95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby houseofska [OP] » February 24th 2011, 1:59pm

Hello,

I have a strange problem. I bought this van a few months ago and the clock on the radio always stays on. The radio itself turns off with the ignition like its supposed to, and the clock dims with the dimmer switch, but is just always on. The van sat for a bit over a week and the battery was dead. Not sure if that was due to the clock or not....

Also, the dash lights for the instrument panel went out a few days ago. It was coming on and off for a few days then I smelled a bit of smoke for a second.....now no dash lighs. All the guages are working fine. I replaced the headlight switch but that didn't fix the problem.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby houseofska [OP] » February 25th 2011, 12:14am

Forgot to say that this van is a AWD 1995 Astro 4.3L
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby safari kev » February 25th 2011, 4:18am

your dash lights problem sounds like you've got a burnt or pinched wire somewhere (hence the burning smell then lights not working) . the reason the lights went out is either because the wire finally shorted out and blew the fuse. only way to fix those is to trace the wires from the gauges back to the fuse panel and look for signs of burnt wires. if you replace the fuse without fixing the wire, it will either blow the fuse or possibly cause a dash fire.
as for the radio- it could be a couple things
1: if only the clock illuminates all the time (radio itself doesnt work when car is off) either the dimmer wire (brown?) is getting constant power (possible with the wiring short you have) or the radio is fried. try replacing the radio with another delco junkyard radio.
2. if the entire radio is working when the car is off, the ignition switch that sends power to the radio when car is on is broken.
first, I would fix the short in the dash wiring. you have to have the wiring short fixed before you go after the radio gremlins.
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby RECox286 » February 25th 2011, 4:25am

Check out the fuse for the I/P lamps. If you smoke checked something the fuse probably is toast. If the fuse is bad, install a test fuse to see if the lights come back, then remove the fuse, find and fix the problem,
then install a new fuse of the recommended amperage. (Check the owners' manual for specs)

NOT RECOMENDED: install a jumper across the fuse terminals, and when you find where the smoke is coming from, you have pinpointed the problem child. Again, this is NOT RECOMMENDED !

Bob
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby houseofska [OP] » February 25th 2011, 6:59am

Ok, so since I posted last the dome lights came on and stayed on. This is not good for battery life! I checked the dimmer switch and door switches and all are fine. I pulled fuses one by one to see if any were blown. None were but when I pulled the CGR LTR/DM fuse the clock and dome lights went out. This leads me to believe the problem is in that circuit and the two are related. So here are some questions I have:

1) any idea what color wires I should be trying to trace?
2) what is the best way to test these wires for continuity?
3) am I going to have to pull the entire dash apart to trace these wires?

I don't know if its related or not and I was going to start another post but in case it is related I will mention it. My blower fan switch is acting wierd too. Has for awhile. It is a 5 position switch. I will call "off" position 1 for reference even though Off doesn't seem to exist.

Position 1 = Low fan
Position 2 = Low
Position 3 = med low
Position 4 = med
Position 5 = Low

It never shuts off. I thought it may be the blower motor resistor but I find it too peculiar that Off doesn't work properly.
Thanks for the advise folks, hopefully I will get to spend a bit of time this weekend on it!
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby houseofska [OP] » February 25th 2011, 7:02am

Almost forgot.... In relation to the radio, it works fine and just how it is supposed to when the key is turned on. The only funtcion it does when the key is off is the clock.
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby chevymaher » February 25th 2011, 7:28am

houseofska wrote:Almost forgot.... In relation to the radio, it works fine and just how it is supposed to when the key is turned on. The only funtcion it does when the key is off is the clock.

i got a 94 and radio just off(dark) when key is off.
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby jeff's93astro » February 25th 2011, 9:01am

my uncles 95 he just got is doing to samething with the clock
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby chevymaher » February 25th 2011, 1:11pm

I have come to rely on Phantom to answer these electrical questions so much.i feel like shining the spotlight in the sky like on batman.Help us.
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby houseofska [OP] » February 25th 2011, 2:18pm

Batman wouldn't know. He would ask Alfred, and he is probably too old any more to crawl around looking for broken wires. I will try and post what I find.
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby RECox286 » February 25th 2011, 5:58pm

The cig/dom fuse powers exactly what it says, and a few more things as well as the radio clock. The dome light and clock are fed hot all the time, and the door switches, and headlamp switch reostat controls the ground side of the circuit. Therefore if the dome light is staying on, look for a short on the ground wire to the body/chassis ground. It could possibly be a door switch gone bad, the headlamp switch dimmer function gone bad or a wire that rubbed to the metal of the truck.

