Originally Posted by zilly
thanks for the input I will check and I have checked my dimmer contol several times this a real strange one as every once in a while the radio light will work and show the time and as soon as i turn pull headlight switch out the radio light goes out
I think your headlight switch rheostat, the thing that operates as a dimmer when you rotate the **** of your headlight switch, is toast. You might try turning it slowly all the way in both directions and see if the dash lights will at least flicker. If they do, your rheostat is probably oxidized from lack of use, but still in one piece. If they're stone dead no matter how you turn the ****, the rheostat'* probably cracked. (It'* a coil cast into a ceramic insulator, which sometimes breaks when it ages.)
I'd have to look at a wiring diagram to be sure, but I think your radio/clock display has its own power supply, but adjusts its brightness to match the dimmer/gauge lighting when it detects that the vehicle lights are on. If it detects that they're on, it'll dim itself, and if the dimmer/gauge lighting is set to zero (i.e. dash lights off or rheostat failed), it cranks its own brightness down as far as it can to match that. Once you replace your headlight switch (where I think your problem is), your radio display will recover by itself.