DIY - Camaro Dash ABL Install - GM Parts House
I know 2SSRS and some others have done an awesome job explaining how they have done the ABL mod. In reading some of their DIY threads I was still left with some questions, so I am just doing a simple write-up in my own manner to see if I can help out at all. I read and posted in 2SSRS’s original thread here…http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40804.
2SSRS (Ofer is his real name) has a great post and helped me out tremendously during the process. Again, my write-up is simply to write up my experience and to answer some of the questions I had during my project.
The last 8 of my VIN are A9113647 and it is a 2010 Camaro 2SS/RS. Ofer states that GM pre-wired all of the 2010 Camaro’s up to VIN A9160000 for the ABL mod. After these VIN’s you will have to use a t-tap method for power, which is basically using a connector to tap power from another wire. You can get the t-tap method from Ofer’s thread…http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40804.
The method I used requires no drilling at all.
List Of Supplies!
What supplies do you need? I used the following:
Trim removal tool kit.
You can purchase from Amazon, Crutchfield, etc. Picture below.
3 GM LED’s. Blue are part number (92238395) and orange, which is really red (92228416). I do sell GM parts so if you need any GM parts or the LED’s, please contact me.
1/4 vinyl tubing.
I had 5/16 here, which is a little larger and it worked fine. This is basically tubing you can purchase for cheap at Lowe’s or Home Depot. The vinyl tubing is clear bendable tubing that you use to connect the LED to the light pipe.
You can purchase the light pipe from Ofer (2SSRS). See his thread to purchase. You will cut this light pipe twice, driver and passenger, and still have some extra leftover, about 6 to 8 inches.
I got a two way splitter for the passenger side GM LED's from Ofer, which is explained more in depth later. Please see Ofer to purchase any splitters, light pipes or harnesses he sells.
Screwdriver - Pick
You’ll also need a screwdriver, pick or same type of tool to remove the casing from the LED’s.
I am interested in this project. What's the cost? Pumpkin vin # 4--- so it should be pre-wired for it.
For me, I wanted to get everything removed first, so that I could work on installing the lighting, etc. So you don’t necessarily have to do it in this order, again, I removed all the necessary panels first. I did this in my garage and we just moved into here last year so I haven’t had time to work on lighting and the floor and all in there. So the pictures might not be the greatest, but they will serve the purpose.
I started by taking off the left side access panel on the dash.
For me, as you’ll see, I have the connector on the left side right there in the middle saying hello!
Now to take off the left side IOM dash trim. Of course, I have the IOM interior package so I have the orange (red) lighting and the IOM trim. As you can see, I’m using my trim removal tool.
You’ll now see what it looks like with the trim removed.
Removing Instrument Cluster & Bezel
Now it is time to remove the instrument cluster bezel.
Again, I used the trim removal tool on the top.
Once you get the top separated you can try and work your way around popping off the bezel with the trim tool. Be very careful and take your time as you will probably get a little frustrated. The trim tool will allow you to try and pop out the clips on the bezel and you will need to try and pull up on the bezel at the same time. You’ll also find that there is a rubber dust cover that is part of the bezel that pushes into the chassis to cover that area up and hold down the bezel. You’ll have to pull the rubber dust cover from the chassis to also get the bezel loose. Removing the bezel was one of the most tedious parts of the project for me. You’ll see the bezel is now removed. It was kind of cold in the garage and I was heating it up so the gauges look a little cloudy.
You’ll remove the two torx screws in the upper part of the instrument cluster and then you’ll remove the two torx screws in the lower part of the instrument cluster. This is a very easy step.
Once you take out the 4 screws you’ll find it is plugged in. I just turned it around and all you do is basically unplug the instrument cluster and then remove it from the vehicle.
Wiring behind instrument cluster
Now that the instrument cluster is removed, youíll see behind there some wires that are basically taped up in this gooey black type of electrical tape.
Here is where it is different for some of us. Again, I have a 2010 that is less than VIN A9160000 so I am also prewired behind the instrument cluster for it. If not, you will have to take a look at Oferís thread (2SSRS) referenced about to t-tap for power to your LEDís. Ofer also makes a harness to tap into the 4 pack gauge area to get power from for the LEDís as well. See Oferís thread or PM him for assistance with getting power to your LEDís. It is referenced several times in his thread.
