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Dash/Tail Light weird issue '94 Loyale


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#1 Leisa

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:08 PM

Hi guys, I'm hoping someone can give me some pointers.
We have a '94 Loyale Wagon, and one night the dash lights went off. I later discovered that we have no rear lights or front parking lights either, and discovered that fuse 6 (I think) handles parking lights and dash.
The fuse was indeed blown, and replacing it blew immediately I turned the light switch on.

Wondering if it was the dimmer switch, took the dash apart and disconnected the dimmer switch hoping that maybe this would allow the tail lights to spring to life. Although the fuse now didn't blow on switching on the lights, there were still no tail lights (or front sidelights).
Putting the dash rheostat back in gave the dash lights back without the fuse blowing, but still no rear or front sides/park lights.

I disconnected the connectors to the front side/parking lights, wondering if maybe there was a short there, but no change. Did the same with the rear lights (brake lights work just fine, as do main and full beam headlights btw) and also the license plate lights. No change.
Pressing the switch on top of the steering column for parking lights instantly blew the fuse again.

Trawling through these boards, we tried replacing the relay (unsure which of the 4 above the fuse box it was, we had to pull one at a time and test) but still were unable to bring life to the rear lights.
Taking the steering column housing off to have a look at the parking light switch, showed that unfortunately it's not a separate entity to try and bypass, but built in to one big hub around the steering.
Bizarrely, when I tested the lights again, the rear and front sides lit up, but after turning on and off a few times, quit again, and now the dash lights once again are out.

This pretty well leaves me thinking it's something in the switch mechanism, but that's an expensive part. Is there something else I'm missing or can check? Is there a way I can bypass just the parking light switch (since until trying to get the rear lights on, had never used it, and never will).

If the dash lights never reappeared at any point, and the fuse stopped blowing when they did, I would think it was a short somewhere and maybe it is, help on where I should look (it's certainly not near the fuse box) would be greatly appreciated.

Am I barking up all the wrong trees? I know nothing about car electrics, and it's driving me crazy. The car has a big rust problem around the wheel arches, it won't be passing it's next inspection, therefore I really don't want to fool with replacing that big switch around the steering column (especially since it looks like soldering etc. is involved).

Thanks in advance for any suggestions. (did try replacing bulbs also as per other things I've seen in this forum).

#2 Cougar

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 06:35 PM

From what you stated it sounds like the trouble may be with the rear taillight circuit. The switch on top of the steering column provides power to the parking lights whether the switch is on or off. Since power is always passed through that switch removing it isn't recommended in my book, and it isn't the cause of the trouble. When the switch is turned on it bypasses the taillight relay circuit and provides power directly to the parking lights.

Check to see if you have a wire harness for a trailer as that would be the best suspect for the trouble. If you don't have one then disconnect the rear running lights again and see if the short clears then. If it does then add one side at a time and test it to see if the problem happens again. Look for signs of shorted wires inside the bulb sockets. Sometimes the wire insulation gets too hot and melts. If the short still occurs with both of the rear lights removed then the problem could be with the front lights or in the wiring to the rear lights. The trouble with the dash lights could be due to a faulty headlight relay. I think the left side relay provides the dash power along with the headlight. If the headlight is also out that would be proof of the relay being bad or the power connection from it. This appears to be two separate but closely related problems.

#3 Leisa

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 08:55 PM

Thankyou for your reply. I got the year wrong, it's a '93 model.
I already disconnected all the light sockets hoping that was where I'd find my short, and doing so makes no difference (front and back).
The parking lights, dash lights and rear lights are all through the same fuse, and I assume therefore the same relay, but as mentioned, replacing each of the 4 relays above the fuse box in turn with a brand new one yielded no joy.

There's no harness for a trailer,all wiring around the bulb sockets looks good, as do the connectors and the visible wire beyond. The wires at the fuse block all look fine, the only wires I couldn't get a good look at were the ones to the 4 relays above the fusebox, as they are in a very difficult to reach/see position.
I would like to know the location of all the relays involved with all the lighting though, so that I can maybe check them.

