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I just purchased a 2004 Pilot for my daughter to drive to and from school. The dash lights work fine when the headlights are off, but as soon as I turn the headlights on, they go so dim I can’t see anything. I get nothing from the dimmer control on the speedometer. Just a side note, The previous owner had installed a crappy after market stereo, which I replaced with a factory unit thinking that might be the culprit but it has had no effect on the dash light issue. Any ideas?
 

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I just purchased a 2004 Pilot for my daughter to drive to and from school. The dash lights work fine when the headlights are off, but as soon as I turn the headlights on, they go so dim I can’t see anything. I get nothing from the dimmer control on the speedometer. Just a side note, The previous owner had installed a crappy after market stereo, which I replaced with a factory unit thinking that might be the culprit but it has had no effect on the dash light issue. Any ideas?
One would usually test the battery and alternator to make sure they are good.
You might also look at your negative battery cable that attaches to the frame of the vehicle. Sometimes these become so corroded that they need replacing. If the cable itself is good, I'd unbolt the connector from the frame and clean the contact points. Needs to be shiny metal to metal. And of course, clean, tight battery post connections.
 

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Far as I recall from my '07, the gauges lights were full bright with headlights off, but were controlled by dimmer when headlights were on. My first suspect would be a faulty dimmer. If I am reading the wiring diagram properly (from 2004 manual), this dimmer is pins A18(white/yellow) and A19(white/orange) on the gauge cluster assembly 30-pin connector A. These two wires go to driver multiplex control unit in the driver door armrest, 22-pin connector B pins B3 and B4. Probably easiest is to pull the driver armrest unit, unplug connector B, connect meter probes to pins 3 and 4 on the connector, and check resistance while turning the gauge dimmer on the gauge cluster. If it reads open, one of wires is likely damaged. If it reads high resistance regardless of dimmer position, likely a faulty dimmer.
 
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