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fiat dashboard lighting?
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userBryan40
Posted: 13 May 2017 6:47 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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I have a 2017 Fiat Ducato Auot-Trail motorhome and have checked at two Fiat Professional garages who both inform me that the software update has been applied. Nevertheless the speedo is impossible to read in daylight conditions.

I have bought and returned a GPS Headup display which worked well in a darkened areas but there was no image on the windscreen in bright daylight no matter where I attempted to position the unit on the dashboard. Has anyone had any success with these units and if so what makes did you buy??

Thanks for any advice.
userBop
Posted: 13 May 2017 7:03 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Team,

How long does it take for a Fiat garage to apply the fix. We have a late-MY16 AT van with the same dash problem but we'll only have it for another month before it's part exchanged for something else.

I don't want to leave it at a garage overnight in case it incurs damage (just being cautious) but I still don't want to hand it over in this condition.



userBryan40
Posted: 13 May 2017 7:09 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Bop - 2017-05-13 7:03 PM

Team,

How long does it take for a Fiat garage to apply the fix. We have a late-MY16 AT van with the same dash problem but we'll only have it for another month before it's part exchanged for something else.

I don't want to leave it at a garage overnight in case it incurs damage (just being cautious) but I still don't want to hand it over in this condition.





Its a while you wait job. Suggest however you make an appointment to have it done. But don't hold your breath that it will improve matters - you still cant read the speedo in bright daylight conditions.
userBop
Posted: 13 May 2017 7:14 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Bryan40 - 2017-05-13 7:09 PM

Bop - 2017-05-13 7:03 PM

Team,

How long does it take for a Fiat garage to apply the fix. We have a late-MY16 AT van with the same dash problem but we'll only have it for another month before it's part exchanged for something else.

I don't want to leave it at a garage overnight in case it incurs damage (just being cautious) but I still don't want to hand it over in this condition.





Its a while you wait job. Suggest however you make an appointment to have it done. But don't hold your breath that it will improve matters - you still cant read the speedo in bright daylight conditions.


Cheers Bryan, and sorry that I couldn't help you with your point in para-2 of your post.

Our new van is a Ducato too so with my luck I know what will happen. I'm just learning from you guys now while I have the chance.

Regards,

Andrew
userLen Salisbury
Posted: 13 May 2017 10:39 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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I was in the same predicament and could not see very well the display in daylight on my Boxer in a previous thread about two years ago on the very same thread. I overcame the problem yesterday by fitting an LED striplight which is very strong in illumination compared to other ones I have tried. It is mounted facing the Dash and fixed on the steering column to a piece of wood using the sticky tape that it came with and using two dabs of adhesive in the final position. My Boxer is not fitted with a Rheostat as per handbook and confirmed by Peugeot dealer.

Edited by Len Salisbury 2017-05-13 10:56 PM
userLen Salisbury
Posted: 13 May 2017 10:55 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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I tried positioning a flexible LED strip to the underside of the Cowl but it is slightly curved and came off by the following morning so took the Bull by the horns as in post one. Will try and post pics showing illumination on and off.

Edited by Len Salisbury 2017-05-13 11:01 PM
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 14 May 2017 9:05 AM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 


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Location: Herefordshire - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


There is a throw-away comment in the June 2017 issue of MMM magazine (Page 177) that suggests that Euro VI Ducatos with daytime running lights (which I was under the impression had been standard since the Ducato X290 range began to be marketed in 2014) might come with the instrument-lighting software ‘fix’ factory-fited, but I don’t know if that’s indeed the case.

As has been mentioned above, the software modification causes the instrument-cluster’s backlighting to illuminate automatically as soon as the vehicle’s ignition is switched on. So, by switching on a Ducato X290’s headlamps, the effectiveness of having the backlighting on in daylight can be checked.

As I explained in my posting of 26 November 2016 8:07 AM earlier in this thread, I decided to illuminate my Ducato’s instrument cluster from the front via a strip of ‘side-lit’ LEDs (from Aten Lighting) stuck to the underside of the cowl above the instruments. The result is very effective, but as the LED lighting is bright, I chose to operate it via a switch (rather than automatically when the ignition is on) as I wanted the front-lighting off during night-time driving.

