Headlights

Tiny
GUNNS
  • MEMBER
  • 1992 DODGE DAKOTA
  • 5.2L
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 300,000 MILES
My headlights go off and then they will come back on and then they will go off. They come back on while I am driving. All other lights work all the time. Can you help me?
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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 AT 4:31 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
There are three common suspects. The head light switch has a built-in thermal circuit breaker that resets automatically. It will cause this symptom when its contacts become pitted or arced, or when lights have been added to the system. The clue to this is it will affect the low and high beams, the high beams will act up more often because they draw more current, and when the problem is occurring, switching between low and high beam will not change anything.

The head light switch and the dimmer switch can develop overheating contacts. That heat migrates out to the connector terminals where it melts the connector body. Check both connectors for signs of melting and blackened terminals. If you find that, I will describe how to repair it. One potential clue is if the problem occurs, then the lights turn on when you switch between low and high beams, it is likely caused by the dimmer switch and its terminals.
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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 AT 5:23 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
Investigate the connection at the light switch.

In the plastic block that the wires go into, see if the plastic is discolored/ burned where one of the wires enter it.

You might also notice that the wire itself is melted/ crisp/ hard and might even be pulled out a little.

If this is the issue, what has happened is that one connection got corroded or loose, then the weak connection got really hot.

It now cycles on and off as the heat make it intermittently touch its mate connector.

You may be able to find a whole pigtail to replace the entire connector.

If not, I may be able to tell you how to repair it (not rigged) decently if you are a mechanical/ 'lectrical oriented kinda person.

Lemme know what you find or need, I may be able to help

Here is a little already, if you need it!

http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/web/PartSearchCmd?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&pageId=partTypeList&suggestion=&actionSrc=Suggest&langId=-1&vehicleIdSearch=22121&vehicle_22121=1992+%3A+Dodge+%3A+Dakota+%3A+5.2L+318CI+V8+FI+VIN%3A+Y&vehicle_8203=1987+%3A+Ford+%3A+F-150+Pickup+%3A+4.9L+300CI+L6+FI+VIN%3A+Y&vehicle_9668=1989+%3A+Ford+%3A+F-150+Pickup+%3A+4.9L+300CI+L6+FI+VIN%3A+Y&vehicle_605757=1996+%3A+Volvo+%3A+960+%3A+2.9L+2922CC+L6+FI+VIN%3A+96-B6304S2&vehicle_32244=1996+%3A+Ford+%3A+F-150+Pickup+%3A+5.0L+302CI+V8+FI+VIN%3A+N&vehicle_9387=1989+%3A+Chevrolet+%3A+C2500+%3A+5.7L+350CI+V8+FI+VIN%3A+K&vehicle_362940=2007+%3A+Chevrolet+%3A+Tahoe+LS+%3A+5.3L+325CI+V8+FI+VIN%3A+J-LY5&vehicle_407703=2008+%3A+BMW+%3A+328xi+%3A+3.0L+2996CC+L6+FI+VIN%3A+N52&vehicle_31950=1996+%3A+Buick+%3A+Skylark+Custom+%3A+3.1L+189CI+V6+FI+VIN%3A+M&searchTerm=headlight+switch+connector&searchedFrom=header

Return with news!

The Medic
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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 AT 5:35 PM
Tiny
GUNNS
  • MEMBER
I replace the light switch. I replace the terminal that was melted, but it is still doing it. Like you still going off and on while I am driving.
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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 AT 7:08 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
Okay? Do the lights follow a rhythm like on two seconds off five then repeat like a blinking light? Or is it a random thing where they may stay on five minutes then go off and come back on then stay off for a bit? Two different problems.

Does the problem go away if you disconnect either of the headlights? (Unplug one side, test, reconnect, unplug the other side test)
When you toggle the dimmer switch do the lights actually switch from high/low and back?

Reason for these questions is that if either headlights ground connection is bad the extra draw from powering both beams at once could make the light switch cut the power to keep from burning up parts.
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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 AT 11:37 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Sounds like you found the cause of the problem, assuming it is the only one. You were right to replace the switch and the terminal, but there should be two overheated terminals. The easiest is to cut away the melted part of the connector body and the two black terminals. Install the connector that way, with the two missing wires.

Those two wires will be hardened from overheating, for about the first four inches. Solder will not adhere to that. Cut that four inches off, then splice on a new section of the same diameter. Seal that with heat-shrink tubing. Never use electrical tape in a car as it will unravel into a gooey mess on a hot day. Use a universal crimp-on terminal, but also solder it to the new wire to insure it makes a solid connection. Plug that terminal onto the switch individually, then do the same thing to the other wire. Be sure those terminals slide on pretty hard so they make good contact. If they're loose, the resistance will create heat, and the problem will occur again. Squeeze the terminals a little with a pair of pliers if necessary to make them fit tightly.

If the intermittent problem is still occurring, connect a jumper wire to one of those new terminals, and run it out to where you can hook the other end to a test light. Tie up the test light someplace out of the way where you can see it. Observe if the test light goes out when the head lights go out. Once you know that, move the jumper wire to the other new terminal on the switch, and do that again. Knowing the results will tell us where to go next. At that point I will dig up a wiring diagram to see the correct wire colors.
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Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 AT 3:08 PM

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