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Troubleshooting a weird electrical problem. Headlights and indicators.

 
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:43 PM
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Troubleshooting a weird electrical problem. Headlights and indicators.

Hi everyone, I've currently got a problem with my lights and I need some help troubleshooting.

Currently, with the headlights on, only the passenger side lights up and none of my indicators work. The indicators will only work when the headlights are off.

I've had this problem for a while so a friend hooked up the wires from the passenger side headlight and spliced it with the driver side headlight. Both headlights will light up, and all the indicators would work except the front driver side turn indicator. The front driver side turn indicator would just flash on the dash rapidly as if a bulb was out. After driving like this for a bit, I noticed something. Whenever I turned on the AC and made the fan spin, my front driver side turn indicator would flash dimly. Very rarely though my indicator would work properly.

I rewired everything back to normal to try to trouble shoot.

1. Engine off, key out, 4 ways on, headlights off, both headlights plugged in.

All indicators work, multimeter reads driver side turn signal is flashing from 16~ to 0~ volts. Same for passenger side.

2. Engine off, key out, 4 ways on, headlights on, both headlights plugged in.

Driver side headlight not lit. Passenger side headlight is lit.
No indicators flash.
Driver side rear brake light is dimly lit.
Drive side rear turn signal is dimly lit.
On dash green left turn signal is dimly lit. Indicator is still lit with 4 ways off.
Driver side front turn signal is lit.

3. Engine off, key out, 4 ways on, headlights on, only passenger side headlight is connected.

Passenger headlight is lit.
Driver side connector reads 14~ to 0~ volts, flashing.
All indicators flash except driver side front turn signal.
Driver side front side marker on bumper flashes.
Small red light inside driver side headlight flashes.
Dash flashes normally.

4. Engine off, key out, 4 ways on, headlights on, only driver side headlight is connected.

Driver side headlight is not lit.
Passenger side connector reads 12~ volts, constant.
No indicators flash.
Driver side rear brake light is dimly lit.
Drive side rear turn signal is dimly lit.
On dash green left turn signal is dimly lit. Indicator is still lit with 4 ways off.
Driver side front turn signal is lit.

5. Engine off, key out, 4 ways on, headlights on, no headlights connected.

Driver side connector reads 14~ to 0~ volts, flashing.
Passenger side connector reads 12~ volts, constant.
All indicators flash except driver side front turn signal.
Driver side front side marker on bumper flashes.
Small red light inside driver side headlight flashes.
Dash flashes normally.

6. Engine off, key out, 4 ways on, headlights off, all connected.

All indicators work.

7. Engine off, key out, 4 ways on, headlights off, one or all headlight connectors disconnected.
All indicators flash except driver side front turn signal.
Driver side front side marker on bumper flashes.
Small red light inside driver side headlight flashes.
Driver side headlight connector reads 2.5~ to 0~ constant, flashing.
Passenger side reads 0~ volts, constant.

I know some of my testing methods is a bit spltochy, I'll probably go over it again tomorrow and do a better job at testing everything in each set up.

I've checked tried swapping headlight fuses between each other to see if the driver side would light up and the passenger side would be off, but it didn't work. I tried pulling the small light fuse to see what would happen, I didn't notice anything on the outside. I tried pulling out the headlight relay and all it did was have the same results except for having headlights out.

I tried checking the driver side wires for a crossed connection, but they run into the bumper/fender. I removed the bumper and followed them but the flow into the fender. I tried removing the fender but my tools couldn't get into the bolts where the fender meets the door crack.

How to I test relays and fuses to see if they are working properly?

I noticed that on the passenger side headlight, the small red bulb has 3 wires coming from it while the driver side only has 2. Is that normal?

What is the female connection for near the windshield wiper fluid? It's in a grey housing with a white female inside tied into the wiring harness on the driver side.

I'm not electrically (or mechanically, haha) inclined so are there are easy routes that I'm missing?

Thanks for reading, hopefully with some help I can figure this out soon.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:57 PM
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Re: Troubleshooting a weird electrical problem. Headlights and indicators.

Did your wiring get wet?

