Question about 1996 Saturn SL

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1996 Saturn SL1 Instument and Brake Lights out

Smelled burning wires and tailights and instrument panel went out. Looked at fuse 10 (Park) and a 25amp fuse was there when it should have been a 15amp. Need to trace wires and locate the burned area to fix. Need wiring info or some areas a burn area might likely may be located. Thanks

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  • HDRandy Jan 12, 2009

    same problem with tailights and dashlights out. Smelled burning wires and had mechanic fix it and all worked but only lasted one day and fuse blew again.

    Randy Milwaukee, WI

  • rewiringit Jan 29, 2009

    yes this seems to be a factory defect in this car i have the same problem but had a good fire almost lost the car found a parts car and the harness had badly scorched wires 3-4 of them and i traced them to the light switch i think their using to light of wire on the light system im going to attempt to redo the wiring to the light system in the harnes with a heavier guage wire

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I just fixed this problem the wires burnt up under the dash by steering column .repaired wires wich wasn't easy.then replaced turn mutifunction switch .the steering wheel has to come off

Posted on Jan 25, 2009

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If not then check:
The rheostat (also known as the dimmer switch) may be faulty
as it controls all the illumination of all the backlight bulbs and other dimable switches/indicators.

In general bulbs all together draw a fair amount of current so it is possible that the wiring or ground at the major supply junction feeders has failed but that is a less common problem.

So check the rheostat dimmer wiring area first as all illumination power goes through it.

There is further simple testing we can do with the three wires at the rheostat you can check the entire illumination system.
If you jumper the white/blk to the white/blk all the illumination lights should come on (that means the rheostat is bad).

Or use a voltmeter and measure the green rehostat wire to ground it should be 12volts (if not time to check the fuse, relay and wiring)

If not then finally declare the instrument panel faulty (like burned up circuit board trace).

Note of interest: the rheostat also controls (dims) other switches not associated with the instrument cluster such as the cigarette lighter bulb and hazard switch and radio player and A/C control switch. So if those are dimming but not the instrument panel backlights then yes the instrument cluster needs fixing or a very close wiring inspection.

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Hello,   check the fuse in the fuse panel labeled PARK this may be it. 
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I am currently working on my 92 Deville with the same problem. I was driving along, and smelled what I felt was a smoking printed circuit board. I looked down, and the digital fuel data center and climate control panel were dark.

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Good luck with your problem.......

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