I would unplug the headlamp switch first to see if that turns off the lights.

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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby houseofska [OP] » February 26th 2011, 7:31pm

Update:

I have figured out the dark dash problem. I took the dash apart and removed the Instrument Panel. I looked on the back of the instrument panel where the circuit board (or really its a sheet) is. Every light and connection was labled on the circuit board what it is so I found the instrument panel lights and followed that Hot path back to the connection point on the dash. Did the same with the Ground for those same lights. I then took my voltage tester, hooked the ground side of it to the Van body and touched the Hot of the IP Leads. No power....wait, the headlights need to be on! Ok I had power to that point so I figured the ground must be disconnected or cut somewhere? I followed the circuit path to the ground connector, put my tester ground to that lead ground and touched the Hot lead again.....still power. I was confused because that told me the wires were fine. The Hot and Ground Leads on the IP connector are right next to each other. I think they are probably 1/8 inch from each other but I noticed where the Hot lead connected to the circuit board the connection was a bit discolered. Then I noticed a little bit of melted plastic and found where the smoke smell came from.

I think what happened was the two leads on the board somehow became mis-alligned and touched each other causing the short. I bent the Hot lead up and out a litle to make a stronger connection to the IP circuit board and there it was, lighted dash! Lets hope this solution lasts...

I haven't figured out the dome and clock yet. About 65% of the wires passing between the passenger door and body were broken, so I patched all those back together hoping that would fix the short but no luck. At least I have a functioning window now!

Anyone with a good method or gameplan of troubleshooting the dome lights please post!
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby houseofska [OP] » February 28th 2011, 1:44pm

So I got the dash all back together and most things seem to be working fine. I figured out the short-to-ground was in the white wire coming from the "interior lights" switch. That switch changes from "door" to "off". I didn't actually find the short, but in my travels I moved those wires around looking for it and the lights went out. I continued to search for the short but couldn't find it. I figure i moved the wires out of the way so that is good for now, if it happens again I know where to continue the search.

When I had the opportunity I put in a new power window motor in the right passenger door and since I patched all the wires between the door it worked! I tested the window about 15 times with both switches yesterday and no problems. This morning i started the van to warm it up a bit ( 5 degrees this morning) and rolled down the window to ensure i didn't lock my keys in. The damn thing didn't go back up with either switch! It went down fine with both switches so I don't know what the deal is. I hooked direct power to the motor and got it up that way. How frustrating!
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby StoneMill » March 24th 2011, 12:01am

Did you ever figure out the radio clock staying on? My '95 is doing the same thing and the batty dies about every 3 days if not driven.
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby PearlwhiteZ28 » May 23rd 2011, 6:40pm

I have had the same clock radio problem. After 3 days undriven the battery is also dead. I have a '98 Safari. This generation of van seems to be nothing but crap with electrical. I never had these problems with my '90.
As a temporary solution I removed the fuse.
I am also having a nighmare with the lock circuit, but I will probably make a separate post on that one......
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby Clayboy » June 10th 2012, 5:07am

I could use some help with the Clock Staying on problem as well.

If I pull the RADIO BATT fuse the clock turns off and I can still listen to the radio when the van is on. (radio fuse still in) However I would really like to figure out what really is wrong.

Anyone know what the RADIO BATT fuse is connected to and why it would stay on?
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby fasteddie8897 » February 11th 2014, 7:54am

The radio it self has a internal sort in it
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Re: 95 Astro clock stays on and dash is dark

Postby houseofska [OP] » February 19th 2014, 5:04pm

Hello,

After a long time of pulling the fuse when I know the van would sit more than a day I finally replaced the radio with another I got at a junk yard for about $10. Just as fasteddie8897 said....that fixed it!
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