Dash Lights not illuminating


Asked by Jun 17, 2012 at 03:52 AM about the 2003 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT 4WD Crew Cab SB

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 03 F250 6.0L Diesel.  I replaced the factory radio with an aftermarket radio.  Now the dash lights will not illumiate.  I have my notifications on the sides (4x4, Check Guages, glow plug, etc) and my odometer shows but I cannot see the speedometer, rpm, etc.  I have checked the fuses and replaced all the fuses with new ones.  Is there something that I am missing?  

13 Answers


I assume you already checked the rheostat that adjusts the brightness of the dash lights? If not, turn it all the way up to where the interior lights come on to be sure. Also, did you use a kit for the radio swap or did you wire it yourself? Part of the illumination was also lighting the original radio, so there is a wire on the dash lights circuit to that old radio which may now be shorted or wired wrong.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

I'm no Ford expert but I will try to help based on my experience with other vehicles -- When you replaced the radio, did you get the adapter harness that plugs into your OEM harness and converts it to your aftermarket radio or did you splice wires ? The dash lights usually run through the radio connector as well so, if you cut and spliced, you may have missed the wire for your dash lights ( check your OEM harness connector for a "jumper" wire going from one terminal to another, this is probably your dash light circuit taking power coming IN to your radio and jumping it to the wire leading OUT to your dash lights ). The odometer, 4X4, glow plug and other warning lights are different circuits powered by signals from the switches for the systems they monitor or operate.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

Thank you both for your answers. I bought the wiring harness and the only thing I did was match the two black grounds (one is black w/white stripe and other sold black) together. I know one is for amp ground and the other is ground. My illumination is Orange. Both are matched and taped. I have no free wires that aren't color coded and paired together. Anything else?


You could check all fuses maybe something grounded out during the installation process fuses under hood on drivers fenderwell and also under dash board..

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Well...one option to start troubleshooting is to put the old radio back and see if the dash lights work or not--that way at least you will know if it is wiring or something got shorted, cut, hidden fuse, rheostat, etc....unless you know the wiring and can see if you have power to the dash lights wire.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

You KNOW that it is an orange wire responsible for the illumination, so test it, goose it with a 12V supply to see if it's a grounding issue. Often times we forget the ground and assume the radio's chassis is going to be enough. Grab you schematic, note the disconnected wires and check to see if this bundle has a block connector that got unplugged partially.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

I also had no dash lights as well and my cab and tail lights flickered every three sec. found that my lighter plug had come off some how that was as simple as that, go figure

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

i have the exact same problem. did you end up figuring out the problem?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

It is a wire that is behind the dash that shorted out....i cut that section out and spliced a new on in place and haven't had a problem since.


Thank you! Do you recall witch wire?

It was the illumination wire (I believe it was the orange one or maybe orange and white)

You should be able to see a chafe or burn in it....you may have to cut the bundles the re-tape the bundles.


Thank you!

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