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Old 06-24-2004, 01:22 AM   #1
cotter_33
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no lights in dash panel

well... i bought a 98 malibu last year for dirt cheap... i am a college student and have no money to pay for anything to be fixed by a professional.

so anyways the day after i got it the lights in the dash went out. the gm cd player lights also went out. fuses are good and tail lights are good. the cig light doesn't work or the accessary plug. all the warning lights in the dash work just not the speedometer or the rpm or gas or temp lights do not work. the wierd thing is that i just installed a new pioneer cd player and those lights work fine.

please someone help because it is really annoying driving without dash lights. thank you
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Old 06-24-2004, 07:50 PM   #2
capricex
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did u try the dial on the left of the steering wheel that turns the interior dash lights on and off?
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Old 06-24-2004, 08:05 PM   #3
cotter_33
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yes i did, i even switched it from one that i know worked......... thanks for the suggestion.... any more?
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Old 07-04-2004, 04:30 PM   #4
wrenchin
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Re: no lights in dash panel

Did you check the first light in the run along the top of the gagae cluster it feeds the whole row.
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Old 07-04-2004, 07:12 PM   #5
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The cigar lighter and aux power outlet are a different problem. For them did you check the 20 Amp fuse in underhood electrical center to see if it is blown? I think it is fuse #34 but it is the only 20 Amp fuse in any case.

In regards to you complaint on what I would call your instrument cluster backlighting, does other backlighting in the vehicle also not work?

Trunk Release Switch
Panel Dimmer Switch
Heater A/C controls
Door Lock Switch
Power Window Switch
Shifter Gear Indication

This would help determine if this is a problem with just the instrument cluster or something else. It is good that you confirmed that your tail lamps work and that you checked fuses. The most important fuse to have checked would be the 10 Amp fuse in the right hand Instrument Panel Endcap fuse center called "INST LPs". It is the one on top kind of by itself.

Your comments on aftermarket radio are interesting but does it actually have any backlighting which varies in intensity based on rotating the dimmer switch?

I have some additional suggestions but provide back response on these questions first

Thank you.
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Old 07-10-2004, 09:58 PM   #6
chvydriver
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Hello,
I have a similar problem. The "INST LPs" fuse is OK. There are no lights in the dash and the backlights for the various controls (ie: radio volume dial and buttons, fan dial etc...). The funny thing is, this seems to have affected my head lights also. My head lights always stay on now, even during the day time. The "service engine" warning light is also on. I think the manual says this indicates the ALR function is not working.

Any help in diagnosing this problem is greatly appreaciated!!!
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Old 07-11-2004, 11:21 AM   #7
e2helper
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Re: no lights in dash panel

chvydriver,
in your case a couple questions.

Do your rear tail lamps, front park lamps and license plate lamp work? Just check with the ignition off by turning the headlamp switch to Park position.

This park lamp signal is used as power feed for this INST LPs fuse and so if they aren't coming on your backlighting will not either.

You mention that your head lamps stay on also. Under what conditions: When your ignition turned on? When you are in any gear? And if your headlamps are on are your rear tail, front park and license plate lamps on as well?

If your rear tail.... etc lamps are working OK and the INST LPS fuse is OK then I guess I would be suspecting a wiring issue or the dimmer transistor ($20) in your vehicle when kaput.

The warning light you have on is probably the Service Vehicle Light, if it is the Service Engine that is a completely unrelated issue
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Old 07-11-2004, 02:00 PM   #8
chvydriver
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The rear tail lamps, front park lamps and license plate lamp do not
work.

The head lamps (low beam) comes on as soon as I turn on the
ignition, and in any gear. Also, the rear tail lamps, front park lamps and license plate lamp do not come on even though the head lamp is
on. Note that I can turn the high-beam on and off.

A side question.. I was wondering if this problem might be cause
by a defect relay.. specifically the mini-relays that control the
ALR and DLR functions. I was trying to pull one out from the engine fuse
block but it will not come out. Do you know how to put those out?
I did't go all out when I was trying to pull them out though... I didn't want to cause any more damage
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Old 07-11-2004, 04:54 PM   #9
e2helper
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Re: no lights in dash panel

Well lack of tail lamp ... etc explains why the backlighting isn't working. That is kind of a bad situation when driving around at night because rear of your vehicle isn't lit up for others to see.

