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With the lights on auto, the dash will dim when the lights go on, based on the dimmer setting. If it's set low [wheel] they will be really dim. If it's light outside it will be hard to read. there are not many other causes other than a low battery or bad alternator.
Unclear description of your problem... First, you say 'dimmer up at the half-way point and lights stop getting brighter'?.. Then you seem to be concerned about burned out bulbs. First of all, you describe two different problems... ya think? If you have burned out bulbs, then you can find them and replace them. If you have a lighting problem regarding 'brightness', you need to be more clear as to the problem. If the problem is bulbs, and these burned out bulbs are causing the 'dim' illumination of the dash lights, I'd say you solved the problem. If this is NOT what you meant, then it must be a problem in the rheostat which is not bringing the lights that do work up to the maximum intensity -- would you agree?
get the codes read,get the throttle body update (free from volvo) done,reset service by holding odometer button done and turn on key till lights come on dash and what approx 5 second release and turn off key ,you may need to do it again until it works