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How to: fit 987 interior (and number plate) LEDs

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I bought a set of interior (and number plate) LEDs from eBay - with no instructions - and just got round to fitting them. For those of us with Porsche paranoia, here’s a How To.

Please remember if you follow this that my car is a LEFT hand drive, so at least the footwells will be opposite - not sure about the courtesy light!

Aside from a set of CANBUS-friendly bulbs, you’ll need an assortment of medium to very small flat-blade screwdrivers to pry the lights out, and a Philips for the number plate lights. Head Torch might be useful.

This is the set I received:


6x CANBUS W5W; 2x 42mm CANBUS festoons; 4x 31mm festoons; 2x 36mm CANBUS festoons.


and by the end I’d understood that they would fit like this:


So 2 number plates, 2 boots, 2 doors, 2 footwells, 4 for the sun visors, and one each for the central courtesy light and the glove box.


As the sun visor bulbs were not a good fit, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this kit yet. I’ll write to the seller and see if I can get better replacements.


To build my confidence, I found this video, which is not always clearly shot but nevertheless has some great tips, even if it’s for a 997:


One of the tips I’d stress is to have the lights on as you dismantle and reassemble them (bulbs coming out are hot, sorry), so you can try the light before you put it back together, as they are polarity sensitive, so you'll immediately see if it works or not; if it doesn’t work, just put it in the other way round. And if you think it doesn’t work, as I did with a door one, triple check it; as while it’s not working, it’s getting pretty hot, as I found out a couple of hours later :blush: . Another good tip was, for those lights mounted in a metal cage, squeeze the cage back together BEFORE reassembling it, and it clips back nicely. A third - mind-blowingly obvious, when you’ve done it wrong - is that the LEDs should face the transparent plastic, not face you when you have it apart!


To limit the photos I took, I tried to hang the light out with the protruding end being the one that you should pry out.


Door light (see video, but once it’s out, just pull the circular light holder out of the back of it)



Front boot



Rear boot



Courtesy light, i.e. above the rear view mirror. Notice the sprung tab near the top left of the pic - that’s what you’re aiming for with the prying. See the black circular bulb holder in it; turn 90deg anticlockwise and pull out.



Glove box. This is in an alloy cage that you pry apart to get to the bulb. Here above it you can see the black T-piece with two sprung arms that you squeeze together to remove the cage assembly to work on it easier.



When the cage comes apart, it looks like this.  See the tab at the front that you’re aiming for, to pry out. And you can see how I bent out the corners of the cage to take the lens assembly out.



Passenger footwell (mine’s LHD) - again the metal cage.



Driver footwell (for LHD) (see the OBD port). Yes, this does pry outwards (couldn't believe it when looking at it). It was tough; I was convinced this wouldn’t come out and I’d snap something, but with persistence and several brave pills, it did. 



Number plate lights. You have a choice of removing the light body then easily unscrewing the lens, or trying to unscrew the lens in situ (upside down with the risk of screwdriver slipping and scratching your bumper!).  I found a vid where someone removed these, “simply” by prying out from one side. Ha! I can’t believe it was that easy :( .  Here is a close up that shows you, on the left, the tab you are aiming for.  You’ll put a flat blade in the “slot”, pry, and nothing will happen; because the “slot” is actually the gap BETWEEN the tab and the main light body. So you want a really sharp blade to get OUTSIDE that tab and bend it a millimetre inwards, to get the light body out.  If all goes wrong (and six months ago I had to buy a new one of these as that tab snapped off), note there’s a VW part number, so you can probably avoid Porsche tax. (To pull this off the car to work easier, just poke the tab down that is in the square hole that you can clearly see in the tube above the main light body. When pushing it back, push hard until you hear a click so the tab catches again.)



The last one - sun visor mirror lights.  Get to these by prying at the bottom of the mirror oval (you can barely see the small tab that holds it at bottom centre; I tried to get it, sorry).



Take that oval panel completely off and (if the guts don’t fall out - one of mine did) it looks like this: 



Note how the horizontal brass strips spring outwards at the ends, as they wrap around small plastic posts. As the LEDs I got were about 4mm too short, I had to re-route one of these inside the posts, below. Even then they aren’t great, as the pointed ends of the original bulbs should fit into small holes in the brass strips, but the LEDs have flat ends so they are able to move, and they probably will with vibration :( 



As I said above, I’ll check with the seller and see if I can get better replacements for the visor LEDs.


I hope this helps someone!

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Had the same problem with my sun visor bulbs Meno, sorted with slightly longer and pointer work fine now, are your number plate lights still working ? I had hell with mine and gave up in the end.


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I gave up too Guvs.

The ones Meno has have a a resistor across them to increase the current flow tricking the light control unit that the bulb hasnt failed. However they need a heat sink as they warm up. Just check them after a period to see that they are not getting "too warm" as it were its quite a small compartment for the bulb to fit in.. 


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Number plate lights worked fine when I put them in. Toeside, you're scaring me! We'll soon find out as I selected the option to have DRLs (i.e. headlights) permanently on.  Assuming that means number plate lights are permanently on too, they'll get a fair workout.  Hope the heat dissipates well!

I just had a constructive reply from the seller, will see what happens. 

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I am sure they will be ok. I picked up a thread some months ago that a member had problems with their LED's on the number plate just give them a check. :)

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Are these the ones that burst into flames? :)

Only joking, I had to replace my number plates lights as one 'blew' other than that the rest were a great upgrade


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I've run some cree and COB LED's throughout the car - havent done the visors, footwells or glovebox yet but all the bulbs are great so far with no issues. The number plate light bulbs are error free but the rest arent. Its a nice upgrade and one I'm sure I'll appreciate more come winter when the nights draw in.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 month later...

I still have them, no failures to my knowledge but understand that I barely use the car once a week. 

To gijap, this is a 987.1, I believe the .2 had many LEDs from the factory. 

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6 hours ago, Menoporsche said:

I still have them, no failures to my knowledge but understand that I barely use the car once a week. 

To gijap, this is a 987.1, I believe the .2 had many LEDs from the factory. 

Thanks - think I'm going to give it a go, did a similar change to my old BMW and made a world of difference on the interior

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  • 2 years later...

Hi Menoporsche great post.

About the to do the LEDs in my car, your bulb list appears to be 2 bulbs short. When I watch the video, the main interior light by the rear view mirror and also replace 2 map reading bulbs. So three bulbs in total. 

Your bulb list has 14 bulbs, 6x CANBUS W5W; 2x 42mm CANBUS festoons; 4x 31mm festoons; 2x 36mm CANBUS festoons.

The video shows 16 bulbs being replaced. Does anybody know what the two map reading bulbs are? What type?

Many thanks

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  • 1 year later...

So I've just been fitting my interior LED lights and somehow the glove box light no longer works. I plugged it back in to test it and it worked fine, then went to clip the metal box back onto the light fitting and now it doesn't work! Have I somehow blown a fuse or something? I tried replacing the LED to a new one, tried turning it round to the other side. Nothing it working so I'm quite confused! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh thanks for the reminder.

As commented on by others above, yes my number plate bulbs blew eventually, most likely as they have a massive heat sink in a very small space.  I don't know when but my indie told me he replaced them. So I guess I have normal ones in there now.  I think it's easier to buy all in one replacement units with the proper LEDs built in, than trying to find more "LED bulbs" with Canbus friendly resistors.  I might do that next year... or later...

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