(I suppose it’s worth repeating that Fiat’s instrument-lighting software modification can only be applied to Fiat Ducato X290 vehicles, not to earlier Ducato X250s nor to any Citroen Relay or Peugeot Boxer models.)
userBryan40
Posted: 14 May 2017 9:21 AM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Hi Derek.
It would appear that the software upgrade was done in the factory on my vehicle. The centre panel on the dashboard fully illuminates - brightly - as soon as the ignition is turned on. I cannot however clearly see the speedo from about 20 - 60 mph in bright daylight. This is not much help in 30 mph areas with speed cameras. I do wonder whether there could be a bulb failure in the speedo?? Thanks for your interest.
userpaul2
Posted: 14 May 2017 10:22 AM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Hi
My local fiat dealer said some x250's can be done, as we use them a lot at work they said pop it in and we will do it! So that's what I did but the tech (a friend of my son) tried but was unable to do it, he said it was because I had the older dash with red km's and that he had done other x250's that had the dash like Derek posted a photo of. So I may go down the led route now.

Paul
userBop
Posted: 14 May 2017 11:53 AM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Derek Uzzell - 2017-05-14 9:05 AM

There is a throw-away comment in the June 2017 issue of MMM magazine (Page 177) that suggests that Euro VI Ducatos with daytime running lights (which I was under the impression had been standard since the Ducato X290 range began to be marketed in 2014) might come with the instrument-lighting software ‘fix’ factory-fited, but I don’t know if that’s indeed the case.


Derek,

That's an interesting point regarding the DRL-Euro 6 combo. We are having to pay extra money for DRLs on our new Ducato van. It may be just one more way of the dealer extracting money from us but we did find during our hunt for a new MH that a few manufacturers were charging extra for DRLs.

I just hope that our new van does not have the same problem as our current Autotrail does; the other day I found myself having to run with the main lights on just to verify the speedo reading in a village. This is a poor show considering how much these vehicles cost.

All the best,

Andrew

Edited by Bop 2017-05-14 12:05 PM
userBryan40
Posted: 14 May 2017 12:09 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Bop - 2017-05-14 11:53 AM

Derek Uzzell - 2017-05-14 9:05 AM

There is a throw-away comment in the June 2017 issue of MMM magazine (Page 177) that suggests that Euro VI Ducatos with daytime running lights (which I was under the impression had been standard since the Ducato X290 range began to be marketed in 2014) might come with the instrument-lighting software ‘fix’ factory-fited, but I don’t know if that’s indeed the case.


Derek,

That's an interesting point regarding the DRL-Euro 6 combo. We are having to pay extra money for DRLs on our new Ducato van. It may be just one more way of the dealer extracting money from us but we did find during our hunt for a new MH that a few manufacturers were charging extra for DRLs.

I just hope that our new van does not have the same problem as our current Autotrail does; the other day I found myself having to run with the main lights on just to verify the speedo reading in a village. This is a poor show considering how much these vehicles cost.

All the best,

Andrew


Andrew.

Good luck with that. I am sure its not an Auto-Trail problem its an issue with the Fiat chassis cab. Our new Auto-Trail came with DRLs as standard and still has the dashboard lighting problem - even with the software update.

Bryan
userBop
Posted: 14 May 2017 4:31 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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I still have to question the integrity of the manufacturer's quality control system to some extent, i.e. the Ducato base vehicle is received by the converter who then allows the finished van to be distributed to a dealer with a known issue.

The whole thing smells of 'get it in and out asap'.

userKeith T
Posted: 14 May 2017 4:43 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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I'm collecting my new Autotrail 610 SE which is PVC in a week or so - can I expect the dash lighting to be correct, and how can I tell at the outset (ie in daylight) if it has been done...will the dealer have access to something which says what updates have been done??
Anyone on this forum had or heard from friends etc who have taken delivery of a 2017 model X290
??

userBryan40
Posted: 14 May 2017 5:36 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Keith T - 2017-05-14 4:43 PM

I'm collecting my new Autotrail 610 SE which is PVC in a week or so - can I expect the dash lighting to be correct, and how can I tell at the outset (ie in daylight) if it has been done...will the dealer have access to something which says what updates have been done??
Anyone on this forum had or heard from friends etc who have taken delivery of a 2017 model X290
??


