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dash instrument light dilemma

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This is my first time writing on FAQ, although I always read it - such a great resource. 

I recently removed the instrument cluster on my '72 02 to replace burned out bulbs.  When I put it it all back in the red alternator light was not working.  Using Rob Siegel's new book (and his 2016 online alternator light column) and my my new multimeter, I figured that the wiring from the alternator to the round 12-prong plug was good, as was the wiring from the plug to the ignition switch. By pushing on the back of the cluster, I could make the alternator light wink on.  So I thought that there was a problem with the board that the multi-instruments are mounted on.

Daily Classics had a used one on sale, which I purchased, plugged in, and the red alternator light came on and worked perfectly.  All the other warning lights also worked.  But now the background lights don't work on the new gauge.  I double checked the old gauge (where the alternator light still doesn't work) and all the background lights work on that one.  And I checked that I'm using new working bulbs all around.

Is it common for problems with the printed boards or connections behind the multi-gauge? Anything I might be missing?  And is it possible to solder in a new wire connection? or is this not a good idea (don't want to set the car on fire to save a few bucks). 

Walloth-Nesch sells a new 74 or later gauge for 200-something dollars , and I assume I can swap out the crosshair faceplate.  Seems pricey, but I've spent more for parts on my E46.

Otherwise, will a later gauge (with gray bulb-holders) work with on a '72 car (with black bulb-holders)?  There are some complete '74-'76 3-gauge clusters available on-line in the $100 range, chances are 3rd try will be the charm?

Thanks in advance for any advice or recommendations,


Nevada '72 2002 



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The board is not a multilayered board, i.e. the traces are all on the surface.  Expand a wiring diagram so you can see the dashboard diagram and print that screen.  Then check the traces for the circuits that are not functioning with a test light or multimeter.  Traces can be jumpered.  I did that to fix the infamous loss of ground from the temp gauge many many years ago and it's still ok.  There is nothing to loose and you might save some $$.

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Take the cluster to your kitchen table with a 9V battery and some alligator clip leads, apply voltage and find your issue.


I'm betting on loose lamp sockets.



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