With that said, I could see behind my instrument cluster, and feel, that the connector was right on top of the harness, taped up. I have pointed to it with my trim removal tool.
So I cut very carefully along the tape to remove the connector. Be extremely careful doing this so that you donít cut any wires in there. I cut along the plastic body of the connector with a dull knife and removed it carefully. Then I taped it back up. As you can see in the photo below, the connector is now exposed (circled in red).
Removing Passenger Side Trim
The last piece to remove is the passenger side long trim panel. Again, I will use the trim removal tool.
Once you get the first clip on the trip popped now you can continue, gently, down the rest of the panel popping the rest of the clips. You can either use your hands, gently, or continue to use the trim removal tool, gently, and youíll find the whole piece of trim removed.
Now remove the passenger side dash access panel with the trim removal tool.
Wiring and installing right passenger LED
Ok, now it is time to install the LEDís on the passenger side. First you need to understand how the light works and how it is carried. You have the GM LED. Then you have the light tube. There is a reflective strip (white) attached to the light tube that carries the light down the tube. This is basically a fiber optic light tube. In the earlier stages of people dong the ABL mod, they found that if you only installed one LED on the passenger side, that by the time the light shined all the way down the tube it faded by the time it got to the end of the passenger side, towards the door.
The newer method is to put a GM LED on each end to have continuous light all the way across the dash. This will ensure that the light looks continuous, and even and closely matches the lighting on the door panels.
As you have seen earlier, if you have the proper connector (remember, the VIN?) that youíll only have one connector to be able to plug into. As I just mentioned, the new method is to use two LEDís on the passenger side. Again, Ofer (2SSRS) sent me a custom splitter that he made that you can plug into the GM connector for the LED and have two connectors to plug into on the other end. In other words, your single connector is now a dual connector. This is pictured below. This was made by Ofer, so please contact him to purchase.
Now it is time to fish the first LED all the way over to the furthermost passenger side. A lot of people have said to use a couple of coat hangers together to get it to reach that far. I have an electrical fish personally, that I use, so I used that. Pictured below.
Now, I put the electrical fish through behind the dash (remember thatís why you removed the passenger access panel) and all the way over to the left side behind the cluster.
Now Iíve attached the wire to the LED to the electrical fish, basically with electrical tape, and pulled it through to the passenger side.
Here is where I forgot an important photo, so Iíll use another one on the forum, for now, by KTCAM, until I get another one. But here is a photo of the GM LED (orange/red). In this photo youíre looking at the front of the LED. In the back, there is basically a cover. You pop off that back cover, with a screwdriver or pick, and it will allow you to remove the LED from the case/cover.
Now, with the cover removed, stick the LED through the last hole behind the dash trim panel. You may have to put a screwdriver in the hole and twist it to enlarge it slightly for the LED.
On the passenger side trim, there are two sets of holes along the dash (behind the trim). One set is just open holes for some reason and the other set of holes is for the retainers on the trim panel. On the passenger side, the outer holes are blank, for space, and the inner holes are for the trim panel. This means when you put the trim panel back on, you wonít be trying to put the retainer through the same hole as the connector. You can see in the photo above, that I put the LED through the outer hole.
Now, youíll tape each wire on the connector separately, so that they do not touch. You canít tape them off before you put them through the dash because then it will be too fat to fit through.
Next is an important step. Youíll have to be able to attach the LED to the light pipe. How do you do that? Remember I said youíd need some vinyl tubing. Now cut off 1/2 to an inch of the vinyl tubing and stick it over the LED. Youíll then need to tape the vinyl tube to the LED. I should have done a better photo of this, but like I said, you slide the vinyl tubing over the LED and then tape the vinyl tubing to the LED. In this photo, I donít have the vinyl tube taped to the LED, but just tape it, hehe.
If you havenít already, plug the LED into one of the connectors on the splitter that Ofer sells. Iíve circled it in red.
Now you have installed and plugged in the LED on the right side passenger side. You can turn on the vehicle at this time to check to see if it is lit up.
Wiring and installing left passenger LED
It is time to move to the left side of the passenger side dash to install the left side passenger side LED. Again, the LED will go in the outer hole.
