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On and Off Dashboard Lights at startup

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Old 11 May 2011, 05:05 pm
Fresh Cruiser
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 3
Default On and Off Dashboard Lights at startup

Not sure that's even a good title for this.

2006 PT Cruiser, approx 78k miles on it, basic model
Have a problem and have taken it to two different mechanics/shops and neither of them can figure out what's wrong they've both told me everything checks out fine. I'm about to take my cruiser on a 2300 mile roadtrip with me and my two pets.

Here's the problem:

When I startup the car (not everytime but approx 75-80% of the time) this happens: dashboard instruments go up and then back down to the bottom, all the lights and bells and whistles come on - for a very brief moment...then they go back to normal now rinse and repeat - does it again, sometimes three or four times.

I've stood next to the engine compartment when this happens (that seatbelt ding is loud) and I can't hear any changes to the sound of the engine when it does this. It doesn't sound like it's stopped, no funny sounds, everything "sounds" normal.

Once in a while it does this 'flash' (for lack of a better word) while I'm driving, but only for a brief moment. Car has twice been a little slow to start but nothing regular.

This has been going on for a few wks now. At first it was more intermittent, now occurs at again 75-80% of the time at startup, much more frequent in the heat of the day then first thing in the am when I go to work.

Alternator, electrical system, battery has all been checked out twice by two different mechanics and both said they couldn't find anything wrong and of course when I took it in, the car didn't do what I described above. Murphys Law #512.

Sorry to be such a long post.

Help please, any thoughts welcome. I do not need this, literally, breaking down in the desert with me and my pets.
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Old 11 May 2011, 05:12 pm
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 27,744
Default Re: On and Off Dashboard Lights at startup

When you say the instruments go up and down they all do it at once or each needle in each dial goes one at a time.

Do you know the trick of testing all the dials. Pushing in the odometer while turning n the key should start a series of tests of all the dials and odometer and lights. Sounds like a short somewhere in the testing circuit. Maybe taking the instrument cluster out, checking out any connections and putting it all back together or maybe the ignition switch has a short. Might want to try either of those.
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Old 11 May 2011, 05:16 pm
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 3
Default Re: On and Off Dashboard Lights at startup

They do it all at once. Everything goes down, the lights all come on the dashboard, then they all go back up again. Repeatedly.

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Old 11 May 2011, 06:34 pm
Regular Cruiser
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 164
Default Re: On and Off Dashboard Lights at startup

Would a marginal battery lead to this? Although, when the car is started, in theory, it is running off the alternator at that point.

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Old 11 May 2011, 08:30 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 6,023
Default Re: On and Off Dashboard Lights at startup

Go to a autl place and have them load test your battery!!!

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dashboard, electrical, power, starting

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