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Too-Bright Hi-Beam Indicator...FIXED!


SM 2004
SM 2003
Full Member
Apr 1, 2003
Somewhere in IN
One of the few gripes the wife and I have about our 2003 AV was that the Hi-Beam indicator light was nearly blinding at night. A week or so ago I started a thread asking if anyone had figured out how to fix it, and the reply basically came back as no, so this weekend I decided to see what I could come up with.

Someone had mentioned putting a current-limiting resistor in line with the light, but even for this electronics engineer, I was hoping to find something which had a lower risk of "screwing up something expensive". From a manufacturing engineering point of view, that would have been the preferred fix, doing either a redesign of the circuit board or doing a "cut and jumper" level of fix. But for me in the driveway tweaking mode, I wanted to try to find something cheap, easy, and with low chance of breaking anything in the process.

I removed the trim piece that surrounds the gauges, radio, H/AC, etc. It snaps into place, and was fairly easy to remove. It took me a while to realize the obvious, but you need to move the steering column all the way down and move the shift lever into the low gear position in order to remove the trim piece after getting it loose from the dash. There were 4 screws holding the gauges in place. After removing those screws, other than the wiring harness, the instrument package was free. The wiring harness had a snap-in fastener taped to it, and I pulled the fastener out of its socket to give me a little more room to work without unplugging the harness (which didn't seem obvious at first inspection how it could be unplugged).

The instrument package is a multi-decker sandwich assembly, with for lack of a better word, clips from the 2 outermost sandwich layers securing those layers to a middle layer. I unclipped the front layer, which basically removed the clear cover that we look through while driving. I lifted up the edge of the instrument face (it is fairly thin, about the thickness and stiffness of a business card) and looked at what was directly behind the hi-beam symbol that lights up with the hi-beams. The layer behind the instrument face was a 3-d plastic piece which separated the face from the circuit board holding the hi-beam indicator light and other circuitry. This 3-d piece was roughly a half-inch wide. To keep an indicator light from partially lighting up nearby idiot-light symbols, this 3-d piece had what amounted to "tunnels" between the idot lights on the circuit board and their associated symbology cutouts in the instrument face. I thought to myself what could I put over the face end of that "tunnel" to filter out a good deal of that light, but not too much of the light. As luck would have it, I think I stumbled onto something that is just about perfect, the first time I tried something. I had some bright blue (about the color of the hi-beam indicator light) electrical tape lying around the garage. I ripped off a piece of that and covered the face end of the "tunnel" with it. Since I hadn't unplugged the wiring harness, I could pull back the turn-signal switch to activate the hi-beams in their flash-to-pass mode and take a quick look at how bright the indicator was during daylight. It was clearly visible in the daylight, but seemed quite subdued. I put everything back together, and had a chance to test it out last night. To my eyes, it is just about perfect. It is clearly visible of course, but it is no longer impossible to ignore like it used to be, where you wanted to hold up your left hand in front of it so that it wasn't messing up your night vision.
Pics please!

I had intended to take a picture last night of the instrument cluster with the hi-beams on, and with cruise control on, since in my 03 the cruise control indicator is next to the hi-beam indicator, and in a picture one could compare the 2 brightness levels. (I think that they are now just about the same.) Unfortunately, I had too many honey-dos to do last night, and never got around to taking the picture. Will try to get that done tonight.
Thanks. I've had the same complaint. I'll wait for the Denali cluster should be in next week, then do it all at once.
Okay, I now have proof that I can chew gum and walk at the same time, or at least drive down a dark road and take a picture of my dashboard at the same time:

Even shining through the tape, the indicator is still at least as bright as the cruise control indicator light. The illumination for the guages is set at about "half".

Here is a shot of the tape that I used:

I've never posted pictures before, I hope this works.
I'll try this again by attaching the files. Here is the pic of the dash.


  • dashboard.jpg
    66.5 KB · Views: 49
After reading about ways to dim it, I went out and looked at my new 2500 Series Cluster. It's not as bright!!!! WOW a free fix.........well not really free!
thought you would enjoy this info.
Anyone else swapped a 03 1500 cluster for an 03 Avalanche 2500 cluster???

airems said:
After reading about ways to dim it, I went out and looked at my new 2500 Series Cluster. It's not as bright!!!! WOW a free fix.........well not really free!
thought you would enjoy this info.
Anyone else swapped a 03 1500 cluster for an 03 Avalanche 2500 cluster???


Jeff,... that gives you the transmission temp gage,..right?

Main one,
did you have the reprogramming done to reduce the brightness of the highbeam indicator light first?

Kudos to this forum and to Shapeshifter (karma comin' at you) who first mentioned the reprogramming fix for the high beam indicator on my '03 1500 Z71 after I complained at the WNY group fall foliage GTG.

I took the AV into the dealer today with 11K miles on it and had them reprogram the cluster. Had to wait until after dark to tell, but just took a short test drive and the high beam indicator no longer destroys my night vision. It's still brighter than I'd like, but then I keep my dash lights very dim. I'm happy enough that I probably won't bother to put the window tint over it when the free sample arrives in the mail, let alone pull the cluster to put blue electrical tape over it. Nice to have your pick of fixes.

Of course, I don't get credit for a mod. :rolleyes:

Was near my local dealer, stopped in and explained the "too bright high beam indicator" problem. But as I mentioned before, the one in the 2500 Series cluster seem dimmer. I gave him the TSB # and he said "he'd take care of it." I left it and returned 2 hours later. I was in a hurry so I didn't ask any questions (it was still daylight). Later that night I took a look......................................no difference, it was the same as it was when I installed the 2500 cluster. So can I assume the 2500 cluster has the "fix" included? That's what I thought when I installed it, but wanted to see if we could make it ever dimmer. As I drive with my dash light almost off. I'm in rural AZ and have to street lights. The bright cluster ruins my night vision..........................................
Thought you might like to know this.
The dealer I bought my truck from DIO'd my escalade cluster also. I noticed that the BLI was too bright as compared to the "2 day old" one.. When I changed the radio HU they didn't charge the time to un-theftlock it because it was "near" the TechII settings area as the BLI setting; a warranty-covered issue. Lukked out!