Dash Instrument Panel doesn't light up - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 05-16-2009, 03:04 PM   #1
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Default Dash Instrument Panel doesn't light up

Hello, I have a problem with my dash instrument panel. The guages no longer light up, so I can't tell how fast I'm going at night or if I have fuel. I had this same problem with my old car but it was so junky it died before we bothered to fix it.

However my turn signal and Highbeam icons do light up.

I checked the fuses in the panel on the driver'* side, then I found the fuses in the panel on the passenger side where the relays are as well, didn't find another blown fuse. I then double-checked all the fuses, still all good.

They went out after I had a friend help me install a CD player, JVC KD-LX111. The wires colors in my car were different than the wire colors he had the instructions he printed out, so we were crossing a lot of wires and doing process of elimination to narrow down which wires were which for speakers, power, ground, and all that. I remember at one point I found when crossing two wires I head a clicking sound from the passenger side around where the second set of fuses and the relays are at. When I showed my friend I guess I was holding it too long and I saw a spark and a I heard a loud pop from where I was hearing the clicking as well.

I checked the owner'* manual, I don't think the relays on the passenger side control anything to the dash. However I don't know how to check if a relay is blown anyways, I don't have an instrument to read them.

Since a mechanic told me I'd have to go to a dealership to fix it, he said usually it'* a circuit board problem and any time he touches it, it would fall apart, I decided to make a quick fix myself. I bought a 15" LED light strip at pep boys, white color light. I put the strip above my instrument panel, I ran the wire into the crack running down the side and hide the bundle behind that black plastic panel cover that runs from the left driver AC vent across the steering wheel and covers the AC controls and Radio. It'* supposed to be tied into a powered wire and a ground, like the dash. But my dash doesn't work anyways now, and I didn't want to tie it into my radio power, so I just stripped the wires back and retied them better to the battery it came with that allows you to see the lights in the store, and bought a flip switch and connected it to that. I then took out a black rubber cap I found in the panel I took off, left of the steering wheel, and drilled the hole a little bigger to let me put the switch through it, and I screwed it tight. Before I had just used the button from the display that came with it but you have to keep holding that down, haha.

Anyways enough rambling. For now that'* working alright, it'* a little too bright but at least if I get pulled over maybe the cop won't give me a ticket.

Could anyone help me? How can I check relays just by sight? Why would my gauges not light up but the green arrows for left and right turn signal and my high beam light do?

I have a 1996 Bonneville SE.
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Old 05-16-2009, 03:15 PM   #2
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Check the fuses under the hood on the fire wall. One of those might be out. recheck the grounds and power on all wires around where you were working. Something either came off or shorted out blowing a fuse somewhere.
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Old 05-16-2009, 03:23 PM   #3
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Easy- if you get pulled over, you're speeding. If it stalls out- you're outta gas!!
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96BonnieSE View Post
Easy- if you get pulled over, you're speeding. If it stalls out- you're outta gas!!
Haha, I figured that. Thanks captain obvious.

I found the two fuse boxes under the hood, I pulled the fuses all out one by one to check them, all looked good. Still no dash lights. But the new switch for the light strip I installed looked really cool. Still I'd like to fix the dash lights for safety reasons.

I will check the wires where I was working on the CD player next time I pull it out, but I'm pretty sure that wouldn't be the problem. We were extra careful not to pull or yank anything out, and we only un-taped and pulled out the wires we needed.

My Ext Temperature on my AC climate control blinks when I turn it on. What could that mean? (also happened after my dash lights went out and I lost power to the AC/radio from a blown fuse)
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:49 PM   #5
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I have the same exact problem with my 1995 SE. Although i have not checked the wiring of the deck which the previous owner installed in the car and judging by the rest of the "repairs" they made, it could definitely be a hack job. I hope to see more suggestions!
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Old 05-21-2009, 05:42 PM   #6
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my 95 is doing the same, though if I turned off the headlights and turned them on again sometimes the dash lights would come back on, but now they are off for good, I believe it is just the headlight switch but I cant figure out how to remove it to fix it or replace it with a junkyard sourced one. and I know its not a fuse as my aftermarket radio dims and my electronic HVAC display goes away but works fine when the lights are off.
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