A Beginner's Course In Electronic Troubleshooting '84-'89 Corvettes

Rid Yourself Of Disobedient Dash Lights Forever

The Corvette Fever Staff Jun 1, 2000 0 Comment(s)

Step By Step

You’ll have to remove the headlight-switch knob. You’ll find a tab in the back of the headlight knob. Use a screwdriver to push the tab and pull the knob off the switch shaft.

Remove the steering-wheel tilt lever by simply unscrewing it from the column.

Remove the dash fascia by taking out the screws that are located on the front and side of the fascia.

Take your time wiggling the fascia out of the dash because the fascia is plastic. If you break it, you make a simple fix more complicated.

With the fascia removed you can access the dash cluster. Remove the four 7mm screws and lean the top of the cluster forward to access the two connectors on the right side of the cluster.

The connectors can be stubborn, but don’t fear—this is about as bad as it gets during this procedure.

With the cluster out of the vehicle and lying face down on a workbench, remove the screws that hold the metal cover on the back of the cluster.

The connector in this dash was pretty bad, so we decided to pull the circuit board and clean the terminals before correcting the problem. The board is held in place by small screws, and removing them gave us access to the terminals for cleaning.

With some contact cleaner on a rag, we cleaned the ground terminal. This is the terminal that causes this situation and it will be the outside terminal. It will be evident which one is the problem, as it will have a black appearance. This must be cleaned off to ensure a good contact when reassembled.

Changing the bulbs in the cluster is simplified by removing the circuit board—they simply twist out. Be careful not to touch these halogen bulbs! The oil from your fingers will shorten the life of the bulb.

With the terminals clean and new bulbs installed, we reinstall the circuit board. Before installing the metal backing plate, Chris clips a small metal wire and installs it on the spring end of the ground terminal. This ensures that the ground terminal will have a good contact, and that the procedure will not have to be repeated. Make sure the wire isn’t too long to keep the connector from clipping in place. Needle-nose pliers work best to install the wire.

Place the metal cover on the back of the cluster and install the parts, reversing the removal procedures. We’re done.

Our '87's dash lights were doing strange things. The turn signal indicators and the high-beam lights stayed on constantly.

These symptoms drove us to our local Corvette expert, Chris Petris at Corvette Clinic. He diagnosed a dash-light grounding problem, but told us the fix was so simple, anyone could do it. That's good news for anyone who wants to tackle this project at home. Chris says this problem is common, and he gets several questions on how to correct this malady each month. That probably means this quick fix will rid many of you of disobedient dash lights forever. Our replacement bulbs are from Zip Products.

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