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  1. #1
    Jr. Mechanic Bowtied's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    2004 Silverado 5.3L

    Exclamation Dash lights "dimming" and other odd electrical issues

    2004 Silverado 5.4l 116,100mi

    Hey guys,

    Driving home last night I was assured of a problem I "thought" i'd been noticing. The dash lights (speedo, radio, electronics etc. prob even the headlights too) were dimming and then coming back to full bright, dimming and coming back to full bright.
    I thought i had noticed this before but thought i was just imagining things until i caught it happening twice in a row shortly after leaving work (engine was 1/2 temped up dunno if that makes a diff) then it went away altogether.

    If any of you have had a similar experience i'd like to outline some of the other weird electrical issues i've been having:

    -Some rain water got into the driver side window and seems to have affected the headlight twist-knob. The knob itself wont turn the lights on unless i press really hard "in" on the knob and switch it to the "on" position, (running lights come on, headlights dont) I have to leave the switch in auto and pray to god that the headlights do come on.

    -I tried to install an aftermarket radio once with the GM Door chime kit from Crtutchfield, i wired everything up removed the radio and the aftermarket simply would not power on, so i removed it and put stocker back in. everything was fine until after this last summer when i rode my motorcycle all season and the stock radio volume knob wont increase or, decreases while your trying to increase [very strange thing to describe, basically the knob is broke or some other electrical issue is compounded here]

    -The bulb on my oil pressure gauge went out 3 years ago or so, I dont think this is related but who knows.

    -The lights seldom come on when i open the door, just like the radio doesnt turn off after i take the keys out the engine power off and open the door (used to cut all electronics at this point) but now, the radio just keeps playing thank god this particular truck has an electronic cut off after ~15min all electronics cut off in case you leave your headlights or interior lights on (seriously).

    -When I roll the windows up there is an obvious strain on the electrical system as the dash dims, the headlights even strain until i release the window (even worse when Im trying to roll up both driver & passenger window at the same time)

    *I cannot stress enough whether the fact that leaving it sit all summer caused these problems to happen but most of these issues did not start happening until after the summer was over when i started driving my truck this very winter*

    Im really at a loss here, and I know its something very bad going on thats causing all this, is it possibly a short at the headlight switch? I've read that these go bad regardless, im sure mine is expounded by the fact that water from rain got in there. Could it also be rain on the window switch? I guess i need to get a voltmeter and start checking amperege, would a factory service manual tell me how much volts should be coming out of each electrical component?


  2. #2


    @Pikey , calling you out because I think you have answered something like this before.
    Tim Walters (Curky)

    Wrangler AT/S 265/70R17 - Trail-FX window vents - Husky fitted splash guards - Silver Star zXe - Leveling kit -

  3. #3


    As far as your interior lights not coming on and the radio not coming on, it is probably the door switch it is located in the door panel at the latch. They typically fail when the door starts sagging due to worn out pins. If you fix the pins you MAY be ok. I have a new battery and new alternator and my lights dim slightly when I roll up the windows also. This could be due to bad grounds. Especially the one from the cab to the frame. The bulb for the oil pressure is unrelated. As far as your lights dimming and going back to full bright. If your headlight switch is messed up , then there is a good chance that the dimmer switch in the headlight switch unit may be going bad. You could always track down a wiring diagram, pull the switch out and put a ohm meter on the correct pins (that control interior light dimming) You should be able to move the switch up and down and watch the resistance change. Alternatively, you could just replace the switch as you are already having issues with the headlights turning on, it might fix your issues, might not. But, you need a switch anyway and fixing your dimming lights would be a bonus.

    1995 Silverado 4x4
    6" BDS Suspension Lift-3" Body Lift-Add A Leaf in rear -Trailmaster SSV Shocks-Duel Steering Stabilizer Kit -AirAid Cold air intake-
    4.56 Gears with Detroit Auburn Locker-Pro-Comp Traction Bars with duel shocks-Aluminum Skid Plate Kit-38.5" x 16.5" Mickey Thompson Baja Claws-Constant Dropping fuel gauge

    2005 Yukon XL Jet Power Programmer, Bilstein Shocks, Bilstein rear springs, Helwig Anti-sway bars, EGR Window Visors, EGR Hood Shield, Denali Headlights, Headlight harness upgrade, GE NightHawk Bulbs, White Night Rear lighting system, Russell Braided SS brake lines, PowerStop Brake pads, PowerStop cross drilled and Slotted Rotors,
    2002 Silverado ext cab 2wd (Sold)
    2003 Yukon XL (Totaled)

  4. #4
    Jr. Mechanic Bowtied's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    2004 Silverado 5.3L


    Thank you these are great ideas in fact, i heard of people replacing the headlight switch with the AC Delco brand as it is more durable does this apply to my scenario? I Forgot to mention that my battery too, is brand new.

    Its really weird how the radio especially will go from hi to low as i try to increase the volume. when i tried to install that aftermarket radio, when i finally realized that it wasnt going to work i replaced everything as normal as possible and definitely did NOT cut into the harness or try any jerry-rigging of any sort, the only thing i can think of is that one of the connections back there might be loose as the radio sometimes gets SUPER hot as I drive 250+ miles from city to city on some of my business trips.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    everett, massachusetts


    with the miles on this I would check the alternator voltage output. these regulators get corroded the new alternators have the improved regulator.

    this is exactly how my alternator began failing. lights/dash volts gage would dim/drop.

    check all connections if there cleaned and secure then whats going on is the alternator output drops off and the you get only 12 volt battery power instead of 14.25 volts from alt.

    if its the alternator it will reveal this soon ..

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