C6 Corvette F55 Console Installation

(updated 10/6/07)

Used with Permission from Ray Kawal


This modification allows the installation of a 2008 console into a 2005-2007 C6 Corvette with F55 Suspension


Without the F55 suspension option, the 2008 console is a direct replacement for the 2007 and earlier console.  But for 2008, the F55 Suspension option changed with a new switch and a new way of mounting the switch.  The older switches were mounted in a removable plate, sometimes called the "tombstone" plate because of its shape.  The same console was used in all Corvettes, and a blank tombstone was used without the F55 option.  The 2008 switch mounts directly into a new console made especially for the F55 option.  

The console on the left is the earlier 2005-07 console for all models.  The console on the right is the new 2008 console for the F55 suspension option.


If it weren't for the switch, the new '08 console would fit perfectly into an old C6 Vette.


Now let's look at the switch differences.  The one on the left is the old 2005-07 switch.  The new 2008 switch is on the right.


The protrusions at the bottom are the housings for the switch electrical connectors.

  The new switch snaps into place in the square holder seen in the top photo.


But there are a couple of problems - the first is electrical.  GM redesigned the F55 circuitry, so the 2008 circuit is different from the early circuit.

Here is the earlier circuit:

The old switch used a 4 pin connector with Pin 4 not used

Here is the new circuit:

The new switch has 12 pins, but 7 of them are not used.  

But this new switch can easily be used for the earlier circuits if an adapter cable is used to alter the switch functions.

Note that in the early F55 circuit, all the switch does is provide a ground to the computer module when the Sport Mode is selected - it couldn't be more simple.

So if the new switch can be used similarly, the electrical problem is solved.  We just use Pin 12 for a ground connection and connect Pin 10 to the computer (Sport Mode) wire.

Note that the lighting circuits are basically the same - a wire from the dimming cluster and a ground wire.

So electrically, we use Pin 6 and Pin 12 on the new switch for ground, and connect both pins to Pin 3 of the earlier 4 pin connector.  We connect Pin 5 of the new switch for the lamps to Pin 1 of the earlier 4 pin connector.  And finally, we connect Pin 10 of the new switch for the computer signal to Pin 2 of the earlier 4 pin connector.


Here's a view of the 2005-2007 4 pin connector:

And another view:

The black wire is ground, the tan/white wire is to the computer, and the gray/black wire is for the lamps.

Looking into the connector:

The four rectangular holes on the right are what we want to connect into


Now let's look at the new switch:

If you look at the pin diagram new F55 circuit, you will see that the four pins we need to connect to are on the left of this photo.

We need Pins 5, 6, 10, and 12.

The six pins on the right are of no use to us.

Also note that Pins 6 and 12 are next to each other - our ground pins.

Pins 5 and 11 are next to each other, but Pin 11 is not connected to anything.

Pins 4 and 10 are next to each other, but Pin 4 is not connected to anything.

So we need an adapter cable that will connect the 2005-07 4 pin connector to the six pins on the left of the switch.

 


OK, we've solved the electrical problem.  Now here's the next problem.

If you look into a 2005-2007 console with the old switch removed, this is what you see:

See the big rectangular cutout next to the bolt?  This is to provide clearance for the 4 pin connector when it is connected to the old switch.  The plastic connector housing on the old switch fits into this area when it is installed.

But look at how the new switch is installed in the new console:

and compare it to the old switch below.

Look how the old switch connector is on the right of the tombstone plate (looking from below), which fits into the rectangular cutout of the first photo.
But the new switch connector is at an angle and left of center.  What happens is that the new switch plastic connector housing interferes with the area around the bolt in the first photo - it doesn't fit into the rectangular cutout. If you try to install the new console with the new switch, you will find the switch hits the area near the bolt and the console will not go all the way into its proper place.


So here's what we do.  We can't use a 2008 connector anyway, since the circuitry is different than the earlier versions.

So we simply cut off part of the plastic connector housing on the new switch:

Use a hacksaw or even a pair of diagonal pliers and cut off the plastic housing so it is about 5/16" - 3/8" long, just clearing the pins.

Once done, the switch will not interfere with the area below, near the bolt.

Another shot of the modified switch:


Now we can make an adapter harness to fit both the 4 pin OEM plug and the new switch.  

This adapter harness must connect to the switch pins noted above, but it must not protrude much below the bottom of the switch to avoid the interference we just cured by cutting off the plastic housing.

Here is the prototype we just installed on Mike Morehouse's '06 Vette:

Note this connector will fit 6 pins.

Another view:

Note this portion of the harness fits over the proper six pins of the new switch and protrudes not much beyond the pins themselves.  It will easily clear the area noted above around the bolt.


