instrument cluster lights for olds alero

Asked by Feb 10, 2015 at 12:08 AM about the 2003 Oldsmobile Alero GLS

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I recently bought an oldsmobile alero used for $3k it was in pretty good shape apart
from some suspicious stains in the back seat... nonetheless I decided to replace the
factory stereo and in an effort to save a few extra bucks I just hacked the stock gm
connector off and wired in the new radio straight to the car, everything worked fine
except that now, the illumination for the intstrument cluster as well as the lights for the
cigarette lighter and gear shifter will not come on. I took the aftermakret out again and
put the stock back in and saw that one of the purple wires (there are two that are the
exact same color) was pulled much longer than the other wires, could this wire be the
problem? I already tried tracing it back to a fuse but they are all fine.

36 Answers


Ok first never cut off the factory plugs on a wiring harness. That's why they make adaptor kits, so you don't have problems like this. I just installed a Kenwood stereo in my daughters Alero Saturday with the adaptor kit. Start to finish the actual removal and install took 20 minutes, and that was removing the plastic support inside the dash because I installed a double din stereo. Second, if your new stereo has an orange wire that is usually the dimmer or illumination wire. Try hooking that up to the purple wire. Third, please tell me that you are using crimp connectors at least and not just taping them together. Let me know if the purple to orange wire works.

yes I crimped them and should I put both of the purple wires to the orange? or just one at a time?

and there is no orange wire for illumination on the aftermarket stereo


Good that your using crimp connectors. Must be an old radio not to have the orange illumination wire. I looked a wiring schematic and only see one purple wire. Maybe try touching the two purple wires together while the key is on. If the dash and other lights turn on you are good to go. Worst thing that can happen is you will pop a fuse. Let me know what happens. If I have to I'll pull the radio in my daughters car and see where the purple wires go.

alright awesome, thanks! I'll try that


Cool, let me know what happens.

Whenever both of the cables were disconnected the stock radio would stay on and then shut off a little while after, as far as I can tell nothing happened when I crossed the two wires, and when i took another piece of wire and bridged them the radio immediately shut off. I will try getting a reading to see what the colt reading is on both of them

one of the purple wires has a reading of 12 volts (negative) and the other one is just dead and wont show a reading


I ment hook up the aftermarket radio, not the factory one, then touch the purple wires together.

oh well I crimped the old connector back on already and don't have an adapter yet, I think the problem may be that the positive purple wire isn't getting a current and isn't getting power to all the interior lights except for the dome lights, could that be due to a short?


The dome light is on a different circuit than the dash lights. Get the adaptor and you shouldn't have anymore problems as long as everything is hooked up correctly. The adaptors are cheap at Walmart. You don't have to get the one that has on-star, even if your car has it.

Okay I'll try that

Alright so the new radio is in with an adapter rather than a hack job. The dash lights, prnd321 backlights, the climate control backlight, and the ash tray back light will still not illuminate and

Everything is hooked up correctly


Did you check the fuse for the back/dash lights?


Check #34 in the under hood fuse box and B & L in the end of dash board fuse box.

I checked those and they're all good none of them were blown


Then you have a wire unhooked, broke, pinched, shorted or a bad ground.

That brings me back to the purple wore with no charge, there's a purple wire on the ignition switch, should I try probing that?


So you still have an extra wire after connecting all of the wires to the factory radio plug?

No, there is no extra wire. There is just a purple wire that is plugged into the harness that has no reading when probed. I think it may be the problem


Ahh ok. It might not have any voltage unless it turned on. Not every wire has voltage all of the time. Turn on your ignition, test the purple wire then try it again with the ignition and headlights on.

I already did, it never had a voltage.


Then don't worry about that wire. Look for any other wire that you might have clipped, something unplugged or not plugged in all the way and check every fuse in both fuse boxes.

You mean all three fuse boxes? Or just the two?


Oh, yes all 3.

#55 cool fan under the hood had no reading on it but the fuse wasn't blown


That won't have anything to do with your interior lights.

thats what I was thinking too, I also checked the relays and they all were fuctioning


It will be the mini fuses, not the maxi fuses or relays. Does your cigarette lighter/accessory port have power?

Yes they both do


You have a broken/pinched/frayed wire or bad ground somewhere in the dash. My guess is in the radio heater control area.

How do I find this wire?


Remove the radio and heater controls. Get a good flashlight and start looking. Best thing I can tell you.

Best Answer

Alright thank you


Good luck!

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