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Instrument panel lights not working????? Please help!

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by kihlj, May 21, 2002.

  1. kihlj

    kihlj Registered Member

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    I have an '89 K5 that is giving me a real headache. The instrument panel lights behind the speedometer and fuel gauge (3 of them) will not come on when I turn the headlights on. However, the two over on the far left where the amp meter, temp, and oil pressure gauges are work no problem. Also, when I turn the headlights on the fuel gauge goes to empty but if I turn the headlights off then the fuel gauge goes back to reading properly. I have already replaced the headlight switch thinking it had gone bad, but no change. I have also gone through the fuse box checking all the fuses. I replaced all the bulbs with known good ones.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Jason
     
  2. rocko

    rocko 1/2 ton status

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    It's possible you didn't insert the bulb's properly.. I had the same problem.. or you may have torn or damaged the printed circut paper behind the panel.. look and see if you may have bent up the copper stripes within that printed circuit board.
    And I'd go and buy "all new" miniature bulbs for the panel.. this way you won't have to replace them every so often when using used ones.
     
  3. kihlj

    kihlj Registered Member

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    Not sure where the printed circuit paper is behind the panel. Can you be more specific on where I should look and if it is damaged what will I have to do to fix it?

    Thanks,

    Jason
     
  4. Ben Malinski

    Ben Malinski Guest

    Before you reinstall the panel, plug in the wire harnes into the back of the panel. You'll have a little bit of slack in the wiring. Now, turn on your lights. Look at the bulbs and if some are not on, twist the sockets back and forth until you get a connection. Sometimes you may have to scrape the copper to clean it. When you put the panel back into place and before you screw it in, recheck the lights. Sometimes when installing, you can knock one or two out of place. If the bulbs don't come on then replace them.
     
  5. YtseJam

    YtseJam 1/2 ton status

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    Take the whole guage cluster out, and replace all of the bulbs. They are cheap enough. When you take the bulb socket out bend the little tabs up so you'll get a stronger contact. Also take a pencil eraser to clean the contacts. As far as the gas guage not working I'd check the Sending unit ground connection, they sometimes rot @ the tank.
     
  6. KBK5

    KBK5 Registered Member

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    Also check that your printed circuit doesn't get "slack" in it. My '77 had a "fold/dog-ear" in it that drove me crazy for a year. Fixed it and the lights are now working. BE OBSERVANT!! It can get wadded up like it did with with my previous owner and took me awhile to find the problem. Works like a charm now
     
  7. kihlj

    kihlj Registered Member

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    Can you describe where the printed circuit is? I must be blind because I am not seeing it. Will it be on the headlight switch or is it a totally separate piece that will be somewhere behind the wires for the headlight switch?

    Thanks,

    A Frustrated Jason
     
  8. KBK5

    KBK5 Registered Member

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    After you take off the bezel around the gauges you have about 4 screws that hold the instrument cluster in the dash. Behind the light green colored cluster is where the circuit board is. It is a thin plastic with copper strips on it. When the previous owner installed one of my dash light sockets, he missed the circuit board and it got a crease in it and it "flapped up" behind the bulb holder. If you have to remove it from the dash, you will need to unscrew the speedo cable.
     
  9. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Sounds like a possible gorund problem with the Gage going weird like that. I would check the plug first. Clean the contacts with a pencil eraser and then wipe it clean with some Q-Tips and rubbing alcahol. Hit the parts store and buy some "Di Electric Grease" When you use an eraser on the contacts it will remove some of the coating and the contacts will now be more prone to getting surface corrosion from humidity. this grease will prevent that from happening in the future. It's made to be used this way. Good to use in your tail light sockets also. Trace the harness back to the fire wall and look for any unplugged wires. My wife has managed to kick the fuse box before and knock out some plugs (power windows of all things and I was out of town and of course the windows were down and it rained LOL). Also Check the fuses. Most should be on one marked "Gages" but sometimes there not. There is also a grounding block where all the grounds plug in up next to the steering colum on the fire wall. chech and make sure none of those got knocked loose.
    I honestly think its a short or a problem with the plug. Reason being is it shounds like the Gas gage is pulling ground or power through the lights and when you energize the circuit is looses that path so the gage goes down.
    Look for any damage on that printed circuit peice on the back of the cluster.
     

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