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Old 03-13-2018, 01:27 AM   #1
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Headlights & Dashlights Out

Went to pull the headlight switch tonight, and heard a vague "pop" somewhere under the dash. My hearing isn't the best, so I couldn't tell where it came from.

Either way, now we get no lights on the dash (service lights, however, are fine) and no headlights. TBrake lights are working, and when you twist the headlight switch, it still turns on the driver's overhead map light.

But...no headlights or instrument dash lights.

Any suggestions? Many thanks, in advance! As always, we will post the ultimate resolution once we know what it is to help others down the road.
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Old 03-13-2018, 08:44 AM   #2
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Anyone?

No one?
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:52 AM   #3
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Sounds like a short or blown fuse... I do not believe a poor ground would cause the pop.
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Old 03-13-2018, 01:19 PM   #4
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RE: Fuse or Short

That sounds logical. We found a smaller box in the overall fuse compartment with very small fuses for both the dash lights and the headlights, but those are all fine.

Any idea why a short would make a popping sound, assuming that's what it is?

Also, we noticed this morning that there is a red light inside the fuse compartment. When you pull the headlight switch, even though nothing comes on, the red light in the compartment activates.

That one is something we never noticed before.
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Old 03-13-2018, 02:32 PM   #5
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My bet would be the headlight switch! I've had to replace ours twice!
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Old 03-13-2018, 03:02 PM   #6
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RE: MSHappyCampers

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSHappyCampers View Post
My bet would be the headlight switch! I've had to replace ours twice!
That could very well be possible!

Now, is the switch integrated with the actual knob that you pull to turn on the headlights and active the dash lights? Or is it a separate component, hidden up and under the dash and connected to the knob on the dash by wires or something else?
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Old 03-13-2018, 03:42 PM   #7
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Hi Ereadingrv; As MShappycampers suggested, I would look at the headlight switch itself. From what has been posted here many times, the switch is from a late 70's Chevrolet Truck. The knob you pull to turn on the headlights is separate from the switch itself. On the bottom of the switch is a small round knob you pull to release the knob from the switch. Then you remove the nut that holds the switch to the dash. Then you can unplug the harness from the switch. If you have no access from the bottom of the dash, you might have to remove some of the dash panel screws to get access to the switch behind the dash panel. Take the switch to a good auto parts supplier and they should be able to match it up. Not too expensive. Hope this info helps. Good luck!
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Old 03-13-2018, 04:00 PM   #8
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Have had to replace my headlight switch also. The trick is figuring out how to remove the knob (as described above).
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Old 03-13-2018, 04:07 PM   #9
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The headlight circuit is not normally fused for safety reasons . There may be a self resetting circuit breaker for the power feed. The dash and tail/marker lights are fused . Brake lights are on a separate circuit. The headlight switch provides a ground for the dome light (another separate circuit).
You could check for power on the headlight switch , normally a large red wire. If you got power, then it's quite possibly the switch.
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:07 PM   #10
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If you have a FRB (front run bay--electrical bay accessed from outside near front on driver's side), check the two solenoids in the top left corner. Look like old Ford starter relays. One of them powers a lot of the instrument panel components. You can frequently give them a whack and they will make contact again. If your A/C blower will not come one, it is almost surely one of these two solenoids.
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adamsta View Post
Sounds like a short or blown fuse... I do not believe a poor ground would cause the pop.
Yes, a ground can cause a pop, but I don't think it is a ground issue. I suspect the light switch though it could be the circuit breaker...
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:18 PM   #12
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8.3Oilbuner : On mine and all the other headlight switches I have replaced the knob or more like a button on the bottom of the switch should be pushed in not pulled out. Just saying
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Old 03-14-2018, 12:39 PM   #13
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UPDATE - Switch?

Okay, here's an odd one...

After trying to get the switch checked out or switched out (no pun intended), on a whim, tried it once...and we suddenly had lights and dash lights again!

So, still sound like an intermittent switch? Based on all the great suggestions here, that's sure how it looks!
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Old 03-14-2018, 02:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
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8.3Oilbuner : On mine and all the other headlight switches I have replaced the knob or more like a button on the bottom of the switch should be pushed in not pulled out. Just saying
Jim
All the ones I've seen - you push the little spring loaded button "in" then pull the knob/shaft out.

There is an internal circuit breaker in the headlight switch. You may have shorted something under the dash (power for the headlight circuit) then heard the headlight switch breaker pop. Once the short was remedied the headlight switch reset - so now it's working again. Sounds plusable.

When you remove the electrical connector from the headlight switch examine the plug carefully. These headlight switches are know to get hot (due to the amount of current flowing through the switch when the lights are on) and will melt the plug. There are replacement connectors available for this reason.
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