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Old 08-05-2016, 09:47 PM   #1
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I need to bypass the dash headlight dimmer.. SOLVED!!

The dimmer portion of of my headlight switch has packed it in leaving me with no dash lights..
2002 e250 RB
I want to bypass the dimmer portion of the head light switch as the dimmer is stupid feature imo . That I recently installed really nice double din stereo so removing the dash to replace entire headlight switch would be a huge PIA..
I hoping somebody has done this and know which wires are which...
help!!
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Old 08-06-2016, 01:19 PM   #2
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When I got my 1998 E-350 the dash lights didn't work. I didn't know why, and am not the best at troubleshooting chassis electrical, so I took a guess that the moving part (dimmer) would be the most likely to break, and decided to throw one part at it (new headlight switch) before doing anything else. Long story short, a new headlight switch fixed the problem, and it's been fine for over two years now.

Anyway, reason I am posting is that it was a bit of a pain, but not that bad to replace the switch. But my dash panel is in two pieces, so I only had to remove the one associated with the gauges (it divides into two pieces before it gets to the powerpoint and cigarette lighter). I recently helped a buddy who has a 2003 and his dash panel was all one piece - I could see where that might be more of a pain.

But if you do have the "crack" and the two dash panels, it wasn't too bad (just don't do what I did, and not disconnect the battery, then poke a wrench up in there to try to avoid taking the switch bezel off, cause a spark, and then have to replace the passenger side door lock actuator (in my defense, someone had told me that disconnecting the battery would mess up the engine computer, and I've gotten better at things since then ).
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Old 08-06-2016, 02:01 PM   #3
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thanks Viva I have a one pc panel. I just removed the kick panel to have a look at the connector for the headlight switch and had a very scary moment.
I found a spring hanging down when I touched it, it hit the metal substructure grounded out got hot and small flame on the connector.
I guess the rheostat's spring had broken ofF!!!
I got it under control and managed to remove the connector plug which is a little charred around the output to dash lights lights wire but I now know what was wrong. Jeesh!
I now am forced to figure out a bypass for the damned switch and check to see if I blew a fuse etc...
that could have been epicly bad while on the road.
I have the pin out etc now will post when sure it done
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Old 08-06-2016, 04:47 PM   #4
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I need to bypass the dash headlight dimmer..

Ok so it was successful !!
I made sure that there were no remnants of the rheostat spring trimmed all the ends of it as short as I could
All the lights work normally the way they should except with no dimmer function which in my mind is stupid to begin with I never use it

Here is the drawings and pin layout I found online thank you Google

By the way I get all this without having to remove the dash panel or the headlight switch


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Old 08-06-2016, 07:23 PM   #5
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I just turned mine to the full on position and it works and yes mine did the same thing and only noticed when I had the dash apart. I have a new switch and I'm not going to install it seeing how I really don't need the dimmer


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Old 08-06-2016, 07:45 PM   #6
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Now that's some great info. Glad crisis was averted - and so was removing the one-piece dashboard! (Wonder when that came in? Sometime between 1998 and 2002, obviously.)

I have a question because I'm going to save this for future reference: With no rheostat, what is the non-adjustable dimness level? Full dim? Full bright? Something else?

I don't ever change mine, but I find full bright to be a bit much, so keep mine partially dimmed - maybe about 25% of the way up from the lowest setting. I might be fine with it all the way dimmed, but probably not all the way bright.

Anyway, great info.
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Old 08-06-2016, 08:01 PM   #7
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Different folks I guess I always like my dash lights full brightness.
With the bypass that's where they sit at full brightness.
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Old 08-06-2016, 11:55 PM   #8
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Thanks for the reply.
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