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Radio re-sets (every time) after turning on headlights

 
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Old 04-25-2016, 12:43 AM
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Radio re-sets (every time) after turning on headlights

My 1991 2.0 si auto-transmission has had a weird electrical problem lately that I can't figure out. Too much to get into but the latest is when I turn on the headlights, the stereo will stop playing and re-set.

If that wasn't enough, I am experiencing battery drain and the speed sensor/odometer stopped working, too. Add to that, the cluster gauge is randomly flashing different warnings YET everything SEEMS to be fine. And I did a parasitic-drain test yesterday but there appeared to be no problems.

So for now, what could be up with the radio/headlights? Anyone ever experience this? And I've been checking for loose/cracked/broken wires inside and in engine area but I haven't found anything yet. Basically, the electrical system is acting like a broken robot and I'm so burned out from it. Thx in advance for responding-
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Old 04-25-2016, 11:01 AM
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Re: Radio re-sets (every time) after turning on headlights

Electrical issues can be frustrating. There are a couple of different common causes when you have strange symptoms that seem unrelated like you're seeing. One is that you could have a bad common ground. The other is a worn ignition switch. Both can give you a combination of symptoms like what you're seeing. The easiest of the two is the ignition switch, because some of the grounding points are difficult to access, and the one you're most likely going to need to check requires removal of the dash in order to get to it.

Do you have a lot of weight on your key chain? If so, try removing everything else and use just the ignition key and see if you still have the same symptoms. Excess weight on the key can cause issues on an old ignition switch.
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Old 04-25-2016, 02:04 PM
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Re: Radio re-sets (every time) after turning on headlights

I let a relative borrow my car for a while and I did notice I had to wiggle the key to get it to start- something I never had to do anymore. They just shove the key in and crank it. I put the key in for a second then turn it so the fuel pump primes and the radio comes on- for a few seconds. I will look into the ignition switch because after they used the car for a while, it's all f***ed up now. And I know they like to back up in reverse then just throw it in drive without coming to a complete stop. Damn. Ok, I got to look into it and I'll let you know, luzer
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Old 04-25-2016, 04:22 PM
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Re: Radio re-sets (every time) after turning on headlights

That's exactly the reason I neither loan out a car nor borrow a car. I have in the past and it never comes back in the same condition that it left. And for the same reason I don't borrow a car because it seems like something always happens to it, no matter how insignificant.

Hopefully it's the ignition switch that's causing your issues. There is a write-up on prelude3g.com on how to disassemble it and clean it up it so that it works again.

Here is the write-up...
Ignition Switch Fix
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Old 04-25-2016, 06:05 PM
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Re: Radio re-sets (every time) after turning on headlights

Going to give it a try today. Thx for link. And ps- I kind of had to let them borrow it. I was out of town and they watched the house but you're right-- it never comes back the same and SOMETHING always goes wrong. Funny, I hate to borrow another's car, too, because like you said-- usually something will get f***ed
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Old 04-27-2016, 03:10 PM
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Re: Radio re-sets (every time) after turning on headlights

I haven't forgot. Just got too busy with other things. Will update soon
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Old 05-04-2016, 04:56 PM
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Re: Radio re-sets (every time) after turning on headlights

Just an update- I think I found the issue. When the door is not fully closed, the battery drains quickly. I thought it was the door latch safety latch but it's not and the car does not have power windows or power locks. The only other wiring in the car door (only the driver's side as far as I can tell) is from the speaker wire. Still don't know what it is but at least I have something to focus on and work with. More later
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Old 05-05-2016, 10:22 AM
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Re: Radio re-sets (every time) after turning on headlights

Your car has USDM seat belts I'm assuming (located in the door). A fairly common cause of battery drain is the power seat belt tensioners can sometimes short out. There is a fuse you can pull and see if your battery drain is still happening, but I forget which fuse it is off the top of my head. If I have some time later I'll try to find out, but you should be able to search on that and find it for yourself.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:02 AM
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Re: Radio re-sets (every time) after turning on headlights

Yes, I think it's fuse 7. And I'll show pictures later but it is the seatbelt retractor on the drivers side. The lower sensor assembly is broken and loose inside the door panel. I'll show some pics when I get a chance but I think the battery is STILL draining even though I disconnected the seatbelt sensors. I'll try to figure it out but there's probably more to the story than just a busted sensor. I'll update soon
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Old 05-10-2016, 12:33 AM
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Re: Radio re-sets (every time) after turning on headlights

So it seemed like it was the broken driver's seatbelt retractor motor that was draining the battery but it happened again, where the battery goes low and the car seems like it has a bead battery/bad alternator. The seatbelt fuse was taken out at the time (fuse 7). Then after sitting for an hour, I turned the key, and the battery was back to life like nothing ever happened and I drove home. I can't figure out this mysterious battery drain. The amperage test showed it was the seatbelt retractor but after taking the fuse out for that, the electrcial is still acting up. I'll update again
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Old 05-10-2016, 01:37 PM
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Re: Radio re-sets (every time) after turning on headlights

How old is your battery? Take your car to any auto parts store near you and ask them to test the charging system. This will include testing the battery. Most will do this for free, because they figure that if something is bad you will buy a replacement from them. If the store tells you they will charge for this then take it to another store. My local NAPA will do this for free, as will my local O'Reilley's.
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