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Old 02-02-2011, 09:52 AM   #1
Procraftmike
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Default ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

1997, SL2, it is my son's car now. Yesterday I noticed that the headlight bank and driving light on the passenger's side of the vehicle is very dim. The driver's side works just fine. I was thinking it was a ground issue, but so far I have not found anything wrong. It doesn't matter if you have the dims on or the brights, but ALL bulbs on the passenger's side glow very dimly at the same time. Could a bad headlight switch cause this? It appears that the passenger side picks up its ground under the hood, just behind the headlight assembly. I see four (4) black wires running to a block that is bolted down. I tried running a ground jumper wire from the battery over to this block, but no change. I don't think it is a hot side issue, as I would think that it would be limited to just a single bulb, not the whole bank. I spent a couple hours on this last night and I all I have is frustration so far.

Any ideas to help narrow the problem down?

Thanks for the help,
Mike
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

Well, for some stupid reason, the headlights are ground switched not hot switched. To me that makes it 1000x harder to troubleshoot

Orange : +12v
Tan : Low beam ground
Green: High beam ground
Might have tan & green mixed up, but the headlight switch provides a ground connection through those lines.

Blue & brown are parking light & turn signal I believe.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:48 AM   #3
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Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

Check the right headlamp fuse in the underhood fuse block,check the wires behind the headlamp for any chafed areas. Sometimes they rub on the brackets and eventually blows the fuse.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

Ok, I think I have this figured out. I guess I will find out tonight when I get a chance to work on it. I have found information that indicates each headlight assembly has it's own fuse and even if you blow a fuse, the lights may still glow dimly. Well, the passengers side driving light went out the other day. In fixing it last night, one of the wires was broken at the connection. I fixed it and installed a new bulb, but I bet when that wire broke, it touched the other terminal and popped the fuse.

I will check tonight and report back.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

The right lamp ground pack that is right in front of the washer jug and looks like a thin black rectangle bolted to the frame with many black wires entering it. Unbolting is not usually possible but the black connector should disconnect from the multi prong connector and can then be disassembled and cleaned. That will usually fix the driving lights and the marker lights.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

I was able to unbolt this black ground connection block last night. Everything looked good on the connection to the frame, but I did not disassemble the block. That is another area that I will take a look at, if the fuse proves to be a dead end.

Thanks, Mike
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

There are several grounds in the light system and that tone is only related to the fogs and right turn/marker lights.

To actually determine where the problem may be you will have to explain which lights are dim and the associated switch positions. Such as DRL, high beam blink, high and lo beam on. There are several ground points.
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Old 02-02-2011, 02:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

It doesn't matter which light position I have the car on, the low beam, high beam and driving light are all on, but very dim. Changing from brights to dimmers does not change this.

Mike
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Old 02-02-2011, 03:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

Turn off the fog lights.

Turn of the fog lights and then check the headlights. Disconnect the left hand headlight bulbs connectors and see what happens on the right side.

Last edited by OldNuc; 02-02-2011 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 02-02-2011, 03:52 PM   #10
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1998 SC2
Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

There are schematics for the headlight system in my gallery and verifying the proper voltage at the bulbs is a good idea. A failed bulb on one side can cause problem on the other.
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:26 PM   #11
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Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

Well, it was the right side headlight switch that was blown. Can someone explain to me how you can still get power to the headlight bank to make the lights dim, even when a fuse is blown?

Thanks, Mike
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:48 PM   #12
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Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

You end up with the filaments on the side with the blown fuse in series.
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:17 PM   #13
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Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

Sorry, I meant to say it was the right side headlight fuse that was blown, not the switch...

Mike
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:19 PM   #14
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Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

That is what I figured out.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:06 AM   #15
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Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

I have a similar problem with the headlights being dim on the left side of the car but when I was trouble shooting I pulled the Left side fuse and nothing happened the light still was on but when i pull the right side both lights go out. It's almost as if both lights are wired into the same fuse. Anyone know what is going on? Worked fine for a year then all of a sudden dim ? no one touched the grounds or anything and the light bulb has been changed as well as fuse.
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:25 AM   #16
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Default Re: ALL headlights are dim on one side of the car

Actually check the left side fuse.
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