Dashboard lights flickering on and off and momentary loss of power on my 550.

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by Art H, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. Art H

    Art H Karting

    Apr 15, 2014
    Hello out there I appreciate any advice. Recently my 550 was working perfectly and suddenly the dashboard lights flicker on and off. ABS, ESR, Air Bag, Brake,Fluid level, and the intensity of the dashboard lights diminish. This is usually a couple minutes after starting the car. All of a sudden, the car almost wants to stall and it immediately goes Back to normal. I took it to my mechanic,And he ran all the tests. He said all is functioning well, charging well, etc. As usual, will you take it to the mechanic it performs well. Is this a fuse box issue, or a voltage regulator issue. Or possibly a faulty battery? Appreciate your comments.
  2. tantumaude

    tantumaude Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Mar 3, 2016
    Burlington, Canada
    Full Name:
    Sounds like the engine is struggling to maintain RPM and thus the alternator isn't generating enough juice at times. I'd check for vacuum leaks and fueling problems first.
  3. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Lifetime Rossa

    Jul 19, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    Full Name:
    Terry H Phillips
    My first thought is always a battery, because they are easy to change and relatively inexpensive. Get a good AGM battery for her. The alternator cable has also been a source of trouble.
    308 GTB likes this.
  4. Cribbj

    Cribbj Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Jan 1, 2011
    Full Name:
    In addition to the other suggestions, have a look at the main fuse/relay board too.
  5. ferraridriver

    ferraridriver F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Aug 8, 2002
    Bay Area Calif.
    Full Name:
    Open the fuse panel cover, on the right side wiggle the big battery cable a bit to see if this causes the problem. If nothing happens you can probably rule out the fuse panel.

    Cold solder joints are a known problem there.
  6. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Rookie

    Feb 20, 2015
    Full Name:
    Ian Riddell
    Was there some delay between the flickering lights and engine stumble? If a few moments before, then it is more likely to be an electrical problem rather than an engine problem causing the electrical problem.

    By dashboard lights, do you mean the instrument background lights or the warning lights? Was it at night and you had your headlights on?

    I'm trying to tie the fault lights to a specific fuse or device. I'm not sure what powers the airbag system on the 550. It may be the "Instrument" fuse (as it is on the 456). The Instrument fuse also powers the following:

    Power steering ECU
    Some parts of the adjustable shock absorber system (including the vertical acceleration sensor)
    Part of the voltage control circuit of the alternator
    Instruments. The instruments also relay certain data to the engine management system, such as vehicle speed, but I'm not sure if that would make the engine stumble.

    If we can establish which came first, the chicken or the egg... this would be a step in the right direction.
  7. franschman

    franschman Karting

    Dec 18, 2017
    Full Name:
    Bart Boosman
    Not wanting to be smart, but to me this sounds as an intermittent bad contact in one of the main power leads. Like corrosion on a battery pole, main ground, etc.
    You could run the engine in the dark, open the hood and wiggle all main cables starting with the battery. Sometimes you can literally see the poor contact.
    Canuck550 likes this.
  8. scowman

    scowman Formula 3

    Mar 25, 2014
    Scottsdale AZ
    Full Name:
    Stu Boogie
    Not sure if the 550 is same as 456 but a bad dash light dimmer connection will cause 456 lights to flicker. Not sure about power loss though.
  9. killer58

    killer58 Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Jun 30, 2010
    CA & DC
    I had the exact same symptoms in my 456M when I first got it.
    Turned out it was the first indications of the alternator going bad.
    Don't know the 550, but the 456 is very sensitive to voltage drops. All sorts of weird stuff happens!

    Mine does the same so that may be a common issue, but it doesn't trigger the various warning lights or the stumbling.
  10. Art H

    Art H Karting

    Apr 15, 2014
    Hey guys, thanks for all your input! I took my car to Dany at Modena Eurosports and it turned out to be a bad battery! I hope this is it! By the way , those of you with 550s, does the battery light come on for a few seconds after a cold start? I’m told this is normal as my alternator is charging perfectly and my battery is new(AGM) .
    Qavion likes this.
  11. ferraridriver

    ferraridriver F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Aug 8, 2002
    Bay Area Calif.
    Full Name:
    Yes, it comes on sometimes due to the voltage regulator limiting the voltage output to avoid overcharging the and blowing the diodes because just after the starting draw the battery may show a lower than normal voltage and ask for full voltage. It's called a "Soft Start"

    The light should go out in a couple of seconds.
    308 GTB and Qavion like this.
  12. Art H

    Art H Karting

    Apr 15, 2014

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