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Pontiac Repair/Radio display not working


QUESTION: Hello, I have a 96 ws6.  The display in the original radio went out, along with the steering wheel control lights.  I just replaced the radio with another oem radio, that was tested, and everything works except the display again.  We checked the dimmer switch, and fuses.  The steering wheel controls work, but have no lights.  Don't know if they are connected somehow.  The display can be seen with an external light, it's just not illuminated.  
Thank you

That is a super common issue with that vintage radio it's an internal issue with the radio it's self. you got a radio with one of the 2 problems your original radio had. take it back and try for another and cross your fingers that one works. there is another option you can take the radio to a dealer and they can send it out to a place called specmo or united radio  and have it fixed right. those are the 2 places we send radio insterment clusters and other electronic units out to get repaired. you can try to google them and cut out the middle man and see if you can send your radio right to them to get it fixed correctly.  We at the dealer do not fix any of these we either send the original unit out for a repair or just order and exchange unit. good luck :-)

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QUESTION: Thank you for your response.  I was told that it coud be a BCM issue, due to the face that both radios, and the steering wheel control lights are out also. Could that be an issue?

ANSWER: you said in the original post that the radio controls worked with the new radio. now they don't or the back lighting doesn't work?  do the back lights work on the cluster HVAC control head all of the steering wheel lights?? if so and just the radio is in op it's the radio. if during the day you can't read the display it's not a back light issue it's a radio issue.

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QUESTION: Hey thanks again.  The controls do work, but the lights are out on all of the steering wheel radio controls.  I can see the display faintly with a light if I shine it on the display.  This was the same with both of the radios.  I spoke with the company, who stated that they check the radios prior to shipping, but he is sending another to check it.

are both sides of the controls on the steering wheel out? beaning the back light? did they both go out at the same time? the back lighting is separate from the controls them self working. again if the back lighting works on the HVAC head IPC etc. then the issue is with the buttons them self OR the clock spring in the steering column that provides a constant ckt though the column to the  buttons... I'm sure yu will find that the display part of the radio will work on another radio if they send you a replacement. that series radio was noted for display issues and exactly as you sated if you shine a light on it you can read the display. it's an internal radio issue...  

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Todd Puccio


General auto repair,electrical issues,driveability issues,anti-lock brakes,SIR systems,HVAC,engine performance,Gm specific. I have worked at my current dealership since the 1990 model year anything much older than that I have limited exposure to. I do not have very much transmission experience so those question you may want to ask of another expert. When you send me a question let me know the exact make/model/engine and year for the car or suv you have it makes it easier to answer the questions that way. If your happy with the answer I gave you please feel free to Donate. This is a free service to you and I am not compensated at all by this web site. I have 22 years of experience to share with you and my knowledge wasn't free to me. I had to pay for my education.


Experience in the area: I have been a technician in GM dealerships for over 22 years and I am a ASE master technician. I work at a Buick and GMC truck store Previously I worked at a Pontiac GMC store for 18 years. I Served a a lead technician when dealership was on a team system. I just recently moved to a Buick,Hummer,Saab Store when my franchise was purchased by this dealership. Organizations: ASE master technician


Education/Credentials:High school diploma,2 year vocational school degree 2 year college degree. Associates degree in applied sciences (auto technology)Awards and Honors: GMC master technician

Awards and Honors
Master GMC truck technician Master ASE technician in 9 categories

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