We took delivery of a Auto-Trail Scout on 3 April and although the dashboard lighting comes on when the ignition key is turned I cannot read the speedo easily in daylight (see previous posts). Unless your motorhome dealer is also a Fiat Professional workshop they will not be able to assist you. Also make sure you get the latest March 2017 Owners Handbook - mine came with an 05/2015 edition (date on last page facing back cover) which above all things quotes the wrong engine oil for Euro 6 engines. Have a look at the Auto-Trail Owners Club website (www.atocuk.com) and you will see articles and updates I wrote on the issue. I am still trying to get an up-to-date Owners Handbook from Fiat at no charge!!
Bryan
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 15 May 2017 8:27 AM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 


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To the best of my knowledge daytime running lights (DRLs) have been part of the standard specification of all UK-marketed Boxers/Ducatos/Relays since the introduction of ‘X290' models in 2014. However, there are two distinct flavours of X290 headlamp, with the cheaper (standard) version using a W21/5W bulb for the front side-light/DRL and the significantly more expensive (optional) variant that has the DRL as an separate LED strip integrated into the headlamp’s front. As far as I’m aware it has never been possible to order a UK-specification X290 WITHOUT a DRL system, but it is commonplace for motorhome manufacturers to offer the LED DRL headlamp option at extra cost.

It is generally accepted that the Fiat software revision that switches on the backlighting of a Ducato X290’s instrument-cluster cannot be applied to Ducato X250s, nor to Citroen Relays of Peugeot Boxers (whether X290 or X250 models) and the reason for this is simply that the software revision is only compatible with the ECU of an X290 Ducato. An X290’s speedometer-dial design differs from that of an X250 (see attached photos of X250 and X290 Lockwood dials). The X290’s speedometer-dial is more ‘busy’, but it’s the different ECU that’s the show-stopper as far as the software-revision is concerned.

As far as I can make out there is very little difference in daylight-readability between a standard X290’s instrument-cluster and an X250’s. I was told by a Fiat Professional agent that the readability problem became much more acute when the X290 cluster was fitted with the optional blingy chromed trim (3rd attached photo) and it was this factor that ‘encouraged’ Fiat to develop the software revision. (See also this 2015 Fiat Forum link.)

http://www.fiatforum.com/ducato/425538-new-ducato-imala-m-home-instrument-cluster-illumination.html

When taking delivery of a new Ducato X290 it should be visually obvious whether or not the instrument-cluster’s backlighting illuminates when the vehicle’s ignition is switched on. Being intended initially for nightime use the backlighting is not going to be ‘lighthouse’ bright, but it’s certainly bright enough to easily tell the whether the backlighting is on or off.

In Bryan40’s case, I’m doubtful that his difficulty reading the 20mph-60mph section of the speedometer indicates anything physically wrong with the speedometer itself. There are individual LEDs behind the warning symbols, but I’m pretty sure there’s just a single light-source that backlights the complete speedometer-dial plus the speedometer needle (similarly for the rev-counter).



(X250 dial.jpg)



(X290 dial.jpg)



(Chome trim.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments X250 dial.jpg (33KB - 103 downloads)
Attachments X290 dial.jpg (37KB - 114 downloads)
Attachments Chome trim.jpg (18KB - 115 downloads)
userBop
Posted: 15 May 2017 9:01 AM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Derek Uzzell - 2017-05-15 8:27 AM

To the best of my knowledge daytime running lights (DRLs) have been part of the standard specification of all UK-marketed Boxers/Ducatos/Relays since the introduction of ‘X290' models in 2014. However, there are two distinct flavours of X290 headlamp, with the cheaper (standard) version using a W21/5W bulb for the front side-light/DRL and the significantly more expensive (optional) variant that has the DRL as an separate LED strip integrated into the headlamp’s front. As far as I’m aware it has never been possible to order a UK-specification X290 WITHOUT a DRL system, but it is commonplace for motorhome manufacturers to offer the LED DRL headlamp option at extra cost.


Derek,

You are 100% right as usual. I've just checked my receipt and we have purchased the LED DRLs and fog spotlight combo for £408

Perhaps it would have been cheaper to buy a couple of maglites and some duck tape.

'Thicky Bop' signing out.
userwatty55
Posted: 15 May 2017 10:41 AM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Hello,
If it's any help to anybody, we bought our X290 65 reg MH last autumn and noticed the poor dashboard visibility, after reading several threads on the subject we approached our local (Gloucester) Fiat professional dealer who informed us it was a free update.
It was duly done (took about 20 minutes) and have since noticed an "improvement", have not had chance yet to drive in different daylight conditions to see how effective the modification is.

Regards Watty
userBop
Posted: 15 May 2017 11:35 AM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Watty, some good info there. Many thanks

I have no trace of any dashboard backlight when I'm running in normal mode but when I activate the headlights then the dash illuminates nicely.

