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Unread 10-18-2013, 05:34 AM   #1
jamesnmandy
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Wj taillights again

Want to confirm before I order replacement taillights that that is the most likely cause.

New bulbs made no difference.

When lights are on, passenger side tail light is brightly lit. Driver side taillight is like 90% bright lit, slightly less than other side despite new bulbs. Third (high mounted) brake light is very dimly lit. (that should not be).

When I hit brake pedal the passenger taillight stays lit, no brighter, no change, driver taillight goes completely out, and third (high mount) brake light lights up bright (normal for when brake pedal depressed).

I tried checking all the contacts, find no leaks with water or whatever. My Google FU tells me one of the circuit boards in a taillight is worn out, and the quickest path to least resistance is to replace both taillights and move on with life.

Am I missing something? Can't afford to just throw parts at it unless I am reasonably sure it will work.

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Unread 10-18-2013, 09:11 AM   #2
brouwmat
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I could be mistaken, but I don't think there is a circuit board in your tail light. The wires come out of the back and plug into the tail light housing. It's just a plastic case that holds the bulbs.

You've got something else going on there. Did you check the bulbs to make sure that they're good? The brake lights should have two filaments inside.
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Unread 10-18-2013, 02:20 PM   #3
Vaporhead
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brouwmat View Post
I could be mistaken, but I don't think there is a circuit board in your tail light. The wires come out of the back and plug into the tail light housing. It's just a plastic case that holds the bulbs.

You've got something else going on there. Did you check the bulbs to make sure that they're good? The brake lights should have two filaments inside.
The harness plugs into each tail lamp assembly, once. Each socket in the tail lamp has metal contacts. The bulb assembly also has contacts that line up with the once in the tail lamp. If even one of these contacts on the housing is recessed into the lamp too much, it will cause problems like the OP is having.

OP, check these contacts again in the housing. Pry them all up slightly to ensure good contact with the bulb sockets.
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Unread 10-18-2013, 02:23 PM   #4
brouwmat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaporhead
The harness plugs into each tail lamp assembly, once. Each socket in the tail lamp has metal contacts. The bulb assembly also has contacts that line up with the once in the tail lamp. If even one of these contacts on the housing is recessed into the lamp too much, it will cause problems like the OP is having. OP, check these contacts again in the housing. Pry them all up slightly to ensure good contact with the bulb sockets.
I would think some steel wool might be good if they are oxidized a little.
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Unread 10-18-2013, 02:42 PM   #5
michiganmaveric
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Several threads on this problem. You might be able to bend the contacts up a little and get it to work, but most times the problem returns. (did this to mine and worked for a couple of weeks). I replaced my light assy. I have both sides for sale from parting out my Jeep. $15 each plus shipping.
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Unread 10-18-2013, 03:58 PM   #6
palric
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaporhead View Post
The harness plugs into each tail lamp assembly, once. Each socket in the tail lamp has metal contacts. The bulb assembly also has contacts that line up with the once in the tail lamp. If even one of these contacts on the housing is recessed into the lamp too much, it will cause problems like the OP is having.

OP, check these contacts again in the housing. Pry them all up slightly to ensure good contact with the bulb sockets.
last spring I had the exact same problem and did exactly as above.

Fixed the problem no problem
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Unread 10-18-2013, 04:07 PM   #7
Jimbo_IX
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I chased this same problem around for the longest time. I bent the contacts up and it worked for a short time. Ended up soldering a "bead" over the metal contacts to increase the contact surface. Worked like a charm.
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Unread 10-21-2013, 11:17 AM   #8
jamesnmandy
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Based on other threads and feedback I purchased the circuit boards to replace since my taillight assemblies are fine. That's essentially the functional part which is being replaced when one replaces the entire assembly. If that doesn't fix it I will inspect the contacts on the actual bulb sockets where they contact the circuit boards. By the way the second gen WJ from 1999 thru 2004 all use the same taillight and they all use the same circuit board. OE Part number 55155139AH
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Unread 10-21-2013, 12:28 PM   #9
TSEJEEPERS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesnmandy View Post
Based on other threads and feedback I purchased the circuit boards to replace since my taillight assemblies are fine. That's essentially the functional part which is being replaced when one replaces the entire assembly. If that doesn't fix it I will inspect the contacts on the actual bulb sockets where they contact the circuit boards. By the way the second gen WJ from 1999 thru 2004 all use the same taillight and they all use the same circuit board. OE Part number 55155139AH
This circuit board is inside the tail light housing correct?
Can you replace it without destoying the housing?
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Unread 10-21-2013, 01:09 PM   #10
rdkendrick
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I never could get my socket to connect, hence my tail light would never work and I ended up breaking part of the area where you hold the socket to twist it out. I just bought another one for $39 and said the hell with it. The strip that folds over, when you screw it to the body, was already broken, too.

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Unread 10-21-2013, 04:02 PM   #11
mehammered
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I have tried two replacement units for the rear drivers side, I have break lights when the lights are off. However, when I turn on the head lights my break light on the driver side does not work.
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Unread 10-21-2013, 04:48 PM   #12
bmandubj10
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Circuit board went bad in mine, I ordered one of off rockauto.com and it solved the problem!
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Unread 10-21-2013, 05:19 PM   #13
jamesnmandy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TSEJEEPERS View Post
This circuit board is inside the tail light housing correct?
Can you replace it without destoying the housing?
Yep sure can. It's held on with four little clips and has a bead of that super sticky black silicone type substance sealing it from weather. When you order that circuit board have a small tube of silicone sealant handy. You will probably have to use a hairdryer to soften up the factory sealant to get the old part off, I did. Then simply replace the board with a new seal, snaps on, done deal. Cost me $35 shipped for two new boards from eBay and they came fast too. They are listed as 03-04 compatibility but 99-04 is all the same exact part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmandubj10 View Post
Circuit board went bad in mine, I ordered one of off rockauto.com and it solved the problem!
Yeah if you look for it there they call it something else, like backing plate for taillight. But it's the same Dorman replacement part.

Last edited by jamesnmandy; 10-21-2013 at 05:39 PM..
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Unread 10-21-2013, 06:18 PM   #14
Pedro7
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It's almost not worth it to take the time to deal with it. Just get new ones and you will be done forever. They are like $40 apiece on amazon
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Unread 10-21-2013, 06:35 PM   #15
TSEJEEPERS
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I just ordered two new LED housings from slickcar.com $110.00 for both sides.
Hopefully this will take care of the problem with the bulbs overheating the circuit board.
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