Ford Explorer XLT
Radio

What's wrong in my 97 ford explorer when only the radio light lights up when the headlights are on nothing else comes on and when the dimmer is turned all the way up the inside light comes on?

Answer

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Wiki User
09/13/2011

This definitely sounds like a short, and a good place to start looking for it would be in the under the hood circuit breakers because they usually, (almost always control more than one accesory or control more than one electric function, i.e, the fan, the controls for the dash lights, etc. Assuming that you have already checked your interior fuse box, a good way to start is by opening the hood and locating the breakers (black or gray boxes, small with wires attached) and have someone turn the key while you listen for a clicking noise coming from one of the breakers, if you can't tell which one it is coming from, (if any), then try cupping your hand over each one, one at a time, to "feel" the "click", which would indicate a short. You can purchase breakers from about 3-25 dollars at a discout auto parts store, but take the old one with you as they have different variations they look the same, but they are not the same. If this doesn't work, (if no breaker is bad), check your wires going between the starter and the battery, make sure none are hot, which could indicate trouble with a fusible link (simple to repair)or a faulty wire altogether, check battery terminals for corrosion, if none of these help, you may have a circuit breaker located behind the dash, which you may have to remove parts of the dash from under the steering column to reach. this is not fun. If it comes to this point a good investment would be the repair manual for your explorer, where you will find wiring diagrams, otherwise, I would suggest calling a mechanic who specializes in auto wiring, etc. Good luck.