Following on from your modification: Does your backlight now illuminate at the same intensity for both modes (i.e. Lights on and off) or is there still a noticeable difference between the two.

Cheers,

Andrew
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 15 May 2017 1:23 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 


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In an April 2016 forum discussion about Ducato instrument lighting I wrote

"I’ve yet to see the effect of the software modification, so I don’t know if this just backlights the Ducato instrument-cluster as would happen if one switched on the headlamps or is more radical. I’ve experimented with switching on the headlamps during daylight and, although the backlit instruments are a bit more visible, I wasn’t sufficiently impressed to have the software mod done.However, as I’d like to be able to see the rev-counter more clearly I’ll probably front-light the instruments with an LED strip when I’ve decided how best to do this.”

I have asked (several times) what the exact effect of the Fiat software revision is. Is the result exactly the same as if the headlamps were switched on? Is the lighting confined to the instrument-cluster? Is the lighting brighter than when the headlamps are switched on? - but it seemed impossible for the owners of Ducatos who have had the revision carried out to be specific.

As I said then, I ended up front-lighting the instrument-cluster with an LED strip and I’ve attached a photo that (hopefully) shows the general effect.



(ledlight.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments ledlight.jpg (91KB - 128 downloads)
userLen Salisbury
Posted: 16 May 2017 11:48 AM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Derek how did you attach the LED strip. My oiginal plan came unstuck due to the heat being generated by the strip. The more powerful strip that was in my original plan I had to disconnect as it started to smell of burning but was lighting the instruments very good and was mounted on the steering column facing the instrumentation. I was under the impression that LED were low powered and virtually no heat being generated.

Edited by Len Salisbury 2017-05-16 11:51 AM
userBryan40
Posted: 16 May 2017 1:37 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Hi Derek.
Going back to your post on 15 May we brought the motorhome back yesterday and when it got dark I checked on the lighting of the speedo and rev counter dials - without turning on the lights - and you are right both were illuminated to the same intensity. So no progress in determining that there are other problems. The fact is that the Fiat design team have made a hash of the cluster and with the addition of the binnacles the dials are shielded. The result being that in bright daylight the speedo is unreadable.

I too am interested in your LED option but am concerned about wiring in the suggested switch and the LEDs themselves. I am practical but do not wish to invalidate any warranty by attaching additions by crimps etc to the existing wiring. Any suggestions on how to proceed?? Thanks
Bryan
usercrocs
Posted: 16 May 2017 2:07 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Yes, I too would be interested in a step by step guide to installing LEDs. Are you up for it Derek?
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 16 May 2017 2:21 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 


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When driving the LEDs are going to receive 'alternator voltage’ that will be above 14V and, consequently, the LEDs will get warm. It would be possible to regulate them down to 12V - when they would run cooler - but I didn’t bother and there haven’t been any signs of overheating.

I experimented with ordinary pointing-straight-down LEDs and the sideways-pointing versions and chose the latter. You may be able to see from the photo that there’s a black ‘strip’ visible under the cover - this is a narrow piece of thickish rubber that is directly behind the LED strip and avoids any possibility of back-glare.

The surface of the cover’s underside needs to be absolutely clean before positioning the LED strip on it. If this is not the case, and/or the adhesive used on the LED strip is not top quality, expect the strip to become detached when the LEDs warm up. Having decided where best on the cover’s underside to position the LED strip I removed the cover, drilled a hole to take the LED’s cable (the cover is double-walled), drilled a hole for the On/Off switch (it’s to the right of the tachometer, just out of shot in the photo). I then ran cables down to the fusebox near to the cab door, piggybacked on to an ignition-controlled fuse and connected to a handy earthing bolt.

The lighting arrangement only impacts on the original Fiat wiring where the supply-cable piggybacks on to the fuse. Potentially any DIY modification MIGHT invalidate a vehicle’s warranty, but this one is pretty risk-free as long as one is careful.

The X250 instrument-cluster design was poor when it came to readability and the X290 cluster with the chromed ‘hoods’ is worse. However, I don’t think that the X290 cluster without the chromed hoods is much inferior readability-wise to an X250’s and I’m a mite surprised such a fuss has been made about it (and even more surprised that Fiat did something about it) when all those thousands of X250-based motorhome owners didn’t seem to have been much concerned. Besides which there are plenty of vehicles with even worse in-daylight readable instruments (eg. my two Ford Transit-based motorhomes and my 2009 Skoda car).
usercolin
Posted: 16 May 2017 3:19 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 


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I've got to say, never had any problem with Fiat x250, and the Citreon x290, but not sure about chrome trim, so that may be the problem?
usercrocs
Posted: 16 May 2017 11:14 PM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Thanks for posting the guide, Derek. That helps knowing where to run the cable.

