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Very Dim Dash? by manual63
Started on: 12-22-2003 04:11 PM
Replies: 13
Last post by: Whuffo on 12-29-2003 10:45 PM
manual63
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Report this Post12-22-2003 04:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for manual63Click Here to visit manual63's HomePageClick Here to Email manual63Send a Private Message to manual63Direct Link to This Post
Does anyone know why the dashboard is so dim in my '84 SE? Is it because lights are burned out or is it just dim from the factory?

If it's the lights, does anyone know how and if it's very difficult to replace them? I have never taken that dash apert on this car. I had to on my 2001 VW GTI and it was a pain in the @ss!

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Report this Post12-22-2003 04:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for iluvmacsClick Here to visit iluvmacs's HomePageClick Here to Email iluvmacsSend a Private Message to iluvmacsDirect Link to This Post
I took apart the dash, but you only need the gauge pod. This is separate from the dash and you have to remove it before taking out the dash.

What's hard about this is disconnecting the short wires that go into all the gauges. After that you can take the gauge pod apart and switch out the bulbs.

Be carefull not to mess with the odometer, or make it appear that you have, as this could run you into legal problems if you sell the car.

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fierofetish
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Report this Post12-22-2003 04:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fierofetishClick Here to Email fierofetishSend a Private Message to fierofetishDirect Link to This Post
This may seem like a dumb answer, but have you tried adjusting the light level with the rotary wheel just below the light switch?
If you have, and they don't get brighter on the maximum position, do they go out when you turn it to the minimum position? If they do go out, it may be the dimmer system is shot.Let me know anything, and we can try something else.
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manual63
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Report this Post12-22-2003 04:56 PM Click Here to See the Profile for manual63Click Here to visit manual63's HomePageClick Here to Email manual63Send a Private Message to manual63Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by fierofetish:

This may seem like a dumb answer, but have you tried adjusting the light level with the rotary wheel just below the light switch?
If you have, and they don't get brighter on the maximum position, do they go out when you turn it to the minimum position? If they do go out, it may be the dimmer system is shot.Let me know anything, and we can try something else.
fierofetish

Thanks for checking out my intelligence level........LOL.

Yes, I have adjusted them using the dial. It dims them until they go off and it only brightens them a bit. It also turns on the dome light when up all the way. I do notice that the dash flickers a little and starts off birghter and gets dimmer a few minutes after I start the car.

I guess that could mean it's a bad adjuster huh.........

What do you think and does the Guage pod have to come off to replace that?

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manual63
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Report this Post12-22-2003 05:00 PM Click Here to See the Profile for manual63Click Here to visit manual63's HomePageClick Here to Email manual63Send a Private Message to manual63Direct Link to This Post

manual63

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Member since Dec 2003
Sorry...no post intended.

[This message has been edited by manual63 (edited 12-22-2003).]

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Carrolles
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Report this Post12-22-2003 05:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CarrollesClick Here to Email CarrollesSend a Private Message to CarrollesDirect Link to This Post
There is no need to remove the gauge pod to replace instrument cluster light bulbs. You simply remove the top cover from the pod. This allows you to reach all the bulbs.

There are 3 torx screws along the top edge of the pod.
There are 2 torx screws down low nearest to the steering column on the top edge of the pod.
There are 2 hex head screws underneath the pod. Lay on the floor mat and look up at the right and left bottom edge of the pod. You will see two hex head screws on each side. Remove the screw closest to the front of the vehicle on each side.

The top half of the pod should lift off now with a bit of wiggling.

Now you can see the bulbs that are plugged into the back side of the instrument cluster.

Early model Fieros have reflective lit instrument clusters. This means that the light reflects off the orange painted sides of the inside of the cluster housing onto the gauge faces. Later model Fieros use backlit gauges where the light actually shines through openings in the gauge faces. These are much brighter than the reflective gauges in the 84 and 85.

New bulbs may help. Rodney Dickman sells brighter bulbs for this purpose.

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fierofetish
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Report this Post12-22-2003 05:23 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fierofetishClick Here to Email fierofetishSend a Private Message to fierofetishDirect Link to This Post
Ok..sorry, got my friend on MSN Messenger!!
If you take out the whole lightswitch, the dimmer wheel comes with it...It sounds to me like the carbon/pickup track is dirty...try cleaning it with a contact lubricator spray, or even a compressed airline. If you decide to change the lamps, it is fairly simple...you just undo the tork screws along the top. and the two 7mm screwa onderneath, and you can then lift the back of the pod out.Looking down through the windscreen, you can see the PCB, and the plugs that hold the lamps: they just twist out, and you can swap the lamps that easily...I think it is the dimmer wheel, to be honest

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fierofetish
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Report this Post12-22-2003 05:33 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fierofetishClick Here to Email fierofetishSend a Private Message to fierofetishDirect Link to This Post
By the way, I have just checked the Pontiac Official Repair manual, and it says the dimmer is under the steering column, is that right?
Do you have th4e service manual? I don't need it cos mine is an 86 gt...
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manual63
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Report this Post12-22-2003 05:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for manual63Click Here to visit manual63's HomePageClick Here to Email manual63Send a Private Message to manual63Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by fierofetish:

By the way, I have just checked the Pontiac Official Repair manual, and it says the dimmer is under the steering column, is that right?
Do you have th4e service manual? I don't need it cos mine is an 86 gt...

No, but I think I have enough info to go on. First I will fix the headlight gear, then I will get into the dash project.

Thanks.

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Report this Post12-22-2003 06:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for buddycraiggClick Here to Email buddycraiggSend a Private Message to buddycraiggDirect Link to This Post
could be the transistor under the dash is breaking down as it heats up. it is mounted on a heat sink for a reason.
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JD86GT350
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Report this Post12-22-2003 07:44 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JD86GT350Send a Private Message to JD86GT350Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by buddycraigg:

could be the transistor under the dash is breaking down as it heats up. it is mounted on a heat sink for a reason.

I agree with buddy on this one, in the case of my car it was the transistor

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Report this Post12-29-2003 07:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 3fiftyClick Here to Email 3fiftySend a Private Message to 3fiftyDirect Link to This Post
I bought the extra bright bulbs from Rodney Dickman. He gives great service, and provides a diagram on which bulbs to replace.
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Report this Post12-29-2003 10:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Direct Link to This Post
I bought the extra bright bulbs from Rodney Dickman as well and they helped. But what really helped to was upgrade from the frontlit to the backlit gauges. They are a lot easier to read at night because the numbers themselves are lit versus some reflected light off of a dark surface. I hope that helps.

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If you find my advice useful, then please give me a positive rating, thanks...

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Whuffo
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Report this Post12-29-2003 10:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WhuffoClick Here to visit Whuffo's HomePageClick Here to Email WhuffoSend a Private Message to WhuffoDirect Link to This Post
Your '84 has the side-lit instruments; the night illumination on these is marginal at best. First step is to make sure all the instrument lights are working; pull the back cover from the instrument cluster to access the bulbs. While you have the cover off, turn on the lights and it'll be obvious if they're lighting up correcty or are dim. Replace the bad bulbs, and if your visual test showed they were lighting up brightly then this is it; even when working correctly they're not very good at all.

If the lights seem dim, try the dimmer control - they should vary to full bright when it's turned all the way up.

The key here: don't expect too much.

Here's a handy troubleshooting guide for side-lit dashboard lights:

No light: fuse, dimmer transistor, maybe dimmer control.
Very dim light: bad light bulbs.
Dim light, can't be adjusted: dimmer control, dimmer transistor.
Dim light, adustable with dimmer control: normal operation.

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