Instrument panel lights

Tiny
DOOGALOB
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 OLDSMOBILE SILHOUETTE
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 135,000 MILES
My wife was driving home one night in the dark, half way home, all of a sudden all the "white" dash lights went out. There are still a few colored lights on but all the back light went out on the instrument panel, radio, and climate control. Everything works fine, you just can't see how fast you are going, what preset button on the radio you are hitting, or if you're turning on the heater or defroster. I checked the obvious things, headlight switch and instrument panel switch don't change anything (Headlights work and I can still turn on the interior lights with the dimmer switch). I then checked the fuses and didn't find any blown, the only one that made sense for the instrument panel also included the radio and that works, so I just pull them out one by one checking them, including the fuse box under the hood.

Oh, the only other clue that I have is there is a fast chime ringing when I open the door to get out. There normally is one when you leave the keys in but when I take the keys out, it rings even faster. I know it has to be a warning for something, but I can't find a reference guide anywhere, in my manual or online.

Any ideas?

Thanks, Doug
Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 AT 4:39 PM

12 Replies

Tiny
BMRFIXIT
  • MECHANIC
  • 19,053 POSTS
Suspect fuse
use a test light
turn lights on and check fuses
check fuse box right side of dash
Under hood accessory wiring junction block
park light fuse 20A

If all fuses checked OK
check GRY/BLK wire with light on
should have battery power
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Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 AT 6:45 PM
Tiny
DOOGALOB
  • MEMBER
  • 2 POSTS
You were right, it was a fuse. The obvious ones where fine, it ended up being one in the fuse box under the hood. I can't remember the exact name the manual called it but it wasn't an obvious name connected with the lights of the instrument panel. I had missed it when I checked each fuse, it was in a cluster that I had thought to be holding all the extra fuses.

Thanks for the help!
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Monday, October 26th, 2009 AT 9:14 AM
Tiny
RKIIHN
  • MEMBER
  • 4 POSTS
I have the same problem with my 99 olds silhouette stated above

All of my instrument panel and lights around radio are not lit up. Driving in dark can’t see cluster lights

When I turn on overhead light I can see gauges do work. Rpm gauge, speedometer, coolant needle still work

Tried everything, checked fuses.

I suspect it’s the headlight or dimmer switch

It also chimes really fast when I open door as well

Anybody have any solutions
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Wednesday, September 4th, 2019 AT 6:47 PM
Tiny
KEN L
  • MASTER CERTIFIED MECHANIC
  • 44,198 POSTS
It sounds like the headlight switch is not working right but to be sure here is a guide to help check for power and the instrument light wiring diagrams so you can see what to test and how the system works.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-use-a-test-light-circuit-tester

Check out the diagrams (Below). Please let us know what you find.
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Thursday, September 5th, 2019 AT 1:31 PM
Tiny
RKIIHN
  • MEMBER
  • 4 POSTS
I changed the dimmer switch it did not work. This is a mystery. Any other options you can recommend
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Sunday, October 20th, 2019 AT 4:31 PM
Tiny
KEN L
  • MASTER CERTIFIED MECHANIC
  • 44,198 POSTS
Is the orange wiring going into the switch getting power? (Key on ) This guide can help:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-use-a-test-light-circuit-tester

Please run down this guide and report back.
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Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019 AT 12:29 PM
Tiny
RKIIHN
  • MEMBER
  • 4 POSTS
If you look at the switch plug there were 2 orange wires.

1. The orange wire with N inscribed in the plastic casting has power
2. The orange wire with O inscribed in the plastic casting had no power. I tried many times.

Hope this helps and you can help me trouble shoot.
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Friday, October 25th, 2019 AT 2:13 PM
Tiny
KEN L
  • MASTER CERTIFIED MECHANIC
  • 44,198 POSTS
With no power is the problem can you use your test light and check fuse "Park Lp" to see if it has power key on?

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-a-car-fuse

The fuse location and identification are below. Check out the diagrams (below). Please let us know what happens.
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Saturday, October 26th, 2019 AT 12:10 PM
Tiny
RKIIHN
  • MEMBER
  • 4 POSTS
I used the test light for checking park LP.
The test light lit up with key on.

Fuse #37 works.

Could it be one of those mini relays or a ground?

Back to square one.
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Saturday, October 26th, 2019 AT 2:56 PM
Tiny
KEN L
  • MASTER CERTIFIED MECHANIC
  • 44,198 POSTS
The orange wire at the switch must have power for the system to work. There must be a break between the fuse panel and the switch. If you put power to the orange wire does the system come on?
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Monday, October 28th, 2019 AT 10:25 AM
Tiny
RKIIHN
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  • 4 POSTS
I put power to the orange wire the instrumentation lights did not come on.

Someone said in this previous post to check the grey/black wire. Could that be issue?
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Tuesday, October 29th, 2019 AT 1:18 PM
Tiny
KEN L
  • MASTER CERTIFIED MECHANIC
  • 44,198 POSTS
Do you have power at the orange wire and ground at the black and white ? If so the switch is bad, work the dimmer part of the switch.

This guide will help:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-use-a-test-light-circuit-tester

Please run down this guide and report back.
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Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 AT 10:43 AM

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