Here are some finished adapter harnesses:

Here is the 6 pin connector on one end:

and the 4 pin connector on the other end:


Here's how to plug in the adapter harness into the modified switch:

It's easier to install the switch with the adapter harness into the console before installing the console.

Be sure it is plugged into the correct six pins as shown in the preceding photos.


Here is how the adapter harness is plugged into the OEM 4 pin connector:

The white plastic tab prevents the plug from being inserted incorrectly.

Obviously, on the 6 pin end, care must be taken to push the connector onto the proper six switch pins!




If you are interested in building your own adapter cables, here are some suggested parts you might want to use:

To make the 6 pin connectors, I pulled the pair of pins on every 4th row and cut the long connector block with a hacksaw.  I had some 4 pin connectors with the white tab, so I used them to have a way to prevent incorrect insertion into the OEM 4 pin connector.  You could also use the multiple header on the left and just cut off 3 or 4 pins to suit your needs.  Other than the above parts all you need is some 22 gauge wire, solder, and some heat shrink tubing.  I used a heat glue gun to seal the 6 pin connector after it was soldered.


Here is the wiring on the 6 pin end:

The red wire is the computer signal (Sport Mode) wire connected to Pins 4 and 10 (remember Pin 4 is not connected in the switch)

The white (middle) wire is the lighting wire connected to Pins 5 and 11 (remember Pin 11 is not connected in the switch)

The black wire is the ground wire connected to both Pins 6 and 12.


Here is the wiring on the 4 pin end:

Again, White is the lighting wire to Pin 1 of the OEM 4 pin connector.

Red is the Sport Mode wire to Pin 2.

Black is ground to Pin 3.



These aren't hard to build, but I have a few adapter harnesses available if any owners want them. 

 Paypal me ten bucks and your address and I'll mail one to you.



Here are some procedures and tips for removing and installing the new console:

1. Remove the console lid with a T15 Torx driver - 4 screws.

2. Remove the old F55 switch by pulling up hard at the rear, inside the console storage area.  Pull hard and it will pop loose.

3.  Remove the two 7 mm screws holding the old console to the base.

4.  Remove the two 7 mm screws holding the passenger side trim plate.  Access to these screws is attained by pulling up on the front of the emergency brake lever leather (cheap vinyl!) boot.  Once the two screws are removed, pull the trim plate down and away from the dash.

5.  Pull up on the rear of the console and it will pop loose from the dash.  There are six tabs to pull out of the dash, but all of the plugs to the console switches must first be removed to pull up more than a couple of inches.  Pulling those plugs out is the most difficult part of the whole job unless you are familiar with how each plug is seated into its connector.  Feel around and you will find a locking tab on each plug to allow it to be pulled.  Remove the plugs to the two power outlets, the two seat heaters (if equipped), the traction control switch, and the emergency switch at the very top.  It may help you to look carefully at the new switches on the new console to figure out where the locking tabs are.  We noticed that the rear power connector locking tab was on the bottom in the new console and on the top on the old console.

6.  To pull up the console very far, you will need to remove the shift knob on manual transmission cars and move the shift lever back.  On automatic transmission cars, you just need to pull the lever into a lower gear - and listen to constant bonging of the alert signal until you can move it back!

7.  Once the wiring is unplugged, the console can be removed completely.

8.  Before installing the new console, plug in the new switch and be sure the adapter harness is plugged into the switch correctly.

9.  You'll note the new console has all new switches except the top emergency flasher switch.  To remove this switch from the old console, slide a thin blade screwdriver down both sides of the switch, inside the plastic housing.  This will release the switch.  Pop it into the new console.

10.  Install the new console into the dash and push it in place slowly as you start plugging in the wiring to the new switches.

11.  When you get close to lowering the new console in place, plug in the F55 adapter harness into the OEM 4 pin connector.  Unlike the old console, the new switch must be installed before the new console is installed.  The wiring is tight in this area, so be careful you don't pinch a wire.  The console should lower in place, fitting into the left trim plate.  Push fairly hard forward before you lower it in place and seat it.  Once in place, install the two 7mm screws to hold the console to its base.

12.  Install the right trim plate with the two 7 mm screws.

13.  Install the console lid with the four Torx screws.


Here is Mike's finished installation:

Looks nice, huh?



Here are some extra photos that might help understand the installation:

1.  Console support and potential area of interference:

Under earlier console:

Under 2008 console:

View into '08 console with switch removed:

Note the area of potential interference with new switch housing. 

 This is why the new switch connector plastic housing must be cut off.



Good luck on your project.  If you have any questions, you can email me at ray@kawal.net