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Thread: 87 mighty max 2.0 running lights and dash lights not working

  1. #1

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    87 mighty max 2.0 running lights and dash lights not working

    I just bought 1987 mighty max that was in a wreck got it back on the road after replacing the radiator fender and hood still dosent look perfect but it will do for a daily beater and for $400 before parts for this truck i thought was a good deal since they just spent over $400 3 months before replacing the clutch.

    to the point my dash light does not go on when i turn the head lights on and nether does my tail lights.The turn signals and break lights work fine Ive checked the bulbs.The only thing i could find out is that its on a 20 amp fuse well i checked it and i was blown got brand new one and wen i went to put it in before i could get it in all the way spark came out and the fuse blew.
    This is happening with the truck not running and the switch turned off. Today i even unplugged the battery and then put the 20 wat fuse in it the second i hooked up the battery it blew this is with the car off as well keys not in the ignition.

    ive done goodle searchs and all triyed evryting to truble shoot that i could think of looked for a repair book and no stores near me have are can get one and after replacing all the parts i have so far im extremely low on cash.
    PLZ if you can help that would be great as the truck is i cant do any driving with it if its gonna rain are night time because i dot want to get hit in the rear end are poled over

    this is my 2ed truck of this type had a 83 power ram 50 but sadly had to sell that one wen transmission went out
    and i cant find a repair book in any of my local parts stores

  2. #2



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    you have a short in the running light circuit - check the wiring where the car was hit first for crush / abrasion damage of the harness. Get a cheap volt meter from harbor freight and use it to check for ohms readings to ground at the meter socket as you repair it. Keep repairing it until the reading on the meter goes from 0 ohms to infinite ohms.
    Pennyman1
    The best Dodge that Dodge never made
    Living the D-50 lifestyle since 1980

  3. #3

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    well i looked at evryting and i realized the radio witch was not even hooked up was bubbbed open wires going evry where and since my truck doesnt even have speakers for now i put electric tape on every single wire so nothing could ground itself out and then i was able to put a fuse in it with no probles i also check the frount for any grounding wires and such the impact was on pasenger side

    BUT the dash lights and running lights Still do not work at all

    agen all other lights are working headlights break lights turn signals and hazards work fine and i checked evry fuses and i even put a volt meater on them to make sure the fuse was in working condition any idea on how i might fix this?

  4. #4

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    i gut got done looking at my fusible link that's near the driver side and such almost right below it i c 2 blue conecter cables that dont have anyting on that are anything should it have sum thing as well?

  5. #5



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    Those connectors are for the a/c, which I'm guessing you don't have.
    Josh
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  6. #6

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    ah i dont have ac anyway then what could be wrong with it still cosing this all fuses are good now

  7. #7



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    check the printed circuit on the back of the cluster - it may have a burnt trace. I think there is also a voltage reg or something on the back of the cluster that can fail and cause things not to work - somone else chime in on that, as I never had problems with lighting on my 88 and only had it for a couple of years.
    Pennyman1
    The best Dodge that Dodge never made
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  8. #8

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    wen i pulled out the cluster i did not sea any burn marks that i could tell and all bulbs seemed to work the cluster itself i do c the light for high bbeems and wen i use the turn signals and such just not the lights that would light the gauge up during nite time and such i am thinking it may bbe the switch itself priviuse oweer told me after calling him that sum times the lights on the gauge would randomley not work he never thought to check if the tail light running lights would also not work as well. so any ideas ? and could i just cut a the wires at the stearing wheal and make a swith for them are sumthing ? this is realy starting to make me go nuts trying to fig this out

  9. #9

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    Hey, I was having the same problem. Not sure what caused it, but after performing a continuity test (from the tail lights forward) at each joint, I ended up under the dash. When I started pulling out the cluster I noticed my parking lights came on! I wiggled the cluster wiring a few times and they flckered a few times, butt then stayed on. I did not find any actual short though. If it happens again, I will l have to unwrap all the factory tape to physically inspect. Thanks to all the folks' pointers in the different threads as I checked them all. Cheers!

  10. #10

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    A number of vehicles have inherent instrument panel faults that don't show up until a few years of service. I recently sold a car that had an issue with half the instruments dying and then having the same issue with 2 more replacement clusters. Turns out the soldered joints on the back of the cluster boards weren't particularly good so I broke out the iron and carefully resoldered the pins in the main socket. your issue might simply be from a dirty connection but if you can, take a look at what condition the soldered joints are in.

  11. #11

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    When I lost dash and tail lights it was dirty contacts in the lighting relay, mine is mounted on the driver side by the battery, took some emery cloth to the contacts, problem gone, didn't want to pay $100.00 for a new one
    I've added a few things to my 86 Ram50, A/C P/S found a new makuni carb on Ebay. just got a new 100 amp Delco alternator I'm putting on it also have a Tach cluster I bought from another member and a overdrive automatic trans when find a wide block 2.0 eventually I'll get around to painting it.

    1998 Ford Explorer
    1986 Dodge Ram 50

  12. #12

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    Did we ever find a clear cut answer to this question? Because right now I have head lights dim/bright on dash I have oil check engine egr and e-brake lights working. But not tail/running lights in back and no dash lights to light up speedo. But when I press brake I do have break lights. There is a lighting relay close to my battery mounted to body . could that cause the issue ? If not where do I go next after double checking grounds to frame..

  13. #13

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    Do your basic checks first - relay and fuses. If you have a multi meter check both ends of the fuses in your fuse block and get someone to turn the lights off and on while you hold onto the relay case. If it's working you'll feel it kick. You might have to take apart every loom plug and clean the spade terminals one by one if you can't nail down the issue- a real PITA to do but it will go a long way to eliminating faults. I had to go through this process yesterday with a friends car. Killed his sparky gremlins and all of his lights were brighter too afterwards.

  14. #14

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    I've cleaned everything and made a clean strong ground to the frame. The relay clicks once when parking lights are turned on and again when headlights turned on. The head lights work high and low beam. But no tail lights. But brake lights work and blinkers work. But no running lights or dash lights .. All bulbs and fuses are good. I'm lost

  15. #15

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    Looks like you need to test the plugs in the wiring looms for power and ground. Unplug the tail lights and check for continuity at the light assembly ends and power out of the plug. It will be something small but sparky gremlins are not easy to find unless it's something obvious like physical damage. It is a bug in your parking light circuit as it's not affecting any other lighting system, so at least you have somewhere to start...

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by geezer101 View Post
    Looks like you need to test the plugs in the wiring looms for power and ground. Unplug the tail lights and check for continuity at the light assembly ends and power out of the plug. It will be something small but sparky gremlins are not easy to find unless it's something obvious like physical damage. It is a bug in your parking light circuit as it's not affecting any other lighting system, so at least you have somewhere to start...
    I had the same problem and all the forums never gave a answer.. But I will . there is a small ground running from the fire wall to the exhaust manifold cover. The wire is about 10 inches long. I went through every single ground with no results. But I cleaned that ground and poof problem solved. I hope this helps

  17. #17

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    I had the same problem and all the forums never gave a answer.. But I will . there is a small ground running from the fire wall to the exhaust manifold cover. The wire is about 10 inches long. I went through every single ground with no results. But I cleaned that ground and poof problem solved. I hope this helps

  18. #18



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    /\ odd, I haven't had that ground hooked up on my last two trucks and never had a lighting issue.
    Josh
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