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Dash lights and cut wires


Guest moldymac

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Guest moldymac

I found that my 88 has a few electrical issues, not really sure where to start trying to fix these. The first is none of the dash lights work. The gear selector, left/right side of IPL, and the buttons around the CRT never come one, regardless of weather head lights and/or fog lights being on. The IPL and CRT doesn't dim either. The dome and door lights do come on when you open the door. The other issue is the high beams don't work. The head lights shut off when you turn them on. I read that may be wiring going to the driver's head light and will check that out.

Not sure if this is related at all, but I found some cut wires under the center console along with something jumpered with a staple. I found what I think is an old car phone in the trunk and think the cut wires might go to that, but I'm not sure what that jumpered wire is.

So, where should i start looking?

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I would start with a good working headlight switch. The switch controls many of the issues you are having trouble with, headlights turning off when switching to brights, no illumination of buttons on CRT, and the pod [headlight/wiper switches] illumination.

You may also have an issue with your photocell [located under dash panel] You may want to read treys recent series of posts on that issue.

But I would start with the switch, which you could get from Jim Finn or a number of other parts sellers.

The console light issue is a bit seperate from the headlight illumination. I had my lights working for a bit, but then the console lights themselves went bad so I ended up doing an LED upgrade, which is explained on Ronnies site at Reatta Owners Journal - Home

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I'm pretty sure the black connector with the blue/green jumper with white stripe is the connector that the headligh door diode plugs into. The wires coming in should be yellow and yellow with black stripe.

On the bundle that is cut, you could try writing down all the wire colors and using the service manual you might find them.

I would also see if any are hot (all the time) or hot (with the key on) that should tell you if they are still fused.

If any are hot, you could start pulling fuses to see what they are for.

If there are fuses missing, that might also be a clue.

As far as them being for a cell phone, the car was not factory wired for a cell phone.

If a factory option phone had been added, I only count 4-5 wires plus two of them would have a shield.

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Guest Mc_Reatta

Dave has the right ideas.

Start with the Reatta's best asset (diagnostics) to troubleshoot your problem.

Dash lights and related dimming circuits contain a lot of specialty bits to make them function. If some are not functioning, certain things won't work as intended, or not at all.

The fact you have no dash lights at all and that the IPC and CRT won't dim indicate a problem with the headlight switch or photocell.

Use the CRT to bring up trouble codes and look for BCM codes B122 or 123 first.

Then go into BCM Data mode and call up BD42 and check if the dimming pot in the headlight switch is functioning correctly.

Then call up BD44 Twilight Photocell, and test if the photocell in the top of the dash is reporting the amount of light to the BCM correctly.

This will tell you what is the problem with getting some of the lights working. There is more involved to get the electroluminescent panels in the pod switches and gear shift working and the display on entry show also.

Can't tell for sure if those cut and jumped wires are part of this problem or a leftover from a phone installation. That will sort itself later as you progress.

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Guest moldymac

Thanks guys, I'll check those out and report back. I did check the door handle and it's switch is no responding, not that it's related to this issue.

I checked those cut wires and found they do go to the phone controller in the trunk, at least I can rule that out now.

Do I need the diode for the head light door or can I leave it alone with that jumper?

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I bought a headlight switch from a local U Pull. It had excellant backlight illumination, but the problem with it is that it would work for a while, and then shut off the lights.

I suspect you have much the same issue only a variation.

I would buy a known good switch and start with that. They aren't that expensive relative to trying to track something else down...

I had some good ones that had only one thing wrong with them, the little indicator light bulb on the push button didn't light up, so I sent them to Kdirk. He likes working on all things electrical, so I am sure it is on his when I get a "roundtoit" list! lol

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Guest moldymac

Ran the numbers on the dimmer switch, that looked ok (goes from 5 at lowest to 95 at the highest). I checked the photocell and it seems off to me. In the day light (overcast day) it shows 5. If I cover it with the owner's manual it changes to 6. Isn't it suppose to be a higher number than that?

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Guest moldymac
I bought a headlight switch from a local U Pull. It had excellant backlight illumination, but the problem with it is that it would work for a while, and then shut off the lights.

I suspect you have much the same issue only a variation.

I would buy a known good switch and start with that. They aren't that expensive relative to trying to track something else down...

I had some good ones that had only one thing wrong with them, the little indicator light bulb on the push button didn't light up, so I sent them to Kdirk. He likes working on all things electrical, so I am sure it is on his when I get a "roundtoit" list! lol

Unfortunatly these kinds of cars rarely ever make it to the yards near me, usually right to the crusher :(. I'll be picking up a spare one way or another though.

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Guest Mc_Reatta

Great news, you've found the first and quite possibly the only problem that's keeping your dash lights from working and others from dimming.

Bad news, it's a royal PITA to replace.

Your photocell is bad. 5 in daylight is OK but it should read around 90 when it's covered. If it doesn't reach at least 74, the BCM will not turn on the dash lights and activate the dimming circuits.

There just was a thread on doing this and Ronnie's site has great instructions (newly edited to make them better too). Need to make a special tool to get the dash panel out to keep brittle plastic from splintering.

You can get a used photocell assembly that will plug right in from someone the site, or you can get a cell from Home Depot or Radio Shack but you will have to install it into your holder yourself and replace the blue filter before you plug it back into the holder under the dash.

Go here:

Twilight Sensor Photocell Replacement*-*ReattaOwner.com

and here:

Twilight Sensor (Photocell) Alternative*-*ReattaOwner.com

and here:

http://forums.aaca.org/f116/photocell-removal-question-327720.html

Edited by Mc_Reatta (see edit history)
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Guest moldymac

Good to hear, here's hoping its the only issue! Any idea if one from another GM car would work? I have a few from a couple Roadmasters I parted out complete with the blue filter on them.

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Guest Mc_Reatta

I bet they would work fine.

If you can find part #s you could confirm, but probably not easy to find the # for the roadmaster.

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Guest moldymac

Success! It was just the photocell that died on this car. FYI, the Roadmaster one does not work, it only goes as high as 24 in the computer. I bought the sensor from home depot and mounted it in the holder from the Roadmaster sensor. The holder is the same size as the reatta one, but the whole blue part is translucent on it, should work better in the day time as this sensor is much more sensitive. I'll find out tomorrow how well it works in real light. By some miracle all the back lighting works on this car except the "D" on the shifter is very faint. The other gears light up nicely though. Thanks for the help guys.

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Guest moldymac

Looks good for the home depot sensor. Checked it in the diagnostics this morning and it shows 5 in daylight. Now to fix that door switch and get the light show going.

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