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Spiggsy

Dash illumination quit

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I'm in a bit of a pickle here ... driving down to Toronto last night and my dash illumination quit.

I'm kind of stuck at the moment, as I am on a rather intensive site visit to one of our other plants, and do not have time to play around with it.

The headlight button illuminates when the lights are on, the MIL's also shine bright at start up ... just can't see what the gauges have in the dark.

I am assuming it's a simple bulb ... and rather than waiting until I have free time to delive in, I just wanted to quickly ask .... does this sound right ... is there an easy and relatively quick way to get in and change it (I have limited tools, but at a manufacturing plant) ... any info on the part would be great too ....

Ideally I would like to get this done ASAP as I will probably have to drive home in the dark too ... but if not then I will just wait it out until the following day (Sunday)

Thanks guys!

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Likely it is the rheostat on the steering column. There are individual bulbs for each gaige...so it's not a bulb if they all went out. Assuming you just didn't accidentally hit it with your knee and knock it to the low position.

Either that or you have a bad ground...but I think it will not be a "quick" fix as far as just "replacing a bulb".

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Check fuse #21 under the bonnet.. i.e. facing the fusebox it's in the first row of vertically aligned fuses. It's the bottom one.

Unfortunately, on the SE, this fuse looks like it also controls the indicator lights... and changing a fuse may not necessarily fix the problem if there is a short in the circuit. It's less likely, but I've known some lamps to short out.

Perhaps a wire has come off the dimmer? Tap the dimmer knob with your knuckles to see if the lights show any sign of life. Try moving the dimmer to a different position, to see if the potentiometer has developed a dead spot.

Let us know how you go.

Good luck!

Cheers.

Ian

Edited by Qavion

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The dimmer control doesn't carry 12 volts. It's connected to some other component that does the voltage reduction. On mine (S4 but the same I believe) it was a simple loose wire that needed re-soldering.


DanR

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Ok ... stupid question (not having manual either) .... I scoured the car looking for a dimmer knob but couldn't see one ... where would this be?

There is a knob on the column, left hand side which I twiddled with no result ... I was expecting the dimmer to be a more traditional slider/roller rather than extruding knob so I assumed it wasn't this one.

I'm beginning to think it's wiring or fuses as I notice my tail lights don't come on with the headlights now ... I'm going to replace fuses today as a precautionary measure anyway ... maybe that will take care of it ... of course I am sure it wouldn't be wiring ... can't imagine a Lotus having that problem :lol:

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Sounds like the dimmers are in different positions, depending on the country. Mine is a large circular knob on the centre area of the instrument panel, but it sounds like yours could be the knob on the column stalk, but evidentally not working.

If more and more lights are failing, perhaps there is a common earth which needs retightening. Or maybe rain has got into the fusebox?

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Hello just checked my electrical manual and I found the following for a 1990 SE:

NON SIR cars have a rheostat type which is a variable resistor directly connected to the 12 V system.

SIR cars have a rheostat which is connected to a rheostat module which drives the lights.

Fuse 21 is for the gauges and warning lights and not for the illumination of the gauges.

Fuse 6 is for the illumination bulbs in the gauges and for the clock.

Check / replace fuse 6 and see if the problem is solved otherwise the rheosat / rheostat module can be the fault. If you have a non SIR car and the rheostat is broken you can temporaly fix it by bridging the connections on the rheostat itself but the only downside is that the lights in the gauges are at max. brilliance.

Hope you can sort it out,

Freek


Esprit Freak

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Thanks ... that is giving me a good quick check for tonight ... from what I have read so far I was assuming that as 21 was for warning lights too, that it couldn't be a blown fuse on that.

Car is SIR.

P.S. - what are the ratings of the fuses ... it may well be possible I have incorrect fuses in and I do not want to replace with incorrect.

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Sorry, I didn't realise you had the updated wiring harness (I have an 89 SE).

Yes, fuse 6 controls:

"RH side and tail, rheostat module, instrument illumination and "lights on" buzzer"

Fuse #6 is 5 amps and is at the bottom of the first column of fuses(first inboard column). You may have to buy a handful of fuses for fault diagnosis.

If you have the tools, check the condition of the RH side and tail bulbs (is there water in the lamp assemblies?).

Failing that..

Under the bonnet (hood), there is a rheostat module located on the left side of the car forward of the fusebox, probably under a black plastic cover (with lots of other modules/relays). It's the 3rd module from the back, on the inboard side of the rail. Perhaps this is playing up? Try removing it, change fuse #6 and see if your external lights then work. Note that this module may be found inboard of the steering column on certain VIN numbers (on the crossbeam)

Check for broken lights.. even number plate and boot(trunk) lamps (there seems to be dozens of lamps running off this fuse).

Hope this helps.

Cheers.

Ian.

Edited by Qavion

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