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Hi All
I have a 2001 MDX and the backlighting on the instrument cluster is not working. Basically the symptoms are this:
1. Most of the cluster is dark and has no light at all.
2. When I turn on the lights and turn on ignition, all the check engine lights work properly. I assume this eliminates any fuse related issues.
3. There's a red colored square that illuminates around which gear the car is in when powered on. In this case I was in park and there's a red outline around P. However, when i turn on the lights, this line disappears.
4. Also backlit is the odometer display. It is brightly lit on one side, darkened on the other half. When I turn on the lights, this dims greatly.

I removed the cluster and found 7 primary backlights for the Tack, speedometer and fuel etc. and most appear to be burned out. I see on forums people seem to recommend #74 bulbs as replacements. When I replaced two burned out OEM bulbs with these it did nothing. Still suspicious of other issues, I replaced the "small lights" fuse that I understand controls these lights but it did nothing. So I assume no fuse issues. I also read there's a small circuit board that can sometimes affect the cluster lighting and for about $35 this can easily be replaced inside the plastic case to the cluster.

So in summary, I believe this is not a fuse issue and wondering if you agree. I would be curious to know if the 74s are the proper replacement for the OEM dash lights. They vary slightly in wattage, OEM = 3W vs Aftermarket = 1.4W. Both are 14A. And finally, what do you think about this idea of replacing the small circuit board inside the cluster.

Any other ideas of what else I can check? I baffled as to why these replacement cluster lights are not working. Seems like this should be a perfectly simple fix and it's proving to be anything but.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
Mark
 

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First thing I would do is use a voltmeter and check that you're getting 12V at the bulb socket. No point replacing a bunch of parts before you narrow down what is actually bad.
 
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