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Unread 07-01-2013, 09:41 AM   #1
gmmccalden
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1974 CJ5 Headlight Wiring

Hello all!

New to the forum and to this old beauty. Had ZJ for a number of years and sold it two years ago to get a truck daily driver. Just picked it up for a steal and it's in great shape (mostly). 1974 CJ5 with 35,000+ original miles. This old codger had it in his garage and used it to plow his driveway a couple times a year until he ended up moving down south. He was the second owner and the first was a friend of his that bought it new off the lot when he was 16. Could all be a tall tale, but it sure makes for a great story!

Anyways, the thing runs great. Needs a full fluids change and the carb needs to be serviced, but other than that I think it's in good shape. The headlights have been a little finiky and last night when I went to take it out (first time night driving) the wire scortched itself and smoked out before I shut off the lights. I peeled away the electrical tape wrapping everything together and it looks like at least one of the wires is toast.

My question is, is it possible to just re-wire the fried wires and fix the problem? Or does it need a new switch or something? Hoping to get it back in operation by this weekend for some 4th fun. Any ideas on why this happened in the first place and I'm all ears! Thanks guys!

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Unread 07-01-2013, 06:48 PM   #2
lonetrader
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Exactly which wire was it. Was it the hot lead, lead to the light, or ground. You have to replace the wire that fried. Find out what it is. Next run dedicated grounds to all lights, dash, starter, etc. The headlight switches are cheap and so are the high beam switches. Order one of each. On my 75, I had to work out the rust and dirt in the 2 switches then they worked fine. I ran dedicated grounds to the lights and they work way better now. There are several articles on dedicated grounds by jeephammer and fatman. They are great reference. There is also an article by jeephammer on basic wiring 101. You will learn a lot from these articles. You will learn HOW and WHERE to ground and learn how to make your own battery cables. I am re wiring my Jeep one wire at a time.
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Unread 07-01-2013, 07:18 PM   #3
robs7
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I had a melted wire as well when I started into mine. Turned out to be a bad high beam switch in the floor board. I guess it had been stomped on one too many times so check that switch. Specifically the connector area on the back. Good advice above as well. Bad grounds can cause all sorts of strange things to happen. Rob
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Unread 07-02-2013, 04:32 AM   #4
John Strenk
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I second the floor switch. Replace that first.

And yes, you can just replace the wires. I'm sure terminals and housings are available if you need them. Just be sure to use the correct gauge wire.


Funny the Circuit breaker didn't work. Might need to look into getting a new headlight switch also...
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Unread 07-02-2013, 07:33 AM   #5
turbogus
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BTW I see from the FSM the wiring to the headlights is one black and two grey, one with a tracer anyone know what color is that tracer is, white or black?
Thanks and a lift of the lynch lid.
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Unread 07-02-2013, 08:22 PM   #6
gmmccalden
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Soooo.... After tearing into this a bit today I think I found the root of the problem and I had my first WTF PO moment....

After tracing my burnt wire I found that it actually led to the left turn signal light. Right before the wire connects with the turn signal, there is a splice with the spliced wire just cut off and the end exposed. I know the PO had a plow at one point and my theory is that when he got rid of the plow, he just chopped the wire and left it. Once I started driving it around a bit that wire finally made contact with metal and shorted the wire burning it out!

Which brings me to my next problem. It ended up frying the pigtail that plugs into the headlight switch...and I can't seem to find one. Any ideas?

Also, do you think I should go ahead and replace the headlight switch while I'm at it? And what about the floor dimmer switch? They have both parts in stock at the local parts store.

Lastly, there are two wires (what I think may be the actual headlight wires) that are a bit thicker gauge wire than the others that got scorched from contact with the other one. Do you think I can just chop off the little bit that's exposed copper and add some new wire? Or do I have to re-wire the whole section?

All the other wires look to be in great shape though, headlights have dedicated grounds and have seen a few others, but will definitely check the starter as well. Thanks for all the advice folks! Definitely getting a new lesson in electricity for better or worse.
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Unread 07-03-2013, 04:37 AM   #7
John Strenk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmmccalden View Post
Soooo.... After tearing into this a bit today I think I found the root of the problem and I had my first WTF PO moment....

After tracing my burnt wire I found that it actually led to the left turn signal light. Right before the wire connects with the turn signal, there is a splice with the spliced wire just cut off and the end exposed. I know the PO had a plow at one point and my theory is that when he got rid of the plow, he just chopped the wire and left it. Once I started driving it around a bit that wire finally made contact with metal and shorted the wire burning it out!

Which brings me to my next problem. It ended up frying the pigtail that plugs into the headlight switch...and I can't seem to find one. Any ideas?

Also, do you think I should go ahead and replace the headlight switch while I'm at it? And what about the floor dimmer switch? They have both parts in stock at the local parts store.

Lastly, there are two wires (what I think may be the actual headlight wires) that are a bit thicker gauge wire than the others that got scorched from contact with the other one. Do you think I can just chop off the little bit that's exposed copper and add some new wire? Or do I have to re-wire the whole section?

All the other wires look to be in great shape though, headlights have dedicated grounds and have seen a few others, but will definitely check the starter as well. Thanks for all the advice folks! Definitely getting a new lesson in electricity for better or worse.

The dimmer switch usually fails the earliest. If the wires had burnt up then the Circuit breaker inside the headlight switch isn't doing it's job and need to replace the headlight switch.