If you look behind the hole in this picture, you can see it is sort of blocked off. That is actually the panel behind that dash that houses the A/C vents and all. One of the moderators here, TAG, says he loosened that bolt and pushed on it and it allowed the LED through. I did loosen the bolt and pushed that panel back a little with the screwdriver.
Now, youíll take another GM LED and take the cover off it again and stick it through that hole. You may have to put a screwdriver in there and round out that hole a little bit. Once you stick the LED through that hole, youíll have to tape up the wires separately again (so they donít touch). Then youíll cut 1/2 to an inch of vinyl tubing again and tape it to the end of the LED. Again in my photo, I do not have the vinyl tubing taped to the LED. But tape it LOL.
Youíll plug in the connector to the 2nd connector available on the splitter that you got from Ofer. Again, you can turn on the vehicle, to accessory is all you need, and then make sure the LED works.
Installing light pipe
So now you have both LEDís installed and working with the vinyl tubing on the passenger side. Now it is time to work on the light pipe. I had my wife help me hold the tape measure and I measured 34Ē from the left passenger LED to the right passenger LED. I then measured 34Ē on the light pipe and cut it with a dremel. I then installed the light pipe to the LEDís, by pushing it into the vinyl tubing on the LED (remember). Now the LEDís will shine down the light pipe and you will see it all the way across. In the photo below, I turned the reflective strip towards me to take the photo of the whole light pipe lit up.
Now, I did not sand my panels so I wonít push the panel all the way back in. To get the light to reflect on the dash you need to turn the reflective strip to shine up and out behind the trim panel. If you do not do this, the light will not shine up behind it. Youíll find that the back of the white reflective strip will be pointed towards the engine. I then pushed my trim panel back on about 3/4 of the way. This allows the light to shine up behind it and onto the dash. It only sticks out 2-3 mm and does not look out of place, etc. You will probably have to put back on and remove the trim panel a couple of times to get the reflective strip to point in the right direction.
Iíll give you some words of caution. When you turn the light tube to point the reflective strip in another direction, etc., hold the vinyl tubing with your finger and clinch tight. If you donít, when you twist the light tube, since the vinyl tubing is connected to the LED, it will eventually break off the LED. I broke two LEDís doing this. Again, make sure you hold the vinyl tubing from twisting while youíre twisting the light pipe.
Right side LED's and panel installed
Now the passenger side trim panel is back on and the ABL is working. I tried to photograph the ABL as best as I could, but it is really hard to photograph it properly. I can tell you when I’m sitting in the driver seat that it does light up all the way across the dash, in a uniform manner and looks exactly like the door panels. As a matter of fact, since the door panels only have one LED on the end, they fade a bit by the time it gets to the dash. You can see this in the photo below. The dash does not fade, at all. So I guess you could say the dash is more perfect than the door panels.
Left side installation
I didnít take any photos for the left side, but for the left side youíre going to repeat the process.
Youíre going to remove the LED from the LED housing.
Youíre going to fish it through the hole behind the trim.
Then you tape off each wire separately, again so that they do not touch.
Cut another piece of vinyl tubing 1/2 to an inch long.
Put it over the LED and tape the vinyl tubing to the LED.
Plug in the LED to the left connector (If you have the right VIN remember?) or use a t-tap connector.
Measure and cut the remaining light pipe again.
I measured 4 inches, but after playing around with it a couple of times and trimming it, I ended up around 3 1/2 inches long.
Youíll find using this method, without drilling, that the left side trim panel sticks out a tad further than the right side. This is because the light pipe is not bent.
Ofer states that you can heat up the light pipe and bend it, but you have to make sure that you mark it properly for the white reflective strip to shine properly or it will be bent wrong.
I have not heated up the light pipe and bent it yet. Iím still thinking of what Iíd like to do with it.
Youíll basically see in the last photo that I have ABL across the whole dash. It doesnít look even on the passenger side in the photo, but it is in person. I will do my best to take better photos!
Before going this route, I've had one concern. I would think that the light would look like it's coming from behind the panel, not through the panel as it is on the doors. How would you say it looks in person?
Excellent step by step.Will definitely help out when we do our own.Thanks for the write up & heads-up on some of the obstacles.
Thanks to offer,tag, and you for pioneering this modification.Job well done ! :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
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