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Unread 12-10-2013, 09:57 AM   #1
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2001 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Adkins, TX - Texas
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Headlights are acting in the weirdest way, Help?

So the headlights on my 2001 are somehow both working and not working at the same time. They were working just fine up until 3 days ago. 3 days ago they took a minute to come on whenever I pulled the switch. Then on the second day they started flickering on and off a bit while driving but stabilized and kept working. Last night I got in my jeep and tried to turn on my lights but they didn't come on, not even after driving for a minute. However the brights still work if I pull back on the lever. I had googled around and from I could find it just seemed like the turn signal assembly had gone bad. I replaced that but I'm still having the same problem. I checked the fuses in the passenger kick panel and those were okay. I'm thinking the next step is to replace the headlight switch itself. Does anyone know what else I could check for to see if that's an issue?

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Unread 12-10-2013, 11:24 AM   #2
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: out in the garage - Minneapolis, Minnesota
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Any headlight problems should start with the cheap and easy stuff. Test the wire plugs and wires at the headlights with a volts/ohms multi-meter. Check for good ground connections. Check all the fuses, there are 4 of them. Test the headlamps, they both can burn out within hours of each other. Inspect the headlight switch and wire plug, headlight switch problems are common.

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Unread 12-10-2013, 01:27 PM   #3
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1993 XJ Cherokee 
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Should check the for continuity on the low beam at the head light itself. This will tell you if you need new headlights.
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Unread 12-10-2013, 03:43 PM   #4
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I would look first at the wiring & connections and fuses. Partially corroded fuses and connections often cause lighting problems ... including the 3 pin plug connectors to the headlamps (often become corroded)

What I do if the PDC looks dirty or corroded, is remove all the fuses in the PDC and clean the cavities using elect. contact cleaner then use small amounts of dialectic grease on the fuse blades, sticking each one back into their fuse receptacle.

If you have OE fog lamps there would be another circuit of concern, as the fogs are tied into the headlamp circuit.
Many of the Cherokees have a headlight delay module this too is tied into the headlamp circuit from underneath the dash panel.

Any auxiliary equipment and/or lighting connected to the OE harness can potentially cause problems. What I do to prevent problems is keep all the aux. equipment on a separate battery circuit and fuse panel.

There are numerous accounts of headlight and instrument panel flickering being caused by the headlamp switch.

Are you running standard wattage headlamps using 35 watt primary power or heavier duty lamps with 55 watt primary power?
55 watt primary bulbs are better designed to be used with a min. 16 gauge wire. Aging 18 gauge OE circuits sometime create excessive voltage drop, causing strange things to happen with relays, switches, wiring, etc.

Even when using standard 35 watt primary bulbs ... voltage drop from age, dirt and corrosion the switches sometimes loose efficiency and become problematic. Wear from use & friction is one reason for switch failure ... Also small amounts of arcing over long periods of use (because of poor wiring & connections) produces excessive electrolysis, causing a switch or relay to wear out and not behave as it should. Symptoms e.g. are flickering, switch or relay works intermittently , etc.

Rather than replacing the switch I might try searching for writeups regarding headlight switch rebuilding or maintenance.

e.g. Writeup fixing the headlight dimmer switch.


or a google search: jeep cherokee rebuild headlight switch

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Unread 12-10-2013, 04:21 PM   #5
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Orem, ut
Posts: 141
This sounds similar to what has been happening to mine. They take a few minutes to turn on after I pull the switch on my 99. This happened almost immediately after the temperature dropped down between 0 and 20 f. They do not flicker, but they won't turn on unless the switch has been pulled for a while. I haven't bothered with it because it has always turned on after a few minutes. I do have the wiring harness upgrade and the silver star sealed beams.
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Unread 12-10-2013, 05:37 PM   #6
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I had just about the same problem. Turned out to be a connector under my airbox
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