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Old 09-24-2008, 10:29 AM
213 posts, read 876,847 times
Reputation: 160


01 dakota has lost dash light and tail lights...... found fuse box no problem not sure which fuse(dh wants to take it to shop) i want to try fuse 1st...
everything else seems to be fine.

here's my choices as they read on my panel (minus #'s and amps)

int lamps
park lamp
frt wiper
trans pos ind
panel dim
eng relay
o/hd console purge
power amp
cluster 1 (how do i find out what this cluster is?)
htd mirror
cig lighter
turn signal
airbag 1
airbag 2
heated seat
def rr a/c
ft heater a/c
backup lamp
anti lock brake
pwr windows

So i believe (before i knew tail lights were out) i changed the panel dim fuse..... nothing changed....... I also found and have NO CLUE as i haven't found it in the manual yet.... to a link/fuse? in the middle of the dash under the radio (kinda hiding at the bottom)
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Old 09-24-2008, 01:22 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
8,825 posts, read 23,242,151 times
Reputation: 4817
Rather than replace the fuses at random, check to see which one is blown. You can get a little plastic tool for this at any Autozone/Schucks/Pep Boys etc. Or discount store.

Or you can just pull the fuses and look at them.

int lamps and cluster are worth checking for your interior lights.

Oddly you don't list anything in the fuse box that sounds like tail lights to me.

Are you looking in the owner's manual or a shop manual? Really either one should have the info you need.

Go to a shop for tail lights that don't work? Good grief! Maybe, but only after you at least check the fuses, bulbs, etc.
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Old 09-24-2008, 01:43 PM
213 posts, read 876,847 times
Reputation: 160
Good grief is right...carpenter and mechanic he's not.......you need brick block or stone laid he's your man!!!

Any who, I have the trucks owner's manual, tells me where to locate the fuse box not much else. the Door on the fuse box is where i got the list, and the fact that tail light nor dash aren't listed is why i asked. I have read elsewhere that tail and dash (on earlier models) is the same fuse

....so if your telling me to check int lamps and cluster 1st, hopefully 1 of those will fix both.
I have pulled fuses before, but didnt find a bad 1, but thats prob me not knowing exactly what to look for. It's the flat 2 prong fuses with the metal sideways s in the middle. And i just cant tell!

But thanks for a place to begin. Why they can't just make it simple.
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Old 09-24-2008, 02:22 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
8,825 posts, read 23,242,151 times
Reputation: 4817
The fuse element itself is the s-shaped piece of metal inside the plastic of the fuse. It's possible for them to open up such that it's hard to see, but a usual blown fuse has a pretty obvious gap in the "S". There are tools that will pull and test, you can get them with kits of extra fuses. The testing function is usually an LED or similar light that will light up if the fuse is blown.

You may want to drop by your Friendly Local Auto Parts (FLAPS) and pick up a fuse kit and an aftermarket manual (Chilton, Haynes, etc.)

Are you certain that the tail lights and dash lights both went out at the same time?

Do your front "running" lights work? (parking lights)?

Are you certain that you didn't just turn the brightness on the dash lights down to the point that they don't come on?

Re-reading your list - D'Oh - try the park lamp fuse. It's possible that the dash lights are on the same circuit as the parking lamps all the way to the fuse. I have not seen that before but they are definitely together at the switch.
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Old 09-24-2008, 02:33 PM
213 posts, read 876,847 times
Reputation: 160
HEE HEE.... so cool...... extra 10 amp in fuse box and looked at int lamp and couldnt get fuse out (plastic doo-dad preventing it, didnt want to break it) so grabbed cluster 1 and took the extra fuse and I've got me some dash and tail lights now.....thank you thank you, didnt have to waste gas, and I should tell DH he owe's me $50. and thats cheap if he actually had to take to shop......see no dash lites for MONTHS.... due to the fact I rarely drive at nite, wasnt big problem. this morning he tells me oh yeah noticed no tail lights either, we'll have to take it some where. ( i assume tail lights went out same time dash did )
Thank you for making this (almost too) easy!

oops was in the sun and i forgot my bright light indicator always worked so it wasnt the cluster...but it was the park lamp fuse.......and that DID do it, for real this time!
just wanted to correct it as in my search i have found others asking same or similar question with no answer.

Last edited by catchick30; 09-24-2008 at 03:40 PM..
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Old 09-24-2008, 04:12 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
8,825 posts, read 23,242,151 times
Reputation: 4817
OK, but before you party too hearty, see if the fuse blows again - if so it's indicating some sort of wiring problem.

Definitely would suggest you get the fuse kit and shop manual referred to earlier.

Good luck with the truck.
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Old 09-24-2008, 08:10 PM
213 posts, read 876,847 times
Reputation: 160
You know, your pretty good M3 Mitch.... 1st thought ....ahhh prob just a fuse no short..... but went into town tonight and realized i may very well have a short as this truck had a cap that was for the most part "permanent" (my dad hauled his equipment). He also had tail lights rigged inside the cap....which are now detached from the cap and just bounceing around back there on thier wires... so now to get rid of them as they automatically come on with my tail lights, and would not doubt if they could be the cause of things......so far fuse hasnt blown again.
Thanks again
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Old 09-24-2008, 08:25 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
8,825 posts, read 23,242,151 times
Reputation: 4817
Very likely these extra lights are bodged into the brake/parking light circuits, likely with Scotch-Loks - if you take the Scotch-Loks off, and get rid of the extra wiring, probably the problem will go away.

Unfortunately most shops deal very badly with this sort of work, a lot of guys that are good with a wrench are awful with wiring.

Did your Dad put this stuff on himself? Maybe he'll remember how it went on, should come off the same way.

This repair should be accomplished *without* cutting any factory-installed wires. Anyone who wants to cut out the splices with dykes is a card-carrying bodger...not only should they not get this job, you probably don't want to use them at all anymore IMHO.

With cars, stuff happens for a reason. That holds even if you don't know the reason - it's still out there waiting for you to discover it.

You may be able to find a shop you can trust this job to, post up in your local forum. But keep in mind there are more out there who will do it wrong, than do it right.

Did I mention I hate wiring added on with Scotch-Loks?
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Old 09-24-2008, 09:54 PM
213 posts, read 876,847 times
Reputation: 160
oh that sounds a little compicated .... was thinking of getting son in law to just snip em (he's at least an electrician) hopefully he'll know what to do and ill show him this post to see if he understands before i let him. He knows a little about cars too.
My dad had this done when he bought the truck custom made from dodge, I'm assuming the factory did it..i know the automatic start was after factory
I had asked a few people about it, that i thought might know, back when we took the cap off and all said Just cut them and put caps on or some such stuff ( i stop at playing with elec wires) we'll see how this pans out, i hate having to take it to the shop, although i have found a decent 1 i use, hurts my pocket everytime though.... ( NY truck now down south and my my i forgot how things rust)
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Old 09-25-2008, 01:52 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
8,825 posts, read 23,242,151 times
Reputation: 4817
Probably the son-in-law can do it OK, what I'm saying is that if they used Scotch-Loks or worse to "tap" into the side of a wire, you should not have to cut the main wire. The bodger way to do this would be to cut the main wire on each side of the Scotch-Lok and then use a new Scotch Lok to join the 2 wires. Bad craftsmanship and after some time probably will quit conducting enough current to make the lights work.
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