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Old 12-29-2017, 10:45 PM   #1
jbcul
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Default L300 Headlight Issue

Hi, I'm new to this forum, and need someone's help. Quick background: my son clipped a stationary object and tore up the drivers side headlight, headlight mounting bucket and wiring. Some minor fender damage to boot.
So... I bought a new headlight assembly. In stalled it and the main headlight (the small one) doesn't light. The large light (active only with brights mode) has a pale yellow lamp and never changes. So main light out, brights out but getting energy.

The wiring harness was messed up and I patched some wires. No improvement. I ordered an OEM wiring harness (ouch), no difference.

I've tested the bulbs from the new assembly in the drivers side assembly and they all work perfectly.

So I'm down to this... either a wiring issue after the harness in the body OR something fundamentally wrong with the passenger side. I know squat about electrical work but it does seem the ground wires goes to the main light that is out. Perhaps that's a clue??? I don't know how to troubleshoot from here and any help would be welcome.

As a non electrician I ask for tolerance in advance. Thank you for any ideas you may have.

jc

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Old 12-29-2017, 11:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

Maybe I have not read your post correctly but I am not sure if the problem is with the drivers or passenger side.

I would start with checking the fuses for the headlamps. If they are good then the wiring repairs that you have done.

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Old 12-30-2017, 01:24 AM   #3
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

Sorry - My Bad... Passengers Side. Are there separate fuses for each side?

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Old 12-30-2017, 03:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

Left (10A) and right (10A) headlamp fuses, DRL (daytime running light) relay and Headlight relay. Headlight wiring isn't the same as it was on older cars. Electronics controls lighting, complicating troubleshooting. After fuses are checked, try turning on low beams manually. The smaller lights are low beams and the first GM experiments adapting HID (high intensity discharge) lighting without having expensive hid lamps. GM decided to use regular halogen (55w) low beam lamps in HID projector light housings, the small bullet style lens. The low beams are fine when working as low beams. GM modified wiring so daytime running lights will use low beams but wire them in series to reduce current without lowering light output. When automatically switching or manually switched, low beams revert to parallel wiring for full lighting. In series wiring for DRLs, halogen lamps are still bright but use less current. At dusk or night, wiring is switched to parallel so each lamp receives full current. DRLs in L300s allows longer lamp life. DRL wiring complicates low and high beam wiring.

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Old 12-30-2017, 07:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

Thanks. I'll check fuses first. The wiring is a tad above my pay grade but I can figure it out if I know what to look for.
Right now on that new headlight assembly there is no low beam and switching to high beam does nothing. That is to say the bigger lamp (high beam) is somewhat yellow in low beam mode and when switching to high beam it does nothing.

It's hard to tell exactly but it seems the low beam light that isn't working is getting some voltage. There seems to be a wire thin white light when you get down and look into it but with all the reflections it's hard to tell for sure. I'm going to have to pull it again and turn on the lights to see if it's really getting any juice but for sure it's not burning at full because the lamp looks like nothing is happening.

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Old 12-30-2017, 07:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

I forgot to ask. If the fuse is bad, wouldn't the drivers lights not work? They are all performing normally.

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Old 01-03-2018, 01:54 AM   #7
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

According to wiring diagram; right and left low beam get power on orange wires (labeled as OG), ground wires are dark blue (D-BU), both high beam power wires are also orange and ground wires pink (PK). Do these match your wiring?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg TifToGif.jpg (175.6 KB, 11 views)

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Old 01-04-2018, 09:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

OK Back from the flu. What you described in terms of wiring is spot on. I'm going to attempt to upload some photo's. They are as follows:
...headlight_assembly.jpg shows Wiring
..._headlight_main_out.jpg shows main bulb not illuminated
...-headlights.jpg shows a comparison of both sides with lights on.

On these photos I've marked the main (small) bulb as A and the brights (larger) as B.

Blue wire goes to A only (problem bulb)
Orange splits and goes to both A & B
Pink to B only

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Old 01-04-2018, 11:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

Presuming the passenger side headlight assembly as shown is new with wiring suggests the main wiring and connection is the problem. It appears as if both low and high beams are on. This would explain the high beam (and low beam if it's on) being low on brightness. Two lamps drawing from the same wire may overload the wire as well as draw less current per bulb if they're powered together on one wire. Wiring to each lamp is barely enough gauge to power one lamp let alone two.

Examine the main electrical connector, pins and wiring. Is this where you made repairs, to main wiring ( that connects to the headlight assembly)?

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Old 01-04-2018, 11:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

The assembly is new. The bulbs from the new assembly were cross-checked in the drivers side to ensure they are ok. The Wiring Harness is a new OEM. So if there is a wiring snafu it's either in the main connector or farther back down the line in the body of the car.
Since I had the flu I've not had a chance to pull the two fuses that you mentioned earlier. That's next. Can it be as simple as one of those 10A fuses is messing with one side and not the other? And if so, would I have any juice at all if the fuse was bad?

