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Old 09-18-2018, 02:35 AM   #1
Highcloudy
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1998 SL
Default Brake lights work with headlights off, will not brighten with headlights on

Hey guys,

My 98 SL sat for about a year and now Iím back and using her again. I checked all of the tail light bulbs and all were burnt. Replaced the 2057ís and a set of tiny bulbs.

The brake lights wonít brighten up at night.

When I switched the bulbs, I noticed that there was a lot of grease built up in the socket. I didnít clean it out, only shifted it enough for the bulb to fit.

Any advice as to what to do? Also - what are the appropriate sizes for all of the bulbs in the tail lights?

Thank you for your help!

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Old 09-18-2018, 07:03 AM   #2
termite
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2001 SC2
Default Re: Brake lights work with headlights off, will not brighten with headlights on

It sounds like a missing ground somewhere. Check the wiring, thereís a break somewhere.

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Old 09-18-2018, 08:20 AM   #3
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Default Re: Brake lights work with headlights off, will not brighten with headlights on

ALL the bulbs were burnt?
What does this mean: "Replaced the 2057ís and a set of tiny bulbs"?

What are the tiny bulbs you used, and did you use some LED's to replace the double filament brake bulbs or what? Polarity if LED.
That grease you mentioned.....that is not a buildup, but should placed there as an electrical dielectric to prevent corrosion....you know, you do this on both ends of your sparkplug wire set too, correct?

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Old 09-18-2018, 12:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Brake lights work with headlights off, will not brighten with headlights on

Tiny bulbs were 1194 I believe.

I placed the grease in the socket years ago when I last changed the bulbs. I was just wondering if perhaps the grease was getting in the way of the bulbs contacting the socket.

When you say to check the wiring, am I looking for an obvious break? The lights are on, they just donít get brighter to signify that Iím stopping when the headlights are on.

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Old 09-18-2018, 01:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Brake lights work with headlights off, will not brighten with headlights on

Does your third light light up?
Have you checked the brake light switch above the brake pedal?

You may have just a bad switch (or wire at the switch) that does not send the current to the brake light filaments.

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Old 09-18-2018, 01:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Brake lights work with headlights off, will not brighten with headlights on

Third brake light works perfectly.

Would this break have been caused by time? Iím just trying to figure out how it may have happened as the car hasnít been driven in a while/no one has gone in it. Back in August 2017 when I drove it last, it was still in tip top shape

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Old 09-18-2018, 01:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Brake lights work with headlights off, will not brighten with headlights on

Also,

Could you tell me where to find the brake light switch? Given that 4 bulbs were out in my tail lights after a year, itís not out of the realm of possibility that this could have happened.

Would it be that the pedal isnít making good contact with with brake light switch to illuminate the tail lights? When the head lights are off, all 3 brake tail lights illuminate when I hit the brakes

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Old 09-18-2018, 04:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: Brake lights work with headlights off, will not brighten with headlights on

To clarify -

When you turn the headlights on, the tail lights do not come on (in the dimmer setting)

When you turn the headlights off, the brake lights work fine (in the bright "I'm stopping" setting)

What about when you turn the lights on the Park setting (halfway between OFF and ON on the switch - before your headlights come on, but all the marker lights should be on)

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Old 09-18-2018, 04:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: Brake lights work with headlights off, will not brighten with headlights on

With this comment; "When the head lights are off, all 3 brake tail lights illuminate when I hit the brakes", it begs the question... are you sure the brake lights are ON (BOTH bulb filaments being used) , or are you only seeing the 1 filament ON with only the tail light filament coming on and not both?
Is this possible....and have you made sure, that these new rear bulbs have TWO filaments, not just one?

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Old 09-19-2018, 05:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Brake lights work with headlights off, will not brighten with headlights on

Do they straight up switch off when you turn on the headlights, or do they dim?

Do they come back on if you turn the headlights off?

If you rev the engine, do the headlights get brighter? Similarly if you rev the engine with the headlights on and the brake applied, to the brake lights get brighter then?

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