Gmc - Sonoma :: 1999 - Headlights And Dashboard Display Have Been Flickering At All RPMs

Feb 21, 2012

I've got a '99 GMC Sonoma that I purchased last summer. Great little rig, runs well and the previous owner took care of it. In the last couple of days the headlights and dashboard display have been flickering at all RPMs. I am guessing a bad battery or alternator, but previous related posts indicate it could be all sorts of stuff electrical.

From what I can tell from previous posts, the easier tests are

1) Voltage across the battery poles with engine off to test for a bad cell,
2) AC voltage at battery with engine running to test for alternator diode problems (should be no AC voltage, correct?), or
3) Something called the A.I.R. pump, which I've never heard of and wouldn't know how to test.

The last time I had this happen was on a 2000 Caravan, and it was the battery.

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When it is bright outside I can turn the between off, headlights on and auto and the displays are still bright. When it darkens outside the only way I can have the displays lit up to where I can read them is to turn my lights to off.

I have tried adjusting the dash dimmer switch, checked fuses and looked over the wiring but cannot find the fault.

It is a 2011 6.7L F250.

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Then it spread to include the ABS light too, and eventually became permanent. But six weeks ago, after driving from CA to WI, it went away...for a few weeks, but came back.

A few days ago I went to my car, and it spread to include the checkfuel cap, oil, and door ajar lights. Also a loud beep occurs at erratic intervals. The lights all flash and pulse individually. Most are faint, but the oil light and door ajar light seem full strength. When I turn the key to second position, all the lights light up full strength and solid, like they're supposed to (for the testing phase).

Then once car is on, they go back to flickering faintly...but the loud beep goes away. I'm concerned about the beeping running down the battery with car off-so I pulled out fuse #36, which is for "a/c swith, instrument cluster". This stops the beeping and flickering, cuz the lights no longer have power to them.

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The left headlight has a habit of flickering alot. Some times it'll stop and stay on, other time's it'll flicker and then go out. When the right headlight goes out, it doesn't flicker, it just goes out. If I turn the lights off and right back on, both headlights come on. They may stay on rest of way to work after that or they may stay on 5 minutes. It is something I can check via navigation console? Is my only option to take it to a Toyota dealer?

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Yesterday, when pulling into my driveway, I momentarily lost all lighting/radio/fan for what seemed to me a full second and a half before everything "came back on".

I've checked fuses, battery cables (batty is new, 6mos)... Is this alternator related? What else should I be looking at? My Sonata has been bulletproof. No mechanical issues whatsoever....

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While driving at night with the headlights on occasionally they'll dim and flicker and often cut off completely while driving or parked. The interior and dash lights will also switch off with the headlights, however the radio will still continue to play. The lights only stay off for a second and then come back on. Sometimes I can make them flicker and go off by turning on my blinker or switching between high and low beams.

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Check engine light is on (presumably due to the car stalling out) but I do not seem to be able to read the codes, the code reader is working fine on my 2001 Expedition but on the Windstar it just sites there at 'connecting to vehicle'. I've tried disconnecting the battery for 10-15 mins and this made no difference, I also checked the fuse for the port was good so now I'm not sure what to check next.

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After a long while tried again and it started with some coaxing, made it two more miles down the road and same thing happened, radio lights flicker, dim headlights, airbag light comes on, meters go crazy, lose acceleration. Waited a while, tried it, turned on, it turned on and we sat with it idling and same process happened while sitting there after just a short time. Dim headlights, Radio flicker, airbag light, meters crazy, slow lose of juice.

It has a brand new battery, it's a used car, I've been driving it with the check engine light on but have gotten it looked previously to disclose it was a sensor thing. Recently took it to the Toyota dealership for three recallsOne had to do with the airbags. After it was worked on the second time by them for two other recalls (one had to do with the door and I can't recall the other but am looking for the paper) my battery light came on. And has come off and on for about a week or two but with no trouble. Mostly in town driving. This trip I took was about at 40mi trip back and forth, it did fine up but coming home not so good. I'm not sure if it's any relation but that's the only "repairs" I've had done since purchasing the vehicle

Alternator? Bad battery? Electrical stuff?

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