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Old 11-07-2008, 08:09 PM
erik4e erik4e is offline
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Well I have asked in several other forums with no luck and I was told to come here.


I have an 2001 Mercury Sable. The problem is that when I start it in the mournings the dash lights do not light up. The only things that light up are the turn signal arrows and they stay light solid. Now after driving for awhile the lights while just come one and everything will function properly for the rest of the day. During the "dark times" all the warning lights work, such as seatbelt light, low fuel indicator and so on, also all the gauges operate fine. The crazy thing is that it seems to be tempature sensitive. I know it sounds stupid, but this has been going on now for 3 years. I dont have any problems in the summer months when I start up turn the lights on everything lights up normally. As soon as fall hits and the temps fall below say 40 degrees thats when it acts up. It also, the colder the weather is, the longer it takes for the lights to come on. Sometimes on a cold day they take 20 or 30 minutes of drive time before they come on. I have looked a diagrams and just cant figure anything out. Other people say im crazy until they see it for themselves. All the exterior lights work fine!


Please any help is appreciated!!


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Old 11-07-2008, 08:43 PM
slymer slymer is offline
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this is the illumination lights in the instruments only or is it all dash lights including the illumination for the climate controls and radio? if it''s all of them, then it''s probably a bad connection somewhere in the fuse box. might see if the fuses are seated good (push on them all). if it''s just the instrument cluster (gauges) that aren''t lighting up, then it''s probably the connector at the back of the instrument cluster with the flaky connection. This one may require someone well versed in your car''s electrical system to hunt this one down... or well versed in electrical systems and a good wiring diagram (and maybe some contact cleaner). Intermittent problems are always harder to find.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:45 PM
erik4e erik4e is offline
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It is just the instument panel. The only problem with a bad connection or ground is that if thats what it is then it should do it more often. I mean I know that temperature has something to do with it. Maybe a relayor simply a control panel issue. It doesnt come and go, its just when its cold once it warms it comes on and stays on.
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Old 11-10-2008, 02:49 AM
conan312 conan312 is offline
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I think with temps and "dark times" playing into the problem, you should be looking at the automatic headlight option. (twilight) And, or, the little dark eye on top of the dash near the defroster on the pass. side. Just how cold do these temps get, anyway? This is an odd one. Let me know.
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Old 11-11-2008, 05:26 PM
erik4e erik4e is offline
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Anytime it gets below about 45 degrees. Today it was 38 degrees this mourning and the instrument panel lights didnt come on until after driving for about 10 miles, the stay on with no problems. Then at the end of the day ( after sitting for 9 hrs) temps low 40s they took about 5 miles before working. Again this has been happening for 3 years, I leave for work early so its always dark out. Only when it gets cold does this happen. Once the lights come on I have no problems.
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Old 11-11-2008, 06:45 PM
slymer slymer is offline
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it really sounds like an issue with a sticky relay (sometimes cold temps can hinder relay movement and/or the inductive side that trips the relay may need to warm up before conducting enough current to work), but I''ll have to do some more research to see if I can find some wiring diagrams to be able to figure this one out.
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:19 PM
slymer slymer is offline
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I wasn''t able to find any wiring diagrams for it. If it has the automatic headlights, you may have to get the lighting control module checked (very remote possibility). If it''s a digital display, it may be the display itself. Digital displays may have trouble illuminating below 40 degrees F. at least that''s what the manual for my kenwood stereo says. If it''s needle guages all the way, then the illumination is just a wire or two into the back of the panel connected to all the light bulbs. there could also be a loose ground under the dash (loose bolt or screw that holds down a black wire with a loop termination to the chassis of the car. this is also remote considering the regularity of it. have you ever tried smacking the dash above the panel to see if vibration will _jar it_ into working? If that actually does work, then there''s probably some oxidation on the contacts going into the back of the instrument panel. pulling that out and scraping the contacts clean with a pocket knife may help. This is all guesswork on my part though. you may have to leave it with a mechanic overnight so the problem can be replicated to have any chance of tracking it down.
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:48 PM
conan312 conan312 is offline
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What hapens when you mess with the dimmer switch when it is acting up? Or when things are operational? [img]smileys/smiley5.gif[/img]
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:11 PM
erik4e erik4e is offline
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I have tried smacking the dash, this doesnt work. I have also turned the dimmer, and lights on and off quickly, this doesnt make a difference either.


Yesterday I had the same problems. Early it was 30 ish degrees and dark out, the control panel lights didnt come on (only the turn signal lights lilght and stayed on). After driving for about 15 minutes they came on. The car sit at work for about seven hours the temp was oly around 40 it was still daylight out but wanting to see what happened I turned the lights on and same, no control panel lights, drive about 15 min then they come on.


Today it was about 40 early same old same old, no control panel lights at first, then on like normal. But whem leaving work after the car sat all day like yesterday, but the temps were above 50 I turned on the lights and they came on with no problems.


I just cant figure it out unless there is something inside the control panel that causes this. Maybe I should just replace it and see what happens.
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:19 PM
erik4e erik4e is offline
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Sorry I have been saying control panel. I guess the proper name is Instrument Cluster.
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:19 PM
 
 
 
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02, 2001, 96, dash, dont, fuse, good, instrument, light, lights, mercury, replacing, sable, schematics, work

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