Today we took the multimeter to each of the bulb sockets, having installed a circuit breaker fuse with a reset switch in (the floor of the car is awash with little blue fuses, and I'm sick of replacing them).
In the few seconds before it trips, each of the rear lights gave 4v (not enough for them to light up) and the front right sidelight gave 2. Couldn't get a reading off of the front left one, so went back to the rear left and noticed nothing there now either.
Checked the fuse, and the reset switch had gone in a little too far, and a quick tap put it back in place. Switch the lights back on, and now everything is working. Dash lights are back, parking lights and rear lights all on.

We sat and scratched our heads and looked at them for a good 5 minutes, before turning the key to start the engine. Doing so, they disappeared, and the little switch on the fuse popped out just like before. After that, it was back to business as usual with no dash, sides/park and rear lights, and fuse popping after a few seconds each try.
We did get the reading off of the front left side light since it was behaving again as before, and as per the other sidelight it gave a reading of 2v.

We did try disconnecting bulb holders again, to no avail, and other than having switched the lights on and off a million times (thank god for that circuit breaker fuse) nothing was done for the miraculous sudden appearance of all the lights working properly.

One final thing, possibly unrelated, very shortly after this problem occurred, the central door locks quit. This too was a fuse, and replacing it worked briefly but now just blows each fuse shortly after installing (without having to even fire the locks).

#4 Dj Syco

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:22 AM

Bumping for the fact I have the same exact problem sans blowing the fuse. :banghead: I need to know where the relays are so I can check them.

#5 Cougar

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 11:32 AM

Well good effort in trying to find the problem Leisa. Your meter readings kind of give us a clue to where the problem is at. A short to ground will basically have zero resistance so this means no voltage drop can be present at the short location since there is zero resistance for the high current flow to develope a drop across. Since your reading of 2 volts on the front left side is lower than the rest of the readings this means the short is closer that area (higher voltage drop). The trouble may be in the dash area possibly.

In order to find the trouble it may be of help to use another trick instead of using the circuit breaker. I suggest you replace the fuse with a brake light bulb. By placing the bulb in series with the power source it will now limit the shorting current to a safe level due to the lamp resistance and perhaps allow you to find the short a little easier. When the short is removed from the circuit then the brake light should go dimmer in brightness since less current will be flowing in the circuit. Try to disconnect connectors going to suspected trouble areas in order to help find the problem. If there are any added accessories that are using the lighting circuit check those out first for the trouble.

Another useful method to help locate the problem is to use an ohmmeter to measure the resistance to ground of the wire going to the fuse position. The resistance will be real low due to the short but even with the short removed the resistance will be fairly low due to all the parallel loads on the circuit. This method is more difficult to use and requires some experience usually.

Edited by Cougar, 13 January 2013 - 06:13 PM.


#6 Gloyale

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 02:32 PM

Has there been any stereo work done lately? It's common for people to mistake the Red/Green wire in the dash lighting system for a ground, or some other mistake.

also, the Parking switch is powered from fuse 4, and isn't tied to the interior lighting. It should still work..i.e you should be able to turn on the parking lights. Does fuse 4 Blow?

If the lights will not work thru either switch, and fuse 6 blows but not fuse 4 then someone has disconnected the connection between 12v from switch, to the "off" position of the parking light switch.

#7 MilesFox

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 07:01 PM

check the stereo wiring and make sure the illumination wire is not grounded out (if you have an aftermarket installation)

#8 Leisa

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 06:28 PM

Ok, I'm updating this, primarily for Dj Syco's benefit.

Just for fun, yesterday we replaced every single bulb connected to this circuit, 8 total (both sidelights, both parking lights, both rear lights and both the license plate lights). This made no difference as suspected.

Fiddling around this morning with the push button fuse (at this point just for fiddlings sake), I noticed I could get dash lights back by setting the switch on top of the steering column to parking lights.
This did not give parking/side/rear lights though. I mentioned it to my husband, and he babbled something about how weird the car was, and that he wanted to check the position of the switch vs the fuse for the door locks.