You can cut back the wire but if you see any corrosion inside the wire, Replace the whole wire. I would buy new terminals and splice in a whole new wire.

I don't think you can find a pigtail to replace it but you certainly can buy the socket and terminals inside the socket. I think NAPA has all those parts
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Unread 07-03-2013, 03:20 PM   #8
turbogus
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Got the grey 12 gauge wire in today going to brave the garage heat and see if I can find out. Then just got to find some ink or paint that'll stick to vinyl insulation.
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The parts shop that stocks part for Skylab II will not have parts for our year/model of Jeep
We cannot accurately judge the trajectory of a speeding critter (cat, dog, sasquatch)
Record heat waves and floods only occur when we visit that area
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Unread 07-10-2013, 11:42 AM   #9
gmmccalden
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So I can't find the socket anywhere. None of the parts stores (NAPA, O'Reillys, Autozone) seem to be able to find it. Even stopped by the stealership on a whim and they don't even have a clule. Internet searches haven't revealed anything either...Any ideas?
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Unread 07-10-2013, 02:04 PM   #10
turbogus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmmccalden View Post
So I can't find the socket anywhere. None of the parts stores (NAPA, O'Reillys, Autozone) seem to be able to find it. Even stopped by the stealership on a whim and they don't even have a clule. Internet searches haven't revealed anything either...Any ideas?
Ask to speak to the store managers, even in this consumer desert I live and work in, "three terminal headlight sockets" for the ends that plug into the headligh themselves are readily available. But when your're dealing with the switch multi socket plug that plugs into the switch, you're going to have to pull it free from the switch, Then, either with a terminal extraction tool (kind of like an extended jewelers flat screwdriver) or some other tiny flat object to depress the tab on the terminal itself to pull the wire.



and then replace the wire and terminal, these terminals snap right in.

The toughest part will be the extraction of the plug though.

More power to ya, friend!
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The parts shop that stocks part for Skylab II will not have parts for our year/model of Jeep
We cannot accurately judge the trajectory of a speeding critter (cat, dog, sasquatch)
Record heat waves and floods only occur when we visit that area
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Unread 07-10-2013, 02:08 PM   #11
turbogus
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Got the grey 12 gauge wire in today going to brave the garage heat and see if I can find out. Then just got to find some ink or paint that'll stick to vinyl insulation.
BTW, I found that the tracer is white, not very distinctive on gray though. Used a Sharpie white claylike marker and it's holding fast even bending the wire 180* and the marked portion flexes without chipping or fading.
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The parts shop that stocks part for Skylab II will not have parts for our year/model of Jeep
We cannot accurately judge the trajectory of a speeding critter (cat, dog, sasquatch)
Record heat waves and floods only occur when we visit that area
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Unread 07-10-2013, 09:59 PM   #12
gmmccalden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbogus View Post
Ask to speak to the store managers, even in this consumer desert I live and work in, "three terminal headlight sockets" for the ends that plug into the headligh themselves are readily available. But when your're dealing with the switch multi socket plug that plugs into the switch, you're going to have to pull it free from the switch, Then, either with a terminal extraction tool (kind of like an extended jewelers flat screwdriver) or some other tiny flat object to depress the tab on the terminal itself to pull the wire.



and then replace the wire and terminal, these terminals snap right in.

The toughest part will be the extraction of the plug though.

More power to ya, friend!
So are you suggesting to retrofit the Multisocket that plugs into the headlight switch socket? Or just replace the terminals in the melty socket I have now. Or not even use the socket at all and just wire the terminals into the switch directly without the socket.

Gonna tear into it again tomorrow after work. Hoping for the best! Thanks for the help guys!
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Unread 07-11-2013, 05:01 AM   #13
John Strenk
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There are always junkyards were you can find a matching plug and transfer the old terminals into the good plug and replace any that need repair. I think GM vehicles used these switches for years.
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Unread 07-11-2013, 01:59 PM   #14
turbogus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmmccalden View Post
So are you suggesting to retrofit the Multisocket that plugs into the headlight switch socket? Or just replace the terminals in the melty socket I have now. Or not even use the socket at all and just wire the terminals into the switch directly without the socket.

Gonna tear into it again tomorrow after work. Hoping for the best! Thanks for the help guys!
Sorry, I missed your post that the plastic multisocket had melted so severely. I would've thought that if one or more wires shorted out enough you would've had a dash/vehicle fire on your hands. Early on I had a one wire short circuit but the fuse for the headlight popped before severe damage was done.
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The parts shop that stocks part for Skylab II will not have parts for our year/model of Jeep
We cannot accurately judge the trajectory of a speeding critter (cat, dog, sasquatch)
Record heat waves and floods only occur when we visit that area
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Unread 07-11-2013, 02:07 PM   #15
turbogus
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Originally Posted by John Strenk View Post
There are always junkyards were you can find a matching plug and transfer the old terminals into the good plug and replace any that need repair. I think GM vehicles used these switches for years.
Thant's great to know John, I knew the columns were the same and the ignition cylinders. Having the '81 Ford van I've noticed that same looking headligh plug is there too. I reckon it could be like a Bendix part that crossed manufacturers.
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The parts shop that stocks part for Skylab II will not have parts for our year/model of Jeep
We cannot accurately judge the trajectory of a speeding critter (cat, dog, sasquatch)
Record heat waves and floods only occur when we visit that area
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