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    Cluster and Dash lights Not Working

    Hey, I have an '89 325i with no dash or cluster lights. The only lights that work on the cluster are the "check" lights (brake lining, abs, check engine, etc) and turn signal lights. The back lighting is dead on the instrument cluster. There are no lights on the center console either (AC control, ashtray, OBC etc..). The hazard switch works. The AC/heater works, only the light is dead.

    Since all lights aren't working I'm thinking it isn't the bulbs, likely a short somewhere.

    The car has an aftermarket stereo and I checked the ground, looks like it's spliced onto a brown wire in the console. I'm using the ETM diagram 6300-1, could the brown wire that they spliced the ground to be the cluster/dash light wire?

    Just curious how to approach this. I also considered the headlight switch might be faulty, but not really sure how to test some of this.

    Anyone ever run into this before? I'm considering taking the console apart and trying to resplice the brown wire that the radio is grounded to in hopes that it will fix the lights, but interested in other thoughts before I go that route..

    Thanks.

    #2
    All my lights were burnt out in my car when I got it before you start splicing wires just check to see if the bulbs are burnt out. There is two in the cluster and two tiny ones in the hvac cover. The lights in the ash/coin tray are the same in the hvac so try those in the hvac.(if they work)

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by camip View Post
      All my lights were burnt out in my car when I got it before you start splicing wires just check to see if the bulbs are burnt out. There is two in the cluster and two tiny ones in the hvac cover. The lights in the ash/coin tray are the same in the hvac so try those in the hvac.(if they work)
      I took off the hvac control cover and tested the bulbs. The bulbs are good.. the interesting thing is I tested the voltage with the lights on and off, ends up the bulbs DO work, but they're backwards, ie when the headlights are off the bulbs are on, when the lights are on, the bulbs turn off. So the switch is backwards or something?

      starting to think I may just need a new headlight switch.. my right high-beam doesn't work either (bulb is good, blows a fuse everytime I turn it on). so maybe a shorted headlight switch is the cause of both these issues?
      Last edited by coldweatherblue; 03-03-2012, 05:16 PM.

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        #4
        UPDATE:

        ..after fiddling around with some fuses, checking wires in the dash, and pulling the R bright headlight (which was shorting it's fuse), my cluster and dash lights ARE working, but are backwards. So when the headlight switch is off, the lights are on, and when the headlight switch is on, the dash lights turn off. So I'm guessing it's the switch. I have no idea what I did, but the lights definitely were not working (at any time) before and are now, just backwards.

        Anyone know if I can fix this without buying a new switch? like a backwards relay or wire in the switch that can be repaired?? otherwise looks like another part to add onto my junkyard list.

        Comment


          #5
          Sounds like you know what you are doing. Do you have a continuity check tool or a voltmeter?
          All the ground wires in the console are brown. I don't suspect that radio ground connection as being the cause of your lights not working unless they cut the wire. As long as they just tapped into it it should be okay. If they cut the wire, then I agree with you, that becomes the most likely fault. Try grounding the loose end of that wire if it is cut.
          Probably easiest to take the cluster out and trace the dash lighting circuit back to the rheostat in the headlight switch. The connector for the dash lighting may just be disconnected from it.
          I think you are correct the most likely culprit is that headlight switch.

          No. It sounds like the high beam is a separate problem. I say that because the circuit is getting power (the other one works AND it blows fuses). Check the wiring after the relay to the headlight that blows the fuse.

          Comment


            #6
            Yeah I have a multimeter that I've been using to check continuity and voltage.

            Update on the car: so today I noticed that the dash lights no longer were working w/ the lights off.. started pressing buttons and it looks like the dash lights work (when headlights off) when the defroster switch is turned on. If I turn the defroster switch OFF while the lights are on, they turn off (and don't work in either position). If the switch is on, the dash/cluster lights work w/ the headlights off. Furthermore, when the dash lights are on (lights off, defroster on) if I press the air circulator button on the A/C control, the dash lights turn off. WTF? something crazy is going on.. gonna try to figure it out tomorrow.

            Comment


              #7
              There is one circuit for all the dash lighting (cluster, HVAC panel, radio, ash tray light... everything that dims from the rheostat in the headlamp switch). You'll need to trace that circuit using the electrical troubleshooting manual. It seems clear that someone has incorrectly modified the wiring in that circuit.

              Apparently the rewiring also involves the defroster switch. The defroster switch itself is not a part of the dash lighting circuit but the defroster switch illumination, of course, is.

              Comment


                #8
                E30 cluster, Dash and clock light not working.

                Hi All


                I have a similar problem with my E30. Non of the cluster, dash clock lights work. I thought it may be a fuse but there doesn't seem to be one for the internal lights. I also don't think its a bulb issue since they all don't work. Any help is much appreciated.
                Thanks

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Jedi View Post
                  Hi All


                  I have a similar problem with my E30. Non of the cluster, dash clock lights work. I thought it may be a fuse but there doesn't seem to be one for the internal lights. I also don't think its a bulb issue since they all don't work. Any help is much appreciated.
                  Thanks


                  check fuse #21....when I had this issue though, mine happened to be a fried circuit on my cluster...hopefully in your case its just the fuse.


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                  Comment


                    #10
                    Maybe you were onto something with the light switch being broken.

                    maybe burnt out inside switch and is touching connections in certain positions ex:On or OFF

                    worth looking at.
                    PERSON 1 - "It whispers to me at night...and convinces me i have to spend all my earnings on it...and buy all this stuff....to be cool...and be euro."

                    PERSON 2 - "Oh your married too?? Oh you mean the car....yes ....yes i agree...:shock:"

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                      #11
                      Since this is the first hit on Google when searching for no lights in dash or cluster, I thought I'd add that I had the exact same problem and in in my case it was the headlight switch that had a worn out rheostat.
                      Apart from checking fuses 21 and 23, this should be the first port of call when investigating dash light issues.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        dude first hit on Google fcking awesome lol.

                        9 years after original post. Pretty sure I fixed it right after my last post in 2012 and in typical r3v fashion never updated..

                        it was the headlight rheostat.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by coldweatherblue View Post
                          dude first hit on Google fcking awesome lol. 9 years after original post. Pretty sure I fixed it right after my last post in 2012 and in typical r3v fashion never updated.. it was the headlight rheostat.
                          Thanks! And guess what? It was the headlight rheostat in my case too! Came here to repot back and pleasantly surprised that you replied.

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