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Unread 11-12-2013, 12:41 PM   #1
schnoomy5643
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Ongoing headlight headache

Hey all, I've lurked this forum on and off for a few years and finally decided to make an account because I have a question that I just can't seem to find the answer to!

Since about late July / early August, I've had headlight issues. All of my lighting is stock, aside from my headlight housings. They are ebay housings that have halos built in. The halos are wired into my marker lights, so they shouldn't be causing this issue but I figured I'd mention it. I do have stock fog lights as well and am running Sylvania Silverstar Ultras in my headlights. The issue I'm having is the headlights will go out and come back on by themselves, often flashing multiple times. Doesn't matter if it's on hi or lo beam, they kick off either way. Fog lights stay on when this happens (fog lights kick back on when im running high beams and the headlights cut out). I replaced the headlight switch and the switch connector, which was actually slightly melted. That still didn't solve the problem.

I eventually took it to a shop which replaced my hi/lo/turn signal switch on the steering column. It was extremely corroded. This took care of another problem I had been having, which was my turn signal would come on sometimes when I hit my brakes. However, the headlight issue still exists. All of my fuses and relays seem fine, so I'm coming here looking for advice or tips. A friend said I should check out the H4 connectors, which I will be doing tonight or tomorrow, but I don't think those would cause both lights to cut out at the same time. I'd really hate to take it to a shop again just for them to try multiple things and still possibly not fix the problem. I also hate people bright lighting me because they think I'm flashing them.

Any advice would help! Thanks, and I apologize for such a long post!

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Unread 11-12-2013, 12:46 PM   #2
xrunndonex
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I'm thinking its a loose wire? Do bumps seem to trigger it? Those wire shouldn't have melted if there were good connections and relays
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Unread 11-12-2013, 12:59 PM   #3
schnoomy5643
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Bumps sometimes trigger it, but not all the time. Last night it was happening on a freshly paved road which was completely smooth.
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Unread 11-12-2013, 02:55 PM   #4
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If I were a betting Man, I'd place my Money on a WEAK RELAY. I know YOU said ALL RELAYS and FUSES seem fine, but my money is still on a Relay going by your Description.
What I see happening is a Relay is overheating and shutting down. Switching to an H-4 Halogen Bulb, from a Sealed Beam Headlamp could cause your Connections at the Headlight to weaken, thus overheating. (H-4's run HOTTER than Sealed Beams) CHECK the 3 prong plugs at the Back of the Bulbs to insure they are tight. Each plug has 3 connections, total of 6, and all must be tight. Finally, just to factor out the weak Relay being a cause, I'd replace that Relay with a NEW 30 Amp, or EVEN BETTER a 40 amp Relay.
NOW for what it's worth → TROUBLE SHOOTING Electrical issues can be difficult IN PERSON, and MUCH harder to Diagnose over the INTERNET, and can really get INVOLVED. SOOOOOO ----- With that thought in Mind, what is described above could or could not be the issue, but is meant to be a GOOD STARTING POINT.
Good Luck.

YOU MIGHT FIND some good Information by Reading the following thread regarding an H-4 UPGRADE to Headlights, such as you have done → → http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/h4...grade-1444485/

I STRONGLY SUGGEST you find the Time to read the Thread, and NOT JUST SKIM over it.


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Unread 11-12-2013, 10:57 PM   #5
schnoomy5643
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyoteon2 View Post
If I were a betting Man, I'd place my Money on a WEAK RELAY. I know YOU said ALL RELAYS and FUSES seem fine, but my money is still on a Relay going by your Description.
What I see happening is a Relay is overheating and shutting down. Switching to an H-4 Halogen Bulb, from a Sealed Beam Headlamp could cause your Connections at the Headlight to weaken, thus overheating. (H-4's run HOTTER than Sealed Beams) CHECK the 3 prong plugs at the Back of the Bulbs to insure they are tight. Each plug has 3 connections, total of 6, and all must be tight. Finally, just to factor out the weak Relay being a cause, I'd replace that Relay with a NEW 30 Amp, or EVEN BETTER a 40 amp Relay.
NOW for what it's worth → TROUBLE SHOOTING Electrical issues can be difficult IN PERSON, and MUCH harder to Diagnose over the INTERNET, and can really get INVOLVED. SOOOOOO ----- With that thought in Mind, what is described above could or could not be the issue, but is meant to be a GOOD STARTING POINT.
Good Luck.

