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Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

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Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Old 07-02-2019, 08:09 AM
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Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Can someone here tell me what the point is behind the little light under the dash overhang on the 90 camaros?
I assume it was intended to illuminate something below but it actually doesnít do anything at all. The only way you can even see itís there is if you put your hand underneath It.
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:59 AM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

It's a post count generator. See, it's so you can notice it's there, and ask about it on the forum, and add a free post to your profile.

Actually it's a generic light intended to throw nearly imperceptible light on items that are otherwise unlit. By the book, it's an ashtray light. But it also throws a touch of light on the HVAC controls, radio, and shifter. The effect is very miinor, not something you're going to notice with other brighter lights around.
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:27 AM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Originally Posted by Drew View Post
It's a post count generator. See, it's so you can notice it's there, and ask about it on the forum, and add a free post to your profile.
I am sure that is what GM intended, even though message boards weren't really around at that time, lol
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:54 AM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

I believe it was to satisfy a DOT regulation, requiring all new vehicles to have illuminated trans shift patterns. (The light is for manual trans vehs, but they all got it).
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Old 07-02-2019, 01:08 PM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

No really... It's on the wiring diagrams and in the owners manual, described as an ash tray light. I could dig out the books and post photos or diagrams, but <insert your choice of deity here>, by this point, just take my word for it. LOL
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Old 07-02-2019, 01:14 PM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Originally Posted by Drew View Post
No really... It's on the wiring diagrams and in the owners manual, described as an ash tray light. I could dig out the books and post photos or diagrams, but <insert your choice of deity here>, by this point, just take my word for it. LOL

I take your word for it, though shift pattern illumination was required also.
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Old 07-02-2019, 01:29 PM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

This sounds like the same light in a Firebird that's directly over the ashtray. Gotta illuminate those ashes.

Actually, using my ashtray as a coin holder, it's mildly useful.
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Old 07-02-2019, 02:17 PM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Originally Posted by Drew View Post
It's a post count generator. See, it's so you can notice it's there, and ask about it on the forum, and add a free post to your profile.

Actually it's a generic light intended to throw nearly imperceptible light on items that are otherwise unlit. By the book, it's an ashtray light. But it also throws a touch of light on the HVAC controls, radio, and shifter. The effect is very miinor, not something you're going to notice with other brighter lights around.
Well, I guess it did it’s job then. LOL. It doesn’t seem like it’s bright enough to actually do anything so I was curious.

I hope it wasn’t considered to trivial to ask about it here.I wasn’t trying to “add a free post to my profile”,isn’t that what this message board is for? To discuss and learn about our cars?
I never even noticed it until last night.

Last edited by JimRockford; 07-02-2019 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 07-02-2019, 02:20 PM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Originally Posted by mikeceli View Post
I believe it was to satisfy a DOT regulation, requiring all new vehicles to have illuminated trans shift patterns. (The light is for manual trans vehs, but they all got it).
The only problem with that is that it isn’t bright enough to even slightly illuminate the area near the shifter. I only Noticed it was even lit because I waved my hand directly underneath the air conditioning vents where it is located

Last edited by JimRockford; 07-02-2019 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 07-02-2019, 03:56 PM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Nah, you're fine, I just think it's kinda funny how often it comes up, considering it's something you almost have to be looking for to even notice.

If you get out of the city, in the middle of nowhere, on a moonless night, and look in that area out the corner of your eye, you'll probably notice a glow. With the light pollution from the rest of the dash lights, aftermarket stereos, etc it's hard to pick up on. If you ever drive a thirdgen without the light, and with the shift indicator bulb burned out, in the middle of nowhere, you really can't see the shifter, ashtray, or anything in that part of the car.

I've never noticed that the earlier thirdgens I've owned have had an ashtray light at all. My 86 Trans Am had a rather BOLD orange light that lit up that area bright at night. The mid-80's Camaro ashtray light was the tiniest incandescent bulb ever, and it sits behind a tiny tiny tiny hole in a plastic panel with a clear lens that doesn't let hardly any light through. Later Camaros have a light module with a yellow lens that again hardly does a thing, and late Firebirds have a red lens version of the same bulb assembly or at least the provisions for it. Seems the Firebird stopped using the red bulb module pretty quickly in favor of another tiny incandescent bulb with now a larger 'window' that's build into the rear view where one of the map light buttons is located on later Camaros. So they've toyed around with no light at all, a super bright light, a super dim light, a self contained super dim light, and a middle of the road bright light built into the rear view mirror. Most people never notice them at all or give them a second thought if they do...
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Old 07-02-2019, 04:28 PM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

1987 Camaro ashtray light.



1991 Camaro ashtray light



I clearly need to dust my ****... No Firebird pics, one is currently stored across town, the other is in a million pieces.
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:19 PM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Originally Posted by mikeceli View Post
I believe it was to satisfy a DOT regulation, requiring all new vehicles to have illuminated trans shift patterns. (The light is for manual trans vehs, but they all got it).
Is this why the hole in my dash is empty? Because my car is an automatic and thus Chevy didn't need to spend 3$ running an extra wire and light through there?
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Old 07-03-2019, 02:00 PM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

In my 84 there is a fiber optic that is attached to the 194 bulb (that lights up the PRNDL display in the console)
and shines in the ash tray.
First time I have ever seen one like this!
I know the later caRS HAD THE LIGHT above the ashtray mounted in the upper a/c outlets.