I tend to agree that, if they hadn't fitted the cowl, the light level would have been sufficient.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 17 May 2017 7:26 AM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 


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colin - 2017-05-16 3:19 PM

I've got to say, never had any problem with Fiat x250, and the Citreon x290, but not sure about chrome trim, so that may be the problem?


A photo of an X290’s instrument-cluster that has the chromed cowls is attached to my posting of 15 May 2017 8:27 AM above and I’ve attached another photo below where the panel’s lighting is illuminated.

In dim daylight conditions the cowls will tend to ‘shadow' the speedometer and tachometer dials but, when the backlighting is on, the shadowing effect may well improve dial-visibility.

The 29-06-2016 posting by “sharealike” in this Fiat Forum thread

http://www.fiatforum.com/ducato/425538-new-ducato-imala-m-home-instrument-cluster-illumination-4.html

shows a ‘cowled’ instrument-cluster with the transparent front section removed. It will be seen that the chromed trim is stuck to the transparent front, but the speedometer and tachometer both have their own cowl as part of the panel’s black plastic moulding.

It should be straightforward to convert a ‘cowled’ instrument-cluster into a ’non’cowled’ one, but you’d need the necessary bits. A local Fiat Professional agent told me that, when the instrument-cluster is replaced under warranty to resolve the spurious warning-lights problem, Fiat don’t normally ask for the original panel to be returned to them. So, if anyone wanted to ‘de-cowl’ their instrument-cluster, they might try scrounging a redundant faulty cluster from a Fiat Professional agent.



(cowls.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments cowls.jpg (18KB - 101 downloads)
userBryan40
Posted: 17 May 2017 7:50 AM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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Hi Derek
Thanks for the reference to the post on the other forum. The next post on that forum dated 6 July is interesting -

'Had the mod carried out by FIAT so that the dash lights are on all the time. Even on full brightness the dials are still hard to see, except in really dull conditions.
I have a small piece of tinfoil stuck to the top of the steering column with blue tac, mounted to reflect natural light through the windscreen onto the speedo. Works a treat.
Colin '

Before doing any more I am going to give the tinfoil idea a go and see what transpires.
Bryan
userBop
Posted: 17 May 2017 8:59 AM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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I appreciate the fact that we're all trying to root-cause the dash problem in this thread but you have to admit that this has become a comical topic (in some ways).

Can you imagine the scene when you hand over your £70,000 of hard earned cash for a new motorhome.

Customer: "I'm not accepting it unless you've done the tinfoil mod".

Dealer: "Sir, anything for you sir; it's all sorted sir - The addition of the tinfoil does look fantastic sir; it really finishes if off IMO - Sir".

Sorry guys

Edited by Bop 2017-05-17 9:02 AM
usercolin
Posted: 17 May 2017 9:27 AM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 


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Bop - 2017-05-17 8:59 AM

I appreciate the fact that we're all trying to root-cause the dash problem in this thread but you have to admit that this has become a comical topic (in some ways).

Can you imagine the scene when you hand over your £70,000 of hard earned cash for a new motorhome.

Customer: "I'm not accepting it unless you've done the tinfoil mod".

Dealer: "Sir, anything for you sir; it's all sorted sir - The addition of the tinfoil does look fantastic sir; it really finishes if off IMO - Sir".

Sorry guys


Funny enough that might be a solution, a chromed section in the column covering.
As for dash lighting, I must have posted this before, my Suzi (designed in conjunction with Fiat) has dash lighting which comes on when ignition is switched on. There are two different levels which can be set, with and without lighting, I have mine set full brightness without lights, and low level when lights are on, most of the time this works well, the exception is when I switch lights on in bright but poor visibility, in which case the dials are very hard to see.
userBryan40
Posted: 17 May 2017 9:53 AM
Subject: RE: fiat dashboard lighting?
 
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I have had the modification done and the background lighting comes on automatically with the ignition. However it is definitely not adjustable (I queried this with the Fait Professional dealership) and can only be dimmed when the sidelight/headlights are on. This is operated via the 'mode'. button.
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