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Flickering lights and fluctuating gauges needles...

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 21 Jul 2011, 06:28 pm
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Cool Flickering lights and fluctuating gauges needles...

For several months my 2006 PT Ltd (turbo) has been giving me trouble with the instrument panel lights and gauge needles. I'll be driving along - usually having just gotten in the car - and suddenly my instrument lights will rapidly blink on and off. Then the needles will quickly drop to zero, and then return to where they need to be. I've also experienced a loss of engine power very briefly. All of this continues for several seconds ( which of course feels like an eternity) and then it stops, and everything returns to normal.

I have had the car into the dealership 3 times in the last 2 months for this problem. They've replaced cables and wires, and disconnected my radio, claiming that it was related.

Right now it's been in the shop again since Monday, and the mechanic cannot get it to misbehave, so he can't figure out the problem. Without knowing the problem he can't find a solution.

Has anyone else had this problem, or remember hearing about a problem like this? The car has 100,000 miles on it and I was hoping to get the problem fixed before the extended warranty ran out at 100,000....
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 21 Jul 2011, 09:24 pm
mdfrodolives's Avatar
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Default Re: Flickering lights and fluctuating gauges needles...

Sugar, when my 2003 non-turbo did the "gauge dance", it turned out that my battery cables were corroded. In fact, they were so corroded that I needed a whole new wiring harness, as well as, a new battery. I also had an instance where the AirBag light stayed on; and the following day the problem revealed itself by not allowing me to start the car. It was just the battery on that issue--not any wires connecting to it.

Other Cruisers have posted on this forum about similar gauge problems. Sometimes it's the battery, the battery clamps, or wires, and even the connection at the starter (from the battery).

Apparently, the PT does strange things when there is a battery--or wiring to or from it--problem.

Your mechanic might check out all the wiring I've mentioned, as well as, the connections.

Good luck,

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Old 21 Jul 2011, 09:56 pm
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Default Re: Flickering lights and fluctuating gauges needles...

Thanks, Tim. Those were some of the cables and wires that were replaced. I have had many battery problems with this car! Although it could be 1987 Sable went through 6 transmissions!

I will definitely mention this to the mechanic. Thanks again.

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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 12 Aug 2011, 09:15 am
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Default Re: Flickering lights and fluctuating gauges needles...

I replaced the ignition switch on mine. It's been two months and no problems.
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Old 21 Aug 2011, 01:59 pm
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Default Re: Flickering lights and fluctuating gauges needles...

There are several threads regarding this, or similar issues. Since I've owned my 2006, when I run my a/c, I'll occasionally get all the lights on the cluster lighting up and the gauges all drop to zero (or off location). The gauges will immediately pop back to running position, all the lights go off except for the seatbelt and one other (the lights that remain on for amoment after starting the car), and they go away as well. The car doesn't seem to stagger, stall or run badly other wise, and occasionally this will be accompanied by a ding, like the seltbelt warning.

I replaced my front pads a couple months ago, and the brakes have started making a grinding noise recently on the same side that I had a badly torn up pad. I planned on tearing the brakes apart and recleaning and so forth today. So since I was getting dirty anyway, I went in and disconnected the battery and cleaned the connections there, and at the alternator and starter.

After all the work was done, I ran it out for a test drive. On the plus side, there was nothing visible on the brakes, and the grinding noises stopped completely. The idle speed and throttle response was marginally smoothed and improved (good connections to fire with).On the way back home however, I turned the air on. Right as I pulled into the driveway, "DING!"

Oh well. One weekend when I'm feeling brave, I'll disconnect the battery and check the selenoid (does it have one?) and computer connections.

At least when I brake now, it doesn't sound like I'm sharpening an axe.
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Old 13 Oct 2014, 09:36 pm
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Default Re: Flickering lights and fluctuating gauges needles...

I know this is a old thread but this just happened to me today. Speedometer went to zero and all the idiot lights flickered on and off twice then it ran normal for the 30min drive to work, when I got to work I shut it off then restarted with no problems the alarm and key worked
I recently had to replace the dash wire harness im going to recheck the connections in the steering column first before I go any further.
2007 Pastel Yellow PT Cruiser Touring Edition Auto 4 speed, 1 of 2473
Airaid SynthaFlow Cold Air Intake 300-198
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Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus 195/65r15
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Old 13 Oct 2014, 09:38 pm
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Default Re: Flickering lights and fluctuating gauges needles...

If all your wiring checks out, it's probably the ignition switch.

2006 Touring Edition in Cool Vanilla...aka/Ghost
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Old 13 Oct 2014, 10:33 pm
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Default Re: Flickering lights and fluctuating gauges needles...

One thing I have learned from the dancing gauges is that the 2006-2009 PT's use a canbus data system that is very sensitive to a drop in voltage. I would check anything that would cause a drop in voltage such as bad ground wires, bad battery cables, bad battery, bad ignition switch and an intermittent short to ground on all voltage lines such as radiator fan brushes shorting to ground. The Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) which is a combination fuse block and control module is also a possible cause so do your homework before replacing expensive components.
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Old 15 Oct 2014, 11:43 am
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Default Re: Flickering lights and fluctuating gauges needles...

Agree with the last two posts.
"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life,
nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
Isaac Asimov"

'05 Limited Turbo Lite, (Silver, of course)4-wheel ABS, Sunroof, Spoiler. Mods: E&G Classic grill, K&N FIPK, BTG duals, rear lowered 1.5", LED washer lights, $20 catch can, Aoogah horn, Weatherflectors, Sunroof Deflector, Fuzzy Dice, rear logo flames, rear pinstripe graphic, Gen3 Taillights, rear sway bar, hood struts, Strut bar.
Traded in '02 Silver Touring Edition w/87,000 miles
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Old 29 Mar 2015, 12:45 am
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Default Re: Flickering lights and fluctuating gauges needles...

I have this SAME problem. Do I just make a list here of things to check and hand it to my mechanic? How do I know he's not going to make up another thing wrong and have me pay ANOTHER $1100 or so?

I've spent $2700 so far on this unresolved problem.
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