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Instrument Panel Problems

My 1997 bravada will turn over but there are no instrument cluster readings. After jiggling every electrical connection under the hood, eventually instrument cluster activates (or relay warms up?) and engine fires right up. any suggestions ?


  • Out of the blue my instrument and running lights went out. I thought.. oh it is a fuse. (which from my past experiences has been the case) All fuses look good and I see nothing obvious wrong.
     Can anyone provide some input as to what else to look for?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Well the only thing that controls both of those functions would be the headlight switch.

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  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    but it would be useful in your case to scare up a wiring diagram of the appropriate circuits and start chasing continuity.

    just for the randy hell of it, what year and model ford ya got, because there are boarders with manuals out there....
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    yeah, but....when you turn the light switch to the first position, what goes on? Right...running lights and instrument lights. I think the answer is jumping up and down and waving its hand here...

    (the eternal optimist).

    Do you use a relay on dinky instrument lights?

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  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    so that's a real good place to start looking, I agree. quite possibly, worth replacing that switch on spec just because they almost got pushed into a recall on those switches, like the ignition switches.

    but if that doesn't do it, you're back to slogging along with test lights.
  • These boards are the greatest thing since sliced bread! Thanks for the responces on my problem. I figuered I would take a look before I ordered a switch. (surprisingly was easy to get too) What I found was a hot lead in the upper corner of the harness plug was not seated well. The corner of the plug was broken or melted so it did not push the pin in all the way. I did a little improvising and 'poof'.. all fixed. Not often we get off this easy with no cost. Thanks again.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    the symptom of failure on the ford switches recalled in the past few years has been excessive heating caused by a crappy closure of the block-cut switch elements. some have started fires (I am specifically referring to ignition switches here.)

    based on the history, I'd change the thing out and not look back.

    glad you have your fix... but I'd consider it a temporary fix, and change the switch.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Yes, and never use the word "poof!" when you are describing what you did to an electrical system :)

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  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    one at a time, of course... put a little dielectric grease on each connector finger... and then mate-open-mate the connectors several times to scrape light tin oxide corrosion off and coat the metal with the dielectric grease.

    if that doesn't do it, or if you see some really colored connector fingers instead of metal-looking, scrape 'em down with a penknife, then repeat 1st paragraph.
  • 10 mins before my alternator went out in my 1999 Olds Alero the temp gauge needle started going up and down and then it reversed. So now that I have a new alternator, I thought every thing would go back to normal, but it didn't. The temp gauge needle sits on the otherside of the H and C. Whats the solution?
  • I have the newer 2001 Passat. Seems like my Running lights have poofed. I took it to the VW dealer and they claim that the light casing needs to be repaced since it has a crack in it. They gave me an estimate of over $465 for replacing the light. This car has never been in an accident. So, how could the casing crack? Secondly, shouldn't the extended warranty cover this type of failures?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    and the long end points way out to inaction junction 180 degrees away? that's not good. that's a dead gauge and sure enough. will require removing the IP, removing the wiring board from behind it, and then replacing the gauge in many instances.

    if the gauge is stuck between H and C and doesn't move, it could be a dead gauge or a dead function out of the engine control computer.

    I don't like the sound of this. there MIGHT be some hope... a blown ground wire or a dead fuse.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I should think the b2b part of the warranty should cover this. probably a stress crack or maybe a rock flew up and hit it.
  • budbrurbudbrur Posts: 1
    My 2000 Accord's dash lights stay on (brake, door ajar, battery). Also, there is a water leak somewhere that causes the driver's floor panel to get soaked whenever it rains. Can anyone tell me where i might locatate the source of the leak and if it could have something to do with the dash lights. I just had a new aftermarket alternator installed last week.
  • martsmarts Posts: 1
    I'm thinking about buying a 1978 Chevy Caprice with the 350 cubic inch V8 with the 3 speed auto. However it has a non functioning speedometer.
    A component in the gearbox has failed and the currant owner has been quoted £400 plus for the remedial work.
    Is there an alternative method to measure speed with accuracy, without huge cost.
    Someone suggested fitting a Tachometer (Rev counter). Any suggestions?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    The only components of the speedometer are the nylon drive gear on the transmission output shaft, driven gear and housing, cable, and speedo head. I can't imagine any component repair costing the price you quoted, unless the drive gear has failed and it has the THM 200 transmission. That one doesn't have a separate extension housing and requires trans removal and disassembly to access the speedo drive gear.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    You might have plugged drains in the fresh air cowl (under your wiper blades). Over the years crude can build up in there, forming a gooey plug of organic matter that gets through the screening. This can be blown out with compressed air, but you have to take the cowl piece off to access it.

