I finally had time to do this mod – as it turns out, it’s VERY simple. Looks tons better than the plug in single led bulbs, and also costs significantly less than the “custom made-to-fit” led boards, which seem to be only available for higher end cars anyway.
To get started, I purchased an led interior dome light panel (3×6 leds – 18 total) off eBay. My particular light came from bliss-star for just under $13 shipped to my door. On to the write up w/ pics!
Note: I also test-fitted this same led panel into the 240sx convertible trunk light – fits perfectly w/ no modding at all!
- Philips and flat blade to pry off the dome light and remove it.
- Dremel w/ sanding disc or equivalent tool to cut the plastic in the dome light
- 18 LED Dome Light w/ 194 bulb adapter (the one I bought comes w/ several adapters), or whatever size you like
Total Project Time:
I believe it took me about 15-20 minutes, most of the time moving from my car to the house, setting up the tools, and going back to the car.
Remove your old dome light
- Use a flat blade to pry the plastic panel off, be careful as the cover is probably pretty old & brittle
- Use a philips screwdriver to remove the dome light; unplug the connector & remove the 194 bulb at this time.
Trim the plastic panel so that the led light can fit comfortably with the plastic cover on. I had to trim off about 5-7mm either side of the housing for the light to be able to recess far enough into the housing so the plastic cover cover slip over. YMMV.
Reinstall the light. For the 194 bulb, the red wire is on the bottom (toward the front of the car). If you have it reversed, the light won’t turn on – you can just open/close the door to verify.
The led panel comes with adhesive backing, but I opted to not use it – the pressure between the housing and the plastic light cover are enough to keep it wherever you put it.
Marvel at your super bright LED dome light.
In reality, each of the individual led’s are noticeable (it’s not a blur like how the camera picked it up)
Looks absolutely fantastic, day & night. Of course, during the day, you don’t gain any light, but the bulbs look cool. At night, there is a very even glow across the entire front and some rear area of the car. I could not accurately capture the lighting at night with my camera, but this should give you some idea.
Compared to stock, it may not be as bright spotlight wise, but it is close enough. It also feels much cleaner, nicer and more modern than the oem bulb.
If you are concerned about possible water leakage into the housing (think you have bigger problems if this is happening), you can always cover up the back of the housing w/ duct tape, glue, adhesive, caulk, etc.