2000 Ford Windstar Battery draining/lights

Tiny
KEVINF
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 FORD WINDSTAR
Electrical problem
2000 Ford Windstar Automatic 109488 miles

I parked the van yesterday around 3PM.

I returned to the van around 6PM and I noticed the rear (tail) lights were lit.

I looked in front, and the headlights were not lit.

I checked the headlight switch and it was off. The headlights were not used when the van was driven and parked.

I attempted to start the van and just got some clicks. Battery was near dead.

Now, the tail lights were off.

I returned to the van a few more hours later, and I noticed the tail lights were lit again (dimly). The headlights were not lit.

I turned the headlights on then off and depressed the brake a few times in case something was stuck, but the tail lights remained dimly lit.

At this point, the headlights were also dimly lit (presumably awaiting the turn-off delay because I turned them on then off).

I waited a couple minutes before leaving and the head/tail lights remained dimly lit.
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Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 AT 11:21 AM

4 Replies

Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
I'm assuming the lights were dim because the battery was dead at that point. I'm betting that it's the brake lights that are staying on and not the tail lights. That's probably due to a bad brake light switch but that would need to be verified.
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Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 AT 11:31 AM
Tiny
KEVINF
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Hello Wrenchtech,

Thanks for taking my question.

>> I'm assuming the lights were dim because the battery was dead at that point

Yes, I agree.

>> I'm betting that it's the brake lights that are staying on.

I had considered that before. Is it possible for the brake lights alone to "drain" the battery so completely in just a few hours?

What is the best way to check/test the brake light switch? It is probably a relatively cheap thing to just replace it, but I would like to know if it is the cause of the problem so I won't worry it will happen again.

I assume it is unlikely that the vehicle computer is screwing things up turning lights on inappropriately.

Thanks for your help.

Kevin

Also, I should mention. An indicator light is lit on the dash that looks like a small light bulb with outward radial lines. (I believe this indicates a failed lightbulb). This indicator was lit before the problem so I don't expect it is related, but I though I should mention it.
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Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 AT 12:03 PM
Tiny
KEVINF
  • MEMBER
I replaced the brake light switch, but the brake lights still come on and stay on.

I assume it is the brake lights comming on because the front parking lights and headlights do not come on unexpectedly.

I took the cover off the old brake light switch and it looks OK inside (switch contacts are normally open and contacts close when the actuator is depresssed).

Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot this?

Thanks,

Kevin
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Saturday, November 6th, 2010 AT 5:18 PM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
Unplug the switch. Do the lights go off?
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Saturday, November 6th, 2010 AT 5:28 PM

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