Cluster light problem - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-28-2019, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
dln1962
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Cluster light problem

2000 Wrangler SE. The gauge lights work for about the first 10 minutes that the headlights are on then go off. If I shut the engine off for 5 minutes they'll come on and work again but after another 10 minutes they're off again. Once -- and only once -- wiggling the knob brought them back. I figured bad switch and got a new one from NAPA but the problem remains exactly the same. I've checked and fixed the grounds and I don't have actual cluster operation issues, just the backlights. All of the idiot lights come on as they should when I have it do a self-test. Even swapped fuses thinking maybe an intermittent problem, no change and the fuse and its socket does not appear to have been hot, none of that on the switch or connector either. Suggestions?

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post #2 of 8 Old 09-28-2019, 02:56 PM
mukluk
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Is the problem only with the cluster illumination lights, or with other backlighting as well such as the radio and HVAC panel?

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post #3 of 8 Old 09-29-2019, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
dln1962
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The clock on the radio lights up but not the HVAC backlighting. I can't recall if it worked prior to this or not. I bought this Jeep in July and it turned out to be such a dog that I've only had it on the road for about 10 days and I've been trying to enjoy what no top/no doors weather we have left. I truly blew it evaluating this one.

Going to reinstall the old switch this afternoon and see if I can get the dash lights to at least flicker. I found a pinout for the switch and will check input voltage and continuity through the dash light circuit on both switches. Marker lights are fine so I suspect the input voltage is OK. I also verified everything on the cluster connectors because it wasn't working at all when I first got it, that thankfully has been dealt with. I've fixed a lot of electrical problems on a lot of sacked-out vehicles over the year but this one has me scratching my head. Always had good luck with NAPA parts but it's possible that I just got a bad switch. And my local-owned NAPA is closed on Sundays so...
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-29-2019, 11:02 AM
mukluk
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See the attached schematic for the backlighting. Checking for power on both sides of fuse 3 or input at C202 pin A3 and output at C202 pin A4 should help split the circuit for troubleshooting. Connector C202 is the grey one in the connector stack on the left kick panel, forward of the dash -- see the attachment below. The backlit components use several different grounds, so it's unlikely that will be the issue there.
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-29-2019, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
dln1962
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Thanks for the diagrams -- those are going directly into my saved stuff.

Took it apart again. Checked both switches in on position with the dimmer set to full. Continuity. Switch off, discontinuity. So that part is OK. Checked dimmers just for the heck of it and the OEM type switch goes from 0.2 to 10.3 ohms, while the NAPA type only ranges 0.3-6.4.

Have battery voltage on Pin 1. Made a jumper out of some 24-gauge doorbell wire (smallest thing I have on hand) and jumped to Pin 4. Cluster and radio backlight both come on, no HVAC. That could be bulbs or something else, not really a priority just now. Put the charger/maintainer on it and let it run for an hour. Wire did not get remotely warm. Well, not above ambient anyway, which was about 86 when I pulled it. My good multimeter is at work, all I've got at home is a Fieldpiece SC66 and it only does AC amps via a clamp. I also rocked the Jeep vigorously for about 45 seconds (all my old man wind could manage) before I stopped and the lights neither flickered nor did the jumper get warm.

I am thinking that the Pin 4 socket on the connector is just loose or worn, I had to double the wire to get contact there. Going to try to gently expand it with a round toothpick. If that doesn't work my next step will be to interrupt the Pin 4 wire and connect it to battery voltage via a 5A line fuse, a toggle switch, and my good tester in DCA mode, and take a drive. I'll have to look it up but if all is good those few peanut bulbs can't be using even 2A. And while I've had some "wiring nightmares" elsewhere on this Jeep, everything up under the dash looks to be intact.

Thanks again for the diagrams and suggestions, I'm always open to fresh perspective. Old enough to know that not only do I not know it all, I'll never know even a fair fraction of it!
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-29-2019, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy dln1962

Took the connector apart and coaxed the Pin 4 socket out of it. Seemed to fit tight enough but I gave it a little squeeze anyway. Reassembled the connector and plugged the switch back in, connected the battery -- cluster lights working but go out at the slightest jiggle. Notice that the Pin 1 socket is backed out too -- huh? Without that, I shouldn't have marker lights but they work every time I check. So pull the cable again and work that down in place. VERY tight fit. Power back up and the gauge lights appear to work properly. Put the switch back in place, left it on parking lights, hooked the charger back up, left it run for an hour. Lights still on. If the rain moves out I'll take it grocery-getting tonight; that should verify that Pin 1 was the culprit. At worst I'll be using my phone to give me my speed yet again.

It's always the simple stuff that gets me. /facepalm
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-30-2019, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
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Just to put this to bed, the cluster and radio backlighting now appear to be fine. I'll address the HVAC backlights next weekend after the weather goes to pot. Got through Wednesday and then it's going to be doors & top time.

Thanks again mukluk for getting me headed in the right direction.
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-30-2019, 10:50 AM
mukluk
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Not a problem, glad to help. Post up again if you run into any other issues or have questions.

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