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Gage Lights Not Working

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gambit

Guest
1981 gage lights not working. My dash / gage lights went out one night when I turned the dimmer switch. I just put in a new headlight switch and still nothing, I checked the fuse, it was good. I get no lights in the speedo / tach or the center console gages. Anybody got any clues?
 

bill81vette

Moderator
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
4,314
Location
Troy,NY
Corvette
1981 dark blue metallic
I would start checking ground connections...make sure they are all good and tight and not corroded...
 

KANE

Moderator
Joined
Mar 2, 2002
Messages
3,244
Location
KY
Corvette
Dark Blue 1982 Trans Am(s): Polo Green 1995 MN6
I would start checking ground connections...make sure they are all good and tight and not corroded...

Could also be the rheostat on the switch itself. They'll get kinda funky and then go out.

55_Headlight.jpg


This is for a Bel-Air... but it looks awfuly close to the Vette's switch (minus the vacuum lines and a couple other nuances). The weakest link is the contact between the main housing and the spring portion of the rheostat. The windings are notorious harborers of dirt, funk, and dust. They also corrode over time.

If you remove the switch from the dash, you can also pull the harness down too. Then, you can play with the contacts to see if that was your problem.

Good luck-
 
G

gambit

Guest
I already tried changing the rheostat, but have the same issue. Any other guesses? where are the grounds?
 

bill81vette

Moderator
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
4,314
Location
Troy,NY
Corvette
1981 dark blue metallic
If you have an AIM??Assembly Instruction manual.
This will show you how our vettes were built and where the locations of the components are..
they are invaluable to say the least??
 

duke94

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 30, 2007
Messages
277
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
Corvette
71' convert and 78' both Red
I already tried changing the rheostat, but have the same issue. Any other guesses? where are the grounds?
The ground is on the left hinge pillar above the courtesy light. You checked the fuse right?

You can see it in this picture, the black wire that goes under the speedo cable on the left and is screwed to the pillar.

Wiresleftside.jpg
 

LVMYVT76

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
Messages
664
Location
springfield, mo
Corvette
1976 medium blue
I just put my dash back together, the guage clust had a black wire that had a slide on plug that connected to the metal fram of the guage cluster. The tack and speedometer had one also. The black wires go into the wiring harness.
 

Mr. Chuck

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2005
Messages
230
Location
Southern California
Corvette
1981 Two tone silver / dr grey
Instrument Panel Light Circuit

1981 gage lights not working. My dash / gage lights went out one night when I turned the dimmer switch. I just put in a new headlight switch and still nothing, I checked the fuse, it was good. I get no lights in the speedo / tach or the center console gages. Anybody got any clues?

If the lights were working and then went out only after turning the timmer, then it sounds very much like a dimmer failure. Still it is a good habit to check the easier things first, before diving in and start pulling the console apart. I have more than once put my size 13's up under the dash and distrubed the connection / fuses on the fuse panel. Or pulled on other wiring near the panel that may be hanging down in harms way. Also beware that if you recently had the console apart when you changed the light switch , then a wire / connection may be pinched or didn't go all the way on and the rotation of the dimmer and/or vibration of the engine or driving may have caused the connection loss. I have attached a picture of the console lighting circuit which may be of some help.
Hint: When checking voltages I prefer using a test light, instead of a meter, since the light loads the circuit and will ID a loose connection, that a meter will miss.

Good luck!!:upthumbs
 
G

gambit

Guest
Fixed It

It ended up being a combination bad Rheostat and fuse. I was checking the wrong fuse, it was for the gages, not the gage lights. That fuse was all the way at the top on the left, and hidden by a wire covering it up so I didnt even know it was there.

Thanks guys for the help!

I love this site.
 

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