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Low beam lights work, high beams don't what happened?
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Creativemind
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:20 pm    Post subject: Low beam lights work, high beams don't what happened? Reply with quote

So last week I was driving my van at night and I went to switch the high beams on. When I pulled back on the stalk it did not go on! I was in the dark. ( i cant remember if the low beams normally came on with it or not, I never checked)*

I had a mechanic install the South African Grill kit for me roughly 2 years ago. I also installed the Terry K high wattage bulb wiring kit about 4 years ago.

I checked all the fuses and anything behind the fuse box that had a fuse and relay connected and they were all good.

There was a time before this incidicent that I would here a relay going on and off constantly but I pulled all the relays out, put them back in the and issue disappeared.

Is it possible for both halogen bulbs to blow at the same time?

Is it the stalk? Because the Blue light does not come on to indicate the high beams are on, nothing happens.

I put a new ignition switch in about 4 years ago when I was having issues starting the van. No issues since.

What else should I be checking on?

My Van: 2.1L 88 Wolfsburg Auto, Rebuilt engine, Fuses all good.
Note: My power windows started to fail over the summer and now are dead. Wipers do work. I was not getting power to the drivers side at all, it just died. Switches are good. I suspect a broken wire in the door.
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BillWYellowstone
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fuse. Mine did that recently. I think #10.
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wasserbox
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Low beam lights work, high beams don't what happened? Reply with quote

Creativemind wrote:

I had a mechanic install the South African Grill kit for me roughly 2 years ago. I also installed the Terry K high wattage bulb wiring kit about 4 years ago.


If the high-beam fuse is good, AND all the wiring is still correctly connected...

Probably the relay for the high-beams. You have separate relays for the highs and lows.

They're cheap - couple bucks.

Not the switch itself, since the low beams go off when you pull the lever.

Pretty easy to troubleshoot it with a multimeter.
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thatvwbusguy Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check the grounds on the crown shaped multi-connectors above the fuse box. Wiggle all of the wires on the relay harness and see if any seem loose or broken.

If you suspect a bad relay, just swap them in the sockets. The two relays are exactly the same, one does high beams and one does low beams.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

X2 on the grounds; aftermarket spade connectors don't seem to grip the grounding points very well, they are a tiny bit larger than the ones VW used.
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Creativemind
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So here's the wildest thing. I took the steering column plastic shround off and was looking around the ignition switch and stalk base today just to be sure it was the anything obvious.

At that time I had checked all the fuses, well I had an issue with Relay #25 which on my van was on top of the fuse box on the right. I had pulled it out and left it out.

I had to drive the van later in the day and I put the 25 back where I got it.

I drive the van for 5 minutes and all of a sudden I decide to test the high beams for some reason. Low and behold they worked!

Can someone tell me what each relay does and the corresponding number on the relay?

One of you mentioned there was a relay for the low and a relay for the high beams can you please elaborate and tell me if the local autozone (flaps) dealer might have what I need?

Thank you to everyone who has replied, much appreciated!!!! Razz
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thatvwbusguy Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What type of issues were you having with the #25 relay?

The modular design of the auxiliary relay/fuse spaces (for factory options) above the main fuse block make it difficult to troubleshoot, since you can easily remove or reposition the relays. Let us know what color the wires are that come from relay #25 to help sort it out.

Here is a good diagram of the fuse / relay panel for 86-91 vans:
http://www.vanagonparts.com/fuse_panel_86to91.html

The headlight relay kit you installed consist of two relays. One powers the high beams and one powers the low beams.

Before you do any further troubleshooting, check the grounds. I would be willing to be that your problem lies in a bad ground.

If the grounds check out okay, follow the yellow 12GA wire and the white 12GA wire from the high/low selector switch on the left side of the steering column (they originate in a black protective sheathing) to the headlight relays. The relay that the white wire goes to will be the high beam relay and the relay that the yellow wire goes to will be the low beam relay.