YOU MIGHT FIND some good Information by Reading the following thread regarding an H-4 UPGRADE to Headlights, such as you have done → → http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/h4...grade-1444485/

I STRONGLY SUGGEST you find the Time to read the Thread, and NOT JUST SKIM over it.


.
Thanks for the reply. Plugs seem tight, but appear to be getting pretty warm. I may be replacing the relay like you said, just to be safe.

Now, I followed your instructions and read that thread like it was my job. Got quite a bit of info on aftermarket stuff there. I may chime in and ask a question in there, but would the RJM harness possibly solve my issue? I know it would definitely be an upgrade, even if it didn't solve the issue. I should also mention that I drove about an hour today and didn't notice any problems. This is what I hate about electrical gremlins.
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Unread 11-12-2013, 11:32 PM   #6
Rubi4MyMrs
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Does this happen if you are parked & just have the lights on or only when driving?

The fact that it happens on high & low beams & the fogs act as you describe indicates the problem is likely somewhere before the dimmer switch so from the HL switch to the dimmer switch or simply overloading the circuit. There are no relays in that circuit but there is a circuit breaker in the headlight switch rated at 24 amps I think. The headlights may be overloading the circuit causing it to trip & if that breaker is self resetting, which I think it is but not sure, it could explain what is happening. You mention the melting connector which is another sign of too much current draw in the circuit. It may well be you headlights are simply drawing too much current. If you still have the OEM lights you might try putting them back in & seeing if that fixes the problem. If so you will have to install a relay/wiring harness kit to use your current lights & avoid overloading through the switch.



You could also try replacing the 30a fuse (fuse 10 in the PDC) with a 20a & see if the fuse blows rather than cutting off & back on. That will verify if it is a circuit overload & the breaker tripping rather than a bad connection somewhere. Obviously you won’t want to do this when driving at night & possibly lose you lights out there.
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Unread 11-13-2013, 01:49 PM   #7
schnoomy5643
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I haven't noticed it happen when I'm parked, but I'm rarely stationary very long with the jeep running. I could try putting the OEM lights back in next time I'm home. I'm currently out of town at college. I'll also try replacing that 30a fuse (quite an odd looking fuse) and driving around during the day with my lights on and checking it after a while. If it does blow that new 20a fuse, would the new headlight harness from RJM solve that problem by reducing the draw placed on the headlight switch?
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Unread 11-13-2013, 01:58 PM   #8
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same thing was happening to me after I upgraded to a set of KC h4 headlights. Went away when I changed bulbs to something better. Came back a few weeks later. Found out it was a loose connection at the headlight bulb. I ended up fixing it by ziptieing the headlight harness to the actual headlight. haven't had a problem since.
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Unread 11-13-2013, 02:12 PM   #9
schnoomy5643
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder05 View Post
same thing was happening to me after I upgraded to a set of KC h4 headlights. Went away when I changed bulbs to something better. Came back a few weeks later. Found out it was a loose connection at the headlight bulb. I ended up fixing it by ziptieing the headlight harness to the actual headlight. haven't had a problem since.
I've wiggled the connectors when the lights were on and nothing happened. It's even tough to pull the connectors off, which tells me that they aren't loose. Also wiggled the fuses in the PDC to see if any of them were loose but didn't see any problems there. I'm just gonna try swapping that 30a to a 20a fuse to see what happens.
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Unread 11-13-2013, 06:41 PM   #10
Rubi4MyMrs
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The reason for changing the fuse to a 20a is to try to tell if there is an overload tripping the circuit breaker or if there is a bad connection somewhere. Since the breaker is rated at 24a & the fuse is 30a, the fuse shouldn’t blow on overload. If you put a fuse in that is a little lower rating than the breaker an overload should blow the fuse rather than tripping the breaker. Then if the lights go off but come back on you will know the fuse hasn’t blown & the breaker shouldn’t be tripping which will eliminate the overload & you will have to find where the bad connection is. Since both high & low beams & both lights are affected it is pretty surely in the circuit before the dimmer switch if not an overloaded circuit. It is just a process to try to isolate what you are dealing with & where to go next.

