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Old 11-12-2008, 09:02 PM   #1
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1991 35' Airstream 350
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Electrical failure

Zepplin has had an unexplained failure of the dash instrument lights. The lights are controlled by the standard Chevy headlight switch, which has been replaced, to no effect. I do not have a wiring diagram detailed enough to allow me to troubleshoot the dash lights. The headlights work perfectly well, and they are on the same circuit as the dash lights.

Has anyone else had this problem, or a rational suggestion? I CAN continue to ride down the road after dark with a flashlight at hand to illuminate the gages, but I think it not the best answer...

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Old 11-12-2008, 09:21 PM   #2
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i don't think the dash lights are on the same circuit as the headlight. it's usually on a different fused line and the headlights are on a circuit breaker. just to double check i'll ask if anyone turned the brightness control on the dash lights? check the parking light fuse while you're at it.

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Old 11-12-2008, 09:21 PM   #3
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On many GM products the dash lights and tail lights are on a sub-circuit of the head lights, and have their own fuse. The reason for that is that if your tail light circuit blows a fuse, your dash lights will go out also. Check to see that you have tail lights when your head lights are on. If not, you have blown the fuse in that sub-circuit.
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:45 PM   #4
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No dash lights.

Hi, ralley. You might find that the dash light fuse is blown. Also, it is very common when extra gauges needing dash lights are installed [shorted wires] or if the factory radio was recently replaced. [dash light wire used for aftermarket radio ground] Many people find out they caused their own problem. Trailer wires or short in towed vehicle will blow the tail-light fuse and cause the dash lights to go out as well.

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Old 11-13-2008, 07:36 AM   #5
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Not sure what year you are working with but GM generally uses the same color codes for a given circuit.

Off the back of the head light switch there should be a Dark Green wire the feeds fuse #14 10 amps that is the instrument dimmer circuit.

Check the voltage control of this wire. If you have power there and it is controllable with the dimmer dial look for fuse #14 10 amps, the instrument light use.
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Old 11-13-2008, 10:46 AM   #6
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test light

I like to get a straight test light and stick it on both sides of every fuse. The one that has one side of the fuse not lighting up is the bad guy.

I have found that easyer than pulling every fuse. Looking at a fuse to see if it is bad, is no-good. Sometimes it will look good and be bad.

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Old 11-13-2008, 12:54 PM   #7
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Dash Lights

Don't forget to check the ground.
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Old 11-13-2008, 01:06 PM   #8
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There should be a rheostat in the circuit to adjust the brightness of the dash lights. That would be a good place to start.


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Old 11-16-2008, 10:15 PM   #9
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I had this happen about 2 weeks ago while going from chilly eastern Canada to Arizona. It turned out to be a somewhat corroded connection at the bus. The connection was cleaned, sprayed with non-corrosive contact cleaner and snugged down - problem solved.

Admittedly mine is a diesel pusher that has, under the front hood, a bus panel with build-in breakers for all the various circuits. However, the principle is the same; check that connections have not become corroded and loose. A couple of years ago I had a situation that every time I went over a bump the air conditioner stopped, another bump and it started again. The wire connecting the air conditioning circuit to the bus was loose in it's crimped on lug.

With older rigs you'll find that the combination of vibration and the elements will cause corroded contacts and bad grounds.

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