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Old 12-25-2007, 06:52 PM   #1
2002SaturnMan
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2002 SL1
Default Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

My daughters 1998 SL2 has very dim low beams and hi beams (only on the drivers side). Even when I replaced both bulbs with new ones the same thing happens.

I swapped the nice bright ones from the passenger side to the drivers side and they are dim on the drivers side. When I put them back on the passenger side they are as bright as usual.

Is this an electrical problem?

Is it something I can fix?

...
2002 SL1, manual, SOHC (VIN 8) with 179,300 miles sold 8/29/14 (great car!).
Former - 1994 SL 212,000 miles (great car!)
.....
Step daughter HAD 1998 SL1, Wife HAD 1999 DOHC (VIN 7) SL2

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Old 12-25-2007, 07:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

This is just a guess, but I think the alignment of the drivers side light is off. Or, perhaps, the alignment of the passenger side is off, making it look brighter than it should be. I don't know much about fixing cars, but I sure know quite a bit about light bulbs.

Question: Did you get down on your knees and stare straight into the lights to actually see that one was dimmer than the other?

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Old 12-25-2007, 07:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

check your fuses? not sure about saturns but on one of my hondas if the fuse was blown the light would be very dim, like almost running on a dead battery.

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Old 12-25-2007, 09:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

As mentioned the place to start is the fuses. The headlamp fuses are in the under hood fuse block.

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Old 12-25-2007, 09:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

I'd assume that if a fuse was blown you'd have no current and therefore no light.

Check your grounds first.

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Old 12-25-2007, 09:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2002SaturnMan View Post
My daughters 1998 SL2 has very dim low beams and hi beams (only on the drivers side). Even when I replaced both bulbs with new ones the same thing happens.

I swapped the nice bright ones from the passenger side to the drivers side and they are dim on the drivers side. When I put them back on the passenger side they are as bright as usual.

Is this an electrical problem?

Is it something I can fix?
as suggested i would check the grounds first & then the plug connections. probably a bad connection somewhere there....

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Old 12-25-2007, 11:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

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Originally Posted by GS Jon View Post
I'd assume that if a fuse was blown you'd have no current and therefore no light.

Check your grounds first.
i've had blown headlight fuses and had light, just very very dim light (or what I could only describe as a "brown" light)

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Old 12-25-2007, 11:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

^^^^ Yup, something to do with the fact that our headlights are switched on the negative side of the circuit. When the fuse blows, IIRC, the circuit completes via some other path, and at half voltage, sorta the way the DRLs work.

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Old 12-25-2007, 11:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
^^^^ Yup, something to do with the fact that our headlights are switched on the negative side of the circuit. When the fuse blows, IIRC, the circuit completes via some other path, and at half voltage, sorta the way the DRLs work.
Well hot dang, that's good info. Thanks!

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Old 12-26-2007, 08:34 AM   #10
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

Thank you very much. It turned out to be a missing fuse???? Not sure how that could have happened, but it did.

Replaced the fuse and the lights work fine! :-)

...
2002 SL1, manual, SOHC (VIN 8) with 179,300 miles sold 8/29/14 (great car!).
Former - 1994 SL 212,000 miles (great car!)
.....
Step daughter HAD 1998 SL1, Wife HAD 1999 DOHC (VIN 7) SL2

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Old 12-26-2007, 09:58 AM   #11
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

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Originally Posted by 2002SaturnMan View Post
Thank you very much. It turned out to be a missing fuse???? Not sure how that could have happened, but it did.

Replaced the fuse and the lights work fine! :-)
The fuse was missing all together? Has the car been in a shop recently? The reason I suggested looking at the alignment, is because that happened to my car. For the longest time, while driving the car, it looked like I only had one light working. I adjusted the aiming on my drivers side, then I had more light.

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Old 12-26-2007, 12:36 PM   #12
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

When I had problems with dim headlights on my 92 Saturn it was shortly after I had submerged the alternator.

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Old 12-27-2007, 09:17 AM   #13
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgordon1100 View Post
The fuse was missing all together? Has the car been in a shop recently? The reason I suggested looking at the alignment, is because that happened to my car. For the longest time, while driving the car, it looked like I only had one light working. I adjusted the aiming on my drivers side, then I had more light.
Yep. The fuse was totally missing.

I'm thinking that while at college one of her friends might have tried to look at it and didn't have a clue what they were doing, or just didn't push the fuse all the way back in.

Anyway, it's fixed now. Thank you very much!

...
2002 SL1, manual, SOHC (VIN 8) with 179,300 miles sold 8/29/14 (great car!).
Former - 1994 SL 212,000 miles (great car!)
.....
Step daughter HAD 1998 SL1, Wife HAD 1999 DOHC (VIN 7) SL2

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Old 12-27-2007, 09:25 AM   #14
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

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Originally Posted by saturnsctwo View Post
as suggested i would check the grounds first & then the plug connections. probably a bad connection somewhere there....

I think this person is the only one that has it right here. This is not a fuse issue.

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Old 12-27-2007, 11:02 AM   #15
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

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I think this person is the only one that has it right here. This is not a fuse issue.
Speed reading again...I've been guilty of this myself. The OP found that a fuse was missing and replaced it.

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Old 04-11-2013, 05:53 PM   #16
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Default Re: Please help. Daughters 1998 SL2 has "dim headlights"

techsista was right on the fuse. My 2001 Saturn SC2 has a 10amp fuse for each headlight. Problem solved.

Thanks,
Capt. Dan

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