I would also suggest searching for some of the answers to your questions and for a manual for your model year. The maniual will contain wiring diagrams to help troubleshoot the problems you're having. Be advised, electrical systems are best left to those who have experience.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:05 PM
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Re: Troubleshooting a weird electrical problem. Headlights and indicators.

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Originally Posted by Qluder View Post
Did your wiring get wet?

I would also suggest searching for some of the answers to your questions and for a manual for your model year. The maniual will contain wiring diagrams to help troubleshoot the problems you're having. Be advised, electrical systems are best left to those who have experience.
I don't know, I'm sure that's a possibility.

Yeah, I might just take it in, but I'm looking for some advice before moving on.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:46 PM
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Re: Troubleshooting a weird electrical problem. Headlights and indicators.

Could be a bad ground. I had a problem similar to this but that was awhile ago so I forgot my exact symptoms. But what I did to fix it was I ran a new ground from the side wall of the engine bay to the driver's side headlight. Good luck!
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:21 AM
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Re: Troubleshooting a weird electrical problem. Headlights and indicators.

^^seconded

I know it's a different car, but my camaro did the same thing and it was a ground issue
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:36 AM
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Re: Troubleshooting a weird electrical problem. Headlights and indicators.

Hot darn that's a mess!!! It definitely could be a bad ground, but if not, it depends on how long this problem has been going on. Has it been going on since you got it? If so, try to contact the previous owner and see if he tried to do some work and just royally screwed something up. If it's just recently started doing that, think about all the things that have happened to your car…and go from there.
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:47 PM
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Re: Troubleshooting a weird electrical problem. Headlights and indicators.

Quote:
Originally Posted by westernprelude View Post
Hot darn that's a mess!!! It definitely could be a bad ground, but if not, it depends on how long this problem has been going on. Has it been going on since you got it? If so, try to contact the previous owner and see if he tried to do some work and just royally screwed something up. If it's just recently started doing that, think about all the things that have happened to your car…and go from there.
I've had this problem for a long time now. I bought this car from a local dealer that flips auction cars, so no previous owner to contact.

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Originally Posted by LudesRule01 View Post
Could be a bad ground. I had a problem similar to this but that was awhile ago so I forgot my exact symptoms. But what I did to fix it was I ran a new ground from the side wall of the engine bay to the driver's side headlight. Good luck!
Quote:
Originally Posted by 954thgenlude View Post
^^seconded

I know it's a different car, but my camaro did the same thing and it was a ground issue

Alright, I'm gonna try to run a new ground to the headlight and see if it works.
Is it alright if I just wire the black wire on the headlight connector to a bolt or battery ground?



EDIT: I created a new ground by connecting the black wire on the headlight connector to a nearby bolt. The headlight works, but the driver side front turn signal still isn't working with headlights on. Headlights off and all indicators work again.

Last edited by Groovu; 11-12-2012 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:39 PM
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Re: Troubleshooting a weird electrical problem. Headlights and indicators.

Did these lights ever function correctly for you?

Are the conditions the same when you select high beams / low beams?

Difficult to troubleshoot this problem not being "hands on".
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:15 PM
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Re: Troubleshooting a weird electrical problem. Headlights and indicators.

YES! I've got it all to work properly now. Not sure how long it will last, but it'll do for now!

So I connected the old ground to the headlight, then connected that ground to the bolt on the chasis and its working now. (Like a Y connection to the bolt)

Thank you everyone for helping me out, I'm so excited right now, holy shiiiiiiiit!!!

Last edited by Groovu; 11-12-2012 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:08 PM
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Re: Troubleshooting a weird electrical problem. Headlights and indicators.

Use solder/heat shrink and it will last close to forever. Glad I could help!
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:17 PM
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Re: Troubleshooting a weird electrical problem. Headlights and indicators.

be sure to check out the resource thread here at pz for your generation prelude. manuals available there.
check your ground connections as much as possible. these are older cars and connections get sketchy over time due to oxidation.

if i had my druthers i'd say you obtained your prized possesion at an auction because the previous owner had electrical issues as well. i've known many a car owner to trade their vehicle in for simple but hard to spot basic electrical issues like you've had.

glad you're all lit up.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:59 PM
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Re: Troubleshooting a weird electrical problem. Headlights and indicators.

Glad to help man
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