How to Troubleshoot a Peterbilt Electrical Panel

by Terry Hollis
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The electrical panel on Peterbilt trucks is located in the front cab of the truck on the passenger or driver's side, depending on the truck model. It controls the truck's instrument cluster, including gas gauge, warning lights and the air pressure sensors. The panel includes a circuit breaker and fuses, and has color-coded wires to make maintenance easier. For example, white is grounded and red is protected up to 12 volts. If you're experiencing problems with your instrument panel or sensors, troubleshooting your electrical panel is the first place to begin looking for a solution.

Step 1

Reset your circuit breaker. If you have an outage in your dashboard, like a radio that won't play, you may need to reset your circuit breaker in the electrical panel. Circuit breakers are used to protect the circuit from power surges, and can occasionally blow out. Peterbilt circuit breakers can either be reset by a switch located in the electrical panel or by unplugging the entire circuit and plugging it back in. You can also consider replacing it with an automatically resetting circuit breaker.

Step 2

Check for corrosion. Corroded wires can lead to problems like alarms going off without cause or dashboard lights flashing on and off uncontrollably. Check for leaking around the electrical panel, which could be coming from the windshield or the pass-through holes that feed the wires into the electrical panel. Moisture can also freeze around wires, causing them to become disconnected. If you do see corrosion, have your wires replaced.

Step 3

Look for missing wire harnesses. If you or your mechanic has recently done work on your truck's electrical wiring, the wire harness might not have been replaced. The wiring harness bundles the wires together according to factory specifications, preventing chaffing of the insulation and eventual grounding and shorting of the circuit. It's also possible that the harness may have been replaced, but the wires were bundled incorrectly. Check the wiring diagram for your truck and rebundle your wires correctly, or replace the missing harness.

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