Blazer electrical problem

I'm trying to help my nephew clear a ground on his 1996 Chev Blazer. For some reason his running lights were blowing the fuse when turned
on. He purchased a Chilton's manual which showed the electrical and although the manual showed only ONE brown conductor going to the running lights coming off the light switch, his vehicle had two (and factory looking wire at that).
The second brown wire which takes off towards the top of his dash and *appears* to be paired with an orange wire, is grounded. We clipped that wire and the running lights came back without taking out the fuse but I *suspect* that this wire may have gone to his dash lights (had to take off after that and haven't heard a report back yet as to whether or not, his dash lights no longer work.
I'm expecting to hear that his dash lights don't work however, and was wondering if there is any kind of 'workaround' if the dash printed circuit board is toasted (where the dash lights can be hard-wired in with different sockets).
So... Are there after-market bulb sockets that one could hard-wire in as the cars used to be and get around a problem with the dash printed circuit board? TIA for any advice..
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