cluster issue - Chevy Impala SS Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-17-2015, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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cluster issue

i have a 95 ss when the lights are off the cluster works fine but when i turn the running lights or headlights on the cluster goes off. no gauge lights or hvac lights either. i checked all the fuses and they are all good. i replaced the dimmer switch aswell and still no luck. not sure what my next move should be but im sure someone else has some insight on it.

Dan Diani
1995 SS BBB T56 4.10s
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-17-2015, 11:49 PM
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Easy to describe hard to fix

What it sounds like is that your speedometer ground is broken and it is somehow using the dash lights as a ground. When you turn the lights on it loses the fake ground of the lights and quits working. The lights do not work because they have a missing ground as well.

That is the theory part.

The speedometer is grounded in the right kick panel and the lights in the left kick panel. It would be weird for both to fail. Both grounds are in the right speedometer cluster plug so maybe it is not plugged in all the way.

Have you worked on the speedometer cluster or the kick panels?

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-18-2015, 06:01 AM
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I was leaning toward a bad ground(s) as well. I believe most if not all of the Interior Light circuits are grounded to both Kick Panel areas. It's fairly common from time and moisture issues that these connections can get flakey.

Its easy to do....Try to first remove both Pass and Driver side Kick Panels and you will see a group of Black Wires that are Grounded to the Body with a sheet Metal thread bolt. Not the most secure connection and they can loosen over time or have bad contact to metal/ground.

Remove the wires, clean them and the Contact point on the body to assure solid connection to metal and see what happens. While you are at it, not a bad idea to do the same with the ground wires that are mounted to the Front of the Driver Cylinder Head near the Coil/ICM assembly. Also check the Ground wire on the Pass. side Fender and the Ground going to the Top Left side of the Timing cover.

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'95 Caprice SS conversion - Bonny Buckets - 96 Column, Shifter and Console - 3.73 Gear and Herter tune - Z/28 Cluster - Blazer OH Console - Green/Pink bushings - Chromed Impala Wheels - Eibach Springs and Bilstein Shocks - Corvette Engine Dress - the list goes on and still more to do...it never ends.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-18-2015, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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ill check those grounds tonight and see what happens. thanks guys

Dan Diani
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-18-2015, 03:26 PM
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If that doesn't work maybe Gary will chime in as well
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-19-2016, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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Bringing this back because I'm starting to have an issue again. I checked all the grounds they all seem fine. I ended up replacing the dimmer relay (under the steering colum) and I had my lights back no problem. That lasted about a month and then one night I was driving and hit a bump all my lights went out again. Now everytime I put a new relay in it lasts about 2 minutes and then I lose the lights again. Once again no blown fuses or anything. I have no idea where to go from here.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-19-2016, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96ss_dan View Post
...then one night I was driving and hit a bump all my lights went out again...
That's the one to cue on. Connectivity. The board solder is cracked and giving poor connectivity. In my case, the left side of the cluster (lights) go out once the board is fully warmed up. Start it up and turn on the lights, everything is fine. About 15-20 minutes later, no left side lights (The OP gauge and gas I believe...). The board perimeter has to be carefully and meticulously resoldered to fill in the hairline (or other) breach.

It only and progressively gets worse.

Another tip is to make sure you use ALL of the fasteners that came w the cluster. There are lots of them, so it's a pita. Nonetheless, the cluster has to be locked down tight to prevent any movement of the board which can ultimately weaken the board/solder.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-19-2016, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96ss_dan View Post
Bringing this back because I'm starting to have an issue again. I checked all the grounds they all seem fine. I ended up replacing the dimmer relay (under the steering colum) and I had my lights back no problem. That lasted about a month and then one night I was driving and hit a bump all my lights went out again. Now everytime I put a new relay in it lasts about 2 minutes and then I lose the lights again. Once again no blown fuses or anything. I have no idea where to go from here.
It sounds like you got a loose connection or a Break in a wire "somewhere". The "somewhere" is the tricky part to find. If you have already looked at a schematic and checked the physical ends of each wire run, it may be time to "try" and track the wiring harness. Another area to consider is the Twi-Light Sentinel Box located behind the Right Side Kick Panel. There are also grounds mounted there and the Box itself is known to have some cold Solder joints. I believe the HL's work thru this box even if the TLS switch is turned off.

When checking the Wiring harness, pay close attention to the connection points. You may want to try and Bypass the Twi-Light Sentinel system altogether by bypassing the 2 Male/Female plug connectors near the base of the steering column. I believe they are white and Black Connector ends. If you look at the "Adding Twi-Light Sentinel" thread, you will see the 2 sets of plugs I'm talking about and you pretty much end up with 1 Male/Female plug to essentially remove the Twi-Light Sentinel Harness and just operate your lights thru the HL Switch.

While following along with your schematic and if you can, unplug each connector you come across in the HL Harness and check each connector point closely for any kind of burnt or discolored connections. For the longest time in a 04 Grand Prix, we had a radio whine issue that would happen when we hit bumps or used the horn. If I hit the Dash Pad area, it would stop for a while or get worse, so the problem was obviously in the dash area somewhere. Checked the schematic and pulled the radio and the connectors looked good there.

What the schematic didn't show was this sub-harness connector that I found near the ashtray only while physically tracing the wiring harness back from the Radio. The 1st pic shows the connector I found and in the 2nd pic you can see burnt mark on the top/2nd from the left pin. Tightened up in this connector and the problem was instantly fixed. Point is, I would have never found it unless I traced the harness and unplugged and looked at the connector. You could have something similar going on or a loose/cold solder joint somewhere OR a loose ground. MAybe try to wiggle wires as you test the circuit to see if you can pinpoint the area. Good Luck..




================================================== =============


'95 Caprice SS conversion - Bonny Buckets - 96 Column, Shifter and Console - 3.73 Gear and Herter tune - Z/28 Cluster - Blazer OH Console - Green/Pink bushings - Chromed Impala Wheels - Eibach Springs and Bilstein Shocks - Corvette Engine Dress - the list goes on and still more to do...it never ends.
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