1989 Dash light problem

Hi,
I have been having a problem with the dash lights on my 1989 Chevy 3/4 ton pickup. When I turn on the headlights the turn signal lights will stay on solid, the gauges will quit working or peg all the way out,
and the high beam indicator will show the opposite of what the headlights are actually on. I was thinking there had to be a bad ground somewhere under the dash. I have taken the dash panel out and cleaned the brass contacts and reassembled the dash but this didn't make a difference. Sometimes if I slap the top of the dash board the lights and gauges will pop back on and work fine for a while.
I have noticed it got worse when the cold weather set in this winter. Slapping the top of the dash won't pop them back on. After the inside of the pickup gets pretty warm they will sometimes pop back on by themselves. This 'working when warm' makes me think of a bad ground somewhere, but where?
Could a bad part somewhere be causing this? Anyone have any ideas? Is there anywhere that I can peruse service bulletins for this pickup?
Thanks in advance for any help!
Rick Mc Iowa
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I've had this problem with my S10 pickup, someone told me that my dash had a bad connection, try putting your hand on the top and pushing against it, if that helps than your problem is the connection.

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Here is your fix just to the left of the steering wheel on the E brake assembly their is A ground block The Ground wire that is broken it runs in the wire loon from the inst cluster Reground it and you will be fixed I had the Same prob and that was the fix Dave Las Vegas NV.

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Thanks Dave & Adam,
I will give it a try. Dave, I was in Las Vegas for the NFR a couple of weeks ago. What a good time your town is. Had lots of fun.
Rick Mc Iowa

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Vegas + NFR = $$$$$$$$$ Fix the ground on the loom and it will work ok post in this form let us know
Dave Las Vegas NV.

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Dave,
I have been digging around the block between the steering column and emergency brake bracket. I haven't been able to find the wire that may be bad. Was this wire plugged into the front of the block or was it a wire that is in a bundle of wires coming from the instrument cluster?
Thanks again for the help!
Rick

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Rick McDowell wrote:

I just went thru this when I completely Restored my 89 s10 My blinke arrows also were comming on when i Turned on the HEADLIGHTS I missed hooking up the ground to the Brake pedal Bracket. I think the Wire ( Black ) Comes from a HARNESS the originates near where the Cigarette lighter is Not sure tho since it has been 5 months since I finished the restore .. I Do have JPG's of the DASH wiring.. But this Newsgroup doesnot allow Attachments ..
I will look under my Dash and see where it comes from !

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It's A ground wire somewhere If your gauges peg when you turn on your lights I went crazy trying to find it I even went to the Junk yard and found A new Inst. cluster That didn't fix it then I started tracing ground's Good luck Dave

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Rick,
Sounds like the ground could be the culprit, but I had this same exact prob on my 89 GMC 1 ton, I tried finding a loose ground(couldn't find it either) even ran a new ground to make sure, took the dash apart to have a look put it back in and the lights were working. Started putting screws in stopped working again, long story short on my truck it's the connection on the back of the dash cluster with all the pins, what i did was loosen the four main mounting screws for the inst cluster to dash, then get it up as high as possible(may be diff for yours) where it would stay working, held it there, cranked the screws(careful, not too tight!!) and it's been fine ever since. I believe that the door slamming caused this(needs new hinge pins, next on list).
Good luck, Ed
Dave wrote:

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Thanks Ed,
I will give that a try also. Right now I am trying to find the ground wire that comes from the instrument panel and see if it is okay or not. From a schematic it looks like it joins several other ground wires at a junction called S207. Other ground wires that go to this same ground are the cigar lighter, radio, heater/AC, safety belt, etc. I haven't found this S207 yet but I haven't spent too much time on it yet. More than likely the bad ground is on the other end of the wire at the instrument panel. I did put on new door hinge pins last spring. maybe that will help keeping it from happening again. Thanks for the help!
Rick Mc Iowa

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I had some time today and wanted to take advantage of the warm weather (33 degrees) and decided to tackle the bad ground that was causing my dash lights to go crazy when the headlights were turned on. After listening to the good advice I got on here I knew it must be the ground coming from the instrument panel. Since this pickup is in great shape I kind of figured that the wire itself was probably not broken or had come loose from the splice into the other ground wires. All the other electrical parts using this same ground were working properly. The ground problem must be right at the instrument panel connection or in the instrument panel.
I pulled the instrument panel and headed for the bench. The instrument panel plugs into the dash with a multi pin socket. I studied a schematic of the electrical system and found out which socket/pin the ground was. The back of the instrument panel has a tin cover and I took this off exposing the main circuit board and all the solder connections. I used an eye loop (I am a gunsmith) to look at where the ground pin came through the dash's circuit board and was soldered in place. Bingo! The solder had cracked all the way around the little pin. It had just enough connection to allow the gauges to work normally until the headlights were turned on, then the gauges went crazy and the turn signal indicators stayed on all the time. After the cab warmed up pretty good the gauges would pop back to working fine. I guess the bad solder joint was expanding a bit in the warmth and made a better connection.
All in all it took a half hour to pull the instrument panel, find and solder the pin, and reinstall the instrument panel. Not bad at all, I was afraid I wouldn't find anything wrong in the panel and would have to start tracing wires. This was much easier than that would have been.
Thanks again for the help!
Rick Mc Iowa

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Rick,
Which pin was it? I have a feeling this is the same issue in my truck, I guess for now I have it cobbed up(it was the day before inspection :) ) but I'd like to fix it once and for all.
Thanks, Ed
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Ed, I think it was the bottom row of pins, all the way to the drivers side. I had the panel out of the pick up and laying on my work bench so I may be twisted around. Pull off the back cover of the panel and look closely to the rows of solder joints, one row on each side of the socket. The two rows of pins that plug into the dash's female connector have a matching pin that comes up through the circuit board of the panel. They are soldered with a dollop of solder to connect the pins to the circuits. The ground pin (far left one, lower row) had cracked the solder around the pin. I used a small soldering iron with a small drop of solder on it to heat it up enough to just rejoin the connection. You might have enough solder left on the joint to just be able to reheat it until it melts again. Don't use too much solder as it may flow over to the next pin and make a connection there.
The cracked solder around the pin was hard to see with my old eyes. It was just a line running around the post but if I pushed on the post I could see it move a little bit. With my eye loupe it was pretty easy to see the damage.
If all the posts are soldered good on your panel then it could possibly be a bad connection inside the female connector that is mounted on the dash. I doubt that it would be that since all the other pins in the two rows haven't had a connection problem. I think the ground post on the circuit board has a heating and cooling problem since it is grounding all the instrument panel systems.
Rick Mc

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Thanks Rick, gonna try and tackle that this weekend along with the door pins.
Ed
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