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On and Off Dashboard Lights at startup

 
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Old 11 May 2011, 05:05 pm
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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 ...do 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
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Default Re: On and Off Dashboard Lights at startup

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

Beth
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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.

alan
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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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