I would suggest you take a look at the 15 Amp PARK LPS fuse in your underhood electrical center (fuse #45 on label) and see if it is blown or not. Post back when you get a chance and we can take this diagnosis further if you would like.

On the other item it sounds like your vehicle Automatic Light Control (at least what I call the feature) is working but not recognizing DAYTIME mode and switching to DRL.

At this point I wouldn't focus on the relays for the DRL and ALC function. It is more likely a problem with the light sensor or associated wiring which is telling the body computer to put your vehicle in nighttime mode all the time.

The relays just pull straight off although I know terminal retention is pretty good. However I wouldn't suggest doing that since your ALC problem is likely with the sensor. You are right to be somewhat concerned because if you damage the terminals inside the fuse block it would have to be replaced.

I am not sure how to go about troubleshooting the light sensor without having access to scan tool (or at least an ohmmeter) but lets figure out the park lamp/backlighting problems first
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Old 07-11-2004, 05:44 PM   #10
chvydriver
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Yep... the 15 Amp PARK LPS fuse is blown. I put a new one in but
as soon as I put it in, it gets blown again when I turn the
lamps on. Looks like I have a short somewhere. Where could it be
though. My break lights used to have this problem... that is, I put
in a new fuse for the break lights and then it gets blown. But after
a few fuses, the problem seemed to have gone away. I guess the
short just moved elsewhere. Can you tell where I should look for this short? There seems to be a relationship between these 2 shorts. Thanks again for all your advice so far...
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Old 07-11-2004, 07:48 PM   #11
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Re: no lights in dash panel

Well that might indicate a problem in a rear lamp since that is a common point.

Isolation of problem is what is required at this point. "Fortunately" the problem you are experiencing is repeatible enough. To assist please print out this link of applicable lighting schematics. They aren't really needed for this first step but wanted to pass them along to you.

http://www.geocities.com/raj380/mali...buextlight.pdf

and this one for rear lamp removal. No real tools are required. The fasteners are able to be removed by hand - although pliers might be needed to get them initially loosened.

http://www.geocities.com/raj380/mali...ampremoval.pdf

when you have time my suggestion is to remove BOTH of your rear lamps on the vehicle and unplug them. Then put a new 15 Amp Park Lamp fuse in the underhood center and turn the lamps on again. See if the fuse blows. If it does not then plug in each lamp individually and see which rear lamp causes the fuse to blow.

I realize it is Sunday night so you might not have a chance to do this for a while.

Unfortunately if you do find that one of your rear lamps is causing problem it will be difficult perform a fix unless it is something really obvious. My suggestion might be just to disable to offending circuit (I will give you details) to give you at least partial functionality for the rest of the vehicle. However let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Let me know how things work out when you get a chance.
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Old 07-11-2004, 08:05 PM   #12
e2helper
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Re: no lights in dash panel

On 2nd thought. The Malibu has 2 stop lamp bulbs in each rear lamp. Have someone step on brake and check your vehicle. Do any of the stop lamp bulbs not seem to be working? If so I would just remove that rear lamp to perform the test I suggested

If I should continue details in PMs (since boring everyone else) then someone let me know
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Old 07-11-2004, 10:30 PM   #13
chvydriver
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Smile

Yep... there was indeed one stop lamp that was not working. I took
out that lamp from its socket, put in the PARK LPS fuse and
all the problem symtoms are gone ... the tail lamps, parking lamps,
stop lamps and instrumental panel backlings, are seem to be working
now... at least the fuse didn't get blown right away when I turn the
lights on or step on the brakes. Even the check engine warning is
gone.

This is a huge step forward since I am getting most of the functionalities back for now except for one stop lamp. Thanks so much for your advice!!!
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Old 07-12-2004, 07:09 AM   #14
e2helper
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Re: no lights in dash panel

Glad I could help

So do you still have the problem with headlamps being on all the time (in daylight)? And now since your park lights are working they should probably be on as well. That would also cause your radio display to be hard to see in daylight since your lights are on.

Or maybe that problem went away as well?
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Old 07-12-2004, 11:40 PM   #15
chvydriver
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The head lamps were working normally... and yes, the radio display is harder to see in the daytime.

But I have some bad news. The problem came back. It was working
fine on the way to work and back. When I used the the car again in the evening, the short came back... sigh... Back to square one. Certain movements must be causing the the short circuit.
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