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Volvo Repair/2003 Volvo S40 shifter light replacement.


Ed McD wrote at 2007-10-08 14:15:47
I just finished replacing this particular bulb, and although it's a bit tricky, it's completely realistic for a competent do-it-yourselfer to accomplish.  First, you need to know that it's not just a lightbulb, it's a combination mini-fitting with the lightbulb soldered into it along with a one-foot, two-wire (yellow and black) harness attached to a two-pin gray plastic electrical connector.  You need to buy this before starting and the only place I was able to get one was at the Volvo dealer.  It's Volvo part number 30899160 and it costs around $21!  When you get it, take it out of the box and look at what you'll be working with--it'll really help figuring out how things go together.  The other thing I found very helpful was a large pair of #10 surgical tweezers I inherited from my Dad and I believe my Grandpa.  When you're ready to go, make sure you have adequate light (I wouldn't recommend doing this after sunset) and park the car where you can comfortably and safely work on it.  Important:  KEEP THE IGNITION OFF AND THE KEY OUT OF THE IGNITION DURING THIS OPERATION.  If you need a radio to listen to, bring a portable or your iPod.  Clean out all the stuff in the cubbyhole in front of the shifter, and then gently remove the little textured about 3" by 6" mat in the cubbyhole.  CAREFULLY remove the trim bezel (mine was the burlwood) by lifting the bezel via the cigarette lighter socket (I just hooked my index finger in there) and SLIGHTLY flexing the sides of the center console.  For me, this was the trickiest and most nerve-wracking part.  The aft-most edges of mine popped up first and then I had to flex the sides of the cubbyhole out a bit to get the two retaining clips on the bottom of the bezel inside the cubbyhole to release.  Once you have the bezel free, I would recommend disconnecting the connector at the bottom of the cigarette lighter socket to completely free the bezel and put it aside.  There's a little release button on that cigarette lighter connector, but it comes free with just a little maneuvering.  Next, unplug the old bulb harness which is on the bottom of the little compartment you've just opened by removing the bezel--the connector is on the driver's side of the shift mechanism.  The gray female part (attached to the main harness) pulls off going towards the front of the car while the male part stays clipped to the floor.  When you have that connector disconnected, slide the gray male part towards the driver door and it comes off the little metal retaining tab easily.  Now you can see the yellow and black harness leading up to the white plastic assembly on the underside of the shifter assembly.  Using the tweezers, grab the wires as close to the white plastic as you can and gently wiggle downward.  The white plastic bulb mounting and bulb should come out going directly downward.  You now have the bad assembly disconnected.  Mine had a piece of electrical tape holding the middle of it to the bottom of the compartment but I just pulled that off.  Remove the old assembly carefully and you may have to wiggle things around a bit or guide the gray male connector end counterclockwise around the opening of the compartment between the shifter trim and the center console.  Mine wouldn't pull directly out since the yellow and black wires were caught on something.  Once I took the gray connector counterclockwise around the hole, it freed right up.  OK, the hard part is over.  Take the new bulb assembly and grasp the black and yellow wires as before and guide the bulb and white plastic mounting up into the hole where the bad bulb assembly just came out.  Don't push it too hard via the wires, just get it seated.  Then reach in from the engine side of the hole and with your finger, push the white plastic mount home.  There are spring clips on two sides so you should feel it hit bottom.  Carefully arrange where the wires wind up resting, trying to get them as far away from the shifter mechanism as you can using the natural "set" of the wires from being rolled up in the little Volvo shipping box.  Now connect the two halves of the gray plastic electrical connector and slide the loop on the male connector on the bulb side back onto that metal tab on the driver side of the bottom of the compartment.  This secures the wiring from flopping around and possible getting caught in the shifter mechanism.  I would now recommend turning the car on and checking to see that the new light works (you may have to shade the console to see the lighting.)  Also, now is a really good time to clean around the edges of the bezel and the opening with a slightly damp paper towel to pick up all the dust, sand, whatever that's gotten in there--you'll never have a better time to get it looking like new.  Next, reconnect the connector on the bottom of the cigarette lighter and snap the bezel back into place.  Replace the little rubber mat in the cubbyhole and you are finished!  A minimum of one hour labor (probably more) at your Volvo dealer avoided!  I'm keeping the old assembly and I'm going to see if I can find the proper sized 12 volt bulb to solder into the assembly so I have a spare for when this happens again.  The bad bulb in the assembly is nicely labeled on the glass with what looks like "0S 12/1w1M" and the 0 (zero) might be an O (Oscar).  Anyway, at least I can see my shifter now at night.  And by the way, THIS IS A SAFETY ISSUE, especially when someone who doesn't usually drive the car is driving it at night.

Jim Dehn wrote at 2009-04-26 00:59:40
My 2003 Volvo V40 had the gear shift selector light bulb burn out.  These directions are easy to follow.  It took me about 15 minutes to remove the bulb and connector and about 15 minutes more to install the new bulb and connector. And about 20 minutes to clean all the pieces before I put back together.

Note that the two wires are clipped underneath the gear shifter toward the rear of the car.  You need to pull up on the wires to unclip and free the bulb assembly wires.  I tried to clip the wires for the new bulb into the plastic clip but it is impossible to reach by hand. I tried to secure the wires using a screw driver to push the wires into the clip but I could not get them into the clip.  I ended up leaving the wires coiled loosely on the drivers side of the gear shift selector.  My concern is that the wires may vibrate and eventually break at the solder connection.  I tried reusing the electrical tape to secure wires at the bottom, but that did not work either.  It is too narrow a space to reach to add new tape.

There is a narrow groove just below the light bulb on a vertical plastic rib of the gear shift housing that the wires are supposed to go into, and the electrical tape secures the wire after the groove.  You may want to try to secure the wires into the groove in the rib of the plastic housing and use a new piece of tape at the bottom.

Jim Dehn 4/25/2009  

Kelly wrote at 2012-01-19 20:57:50
Use Sylvania Bulb Part #74.  Do not detach bulb wiring assembly.  Simply invert and push out bulb from wire side and replace.  Use curved hemostat pliers for easy reach.

Tom D wrote at 2012-09-14 00:43:11
Excellent answers! Worked well for my 2004 V40. Note that Kelly is correct, you *DON'T* need to buy a whole new harness assembly, you can just pull/push the glass bulb out (it's a press-fit), and buy a new Sylvania #74 from any auto parts store for a couple bucks!

Tri wrote at 2015-10-26 21:47:50
As Kelly have indicated, simply invert and push the bulb out (use skinny screwdriver).  However, the bulb to get is actually Sylvania #73.  That's the one that I got at the local HW store ($4 for two bulbs) and it work perfectly.  

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Roger Patricio


Can answer all Volvo car questions. European and Canada spec cars are different but I can try to help you.


I am a Certified Volvo Tech at in Independent Volvo Repair shop. I grew up around Volvos and decided I wanted to do it professionally. I worked at the dealer for about a year then I went to work at an Independent shop which I have been with for 10 years.

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