NO dash/instrument lighting?!

Discussion in 'General Automotive Tech' started by solvebring, Aug 1, 2022.

  1. solvebring

    solvebring New Member

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    So ... All exterior light works just fine, turn signal indicators works, high beam indicator works, handbrake indicator works, right side dash dome works ... BUT, none of the instrument lights are working. When the night comes I can't see shit. I've tried wiggle the contacts and/or dim on and off, but nothing happens – not the tiniest twinkle. Any ideas? I'm not so good on wiring and such ...
     
  2. OldFox

    OldFox Curmudgeon

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    Maybe the bulbs are burnt out. That's the first thing to check.
     
  3. kevdupuis

    kevdupuis Membrane

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    I can't recall but there might be a short glass fuse for the instrument lights, you might want to check the fuse panel to make certain.
     
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  4. HotRodRacer

    HotRodRacer Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Another thought I had, is the bulb sockets make the ground for the bulbs to the instrument panel, which then grounds to the chassis of the car. If the instrument panel isn't making good contact with the metal part of the car where it mounts (like if there are rubber bushings between the instrument panel and the mounting point), there is not a complete circuit. You can try creating a jumper ground wire and running it from a good point on the instrument panel to a known good ground to rule that out.
     
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  5. OldFox

    OldFox Curmudgeon

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    I am almost certain that if that fuse is burned out then either your brake or tail lights won't work. I forget which.
     
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  6. kevdupuis

    kevdupuis Membrane

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    That's the problem sometimers is kicking in.
     
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  7. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    Yours is a '65-'67, correct? The instrument panel trim can be removed, allowing you to remove the blue lenses and access the bulbs. Remove one, and using a voltmeter or 12 volt test light, check for power inside the socket. If there is no power, twist the headlamp switch knob back and forth, see if you can get voltage to show up. Only the dimmable dash lights are on the cluster illumination fuse, all others (like the glovebox light) get their power separately, and back then, may not have even been on a fused power circuit. Anyway, if the power comes on after twisting the knob, you have power, just no good bulbs, so go ahead and replace them.
     
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  8. OldFox

    OldFox Curmudgeon

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    Wouldn't it just be easier to look at the filaments in the bulbs and see if they are burned out first instead of all the dickin' around. Then do all that other stuff if they ain't..
     
  9. Wagonrodder

    Wagonrodder Well-Known Member

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    On my 68 theres also a relay on the back of the instrument cluster i forget the correct name for..
     
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  10. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    That's why I like a good 12 volt test light; clip on the ground, pull a bulb, turn on the power, and check for it. Easy peasy. I understand we have differing techniques, but as long as one works, the member has a chance of figuring out what the problem is.
     
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  11. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    That is the IVF (instrument voltage regulator), which is for the gauges.
     
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  12. OldFox

    OldFox Curmudgeon

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    Members have different degrees of capability. These old cars aren't complex and probably 90% of the problems can be diagnosed visually. Why overwhelm them with complex solutions to problems which might not even exist or make them think they need to rush out and buy a bunch of new equipment. I never even owned a hand held volt/ohm meter until computer cars came out. However, I did have an Allen unit with a 3 gas analyzer that had all the bells and whistles.
     
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  13. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    Didn't every shop? I worked at a shop years ago, where the owner's son, who also worked there, was named 'Allen.' I pissed him off when I joked to his dad that he named his son after the engine analyzer.
     
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  14. solvebring

    solvebring New Member

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    Thanks for all these good thoughts and ideas. I’ve saved them all back in my grey cells for the future. Though I personally found it too unlikely for all the bulbs to have gone out. Therefore I first decided to listen to a Facebook acquaintance and have a look at the switch before anything else. Well, first of all I checked the fuse with a multimeter to make sure it wasn’t burned though it look alright.

    Long story short the switch was badly oxidised, and so I cleaned it with some electrical cleaner and fine steel wool. It actually helped and now I got myself some instrumental lighting. BUT! light is strongest directly by the turn on, just a snap to the right. The farther I turn it to the right the fainter it gets. Farthest to the right it turns off, like when actually switching it off at farthest left. Isn’t it supposed the get brighter and brighter the more I turn it to the right? One always turn things up to the right as far as I know …

    THOUGH that isn’t my major problem. You see, after have used the instrumental lights the tail lights get hung up and won’t shut off until I’ve turned all lights on and off a few–three times. I’ve never had any exterior light problems before this.

    Should I just throw the shit out and get myself a new switch? Or, should I take it all apart once more and make sure no pins might somehow “leak” to another?

    … Previous owners has done very unserious home brew wirings on this car which makes everything much harder and might add this and that to my problems. I’m all rookie when it comes to electricity so lose wires and weird adding doesn’t really help.

    Well, what do you guys recon concerning this “leakage” making my tails go bananas? And is my switch acting correctly when dimming off to the right instead of left?
     

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  15. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    It's just a matter of how the engineers designed that car, that year. But, if the car was built with courtesy lights inside (dome and footwell), the dimmer will 'click' at the bright end, turning the courtesy lights on.
     

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