Dash lights stay on, dimmer switch dimming parking/running lights.

Chenn2389

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Okay, I am moving this over from one of my other threads.

I noticed my instrument cluster lights went out. I pulled the cluster and found the headlight switch pigtail burned up. I replace the pigtail, the switch, and the fuses in the fuse box. Now the cluster lights stay on all the time, the parking/running lights stay on, and the dimmer switch is dimming the running/parking lights and will kick on the door chime if its turned far enough to the on position with the headlights off and the ignition off. My car doesn't have a remote start, keyless entry, or alarm. It does have an after market stereo, but that has never had the dim feature hooked up to it and it's been in the car for 1.5 years. I have unplugged the switch, the instrument cluster, the ignition switch all at the same time, removed the fuse 5, 8, 11, 13 that control the interior lights and radio and the lights remain on. There are no blown fuses, and all the fuses in the car are new. I triple checked the pigtail wiring using the hanes manual and cut it out and soldered it back in 3 times now. I have tried two different head light switches. The turn signals, dome light, hazard lights, brake lights, head lights high/low, trunk light, license plate lights, fog lights all work. I am lost. I followed the wires from the switch to the fuse box and there are no shorts. The interior light wire (LT Blue W/Red) has to be back feeding the dimmer switch from something, but not the ignition, headlight switch, or instrument cluster. Anyone experience anything like this before?
 

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ttocs

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check behind the gauges where the harness plugs into the cluster. If you look at the gauge side connection there are copper traces that are known to lift up and can then short out to another pin next to it.
 

Chenn2389

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check behind the gauges where the harness plugs into the cluster. If you look at the gauge side connection there are copper traces that are known to lift up and can then short out to another pin next to it.
I did check this after you mentioned it and the problem exists with the gauge cluster removed completely. Pigtails and the copper traces on the board look fine. :/
 

ttocs

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take a volt meter to the wires on the switch harness and let me know if each wire shows power/ground with the keys off/on and with the lights on/off.
 

Chenn2389

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take a volt meter to the wires on the switch harness and let me know if each wire shows power/ground with the keys off/on and with the lights on/off.
Will do. I am putting in a new ignition cylinder and switch, mine hung up quite a bit before and I broke it when I was messing with it on Tuesday. :mad: Also have to solder up the switch again for the millionth time. lol

I found others having the same problem on different sites but no solution posted.

 

Chenn2389

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There are only a few things left to check. Something has to be back feeding the light blue with red stripe wire after the fuse box. The only things I haven’t checked that could back feed that circuit are the defroster switch, the fog light switch, the hvac controls, or potentially the radio but I never had the dimmer hooked up. My dash has been replaced with a 99, so I don’t have the dash clock. The pig tail isn’t plugged in. It hasn’t been an issue before, and I checked the pig tail Tuesday so I don’t think that’s it. What ever is back feeding it is causing all the interior lights to stay Illuminated, and the current is reversed so with the dimmer switch plugged in when I turn the dimmer it’s sending power to the brown wire for the running lights and door chime.
 

ttocs

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The parking lights dimming with the dimmer has me confused. Unless there is some REALLY strange short or ground problem going on the fact that that dimmer now dims the wrong lights makes me wonder. I know your tired of hearing it but everything you tell me makes me wish I could double check your wiring. Do you have a friend that is good with automotive electronics that could look over what you have done? It amazing what a 2nd set of eyes can see sometimes. Get a pic of your harness and the wiring you did to it as well.
 

Chenn2389

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The parking lights dimming with the dimmer has me confused. Unless there is some REALLY strange short or ground problem going on the fact that that dimmer now dims the wrong lights makes me wonder. I know your tired of hearing it but everything you tell me makes me wish I could double check your wiring. Do you have a friend that is good with automotive electronics that could look over what you have done? It amazing what a 2nd set of eyes can see sometimes. Get a pic of your harness and the wiring you did to it as well.
If the light blue and red stripe wire is back feeding the main light switch than the park exterior lights are powered when the switch is in the off position. Then dimmer switch would now be controlling the current in the opposite direction or dimming the exterior lights. You can see the circuit is closed in that direction from the wire diagram. The exterior lights turn off with fuse 13 pulled or the main light switch disconnected but the interior lights are staying illuminated. This narrows it down to a short in one of the components connected to the lt/blue w/red wire. It’s super weird. The interior lights are still on and the main switch harness is cut out completely right now.
 

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Chenn2389

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The parking lights dimming with the dimmer has me confused. Unless there is some REALLY strange short or ground problem going on the fact that that dimmer now dims the wrong lights makes me wonder. I know your tired of hearing it but everything you tell me makes me wish I could double check your wiring. Do you have a friend that is good with automotive electronics that could look over what you have done? It amazing what a 2nd set of eyes can see sometimes. Get a pic of your harness and the wiring you did to it as well.
Also I wish someone would come check it, no one want to work in the garage when it’s 120 out. lol
 

ttocs

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The only people I know that are still out there is the owner of the audio shop I use to work for in scottsdale and he is good at audio wiring but I am not sure about automotive wiring, and he doesn't owe me any favors to ask for one.

It honestly sounds like there is a pair of wires either switched or shorted at that harness connection you soldered in. If you can find the schematic for that harness with the pin-out of it test each terminal of it to ensure that it is working the way it should. I have seen a couple of occasions where the pins were not put in the correct place in the harness so you could have wired it perfectly but because the pins were switched it acts crazy.
 

Chenn2389

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Post some pics of the harness so we can double check your wiring.
The switch and pigtail I soldered in is removed and all the wires are isolated.

Right now, I have used my multimeter and tested the light blue with red strip wire at every location down stream of the switch. It has 12.4v with fuse 13 removed. With the fuse 13 removed the light blue with red stripe at the main light switch has zero volts. I have isolated the problem to this wire, not the main light switch or pigtail. Tomorrow I will have to find where this wire is shorting with a constant power source. It sucks because it’s deep under the dash.image.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpg
 
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Chenn2389

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I have isolated it even further. The light blue red stripe wire is hot at all the other interior light ports with the center console harness plugged in. When I disconnect the center console harness the rest of the light blue with red stripe wires go back to zero volts. So I have found my problem. Changing the fog lamp relay and fuse last week powered this harness and its shorting to the interior lights. I just did it at the same time I replace the main switch and pigtail. This is back feeding the main light switch allowing me to control the parking lights with the dimmer switch.
 

Chenn2389

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Fixed the harness, rewired the switch. Everything is good as far as the lights. Fun fact. A short in the interior light harness CAN back feed the dimmer switch and control the parking lights when the switch is off.
 

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Congrats, nice find. Have a couple cold ones tonight.

Electrical issues have to be the worst. I was chasing a "dancing" voltage gauge the last year or two. Tried new alternator, regulator, brushes, belt, main supply lead, all new battery cables, etc. Last week I pulled out the regulator wiring and found slight corrosion on the connector pins below the engine compartment fuse box. Problem finally solved.
 

ttocs

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people just do not understand how little it takes to short something out, or how a little bit of corrosion can build resistance and cause problems. Its nice when there is something big and obvious but that is just rarely the case.
 

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