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Old 01-13-2008, 08:52 AM
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spyderkeeper spyderkeeper is offline
232 I6
Join Date: Oct 27, 2007
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 111
Wierd Electric Gremlin: Dash light doesn't come on when lights are

So here's my story. When I bought my '87 waggy, the PO had cut out the old radio harness. I cursed him for many hours with my multimeter as I figured out the old fashioned way what each wire did. I later realized that my haynes manual had a break down by color and would have saved me those hours. Oh well. When I wired it up, everything seem to work fine except my dash light for the gauges blew it's fuse whenever the radio was connected and the lights turned on. I then rewired my radio with the power wire coming from the fuse box marked radio by plugging a spade connector into it and going to the radio. I thought this was the correct route, but now I'm not sure. Now the light doesn't come on, but the fuse isn't getting blown either. Anyone have any ideas what I'm doing wrong?
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:12 AM
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billyrb billyrb is offline
BJ's Off-Road
Join Date: Aug 15, 2001
Location: Acworth, GA 30101
Posts: 10,030
If the lights don't come on and the fuse isn't blown (and you've checked to ensure the dash bulbs aren't blown), then it sounds like the power to the dash lights was cut / bypassed.
BJ's Off-Road
Your source for '63-'91 FSJ Parts
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:18 AM
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JeremySmith JeremySmith is offline
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Join Date: Sep 03, 2004
Location: Michigan City, Indiana
Posts: 1,336
If all the wires go to the right places - I'd replace the light switch. When my switch was bad, the dash lights wouldn't come on 1/2 the time.
1978 Cherokee Chief 360/T-18/D20
Midwest FSJ Gathering Website
Three out of four voices in my head thought it was a good idea.......
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Old 01-13-2008, 12:02 PM
Gone,But not Forgotten.
Join Date: Apr 09, 2005
Location: Mountains of Colorado
Posts: 2,567
If I remember right the dash lights can go out if you have a rear tail light out. Has happened to me and all I had to do is replace the clean the tail light contacts and put in a new tail light. Check the ground of the light as well.

Based on what you described it my or may not be the case.
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:43 PM
Wagoneerlover Wagoneerlover is offline
350 Buick
Join Date: Jan 18, 2004
Location: Maryland suburbs
Posts: 1,455
I had this same problem when I added a new radio to my rig. It had no radio when I got it. It seems that the ground wire was overloaded. If you hook up too many peices of equipment to one ground it will not ground out properly anymore. (has to do with many factors, thickness of ground wire, blah blah blah) (The new radios put out more power etc than the older ones did) I simply ran an additional ground wire and grounded some of the devices out on the new ground wire. Works great now!!!!
88 Grand wagoneer AMC 360 all stock
89 Grand Wagoneer AMC 360 (Deceased)


1. Electric Radiator Fan 10/15/11
2. Cs-144 Alt 10/1/11

1. TBI
2. New fuel tank
3. AW-4 Transmission
4. Aluminum condensor
5. Custom Gauge Panel
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:22 PM
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spyderkeeper spyderkeeper is offline
232 I6
Join Date: Oct 27, 2007
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 111
Sounds like that makes sense. I'll run the new ground and give it a shot. Thanks all. I'll have to wait until this weekend to give it a try.
Marvin -- '87 Grand WAGONEER, Big Lift, Big Tire
Bob -- '89 GW, No lift, No tires

There's a reason some suspension bolts have MF on them.
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