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Old 04-30-2011, 10:58 AM   #1
stoke21
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2004 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Tail lights not working

2004 L300 V6

Both tail lights are out. Pulled the 15A fuse under the hood and it appears to be just fine. Swapped it out with a known working fuse and that still didn't fix the problem.

What else can I check before I bring it in?

Worth noting: Had a new BCM put in about a year ago. Since then, I have an issue with the dome lights not working (dome + map lights). Tail lights are a little more important obviously, but is there a connection between these electrical questions and the BCM installation?

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Old 04-30-2011, 12:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

Driving lights or brake lights?

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Old 04-30-2011, 03:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

Definitely the brake lights. Only thing that happens to this car right now when you hit the brakes is you slow down and the third brake light lights up. I noticed that there's not an actual brake (only) light on this car. There's 2 on each side that both light up when you put the headlights on, but they should get brighter when you press the brake.

So, no chance the bulb is shot (both of them) I would think. No chance of a broken wire (as it's getting power), probably no chance of it being a button or switch (as the 3rd brake light works fine). Is there any sort of relay or anything that tells these bulbs in the rear of the vehicle to get brighter when brake is pressed? I'm no electrician, so sorry for the loose vocab.

All of the rest of the lights work. Hazards, turns, reverse, tail lights - - - just nothing when you hit the breaks with the exception of the rear window light.

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Old 04-30-2011, 04:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

By the way - fixing the dome lights would only be a huge bonus in this situation. Definitely not a must. Just looking to get my brake lights back.

The dome lights would work for a bit, but would then blow the fuse. I had the dealership search for what they told me was more than likely a short in that line for a little while, but called off the hunt - I couldn't justify paying to fix the vanity light.

After this second electrical snafu in a year....had me wondering about the BCM swapped out 12 months ago and if the issues were related at all.

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Old 04-30-2011, 06:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

Ok, here are the drawings for brake, tail light and interior wiring. Traditional brake lights uses one bulb with two elements; one for tail lights, the other for brake lights. Turn on the driving lights and one set of tail lights are used. Step on the brake pedal and the second element in the same bulb turns on. One bulb with two elements and two base connections. The drawing shows the brake switch controlling power to these stop lights. Tail and interior lighting is through the bcm.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 04 L300 brake lighting.jpg (112.1 KB, 115 views)
File Type: jpg 04 L300 tail lighting.jpg (180.7 KB, 117 views)
File Type: jpg interior lighting.jpg (161.1 KB, 72 views)

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Old 04-30-2011, 07:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

id replace both bulbs just for the hell of it , its less then 5 bucks and it will eliminate the doubt that it was a very simple problem blown out of proportion.

...
mi: 199,xxx

trips:

X = dest
O = ON way

home- Clovis, ca

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San Francisco: x
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Anahiem (disneyland): xxx
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Old 04-30-2011, 09:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

Both very good pieces of advice. I'll replace the bulbs to save some embarasment.

Being that they're both running through the BCM, do you suggest I bring my car back and explain the situation (assuming they'll take a look at the issue becuase they replaced the BCM)? I'd love to have both issues fixed on their dim if the BCM replacement truly caused this situation.

Thoughts??

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Old 04-30-2011, 09:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

Come to think about it though - there's really no bulbs to replace, no? As I stated, every bulb in the tail lamp assembly lights up, but the braking light bulbs don't get brighter as they should when you step on the brake.

Is that enough as it is to rule out bad bulbs??

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Old 04-30-2011, 10:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

Uhh, we still use bulbs the old way. The tail and brake light bulb should be a 3157LL unit with two elements. Check either your owner's manual or remove one.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 3157LL bulb.jpg (11.7 KB, 39 views)

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Old 05-01-2011, 02:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Uhh, we still use bulbs the old way. The tail and brake light bulb should be a 3157LL unit with two elements. Check either your owner's manual or remove one.
there is bulbs to be removed lol, the dimmer runs off the brake lights for the headlights (if that made sense)

take the bulb out and carry it into the auto store because autozone sold me the wrong bulbs, luckly i tried it on the lot, they have a flat rectangular plugin.

...
mi: 199,xxx

trips:

X = dest
O = ON way

home- Clovis, ca

Pismo Beach: xx
Morro Bay: oo
San Francisco: x
Los Angeles: ooo
Anahiem (disneyland): xxx
Tulare: o,(x-atleast 15)
Visalia: x

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Old 05-01-2011, 08:33 AM   #11
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2001 L-Series 3.0L Wagon
Default Re: Tail lights not working

Brake lights on the L's were recalled for warping frames, has the brake light recall been done.

...
Jerry N

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it and then misapplying the wrong remedies."

Groucho Marx

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Old 05-01-2011, 11:40 AM   #12
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

no recall to the tail lights that I'm aware of. How recent was it? I could always mention that when I'm at the dealership.

