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How to: Quickly Diagnose and fix tailight and dash light issues

I like many others experianced some electrical issues in my 2g. A few years back, my taillights/dash lights stared randomly turning on and off, with or without me in the car. It went away, but recently it hapened again and eventually the lights just stopped working. I spent hours ripping apart the interior, the trunk, bumper checking every possibility i could think discover a MINESCULE break in the green/white wire in the engine bay harness, by the radiator I compiled a simple list to condense all the suggestions in other threads plus my own findings....

***note this circuit carries power to the parking lights (tail, license plate, corner, bumper and dash) as well as the light "reminder" buzzer**

**also note, this write up is only useful if you have no power to ANY of these things***

Step 1. Check the tail fuse and relay located in the engine bay compartment...verfiy power as well as checking for blown fuses

Step 2. Check tail light bulbs ...tail light and bumper sockets

Step 3. Check dimmer rheostat....visually inspect wires as well as verfiy rheostat operation with a voltmeter according to manual me for specs
***this is the most common problem with this circuit...nothing will work if the dimmer is malfunctioning***


Step 4. Verify power for this circuit coming in at the kick panel fuse box. The harness with the power feed for this circuit plugs into the top back of the fusebox. it is a wide harness plug at the very top. To acess this, the two 10mm bolts need to be removed holding the fusebox to the firewall. Once you can access the plug, the wire you need to test is the green with white stripe in pin 4...this is the wire that brings power from the fuse to the rest of the circuit. With the harness still plugged in, and the headlight switch in the on position, use a volt meter to verify power at this pin. If there is no power go to step 5, if there is power go to step 7

Step 5. Verify proper function of the multifunction head light switch using a volt meter according to manual specs.PM me for specs

Step 6. Since the switch checks out, we can assume there is a short in the circuit wiring. The wiring is broken down into sections...dash harness..rear harness..engine bay harness. Since no power is getting in, there is most likely a ground issues or broken wire BEFORE the kickpanel fuse block...meaning your problem should be with the wires that go from the firewall to the fuse box under the hood. The common gound for the tail light circuit is located under the pasanger fender, found by removing the splash shield. Multiple grounds plug into a harness and bolt to the frame...mine was very corroded and im glad i did check and clean it. If thats not the issue than the power wires need to be traced from the fuse box to the fire wall (again under the hood). You need to remove the radiator and possibly the driver side fender if needed.

***note***this circuit uses a green wire with a white stripe. One green/white wire comes from the bay fuse box and goes into a junction (28) located about a foot from the box. From here it gets split. One wire goes into the cabin for the dash/tails. One for the left bumper/corner lights, one for the right bumper corner lights. Check all of these green/whites all the way..

Step. 7 If you are here, the problem is a short in wiring from the kick panel fusebox in. Easiest spot to start is the trunk. Follow the green/white wire from the fuse box along the driverside running board to the trunk. Verify ground for the tails/license plate lights...located almost directly under the trunk lock on the inside. Trace the wires going to the tails and to the license plate lights looking for shorts.

Step 8. If you have checked out everything else, you have a short in the wire harness located in your dash...pull out the dash and check the ground for the dash lights located right under the windshield...than trace the green and white wire through out the harness

Good luck! Hope I saved someone some time and aggrivation!
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