With the switch set to parking lights, he inserted a 20amp fuse in the empty fuse slot for the door locks. It was a pretty pink and blue explosion instantly.
Pulled the freshly toasted fuse out, switched the parking light switch to normal position (park lights off), and inserted a new fuse into the door lock slot.
The idea he said, was to eliminate the door lock issue from the equation. This time, the fuse did not blow, and so I pressed the door lock and sure enough all the doors would lock and unlock.
He laughed and told me to switch on the ignition and turn the lights on (not the parking light switch, the twist switch on the stalk). After mumbling things I can't type here, he told me that in addition to the obviously working dash lights, that every single light that should be lit was now lit.
He had me start the car, and sure enough everything stayed on. We've tried turning them on and off multiple times, and they work just fine.

NEVER GOING TO PRESS THAT PARKING LIGHT SWITCH AGAIN.

We're guessing it accidentally got pressed, and whatever weird wiring issue the car has, that's what got the lights and locks all messed up, and until you have the switch in the right place and working fuses in all the slots, it'll stay messed up.

#9 Cougar

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 10:52 PM

Well the things you stated that happened shouldn't have normally. The locks and lighting are two different circuits. It sounds like they got crossed somehow and when the last fuse blew out it may have cleared the fault to ground. When enough current can get to a problem that can happen at times. Just like blowing out a fuse. Since the locks were involved then perhaps the trouble might be in the driver side door jam. The wires can break in there over time due to the stress on them. I'm not sure why the lighting circuit would be in that area though unless the power window panel has lighting to it. Hopefully this trouble won't come back later on.

Edited by Cougar, 15 January 2013 - 10:55 PM.


#10 Dj Syco

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 06:08 PM

Still no fuses blowing on my end. Stock radio and I have no switch on the steering column that you speak of. Anyone know where those relays are?

Also anyone have a layout for the radio wiring harness? I'm trying to wire my new radio in and figure its a good reason to take a look at the rats nest under there and try to figure out wtf is going on with my lights.

Edited by Dj Syco, 17 January 2013 - 06:26 PM.


#11 Dj Syco

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 03:02 PM

ok, really need help. I'm working all evening shifts and I can't figure out wtf is going on. all fuses are fine. its a 1986 GL 4wd. headlights and brake lights all work as well as turn signals. I'm driving blind every night and this is illegal but its the only car I have. anyone have any ideas at all????

#12 Cougar

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:55 AM

ok, really need help. I'm working all evening shifts and I can't figure out wtf is going on. all fuses are fine. its a 1986 GL 4wd. headlights and brake lights all work as well as turn signals. I'm driving blind every night and this is illegal but its the only car I have. anyone have any ideas at all????


It is a little unclear to me what the problem is you are having. If it is with the taillights and dash lights the most logical spot for the trouble is fuse 6. Verify power is getting past it using a test light probe. Even though a fuse is good you still don't know if power is getting to it until you test it. Another thing to check is the parking switch on top of the steering column. See if the parking lights turn on with that switch in the on position.

Since the headlights work this means the lighting relays are working okay as power for the dash and taillights passes through them also.

Edited by Cougar, 20 January 2013 - 01:01 AM.


#13 Loyale 2.7 Turbo

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:51 AM

... Anyone know where those relays are? ...


Look Here, this writeup might have Useful info: ~► http://www.ultimates...ead.php?t=90403

Kind Regards.

#14 Dj Syco

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 01:43 PM

It is a little unclear to me what the problem is you are having. If it is with the taillights and dash lights the most logical spot for the trouble is fuse 6. Verify power is getting past it using a test light probe. Even though a fuse is good you still don't know if power is getting to it until you test it. Another thing to check is the parking switch on top of the steering column. See if the parking lights turn on with that switch in the on position.

Since the headlights work this means the lighting relays are working okay as power for the dash and taillights passes through them also.


Fuse six is getting power and I have no parking switch to speak of. Also the blinkers went out today so I know thats the relay. no clicks or lights. I swear I just want to rip out the entire dash and burn it all.

#15 Cougar

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 01:45 PM

As a note referring to the link provided about the relays, the unknown relay shown in the pictures is for the rear window defogger.

