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99 Boxster Dash Lights won't Turn Off


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Recently I noticed that when I turn of the ignition the dash lights stay lit and the clock starts to blink as if it needs to be set. If I restart the car the clock continues to blink for about a minuite and then returns top normal. After further analysis I noted that I cold get the lights to off by using central locking or the door key however after a few seconds they come on again. Problem is that this drains my battery. Any ideas???

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  • 1 month later...

I have the same issue with my '98 Boxster. I have already tried a used and a new ignition switch but that didn't work for me.

When I turn off the ignition and remove the key, it acts like the clock setting switch was pressed and all the ODO lights stay on, the clock blinks, waiting for me to adjust it, and I can actually adjust it by twisting the switch left or right. But when I press it, nothing happens. Doesn't move from hours to minutes by pressing the switch, but when I turn on the ignition and back off, it moves to the next step, to hours from minutes, to minutes from hours, etc.

I checked the stem for binding but it's not stuck at all, working freely. I went further and removed the cluster, took it all apart and checked the operation of the micro switch that the clock reset stem presses on, hoping to find that the switch was busted, but no. I tested the continuity on the switch and it just works right.

I have read all of the posts about the dash lights staying on and the ignition switch issues. None of the solutions work for me, except, I haven't tried a fully charged battery. I will have the battery checked this Monday, and try with a fully charged one. If that won't work, I'll replace the mechanical portion of the ignition lock, and if that won't work too, I guess that means my instrument cluster is dead? Well I hope not because I live in Turkey and it's not easy to find a spare cluster, too expensive to buy a new one, and even harder to get it programmed at the dealer because they don't let you into the shop, you can't see what they're doing and if they say it didn't work, your only option is to believe them.

If anyone is interested to read further, this is how it all began:

I left the car parked at the apartment's garage for a week, and when I came back I found the battery was all gone, not enough power to even light up the interior lamps. I had to jump start it but now I wish I hadn't because I've heard jump starting these cars causes a lot of problems because of the power spike, I don't know if that's true but sounds right. Once I got the car moving, I noticed that I can't read the outside temp gauge. The display was blank, something like --.-- was showing. I checked my front bumper and found out that my temp sensor was removed. It might have got loose and dropped off somewhere or maybe someone just stole it? Anyway, then I noticed the dash lights won't go off. First thing I did is install a new temp sensor. I thought it might have caused some sort of missing link in some circuit (yes I'm unliterate and just superstitious when it comes to computer stuff :) ) The temp gauge went back to normal but the dash lights were still the same. Now I have to remove the negative lead of the battery when I park the car because I don't want to find it dead again. If I don't find a solution soon I think I will be looking at a completely fried system. Any ideas about swapping a 350 SBC in it? :P

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KFH2818,

Are you still having the problem?

Have you checked that the time adjustment knob/shaft isn't pushed in and stuck in the "in" position? Pushing in either of the two buttons will cause the digital portion of the instrument cluster to illuminate. If either knob stays stuck in, the digits will remain iluminated. That might also explain why the clock wants to be set.

Try gently pulling out on the knob.

Bill

Edited by whall
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The error is in the instrument cluster itself, or replace or let the cluster repaired in a specialised shop.

Reading KFH2818's other topic, I find it interesting that the instrument lights and clock went back to normal when he removed and replaced his faulty ignition switch back in. I already tried 2 different switches without success.

Looking closely at how my instrument cluster and ignition acts, I notice that when I turn off the ignition the engine shuts off and the dash is in normal operation, nothing funny with the clock. And I remove the key from the ignition lock cylinder very slowly. Still no problems till the key is completely out of the cylinder, and when I finally take it out, I hear a "clunk" sound from inside the ignition lock and the clock goes into set mode instantly after this sound. This "clunk" sound is not subtle. I believe it's some kind of an actuating rod, probably the mechanism that connects the ignition to the tiptronic shifter so that you can't put the shifter out of park without inserting the key.

I don't remember how the movement of the ignition felt before this problem occured but this sound is very obvious and harsh. I believe instead of a "clunk" it should feel like a small "click" when I remove the key. It feels as if a metal rod is pushed up by a spring and bottoms out on a metal surface. Since the clock goes into set mode right at this instant and causes my dash lights to stay on, I still want to believe my problem is related to the ignition, maybe the mechanical lock cylinder portion. I don't know if it's servicable but I'll remove it this week and see how it looks like. Maybe try with another cylinder if it's not too hard to get it coded with my key. I will also try to get a video of the situation.

If everything else fails to cure the problem, can any of you guys recommend me a shop which can repair my cluster? I'd rather ship it across the planet and back than get a new one and mess with the dealer for the programming.

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I'm not sure instrument clusters can be repaired at least "officially":

I am sorry but we will not be able to help you with this. We do not offer any repairs for the 996/986 instrument clusters. We get quite a bit of calls on these, but the manufacturer offers not repair repairs (sic) or repair information. The only service we offer for the 996/986 clusters, is to reprogram the odometer readings. Sorry that we are not able to help you with this. Good luck.

Hartmut Mees

Palo Alto Speedometer, Inc.

718 Emerson Street

Palo Alto, CA. 94301-2410

Tel: 1-650-323-0243

Fax : 1-650-323-4632

info@paspeedo.com

I think there may be some links here on RennTech that mention board member attempts to repair instrument clusters, but I don't recall any success stories. For the price of a replacement instrument cluster, I would think that some enterprizing soul would have developed a business. Perhaps the lack of factory replacement parts and support is the reason.

I echo Mr. Mees....good luck.

Obviously, if anyone is successful in repairing, or getting repaired, their instrument cluster - regardless of the problem - please share the experience with board.

Bill

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  • 1 month later...

The error is in the instrument cluster itself, or replace or let the cluster repaired in a specialised shop.

Reading KFH2818's other topic, I find it interesting that the instrument lights and clock went back to normal when he removed and replaced his faulty ignition switch back in. I already tried 2 different switches without success.

Looking closely at how my instrument cluster and ignition acts, I notice that when I turn off the ignition the engine shuts off and the dash is in normal operation, nothing funny with the clock. And I remove the key from the ignition lock cylinder very slowly. Still no problems till the key is completely out of the cylinder, and when I finally take it out, I hear a "clunk" sound from inside the ignition lock and the clock goes into set mode instantly after this sound. This "clunk" sound is not subtle. I believe it's some kind of an actuating rod, probably the mechanism that connects the ignition to the tiptronic shifter so that you can't put the shifter out of park without inserting the key.

I don't remember how the movement of the ignition felt before this problem occured but this sound is very obvious and harsh. I believe instead of a "clunk" it should feel like a small "click" when I remove the key. It feels as if a metal rod is pushed up by a spring and bottoms out on a metal surface. Since the clock goes into set mode right at this instant and causes my dash lights to stay on, I still want to believe my problem is related to the ignition, maybe the mechanical lock cylinder portion. I don't know if it's servicable but I'll remove it this week and see how it looks like. Maybe try with another cylinder if it's not too hard to get it coded with my key. I will also try to get a video of the situation.

If everything else fails to cure the problem, can any of you guys recommend me a shop which can repair my cluster? I'd rather ship it across the planet and back than get a new one and mess with the dealer for the programming.

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I think the loud clunk when removing the key is normal. The dash lights stay on in my car for several minutes but go out on their own eventually (maybe 5-10 minutes). I never lock my car so I see this stuff every day. My clock doesn't flash but the other stuff sounds normal to me.

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