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Car issues: Weird lights on dash (97 Cavalier)

cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm RegentBears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
edited May 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
Getting it looked at tomorrow, figure it can't hurt to ask in the meantime, in case driving it anywhere is a bad idea.

All the lights on the dash stay on while driving: oil, coolant, battery, seatbelt, but it seems to be running fine. All the fluids seem good, too. Any ideas before a mechanic potentially reams me?

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cj iwakura on

Posts

  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    And you have driven the car for sone distance before stoping? That can be a symptom of alternator failure before the battery dies.

    The computer might be fried otherwise. No way all those things go wrong at once and the seals are still good/ holding fluid.

    and I wonder about my neighbors even though I don't have them
    but they're listening to every word I say
  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    Yep, drove it from one city to another, no issues at all. Though I notice there was no light indicating the present gear when I shifted to drive and reverse.

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  • iRevertiRevert Tactical Martha Stewart Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Disconnect the negative (battery) terminal for five minutes or so, that should clear the error codes. Then take the car for a drive and see if any lights come back on if they do then continue on the path of taking it in to be looked at.

    iRevert on
  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    Sounds like a computer or electrical issue. If the dash lights came on early in the drive. And you drove a bunch more miles you would have likely noticed a power failure or the car outright stoping. Not sure if a weak alternator or battery might cause the same issues.

    Since it is probably electrical it cant hurt to check the fuse box. Probably under the drivers side dash.

    and I wonder about my neighbors even though I don't have them
    but they're listening to every word I say
  • PelPel Registered User regular
    The most logical thing to assume would be that the "test routine" the car does when starting, where every light lights up for a second, is stuck or has short-circuited somehow. You'd need a very comprehensive wiring diagram or a very knowledgeable troubleshooter to direct you as to a solution, although if you knew exactly where to look, it might be easy to fix. Problem is, your car probably has thousands of feet of wiring, most of it hidden and nearly incomprehensible to a novice or even an experienced mechanic who doesn't know its intricacies.

    Poster above points out that it could be a sign of low alternator/battery voltage, along with other random things like wildly fluctuating speedometer, but if your output voltage is that low the car will die soon after. Computer is always a suspect, especially with electrical problems, but they generally fail in predictable and catastrophic ways, so if other cavalier owners (a google search should give you some insight) haven't experienced similar issues, then it's possible but not likely.

    If it were me I'd probably feel comfortable driving the thing in the short term, especially if you've already driven it a ways without incident. Be careful though, without indicators if something unrelated goes wrong, you could inadvertently cause more harm that might have been easily avoided otherwise! Take it to Autozone and have your charging system and your computer trouble codes checked, for free. This may give you a lead. Search the interwebs for other cavalier owners who have had this issue. Last, unless you have a mechanic you trust to be fair with you, do some research. Shady wrenchers might not even know how to fix this sort of thing, but will be happy to let you pay them to look at it fruitlessly!

  • iRevertiRevert Tactical Martha Stewart Registered User regular
    Personally I think his dash cluster (IPC) is malfunctioning.

  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    You're correct. Ah well, not worth the 300. :(

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  • SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    Well, unless you're replacing the car in the near future, you might want to get that changed out. Otherwise the only indication you'll have that something is wrong is noise or smoke.

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  • iRevertiRevert Tactical Martha Stewart Registered User regular
    cj iwakura wrote: »
    You're correct. Ah well, not worth the 300. :(

    Check junkyards, it should run far less for the IPC and you can do an install yourself if you have the tools.

    You'll have to declare the odometer is exempt on the title after you do it though.

  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    Sadly, I've already put too much into this car(transmission) to consider ditching it, not to say I haven't been tempted.

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  • iRevertiRevert Tactical Martha Stewart Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    cj iwakura wrote: »
    Sadly, I've already put too much into this car(transmission) to consider ditching it, not to say I haven't been tempted.

    You misunderstood what I was trying to say.

    You could purchase a used IPC from a junkyard and install it into your car. The cost of buying a IPC from a junkyard should be under $100 and you could install it yourself if you have some basic tools and knowhow.

    iRevert on
  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    Oh yeah, I know that. I was responding to the notion of replacing the car.

    Already planning a dumpster hunt.

    Oddly enough, it worked fine today... it's off and on.

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  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    How good are you at tracing faults in electronics and using a soldering iron?

    It's probably just something like a capacitor that has died.

  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    Not at all, but my friend's studying EE.

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