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Erratic Courtesy Lights


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The courtesy lights behind the pushbuttons on my '89 Reatta operate only sometimes, and less often when its cold and rainy. The fog light switch seems to turn them on more regularly than the headlight switch when they act this way. Also, the lights under the shift lever seem to have a mind of their own as well. Does anyone have an idea where I can look to fix this problem?

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There are 2 12/110 volt inverters that power those lights. The one for the console is in the console and the one for the switches is at the top left underside of the dash. They take a verable 12 volt signal from Your slide dimmer and convert it to a veryable 110 volt a/c signal that goes to a luminescent light in each of these component.I found on mine that if I could tap on the dash sometimes, the ones in the switches came on for awhile. I would say that if the lights on the dash and the lights in the console are going off and on at the same time, You probably have aproblem in the dimmer on the dash or in the wiring. Like I said they are both powered by their own unit. I just went through this with mine. By the way there are none of these inverters at the dealers. They have quit carrying them and they are out of stock. I got mine from a Rivera in the junk yard. 87-89 are the exact same.

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Guest kennyw

skip,<BR>the posting also says that the switch for the fog lights also truns these lights on. I wonder if we, have missed one cause for the problem so many of us are having.

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Kenny on mine I have to have My lights on inorder for the fog lights to work so it is probably being controlled by the dimmer and not the fog lights. But His may be different than Ours.

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I have the same problem as red89 on my 88. when the fog lights are turned on, i get dash lights with or without my headlights or park lights on. i can run with just my fog lights on. i'm suprised yours only work when your headlights are on. so to have dash lights, until i fix the problem, i also turn on the fog lights.<BR>jp

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It rained all night here in Iowa, and my panel lights seem to work the least when it's really wet outside. It's only the lights behind the pushbuttons on the dash and on the console under the shift lever that operate erratically. All the other dash lights work, but won't dim with the dimmer until the pushbutton backlights illuminate. Then, when the car warms up, they spring to life and the dimmer switch works again. The shift lever light doesn't always turn on with the switches on the dash. It operates separately from the others. It's driving me nuts.<P>Skip, you think that it's my power inverter? Could it be my twilight sensor? None of the lights on the dash will dim until the panel backlights are illuminated. It does seem to be affecting or be affected by the dimmer switch in some respect. Here again, when they do turn on--most often it's when I push the fog light switch, not the headlight switch.<P>Thanks for your comments.

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To listen to Your description, I have a feeling that Your problem is not the invertors. One key bit of info I need to ask is do the console lights and the switch lights mess up at the same time or does the switch lights mess up some times and the console lights do it at a diffent time? I will dig out My schematics tonight and see if I can find a lead for You. One more thing does the function buttons around the touchscreen do the same thing at the same time? If so it is definitely not the invertors. Those lights are not on the invertors.

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The function buttons around the touchscreen always seem to work, along with the Trip Set, Fuel Gage, Test and Metric buttons under the panel display, as well as the Fog and Lamp Retract buttons under the tape player. They all operate in sync with each other.<P>The lights behind the headlight, parking light, cruise control, hazard, and wiper buttons turn on and off by themselves. The lights on the console turn on and off independently of those. However, the lights behind the power window and mirror switches seem more in sync with the panel courtesy lights than the shift lever light. All three areas mess up at varying times. If they do turn on, it's generally with the Fog lamp button, and not the headlight switch, and when the car is warmed up.

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Jp I have found another thing on My Reatta that apparently gave someone troubles and they just patched the problem. I have a bad habit of thinking that since this is the way Mine is, it must be how they all are. But this makes twice I have foung out different. I am going to check My schematics to try to find a common denominator for Red89.

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Guest kennyw

skip,<BR>from all of the posts it seems [this] is a problem a lot of us have and the [reason's] should most likely be the same. Since you have the book, you should be able to tell the rest of us [whats up] with this problem.<BR> The trick to tell if your [system] is working is to enter the car at night and watch the greating. IF ALL [bACK] LIGHTING WORKS THEN THE INVERTERS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM. Something else is wrong. Skip, you should be able to figure all of this out for the rest of us..............

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Iam on it bro! Just as soon as My employer gives Me some time off I will see what I can do. I have not forgotten You.

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Ok Red here We go. I started reading up on the lights tonight and I found more mistakes in the book but nothing big. It has a note in it that the lowbeams or the parking lights must be on for the fog lights to work but that is wrong as We know. The reason Your fog lights work the switch back lights is because the fog lights also turn on the parking lights which then operate the switch lights through the dimmer on the left switch pod.So what I suspect so far is that this signal is making it to Your invertors where as the signal from just the regular lights is not. I think I would pull the left switch ( head light switch) out and wiggle the wires on the back with the lights on. See if they go off and on.We can go from there. If You are handy with schematics and a multimeter I can scan the pages from My shop manual and send them to You. Normally when weather changes mess with a circuit it is because of a poor connection. That could be corosion or loose connections. I know this is vague but it is next to impossible to trouble shoot without the car in front of Me. Maybe You could send Me the car! smile.gif" border="0 Just kidding. I hope this gives You somewhere to start. If You dont use Your foglight switch then the switch lights don not work at all, Correct?

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Skip,<P>It's probably a poor connection. The fog light switch activates the switch lights more frequently than the headlight switch, but the switch lights can turn on or off at any time. They can be activated by the headlight switch too, not just the fog light switch. Weather definitely affects them. <P>I have a shop manual, but I'm not good at reading schematics. I also have a multi-meter, but I'm not an electrician. I'll just send you the car wink.gif" border="0<P>I might be able to fix it if I knew where to look. Thanks for all your trouble.<p>[ 05-06-2001: Message edited by: Red '89 ]

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Dont give up Red! Start by pulling the switch and just wiggle the wires around on the back of the unit. There are actually 2 harnesses that go into it. because the lights system is so complex We will have to go one step at a time. Since I got Mine working, it is a lot nicer at night. Probably if, they werent so complex, We would not all be having troubles with them.

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