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Old 10-03-2016
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I am: Marty Hill
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Norfolk
Vehicle: 2002 Ford Ranger
Drive Type: 4x4
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Funky Dash Light Dimmer '02 Ranger

Couldn't find any other threads with these exact symptoms, so I thought I'd toss this one out for comment. My dash light dimmer seems to only work in the "bright" range and not in the "dim" range.

Symptoms w/ Dimmer wheel in "dim" range:
No gauge lights;
Radio reverts to headlights off brightnesss;
Cruise control light goes black but other dummy lights (Check gauge/engine, Oil, Airbag) seem to still function.

Rolling dimmer to brighter end of range brings back normal function;

Cabin light on detent works normally.

Keeping in mind that I nearly failed EE, I can't figure what this would be besides an internal switch failure. Before I rip open the dash and replace it, has anyone seen this or have a better suggestion?
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Old 10-03-2016
TheArcticWolf1911's Avatar
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I am: Cameron Howard
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Vehicle: 1999 Ford Ranger
Drive Type: 4x4
Engine: 3.0
Posts: 1,184
Total Props: 7
The idiot lights don't go through the dimmer, so regardless of what the dimmer is doing, those will work. The only exception to this, at least for my '99, are the 4x4 hi, 4x4 lo, and cruise control lights are, for some reason, killed when the dimmer switch is unplugged. Go figure.

The dimmer switch only activates the dome light and cargo lights when rolled all the way up, by sending 12+ to the interior light relay and turning it on, as if one of the doors opened. The rest of the time, the dimmer may as well not even be part of that circuit.

There's little else to go wrong in this circuit, so I'd go to the wreckers yard and get a new one to replace it with. They don't usually go bad, so unless your luck isn't with you that day, you stand a good chance of getting a good one.
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Old 10-11-2016
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I am: Marty Hill
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Norfolk
Vehicle: 2002 Ford Ranger
Drive Type: 4x4
Engine: 4.0
Posts: 4
Total Props: 0
With the hurricane bearing down on the southeast and my initial luck, I decided to go with a new switch rather than spending Saturday swimming through a junkyard hoping for a good part. The fact that I didn't have to wade through the rain and mud and hope for a good part made the extra 30-40 bucks all worth it.

Truck is back up with nice dim panel lights. The new part from Amazon looks almost exactly like the old part just with a slight melted plastic area where the original has an oval logo...
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Old 10-11-2016
TheArcticWolf1911's Avatar
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I am: Cameron Howard
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Vehicle: 1999 Ford Ranger
Drive Type: 4x4
Engine: 3.0
Posts: 1,184
Total Props: 7
Glad you have it working again. Stay safe with Mathew running around
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