I think a harness & relay kit is probably the way to go for overall better performance but if there is a bad connection somewhere you could add the harness & still have the lights cutting off since those kits generally use the OEM light & dimmer switches & wiring to one of the actual OEM headlight plugs to switch the relays so a bad connection could end up turning the relays off.
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Unread 11-13-2013, 11:06 PM   #11
schnoomy5643
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubi4MyMrs View Post
The reason for changing the fuse to a 20a is to try to tell if there is an overload tripping the circuit breaker or if there is a bad connection somewhere. Since the breaker is rated at 24a & the fuse is 30a, the fuse shouldn’t blow on overload. If you put a fuse in that is a little lower rating than the breaker an overload should blow the fuse rather than tripping the breaker. Then if the lights go off but come back on you will know the fuse hasn’t blown & the breaker shouldn’t be tripping which will eliminate the overload & you will have to find where the bad connection is. Since both high & low beams & both lights are affected it is pretty surely in the circuit before the dimmer switch if not an overloaded circuit. It is just a process to try to isolate what you are dealing with & where to go next.

I think a harness & relay kit is probably the way to go for overall better performance but if there is a bad connection somewhere you could add the harness & still have the lights cutting off since those kits generally use the OEM light & dimmer switches & wiring to one of the actual OEM headlight plugs to switch the relays so a bad connection could end up turning the relays off.
Instead of spending the money on a fuse, couldn't I just use a digital multimeter to check the amperage draw at that fuse when the lights are on?
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Unread 11-14-2013, 12:10 AM   #12
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Yes you could meter it but since the lights don’t cut out as soon as you turn them on that indicates there is no overload (at least to the breaker limit) when first going on. As the heat builds up over time the load may be increasing to the limit of the breaker. Having a fuse in there allows you to more or less continuously monitor the circuit up to the point of power loss. Still it is not a bad idea to meter it & see what the initial amp draw is. If say 20a that might tell you that you are close to the limit. If you know the wattage of your lights you can calculate the amps they are supposed to draw, that would be good to know as well.
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Unread 11-15-2013, 08:18 PM   #13
schnoomy5643
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Well, heres an update. Being away from home I only have limited resources. The DMM at my disposal is only rated at 10A max, so that's out of the question. I'll be going to pick up a fuse next time I head to a store. I find it odd though that the load would increase over time. Logically, to me anyways, the lights should always draw a constant load from the minute they turn on, to right before they are turned off. The bulbs are just standard Sylvania Silverstar Ultras. 55W low beam, 60W high beam. Autozone's website says the lights only draw 4.3 amps a piece.
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Unread 11-15-2013, 08:48 PM   #14
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Look at resistance/heat like this. Many, not all, electrically conductive items have a resistance of "X" at a certain ambient temperature. Many of the items will see a decrease in resistance with an increase in temperature.

One thing that never behaves like that is a bad/loose/corroded connection. As they heat up, the resistance will increase because the heat/corrosion will cause the resistance of that connection to increase. That will lead to more heat, which causes it to get worse, which causes more resistance, then still more heat, and so on.

Start with the basics. Go through the affected lighting circuits item by item, including the ground points. If it is a multi-point connector do not assume it is good because it feels snug. A four wire plug with one poor connection can still feel like it is tight. Also a dirty (rust or other corrosion) ground can give you the fits. If you question a relay you and can ID which terminals are what causes it to close the contact, you can operate it electrically and test the contact. If you can, operate it several times and note the resistance. It should be low and consistent. A reading that fluctuates more than an ohm or two or is high (20-25 ohms or more) could be questionable.
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Unread 11-15-2013, 08:52 PM   #15
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You should.just sell.it.and buy a XJ
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