Headlights do not work just like my ex wife lol!

Tiny
JHEATON51
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 PONTIAC MONTANA
  • 3.4L
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 180,000 MILES
Thanks for your time! The headlights will not come on at all unless I hold the turn signal handle back like I was warning someone about a cop ;)! I changed the switch and now the running lights work but no headlights still! I have to fix this soon and not sure what could be the issue If its one bulb and it works with that if we hold it then it can't be the bulbs, the switch dings when on but no headlights still drl or brights unless I press the switch. So why would it come on for pulling turn signal stick and not the switch. So confused. Like a monkey looking at a rock that is shaped like a banana but can't get it open to eat it!
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Friday, August 29th, 2014 AT 8:10 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
That's the "flash-to-pass" system that's working. Power for that comes from a different circuit than for the head lights. Start by checking the fuses inside and under the hood. The chime is a valuable clue but that works with the tail lights, not just the head lights. Also, look at your old switch to see if two terminals are blackened or discolored, or if the connector body is melted. If you find that, the two mating terminals in the connector will need to be replaced. I'll elaborate on that if necessary.

Next suspect is the dimmer switch. Check that connector too to see if any terminals have been overheated.
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Friday, August 29th, 2014 AT 10:42 PM
Tiny
JHEATON51
  • MEMBER
No burnt terminals on the switch to the headlight. The dimmer switch and headlight switch are on the same panel and plugs in at the same curcuit. Pulled the circuit breaker and nothing worked not even when you pull the switch back, even replaced that breaker. The the headlights are new and the fuses are fine. I am soooo lost on this headlight issue and its driving me crazy! Checked relays no relay is on there for the headlights.
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Sunday, August 31st, 2014 AT 1:32 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I'm having trouble locating a service manual for your vehicle, so lets attack this the same way I would any other one. Grab a test light and remove any covers that prevent you from taking readings on the connector of the head light switch. Back-probe each wire one at a time. You should find at least one that has voltage all the time. Write down that wire color and mark it "12 volt feed". If you find two or more, list them the same way.

Next, put the switch to the running light position, then test all the wires again. You should find one with 12 volts now that didn't have it before. You might find two, and there might be one with less than 12 volts. That would be for the dash lights. Write those colors down and label them.

For the remaining wires, put the switch in the head light position, then look for wires with 12 volts that haven't had any voltage up to this point. You should find one wire with 12 volts, then a different wire with 12 volts when you flip the hi / low switch.

If you make it this far, with two head light wires with voltage, the cause of the problem is after the switch. The most common suspect would be where the wires go through a plug on the firewall, but to have two corroded or broken would be quite the coincidence. I'd sooner expect to find that plug is not pushed together all the way.

If you didn't make it this far, I just remembered there should be two 12 volt feed wires, one for the head lights, and one for the flash-to-pass system. If you only find one wire with 12 volts, pull out that circuit breaker again, then retest the wire. If the 12 volts is gone now, that's the 12 volt feed for the flash-to-pass circuit. We would need to figure out which wire is for the head lights, and why the 12 volts isn't getting there.

I also see that you implied the head lights AND the running lights didn't work originally, but the running lights do work with the new switch. Your old one may have been defective, and the new one could be for a different year or optional system, and it could be wrong for your vehicle. Also, if you're missing a second 12 volt feed wire, the fuse for that is most likely under the hood, not inside the van. That fuse is almost certainly going to be different than the one for the flash-to-pass circuit.
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Sunday, August 31st, 2014 AT 7:43 PM
Tiny
JHEATON51
  • MEMBER
The turn signal flash was stuck in between brights and lights and was preventing dtr lights from running. Got it fixed by doing nothing. One dsy it got stuck in brights and I got it off brights and they ran fine since never touching bright or flasher again! Thanks for your help
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Thursday, October 9th, 2014 AT 2:51 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Dandy. Happy to hear you solved it.
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Thursday, October 9th, 2014 AT 5:20 PM

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