As to the pins. The harness all comes together into one big connector that leads to a group of wires into the body. I can check that connector but not sure what I'd be looking for other than obvious breakage. I don't have any electronics gear so if it's not a fuse and we suspect a down line short I'll have to take it to a shop to hunt down. (ouch).

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Old 01-05-2018, 02:12 AM   #11
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

Try comparing wire for wire between the good headlight and suspect (new) headlight on each connector. Each connector is embossed with pin numbers or use the 'keyed' portion of each connector to use as a reference to wire color and where its inserted into the connector. All (four) orange wires on either right or left headlight, high or low beam should be in pin#1. (two) High beam pink wires on pin#2. (two) Low beam dark blue wires on pin#2. If you read the wiring diagram, you may understand a little of wiring diagrams.

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Old 01-05-2018, 12:00 PM   #12
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

I would plug the new headlight assembly into the driverís side to make sure the new light is wired correctly. I suspect an open ground wire buried in the harness.

Thanks for the 2003 schematic, both bulbs are powered by one fuse and are controlled though the ground circuits.

Missing grounds will burn dual filiment bulbs at reduced brightness and seek ground through another circuit. This is common with 1157 bulbs in older cars.

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Old 01-07-2018, 07:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

Update:
i pulled both headlights. Plugged then in opposite, drivers assembly( old light ) into Passengers side; passengers assembly (new one) into drivers side.

The New assembly and new wiring harness performed normally in the drivers side. Low beam was illuminated and headlight worked normally.

The old assembly now in the passengers side displayed the abnormal behavior, no low beam, both low beam and high beam getting trickle of light into the bulb. No change in high beam mode.

I assume this tells me the issue is isolated to the passenger side wiring in the wiring behind the harness or in the connector to the harness itself. I'll have to see if I can get a new connector to match. Chasing down a wire short will be difficult.

Do you folk agree?

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Old 01-07-2018, 08:03 PM   #14
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

I think you're an excellent troubleshooter using simple swapping techniques (as long as wiring remains the same for both headlight assemblies). It appears the original harness is the problem and may be visible once you examine where the harness goes and if damage occurred in the accident to cause wires to chafe and rub bare, exposing wires to short together. Expect the unexpected. If you have enough room with the headlight assembly plugged into the problem harness, turn on low beams and push, pull, twist the harness. The problem may disappear with lighting returning to normal as a way to tell you the accident did hidden damage. Thinking this way would be 'outside the box'.

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Old 01-07-2018, 08:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

Thanks for the update.
This is how I see things.
New headlight assembly (good).
New wiring harness (good). I checked it with other light and the problem persisted before the new harness and continued after new harness.

Therefore, problem is either in the plastic connector that the harness plugs into OR in the wiring that runs into the body and across the back of the grill to the other light. I looked and didn't see anything in the first section of wiring that is in the plastic tube connector (pulled the wires and inspected then resealed into tube).

My bet is that the plastic connector that the headlight harness plugs into has issues but not sure where to find a replacement of only that connector. Presumably if I had a new one, I could cut and splice all wires and replace it and plug the new harness in. That may be my last try before a paid solution.

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Old 01-07-2018, 09:21 PM   #16
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

Correct me if I'm wrong but the driver's side wiring was the original area of damage and repaired? This should be the area to examine. If you're familiar with multimeters, a continuity check can be help find damaged wiring. The wiring diagram will help.

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Old 01-07-2018, 09:23 PM   #17
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

No it's the passenger side that was damaged. I've replaced the assembly on the passenger side and then replaced the wiring harness with an OEM harness. The problem persists on the passenger side.

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Old 01-07-2018, 10:06 PM   #18
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

That front harness runs across the front of the car and connects into the underhood fuse panel. The harness runs across just above the radiator. The wires go down the passenger side to the horn and the fog lights. If you pull the bumper cover everything is pretty easy to access. Did you have to replace the cover and the fender or just the headlight? I would unplug the horn and fog light then pull that side of the harness loose. Next peel the split loom off of the harness and take a look. You probably have a broken wire under the split loom near the damage site. Pull on each wire, the copper can break and the rubber cover can still look good. You can do this!

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Old 01-11-2018, 07:00 PM   #19
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

Might be a long shot but we had a van where the driver side was dim and the passenger was normal working. What we found out from the mechanics was the dim right side had a bad ground causing the dim lights but once he made a ground for it it was back to normal operations. So if you can somehow find a ground for the dim side and connect it to test if is is missing a ground or broken ground lead.

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Old 01-11-2018, 09:26 PM   #20
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Default Re: L300 Headlight Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcul View Post
Sorry - My Bad... Passengers Side. Are there separate fuses for each side?
Hey just for laughs, if you haven't , yet ...

Test your right blinker. (first)
Test the right side lamps, with the left side bus disconnected.
Remove DRL relay from the underhood fuse box.
And yeah, identify and double up on the ground with a jumper wire.

That's all I got. But this is all pretty quick. Any of this triggers anything interesting, let us know.

...
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