    If your car has a sunroof, the front sunroof drain could also be plugged. If you open the roof, you can see these drain holes.

    Either of these conditions could cause a wet floor when it rains. The fresh air cowl drains could conceivably affect the dash lights in some way but I don't think the plugged drain in the sunroof could.

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  • I do not have an owners manual and my ABS and brake light is on. Do anyone know why this may be? Thanks
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    How about some basic information such as make, model, year?
  • Sorry, I posted on the Durango board and they moved my post. Its a 99 Dodge Durango SLT 4/4. The ABS and the parking brake light just came on. I replaced the ECM last week and had it flashed so I don't think thats the prob Just not sure. Thanks
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    No problem, Chester. The ABS light on usually indicates that the controller has detected a fault in one of it's monitored circuits such as wheel speed sensors, pressure modulator solenoids, etc, so the first step would be to have it scanned for stored trouble codes. Also, a low fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir can sometimes trigger the light so I'd start with that simple check.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Can't some ABS units be scanned themselves by a scanning tool?

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  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Not sure about the Durango but with most scanners it's a matter of choosing which system to check; engine, trans, body, ABS.
  • gudgegudge Posts: 9
    I have a 1997 Oldsmobile Aurora. The tachometer recently started jumping all over the place. It will read accurately one moment and then bounce around. I put in new plugs and plug wires hoping this would help. However, the problem remains the same. The car runs fine but the bouncing gage is annoying.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    particularly, check your instrument panel grounds. the tach signal usually comes from the engine computer now, and the engine will run like a bad lawn mower if that's the real derived speed from the sensor picking up the ticks each time the crankcase pulley turns. so if it's just the tach that's sick, you likely have a bad harness connector to the dash or a scummy ground connection to the body that needs to be taken apart, derusted and shined up, put back together with multi-tooth lockwashers and a little grease between every single metal-to-metal connection.
  • pippenpippen Posts: 2
    Hi, never been here before, but sems liek a very helpful and informative site, I have a 86 blazer, in wich i have recently had to replace teh ehater motor, and not even 2 weeks later, the motor seems to have gone again, only this time my instrument lights have gone with it (although my warning lights still work - seatbelt etc.) everything else is functioning properley,I'm currenntly in the process of scraping all my grnd wires, and checking some basic wiring connections.. the fuses are fine..


    anyone have any idea on what this might be, and how to get it fixxed asap.. (its like -30 outside, i havent been able to drive fora few days now.. )
  • grrrgrrr Posts: 1
    I replaced the trailer towing plug. Still shorts. Shorts almost every time Left or Right. Hazards, cruise, wipers, work fine. I'm wondering if the multifunction switch is the culprit It's a spendy part so do not want to simply start swapping.
  • Hello. I own a 99 Ford Ranger. The other day my left turn signal stuck. Then the day after that I lost my interior panel lights and my tail lights. When I use my left hand turn signal now. It flashes like I have my emergency lights on.

    I replaced the headlamp (light) switch, and checked all of my fuses. I don't know what to do and I don't want to take it in if it is possibly something that is an easy fix. Can anyone help me out?


  • Well. I changed the bulbs of my turnsignals and replaced the turn signal flasher relay. I also found a burned out fuse in my power box in my engine and replaced that as well. I have my dash and tail lights again. BUT when I use my left turn signal, my interior panel lights and my blinker lights flash at the same time. Any ideas?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Check for a bad ground at the left signal light sockets.
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