#16 Dj Syco

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 01:49 PM

Look Here, this writeup might have Useful info: ~► http://www.ultimates...ead.php?t=90403

Kind Regards.


that was very very helpful!!! I think my left headlight relay is out. I have those exact symptoms(+ the tailights not working, but at least I figured out the dash issue)

#17 Loyale 2.7 Turbo

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 02:18 PM

As a note referring to the link provided about the relays, the unknown relay shown in the pictures is for the rear window defogger.


Yes, Thank you!

I Imagined that back then, but I was somehow in a Hurry when I Wrote that Writeup.



that was very very helpful!!! ...


You're Welcome! ;)

#18 Cougar

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 06:32 PM

Fuse six is getting power and I have no parking switch to speak of. Also the blinkers went out today so I know thats the relay. no clicks or lights. I swear I just want to rip out the entire dash and burn it all.


Since fuse 6 has power then the next check should be the parking switch. If there isn't a switch on top of the steering column then someone has removed it and that may be where the problem is at, whatever they did to bypass it.

Before you can say the turn signal flasher is bad you better make sure power is getting to it. I suspect you have a power connection rather than a flasher problem.

#19 l75eya

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:47 PM

If there isn't a switch on top of the steering column then someone has removed it and that may be where the problem is at, whatever they did to bypass it.


Don't think GLs had a parking light switch until 87. His is 86.

Where is your hazard signal switch located? Is it on the dash on the left side of the steering wheel, or is it located on the steering wheel column.

If you need headlights, wire them in temporarily to a switch. Don't forget a fuse.

#20 Dj Syco

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:50 AM

Don't think GLs had a parking light switch until 87. His is 86.

Where is your hazard signal switch located? Is it on the dash on the left side of the steering wheel, or is it located on the steering wheel column.

If you need headlights, wire them in temporarily to a switch. Don't forget a fuse.


my hazards are on top of the column and I'm just about to wire my tails to a switch(fused) and be done with it. I really feel there's a power problem. Probably an old wire/connection that's corroded over. somewhere behind the cluster. tomorrow is my first day off so I'll pull it then and see what I find. My #1 concern is not getting pulled over. I'm tired of it. lol.

btw, do you guys mean hazards as a parking switch? if so the hazards work. perfectly.

#21 Cougar

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:43 PM

Don't think GLs had a parking light switch until 87. His is 86.


Okay, I thought all the Loyales from that era had that parking switch on top of the column. Thanks for the notice l75eya.

The emergency flashers use the brake light in the rear so that would be using a different wire than the running lights. To help you find the correct wire going the rear running light check the wire color at the light in the rear and see if you can find it under the dash area. It may go to one of the headlight relays. If the left headlight doesn't work and the bulb and wiring to it are good then the relay may be bad and fixing that issue may fix the taillight problem also.

#22 Dj Syco

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 06:41 PM

UPDATES!!!!

ok, still can't find the source of the issue. Now I'm banking on it being a power supply problem somewhere behind the dash. I've gone as far as pulling everything but the actual dash out to find the problem and still can't.....so next step is possibly pulling the dash :mad: BUT I ghetto rigged the running lights in so I'm good for now. All relays are working fine for now.

Will be posting more found issues in my thread.

#23 Loyale 2.7 Turbo

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:06 PM

... Now I'm banking on it being a power supply problem somewhere behind the dash. ...


If you Believe that there's a Problem with the Main Power Supply, it isn't exactly behind the Dash...

Probably your Subie has a Loose Fusible Link(s)

Have you already checked those?

Those are the Main Power Supply.

Kind Regards.


#24 Dj Syco

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:14 PM

its not the main power supply. I'm getting 13-14 volts to the gauge and radio, hazards, interior lights, highs and brake lights all get perfect power. something is loose somewhere.

#25 plumbermat

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 11:57 PM

I had this exact same problem with my 91 loyale. Blowing fuses immediately. My problem was a couple wires touching each other behind my stereo. Isolated them and never happened again. Hopes this helps!




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