Interior lights won't turn off | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Interior lights won't turn off


January 24, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Bohemia, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Explorer 2dr
I recently bought a 98 explorer sport and the previous owner said that he took out all of the interior lights because they would not turn off. Its getting really annoying at night with no lights at all. What would cause them to stay on? I looked for a switch or something that showed that the doors were open/closed but couldn't find anything. Checked all of my fuses as well. The outside courtesy lights on the mirrors dont work as well. Thanks!

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Try this
with engine running and in park, open the doors and hatch-also the hatch window, one by one. You should hear a "chime" when a door is opened. If you hear no chime, the switch in that door is not working.

Try searching for " door ajar" problems.

The chime/door ajar light went on for everything except when I popped the hood. Is it supposed to work for that also?

Not that I am aware of. Try rotating the thumb wheel --near the light switch. All the way up is "dome lights on" while rotating it down should turn them off. ( might be the other way around-)

It will also dim the cluster lights

I think you might have just solved my problem! When I turn the dimmer switch all the way down, the interior lights turn off. However, it i turn it up any amount, the interior lights come on and i hear a relay flickering on and off and the interior lights flicker.

EDIT! wow i cant believe i didnt realize that was also an interior light switch! Thanks! They work now. MY next task is finding all of the bulbs I need. Where could I find the sizes? I checked the front overhead lights and I have no idea what size they could be because there is no real "socket".

more likely a stuck relay (interior lamp relay) for the interior lights since the "door test" didn't indicate an "issue". Use a meter and check it out. The mirrors
"thing" is probably something else.

Okay for the map lights, the manual is telling me 168 (T10). HA! Thats definitely not the right bulb. The is no "socket" so that definitely wouldn't work. Its like a wire circuit and the bulb must have terminals on the ends to touch the circuit in order to work. Anyone know the bulb?

hey im pretty sure they are 195?? i think i am having a problem with my lights staying on but it wasnt the switch and the chime thing isnt working for me. anyway i got new bulbs at walmart for like 2 bucks they should have a book to tell you what number bulbs you need

For the map lights, they're supposed to be something like a 196 (the slightly "fatter" version of that, whatever that number is) in a socket, but in my truck (and I suspect most of the later 2nd gens) the bulb is integral to the socket. You'll either need a replacement bulb/socket unit from the dealer, or buy a replacement socket and a separate bulb - I don't know if parts stores carry the socket, but I know they're available from various online sellers.

Don't use the 196 bulb! I did that when my map light went out and it melted the plastic holder due to the heat from the bulb. 195 is what's suppose to go in there but the only place I coukd find it was the dealer. Unfortunately, it was to late for me. I remember not to long ago someone else had the same problem you did and it ended up being a bad wire in the junction box that connects all the wiring from the door to the inside of the cab. From what I hear, it is a common problem from 98 and up. Look for a black wire.