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Old 05-01-2011, 11:46 AM   #13
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattachuz View Post
there is bulbs to be removed lol, the dimmer runs off the brake lights for the headlights (if that made sense)

take the bulb out and carry it into the auto store because autozone sold me the wrong bulbs, luckly i tried it on the lot, they have a flat rectangular plugin.
Thanks in advance for the help. Your statement didn't make sense unfortunately - that or I'm having a slow day.

On each side of the rear, there are 3 bulbs. 2 red and one white. The white is obviously for reverse. The 2 reds, when the lights are on and your foot is off the brake - - both light up. Obviously, when you press on the brake, one of the reds (if not both??) are supposed to light up brighter. I'm not opposed to getting new bulbs...cheap fix, but if they're both lighting up isn't it safe to rule out bad bulbs, or no?

Not that you don't know what the backside of the car looks like, but... http://invimg.autofunds.com/Inventor...3620022011.jpg

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Old 05-01-2011, 11:51 AM   #14
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Uhh, we still use bulbs the old way. The tail and brake light bulb should be a 3157LL unit with two elements. Check either your owner's manual or remove one.
As mentioned 1 reply earlier, I know there are bulbs that are able to be replaced, but if they're all lighting up is swapping them out going to solve anything?

Thanks again for the help everyone. Just trying to save myself some headache and if the new BCM is at fault - it's not my worry at all.

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Old 05-01-2011, 02:20 PM   #15
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

Quote:
Originally Posted by stoke21 View Post
As mentioned 1 reply earlier, I know there are bulbs that are able to be replaced, but if they're all lighting up is swapping them out going to solve anything?

Thanks again for the help everyone. Just trying to save myself some headache and if the new BCM is at fault - it's not my worry at all.
let me try to break this down for you..

you turn on the headlights, you see "oh the tail lights are dim, brake lights must be fine.."

the brake like bulb has 2 lights in one, 2 elements, and 2 connection points, so if the headlights powering element A and that element is ok and you push on the brake pedal and now it goes to powering element B and element B is bad, the bulb will look OK but actually is half burnt out.

what we are saying is that even if the bulb lights up it can still be broken because its a 2 part light and you only verified that part 1 of the light is working.

if i have a shotgun and only one sides loaded when i fire it, bullets wont come out of both holes. ----- if your headlights are on and you hit the brake, and you didnt load both barrels then your brake lights arent going to come on.

...
mi: 199,xxx

trips:

X = dest
O = ON way

home- Clovis, ca

Pismo Beach: xx
Morro Bay: oo
San Francisco: x
Los Angeles: ooo
Anahiem (disneyland): xxx
Tulare: o,(x-atleast 15)
Visalia: x

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Old 05-01-2011, 02:22 PM   #16
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

The 'brake' switch on the chassis holding the pedal assembly is the control for the brake light circuit as shown in one of the drawings. If it were broken there won't be any brake lights to turn on. This brake circuit is not part of the bcm.

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Old 05-01-2011, 02:35 PM   #17
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
The 'brake' switch on the chassis holding the pedal assembly is the control for the brake light circuit as shown in one of the drawings. If it were broken there won't be any brake lights to turn on. This brake circuit is not part of the bcm.
I'll check this out tonight or tomorrow! Thanks for that advice.

Any chance you know where on the car this switch is located?

Last edited by stoke21; 05-01-2011 at 02:41 PM..

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Old 05-01-2011, 02:37 PM   #18
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattachuz View Post
let me try to break this down for you..

you turn on the headlights, you see "oh the tail lights are dim, brake lights must be fine.."

the brake like bulb has 2 lights in one, 2 elements, and 2 connection points, so if the headlights powering element A and that element is ok and you push on the brake pedal and now it goes to powering element B and element B is bad, the bulb will look OK but actually is half burnt out.

what we are saying is that even if the bulb lights up it can still be broken because its a 2 part light and you only verified that part 1 of the light is working.

if i have a shotgun and only one sides loaded when i fire it, bullets wont come out of both holes. ----- if your headlights are on and you hit the brake, and you didnt load both barrels then your brake lights arent going to come on.
Completely understand now. I appreciate the breakdown. Sorry if I was being a little 'slow' on that one. I'm competent (I promise). Thanks again. I'll give the new bulbs a try. If that doesn't work I'll check out the other 'brake' switch that was referenced. If that doesn't work, hopefully it's because of the BCM switchout about 12 months ago. Thanks again!

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Old 05-01-2011, 03:27 PM   #19
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

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Originally Posted by stoke21 View Post
.... Any chance you know where on the car this switch is located?
The brake switch is located by the brake pedal. There will be two switches, the right side one will be for the brake lights, the left side for cruise control.

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Old 05-01-2011, 04:03 PM   #20
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Default Re: Tail lights not working

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Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
The brake switch is located by the brake pedal. There will be two switches, the right side one will be for the brake lights, the left side for cruise control.
You're are extremely helpful! Thanks a million.

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