I have a 1999 Olds Aurora with 130,000 miles. Without warning the dashboard area starting making clicking noises on and off, almost like there was a short taking place. It even had the smell of rubber burning slightly, but then the smell was no more. During this time or slightly before the headlights/daylights would flicker even with the car off and now they won't go off unless I take the fuse out (from the backseat relay box). This now includes the dashboard lights, as well as the interior door lights. I have had to take the fuses out to get them to go off, once parked. Is there help? Something I can do reasonably, without going to expensive repair shops?
Thanks for having such a website.
Yes I too can confirm that the multifunction headlight switch is what makes the headlights randomly flash back on and off after the car is turned off. The relays inside the Lamp Control Module box located under the left side of the dash will also make a random click noise that coincides with the random flashing of the lights. In my case and most others, you will find that the Lamp Control Module is not the problem and niether is the twilight sentinel adjustment control. Again, the multifunction switch seems to be the common culprit. I did a search here and on a couple of the other Aurora forums and everyone seemed to cure their flashing lights/stuck on syndrome by replacing the multifunction switch which cost over $500 for a dealer to do it. I also found a few posts by Hammen and others that made reference to too much grease in the rotating part of the switch where the contacts are housed. I found another post about using contact cleaner with good results and this is what I did to cure my problem today.
Pardon me for being longwinded but here is how I saved over $500 and you can do it too. You will need to gain access to the rotating contact part of the switch that is hidden under the steering wheel covers but you will not have to remove the switch in order to clean it. You will need to buy a can of electrical contact cleaner and a can of compressed air like you use for keyboards. Both can be had at Radio Shack and both come with the red extension tube that fits the spray nozzle. First move the seat all the way back, then disconnect the battery, remove the sound deadeners, remove the two 10mm bolts at bottom of knee bolster, use your fingertips to pry the sentinel/dimmer assembly and trunk/fuel door release assembly from dash (leave harnesses connected and let dangle) to expose the remaining two 10mm bolts securing knee bolster, remove knee bolster, remove 10 amp fuse for Air Bag, disconnect SIR (air bag) yellow connector at lower left corner behind ins panel, tilt wheel up, use 3/16 or 5mm nutdriver to remove 3 screws securing steering wheel top cover (note that 1 screw is accessed thru the opening for the tilt lever while the other 2 are located on either side of the column closest to the lense/guages), remove 3 more of the same small tapping screws securing the lower steering wheel cover to column, remove black ring of text around ignition lock by pulling straight out, upper and lower covers can now be unsnapped and removed. With your left ear against the mirror control looking just forward of where the stalk goes to the column, you will see 5 tiny holes in a semi-circular pattern. When turning the headlamp switch you can see the contacts moving from hole to hole. Spray contact cleaner in the holes and immediately follow up with the compressed air can to flush out the contact cleaner. Move the headlamp switch rapidly thru all the detents and repeat several times with the contact cleaner followed by several bursts of compressed air to flush out the excess cleaner and dry. When finished, wait 30 minutes to make sure contacts are thoroughly dry then reconnect battery and test. Hopefully all is well and like me you just saved some major $
May, 25, 2009 AT 7:37 PM
I just followed your example to a T and it worked well. I had just gone to a service station earlier in the week and they told me they could replace the multi-function switch but it would cost $700.00. It is now fixed for $19.99. Thanks so much for the great information and explicit directions.
July, 29, 2009 AT 6:37 PM
I had the same problem I took fuse out and[ left it that way for about 3wks or a month put it back in
and no problem since.
June, 15, 2010 AT 4:07 PM
I also followed these directions and it worked great for solving this problem! A couple variations with the limited resources I had: I used alcohol on cotton swabs to clean in each little hole as I switched the light controls on/off then I just used a straw to blow them dry. Repeated this a few times and waited 30 minutes for everything to totally dry then connected the battery and the problem had stopped.
There was a problem getting my tapered sockets to fit in some of the steering column cover screw holes. I forced it into the one behind the tilt control and it cracked just enough to fit. And then snipped away some plastic on the one underneath in the middle.
April, 27, 2011 AT 6:10 PM
I did the same thing on my 97 Aurora with 38k miles. And it saved me a lot of dollars. I did connected the battery once and the airbag SIR was disconnected so now when I put the ignition on it flashes a few times and then is gone. Do you know how can I reset the error? I think he just got an error and needs to be reset. Thanks
August, 13, 2012 AT 8:04 PM
You Sir are a genius! I am not much of a mechanic, but with your precise and wonderfully written directions, I was able to get to the headlight mechanism and clean it -- it now works beautifully. Thanks for saving me hundreds of dollars. You are truly appreciated!
November, 22, 2013 AT 8:01 AM
I have had intermitent issues with dashboard lights going out and tail lights/running lights going out. My turn signals and brake lights work. I took it to mechanic and he said it is the lamp control module and is a dealer part and would cost $500.00. The mechanic stated when he shook the box the lights flashed. Would the fix above work or do I have to buy a new lamp control module?
July, 28, 2015 AT 3:25 PM
I just performed this procedure (7-27-15) on my '99 Aurora which was randomly blinking parking lights; sometime the full headlights would suddenly come on, etc. It seems to have solved the problem. Light switch working as it should.
Thank you so much for the information!
August, 21, 2015 AT 12:04 AM
Do you know which fuse I would need to take out for a temporary fix?