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!
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
Reground it and you will be fixed
I had the Same prob and that was the fix
Las Vegas NV.
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
Thanks again for the help!
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 !
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
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
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!
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
Thanks again for the help!
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.
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
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.
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