1992 Buick Riviera -- Intermittent Dash light Problem?

Hello,
My fathers 1992 Riviera has developed an intermittent dash light problem. Every now and then the dash display will go completely blank for a second or two then come back on. At times it will cycle on and
off for several minutes, other times it will go days/weeks working perfectly?
Another thing we noticed is that the dash light dimmer switch seems to be inoperative, that is sliding the dash dimmer switch back and forth does nothing, no brightness control whatsoever. This problem is not intermittent and is constant. He never uses the dash light dimmer function, so it's not something we noticed until the dash light problem.
Note, the dash display goes blank no matter which position the dimmer switch is in also. Could these problems be caused by a faulty headlamp switch? Since the headlamp switch is pricey, I don't want to replace it if it's not the problem. Is there a way to check the switch to see if it's faulty? Anything else I should check?
Any help and/or suggestions would be appreciated,
Steven
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Just fixed this same problem on my '98 Regal. Headlight on/off switch.
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Mike Marlow wrote:

Thanks for the reply Mike. Was that the pricey "Headlamp Switch w/Auto Control"? GM wants ~$170.00US for it and ~$106.00US at AutoZone, ouch.
Is there a way to check the existing switch to make sure it's defective? Since electrical part purchases are not refundable, I'd hate to get stuck with a switch I don't need.
Thanks again,
Steven
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My headlamp switch was around $50 at the dealer. I think list is somewhere around $75. Mine was a '98 Regal so the switch might be different than yours. I didn't ohm mine at all when I took it out so I can't offer any advice on checking yours. On the Regal, the lights are automatic with DRL. The headlight switch is dashmounted, not on the column. Don't know if that's the same as yours. I guess about the best I can offer to you is that the headlight switch is a pretty common failure that results in no dash lights.
One thing you might try that worked for me to identify my problem is to whack on the dashboard immediately above the switch while the problem is occurring. Or - whack the headlight switch itself. I could do both and make my dash lights work until the switch finally got to a point that the dashlights would never work. I could also get them to work in the early failure stages, by twisting the headlight switch in the manner of turning the dash light level up and down. Eventually that too failed to affect the problem, but it at least point conclusively to the switch.
Hope this helps.
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Mike Marlow wrote:

O.K., thanks again Mike. The Riviera has a 100% digital dash, no analog gages, so when the panel goes blank you cannot see anything (i.e. speed, tach, mileage, gas, temp, etc.). Since the dash is illuminated all the time, the only switch on the dash is for the panel brightness/dimmer. It's a sliding type switch, which when slid to the left turns the panel lights off/dim and when slid to the right turns the panel lights on the brightest setting.
Unfortunately, the panel dimmer switch does not work at any setting currently, and the panel lights seem to be at their brightest setting, except when the panel goes blank. This is why I suspect this switch to be the culprit. I have tried tapping/knocking-lightly on the display and dimmer switch, which seems to have no effect.
I guess I'll have to visit my local parts store and take a look at one of these new, pricey, switches and ask if there is a way to check the old one with a multimeter or something?
Thanks again,
Steven
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