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Old 09-22-2018, 05:33 PM   #1
kh55343
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Dizzy pulsating dash lights and radio

I have a 2004 Saturn ion, The dash light and radio screen all pulsate, when i put the emergency brake on it all stops. I have a new battery alternator is good i have checked battery cables i did a little test and unplugged the wire to the e-brake and it made the pulsating blinking of the dash lights worse. are these some how tied together by a ground someplace?

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Old 09-23-2018, 12:03 AM   #2
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2007 ION-2 Quad Coupe
Default Re: pulsating dash lights and radio

Did you install a new radio lately? If so, you probably got a couple wires crossed.

The e-brake is affecting this because DRL (and automatic headlamps if equipped) is disabled when the e-brake is engaged. This is relevant because a short circuit is being created when the e-brake is disengaged.

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2007 Ion 2 Quad Coupe 5-speed manual 178K miles
2007 Chevy Equinox LT 187K miles

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Old 09-23-2018, 05:31 PM   #3
kh55343
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Default Re: pulsating dash lights and radio

no new radio, all the rapid flashing stops when the light for the brake comes on.

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Old 09-23-2018, 08:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: pulsating dash lights and radio

Does your car have automatic headlights?

If so, does it still occur if the headlights or park lights are manually switched on while the e-brake is still engaged?

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2007 Ion 2 Quad Coupe 5-speed manual 178K miles
2007 Chevy Equinox LT 187K miles

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Old 09-23-2018, 09:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: pulsating dash lights and radio

Too late to edit previous post....

You could have a bad dimmer switch or a bad connection at the dimmer switch. You can pull the pocket straight out to access the back of the dimmer switch.

Unplug the dimmer switch and see if the pulsing stops while it is disconnected. The dimmer switch does not directly control the lights. It just tells the BCM what you have it set to. The BCM then outputs the appropriate voltage to the instrument panel lights.

When unplugging the dimmer switch with the headlights or park lights switched on (automatically or manually), the odometer and radio display will go completely dim. After a few seconds they will revert back to full brightness along with all the other instrument panel lighting and remain at full brightness until the dimmer is plugged back in.

...
2007 Ion 2 Quad Coupe 5-speed manual 178K miles
2007 Chevy Equinox LT 187K miles

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Old 10-03-2018, 06:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: pulsating dash lights and radio

ok The flashing stops when the headlights come on. i am a woman and do not know where the dimmer or the panel is, i googled where the BCM is well i googled to see first what is was. anyway what do i check first i can't afford to bring this to a shop. thank you for this help.

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Old 10-03-2018, 07:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: pulsating dash lights and radio

These drawings may help although they're drawn with the switch and binnacle(?) its attached to already pulled out, showing the rear part. Ion owners should be able to give you pinpoint directions for dimmer switch location. Click over each thumbnail to open a new page for a full screen display of each image. The dimmer switch is either a round knob or thumbnail dial. Sometimes this variable voltage device wears and becomes sensitive to road shocks, giving the impression of something wrong with the electrical the system when its just a worn variable switch. If worn and interior lighting flickers, sometimes the mere touch brightens or dims panel lighting. If this occurs, try manually dialing/turning the dial/knob in both directions several times. This may correct the flickering.
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Old 10-03-2018, 07:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: pulsating dash lights and radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by kh55343 View Post
ok The flashing stops when the headlights come on. i am a woman and do not know where the dimmer or the panel is, i googled where the BCM is well i googled to see first what is was. anyway what do i check first i can't afford to bring this to a shop. thank you for this help.
The dimmer switch is the thin, horizontal knob just below the pocket on the left side of the dash. That pocket pulls straight out with little effort. Once you remove the pocket , you'll see the back of the dimmer switch. You will need a small flat blade screwdriver to raise the locking tab which will then allow you to disconnect the plug from the dimmer switch.

...
2007 Ion 2 Quad Coupe 5-speed manual 178K miles
2007 Chevy Equinox LT 187K miles

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