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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-04-2003, 01:13 PM
thebear
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Headlight problems continue...electrical gurus?

Hi guys,

I recently turned on my low beam headlights, and they no longer worked. There also was no power to the trim lights and fog lights I had wired to them (with in-line fuses). I don't see any kind of fuse for the low beams (my truck is a 1990 k1500).

My high beams work fine, as do the other lights I had spliced into the low beams, as I have since spliced them into the highbeams, so it wasn't an accessory related short, etc.

Someone suggested to replace my headlight switch, which I did, but still no power to the hot wire to the low beams, tan in color, I believe.

If anyone has any other suggestions or some type of diagnostic path to follow, I would very much appreciate it.

Thanks,

Scott
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 10-05-2003, 06:51 AM
Phazer
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Re: Headlight problems continue...electrical gurus?

Check your dimmer switch. The connector is probably melted also. I wouldn't blame the extra lights, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to put a relay on your "add-ons".
The easiest way to get to your dimmer is to remove the panel above your knees and unbolt the steering column at the knee bolster bracket. DON'T FORGET TO UNHOOK THE "SHIFT INDICATOR" CABLE!!!
When your sitting in the seat, the dimmer is located at about the "11:00 oclock" position.

Hope this helps....
post #3 of (permalink) Old 10-05-2003, 10:19 AM
thebear
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Re: Headlight problems continue...electrical gurus?

Ok, Phazer, let me see if I have this straight...

I concur it could be the dimmer switch (I am assuming you mean the signal/wiper arm on the steering column), particularily because I twice saw it "puff electrical smoke", although some time before this incident.

So what you are saying is that I have to change out the signal/wiper arm? Is that the dimmer switch? If not, I am not exactly clear on where to find it, although I think you are probably right.

I did try to get at the wires that hook up to the signal/wiper thing on the steering column, but what I ended up doing was making a mess of the black cover in front of it (which I now suspect is only removed/installed with the steering wheel OFF). As a result, my signal arm is no longer hooked up to the metal rod that switches from high to low, although I can push the rod with my fingers, and switch from high to low manually. Of course the low still does not work.

Is the dimmer switch you are referring to at the end of that rod? If so how in the heck do I get to it? I am now pretty convinced that it has nothing to do with the signal/wiper arm itself, after breaking that cover, I now see that it's only connection to all of this is to move that metal rod back and forth to switch from hi to low beam, and vice verca.

So inshort, I think you might have me on the right track, but I am at the point where I am still quite unclear what the dimmer switch is, and how to get to it. If you can elaborate once again for me it would be greatly appreciated.

Scott
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 10-06-2003, 05:26 AM
Phazer
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Re: Headlight problems continue...electrical gurus?

LOL.......8>)

The dimmer switch is on the steering column just above your shins. Yes, at the end of the rod. You can probably feel it and see it if you lay on the floor. Like I said, if your sitting in the seat, the dimmer is at the 11:00 position. I would guess about 1-1/2 ft up the column from the firewall. The screws/bolts that hold it in also hold the ignition switch in, but you won't have to mess with that. Go to the parts store and ask to look at one, and see if they have the connector also....
post #5 of (permalink) Old 10-07-2003, 10:12 AM
thebear
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Re: Headlight problems continue...electrical gurus?

Hi,

Thanks for all of the help. I did indeed find the switch, and although it was a little difficult to install with all of my alarm wiring in the vacinity, got the new one in, and I am all set.

Now, can someone explain the basics of setting up my accessory lighting which is wired to my low beams up on a relay? I thought I had it covered with inline fuses, but I guess not. Certainly, replacing that dimmer switch is not something I care to do on a regular basis...

Thanks,

Scott
post #6 of (permalink) Old 10-07-2003, 12:01 PM
Phazer
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Re: Headlight problems continue...electrical gurus?

The headlight "system" is/was only designed for so many amps. When you start adding, the demands are too great and any "contacts" that open/close will get hot and take a beating. You need to get a decent diagrahm of how a relay works and set-up your "add-ons" that way. You can use any low amp source as the "exciter" circuit but almost need a direct connection to the battery.
Dimmer switches are a weak point on GM anyway. All the clicking can cause the connector to come loose and that will melt the switch/connector also. Blower motors are also a bad system.

Hope this helps.... [img]images/graemlins/givemebeer.gif[/img]
post #7 of (permalink) Old 10-07-2003, 12:24 PM
thebear
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Re: Headlight problems continue...electrical gurus?

Phazer,

I think I am finding that my truck has EVERY typical Chevy gremlin there is in these models. I laughed when you mentioned the blower...mines makes a ticking racket (not to be confused with a leaf or something caught, but something actually clicking in the system), so much that for the longest time I thought the ticking was coming from behind the instrument panel. I have yet to figure that whole issue out. Hahaha.

Scott
post #8 of (permalink) Old 10-07-2003, 01:57 PM
Phazer
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Re: Headlight problems continue...electrical gurus?

Blower motor tick is about the most annoying problem there is. In '88 they put the motor inside the cab below the glovebox. No real fix....besides replacment. You can drill a hole in the lower bearing area and oil it, but you can't get to the upper. (without destroying it) [img]images/graemlins/cussing.gif[/img]
Two problems with blower motors.

1: Not enough room to remove. Looks easy, but you have 6 inches to pull out an 8 inch item.

2: Press-on impellers. Get the bolt on type or buy a motor with the impeller already on it.

K Wag
post #9 of (permalink) Old 10-10-2003, 07:06 AM
thebear
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Re: Headlight problems continue...electrical gurus?

Phazer,

Check this out. After getting all the lights back to normal, I was driving with my low beams on in the dusk of last night, and pulled up to a storefront, and could see the truck's relection in the storefront glass. To my horror, I could see that not only were my low beams on, but my high beams as well - at the same time! And they were flickering on and off...but both on the same time, when they were on. WTF? Did I install a bad switch? Or is there something else that would cause this? Very frustrating not having the reliability of working headlights. Any insights would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Scott
post #10 of (permalink) Old 10-10-2003, 01:41 PM
Phazer
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Re: Headlight problems continue...electrical gurus?

One of three possible situations.....

#1. It's "rigged" to run all 4 hdlmps(w/o relay) when on highbeam. Needs a relay to do this. With no relay, your pulling an awful lot of amps through the headlight switch. There is a "breaker" inside the switch. It could be popping off and on. Does this also happen when only the lows are on?

#2. Yes...when you wired your aux lights with a relay, you wired it wrong somehow. Doesn't have to be connected to the headlamp system unless you use that system as the "control".

#3. Something else went wrong. This is the $1000.00 question.

If it didn't do this before, I'd say you hooked something up wrong.
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