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Old 05-28-2011, 04:50 PM   #1
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electircal grimlins- dash guages freakin out!!! please help

So the other day i was wiring up my new IPF lights and I wanted to get them to turn on only when the car was running b/c i have a habbit of leaving things on.
I got everything wired up correctly on the engine side of the firewall but then i went to hook up a wire only for the switch that was supposed to get power from a source that only when the car was running.

I reserached and thought that i found a good option for a wire that had the power when the accesories were on so i used one of those red clips to splice into it but when i tried to turn the IPF's on, all the lights and guages in my dash went CRAZY, they spiked all the lights came on, blinked and so on.

Here are the symptoms:
when i an driving i sometimes get a check engine light, sometimes i dont. Yesterday i was driving and everything was going crazy in the dash (light, needles spiking/ saying 0 like the car wasnt running but it does, the airbag light coming on, the courtesy lights on the light bar spiradically flash on and off, the dimming feature on the dash for the milage flickers and the temp/compas on my mirror does the same thing too....) but 40 minutes later when i started the car back up again....everything is like normal.
I have no idea what is going on with my electircal system. Any suggestions at all?!?!?

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Old 05-28-2011, 07:11 PM   #2
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First off pull the connection you made.

Sounds like you have some kind of back feed or you are overwhelming a computer feed.

Hoping you are using a relay for the IPF's.

Do this instead. Run the trigger wire on the relay to an ignition fed source under the hood at the fuse box. Run a ground lead from the relay to your switch.

This way all your switch does is provide a ground path to activate the relay.
The relay will still have constant battery voltage, but the trigger will only be powered when the ignition is on.


Also two other items. The connection at the back of the instrument cluster is notorious for coming loose or the terminals being corroded. Easy fix either way.

And check every ground connection under the hood. A faulty ground will cause all kinds of weird things to happen. Items that are supposed to be grounded will try and find a ground, often back feeding into another circuit to do so.

Lastly, cross your fingers you didn't short something out with how you wired up your lamps.

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Old 05-28-2011, 07:49 PM   #3
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yea i took the connection off immediatly and it hasnt been on since....the lights are fine, i think that i may have shorted something out back there. I also tried touching the positive bat cable to the negative side to maybe try and re set the computer....that didnt help
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Old 05-28-2011, 07:55 PM   #4
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Oh dear lord that was a major no no. To clear the codes you just unhook the battery for 10 minutes or so.

Stuff in the electrical system/ like the airbags have power for a while, even when you pull the positive cable off. Shorting a live cable to a ground is never a good thing.
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Old 05-28-2011, 08:03 PM   #5
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i think that i explained that wrong i know what you meant but didnt do what you think i did... i think that i might have to go to the dealer on this one
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Old 05-28-2011, 08:14 PM   #6
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well i think i found the solution to my problem
gonna try it out next time it happens

Is your Jeep Wrangler dashboard dying, or showing “no bus” on odometer? | Knowgenie: Free Articles & Tips
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Old 05-28-2011, 08:17 PM   #7
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Nah, I believe I know what you were saying, on GM vehicles you could sometimes clear the codes by pulling the positive cable off and touching it to a ground. This drained the caps in the system.

The airbags weren't affected on them. On a Jeep not sure. It could have fired the bags off by doing that.


Still though. go check all your grounds and the cluster connection. Doesn't take that long and if you find a problem you just saved yourself a bunch of bucks you are going to spend at the dealer. Minus of course my consultation fees. LOL!
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Old 05-28-2011, 08:19 PM   #8
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If you run a search here, you'll find a ton of cluster threads, a very common problem.
And it's nearly always that plug /terminals that is the cause.

There's even a TSB from Jeep on it.
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Old 05-28-2011, 08:23 PM   #9
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thanks....i will look into both as an option!

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