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Old 07-08-2019, 07:11 AM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Ha! I never knew that this was even there. I noticed something but figured it was from a previous owner. No clue if it works or not.
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Old 07-08-2019, 07:25 AM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

My C4 has an amber light that shines down from the rear view mirror onto the shifter/ashtray..

My 2017 Accord automatic has a blueish light that shines onto the center console as well to see the shifter and cup holders..

My IROC is an auto but Iíll have to see if it has that light.. I do remember my 87 5-speed having it..

Could have been a DOT requirement for unlit console shifters..

My Tahoe doesnít have a light like that, but it also has a column shifter and the touch screen lights up the whole interior anyway..
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Old 07-08-2019, 08:51 AM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Originally Posted by sonjaab View Post
In my 84 there is a fiber optic that is attached to the 194 bulb (that lights up the PRNDL display in the console)
and shines in the ash tray.
First time I have ever seen one like this!
I know the later caRS HAD THE LIGHT above the ashtray mounted in the upper a/c outlets.



In either my first car, a 1986 Cavalier, or maybe in one of the early cars that my Dad kept as a second car and for me to drive (maybe an '80 Citation or an '82 Pontiac J2000), there was a fiber optic light for the ashtray. Kind of a neat solution actually.

GM used some cool fiber optics way back. My Dad drove Cadillacs for years. On each side of the hood on the fenders there was a little housing facing back towards the driver. It contained small white, green, and orange indicators. These were lighted by fiber optics from the low beams, high beams, and turn signals. If one went dark, you knew your bulb was out. There was a similar indicator mounted on the headliner above the back seat near the rear window which served the same purpose for your brake lights.

I don't know if this is from a Cadillac, but it looked like this.


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Old 07-08-2019, 09:17 AM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Yea my 72 Caddy had them early fiber optic lights on the fenders and rear of roof. My 93 Caddy has them also.

That was the first time i ever seen a Cam/bird ash tray light like that !
I wonder if its part of a option package?
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Old 07-08-2019, 09:25 AM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Originally Posted by sonjaab View Post
Yea my 72 Caddy had them early fiber optic lights on the fenders and rear of roof. My 93 Caddy has them also.

That was the first time i ever seen a Cam/bird ash tray light like that !
I wonder if its part of a option package?

The site where I got that picture from made fun of them. But actually it was kind of a nice indicator showing whether your lights were working or not. Yeah you can just walk around the car, but the rear indicator was nice to have to know if your brake lights were actually working. Better than what I do once in a while: jamming a broom handle between the brake pedal and driver's seat so that I can walk around and check the lights.
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:02 PM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Originally Posted by ksr View Post
The site where I got that picture from made fun of them. But actually it was kind of a nice indicator showing whether your lights were working or not. Yeah you can just walk around the car, but the rear indicator was nice to have to know if your brake lights were actually working. Better than what I do once in a while: jamming a broom handle between the brake pedal and driver's seat so that I can walk around and check the lights.
I forget, do thirdgen hazard lights utilize the brake or the turn lights?

On most of my cars I always just hit the hazards when I want to check the signals.
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:46 PM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Originally Posted by ThePain View Post
I forget, do thirdgen hazard lights utilize the brake or the turn lights?

On most of my cars I always just hit the hazards when I want to check the signals.

You know, on my GTA I don't know. The taillight unit is are all red except for the backup lights. I just tried. When the hazards are on, if you hit the brake they stop blinking so maybe the brake and hazard lights are the same. I couldn't tell since I had no way of holding the pedal down while I walked around, but the reflection off the garage door looked that way.

When I had a Formula, if I remember correctly (which I may not) the hazards used the rear turn signals which were separate and amber, so the brake lights were separate.
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:28 AM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

Originally Posted by scooter View Post
I am sure that is what GM intended, even though message boards weren't really around at that time, lol
Depends on how geeky you were, 3600baud over to a BBS on a TRS-80 was doable by 82 -- insert dial up noise here LOL

Soft indirect light was a big ergonomic talking point in the 80's so that has always been my assumption, someone at GM liked to read books on ergonomics and incorporated it into the design.
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:30 AM
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Re: Whatís the purpose of Camaro under dash light?

I put my stock radio back in yesterday and noticed I do have the light and it does work... I don’t usually drive the car at night and when I put the fog lights on during the day I have the dimmer turned all the way down so I never noticed..




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