge should fall out.
  7. Using the small slotted screwdriver (or an assortment of smaller screwdrivers) gently pry around the edge of the black bezel to where it wraps around the gauge on the sides.
  8. After bezel is removed, remove the nut on the rear of the gauge and the inside unit should fall out.
  9. Using the transparency, colour a piece approximately .5" wide and 3" long. Use this to create a box.
  10. Colour another piece of transparency to close off one end of the box. Glue or epoxy the two piece together.
  11. Check to make sure there is enough clearance between the inside unit and the housing. Trim if necessary and glue in place.
  12. Follow steps 7 & 8 in reverse to reinstall your gauge. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to fold the bezel back over the housing, repainting as necessary.
  13. Follow steps 1 through 7 in reverse to reinstall your small gauge.

Environmental Control Panel

Note: This requires a scanned image of your environmental panel and a colour that'll print on transparencies.

  1. Follow steps 1 through 3 under Small Gauge Light.
  2. Turn over panel and run a knife around the edge of the white piece. You should hear some cracking (this is glue seperating the white piece from the black).
  3. Print panel onto transparency, altering the colours as necessary.
  4. Using the old panel as a template, colour the back of your transparency with your colour as indicated by the green on the back of the original panel.
  5. Replace the pieces in order and apply drops of super glue or epoxy in the corners of the white piece.
  6. Follow steps 1 through 3 under Small Gauge Light in reverse.

Heidelberg Radio Lights

Note: This was done on a Heidelberg VI radio. You should be able to do this on most any Heidelberg series radio.

  1. Place the finishing nails into one side of your radio. Push them towards the outside of the radio while pulling on the radio itself.
  2. Disconnect the antenna, speaker plug, and power plug from the back of the radio.
  3. Pull the on/off/volume knob off the radio as well as the fade ring.
  4. Use the small slotted screwdriver and depress the tabs on each side the radio. The face of the radio should now come off.
  5. Replace the green lightbulb covers with your new lightbulb covers.
  6. Remove the screw from your LCD assembly.
  7. Unbend the tabs holding the LCD assembly together.
  8. Seperate the parts of the assembly from one another (try to keep the black bar and the LCD display together if possible).
  9. Remove the green piece and replace with a strip of your coloured transparency.
  10. Reassemble the assembly and fold the tabs back over.
  11. Replace the screw in the LCD assembly.
  12. Follow steps 2 through 4 in reverse and reinstall the radio.