Most 12V relays are rated for lifespans of 100,000 cycles or more. Of course time, age and heat all have negative effects on electrical components, so it is not out of the question that one of your relays might have failed. Since your low beams work fine, swapping the high and low beam relays will let you know immediately if the high beam relay has failed.
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Creativemind
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just wanted to update everyone. So in the end my problem was the most simple to resolve. Honestly after all that I went through, checking and replacing parts it was a second set of the grounds in the far back near the nose of the van that just needed cleaning.

I removed every single ground wire, inspected each, cleaned them with sandpaper and a dremel. Then cleaned the star connectors with the same tools, repaired 1 ground that was broken and tightened 4 others connectors. Finally I used some dialectric grease on the connectors and reconnected everything.

Boom, instantly the light were working fine.

So in the end, replacing ignition switches, checking the headlight switch and all the wiring was a waste of time but I did learn alot in the process. Now I will always check the grounds first!

Thanks to everyone for their support.
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thatvwbusguy Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is never a waste of time to learn more about your van. It is also a great idea to replace your ignition switch after you install relays, since you will most likely never have to worry about it again (this is especially true if you also run a hard start relay to take the starting load off the ignition switch).

If you want even better grounding for your headlights, consider grounding them out next to the bulbs with a ring connector screwed down to clean metal. A short ground wire is a happy ground wire.

To do this, simply cut the brown ground wire coming from each bulb at a spot where it can reach a screw that penetrates the body of the van, then strip back about 1/4" of insulation and crimp on a good ring connector. Clean up the metal under the screw you will be using for your ground point to clean metal and fasten the ring connector down. Extra points for using a star washer between the ring terminal and the chassis and some dielectric grease over everything to give the best long-lasting connection possible.

The mounting screws for the headlight buckets make a good ground point as long as the metal is in pretty good shape.
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KevbOliver
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey guys - Similar issue here but need some more info…

I was in the fuse panel a little bit getting my power windows working again (90 Syncro) and once that was all said and done, I no longer have high beams. The lever to turn them on clicks properly but no lights...

I have been searching for a procedure to follow to fix this. If anyone can through some advise at me I would be very appreciative.

Also, unsure if I have or where to locate any relays for my low/high beams.

Thanks!
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geo_tonz
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KevbOliver wrote:
Hey guys - Similar issue here but need some more info…

I was in the fuse panel a little bit getting my power windows working again (90 Syncro) and once that was all said and done, I no longer have high beams. The lever to turn them on clicks properly but no lights...

I have been searching for a procedure to follow to fix this. If anyone can through some advise at me I would be very appreciative.

Also, unsure if I have or where to locate any relays for my low/high beams.

Thanks!


Well, if you check that the leads for the lights are still plugged into the fuse panel (can figure out which ones from Bentley or owner's manual) and that the ground is still attached, and the fuses are good the next bet is the headlight switch, Ignition switch (any non-starting issues too?) or maybe the high-beam switch. The lines are 12 gauge solid yellow and solid white which go from the lower-middle of the fuse panel up the column to the high/low beam.
Headlight switch: Does your headlight switch feel smooth or crunchy when turning it on? If you switch it partially on does the low beams work?
Ignition Switch: If you play with the wiring harness on the column going to the ignition switch do the lights come on? If you wiggle the key do things turn on/off?

Most probably you have no relays on your headlight system. The guy who posted above you (Jay: thatvwguy) sells a great plug-and-play set for your van that really makes a huge difference in headlight brightness and allows higher wattage bulbs. Very noticeable when I installed his set on my '85.
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KevbOliver
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Geo-

Thanks for the great info man, I'll be getting back at it in the am and will check back in.

Seems likely that it would be something at the fuse panel since i was messing around in there right before the brights went out… My ignition switch has not shown any signs of malfunction or any jitteriness and the headlight switch also seems smooth and easy - although I do have an extra one i can dig out and try if i need to.

First things first - grabbing the bentley…

Thanks!
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The fuse block connections for the headlights on the 86-91 fuse block are not single 1/4" connectors like on the earlier vans, so it is unlikely that you just knocked something loose. By all means, ensure that all of the plastic multiconnector housings are well seated into the rear of the fuse block though.

Do you still have the stock headlights, or have you swapped in something different?

I would start with the fuses (fuse 9 & 10), then once they are known good, take a look at the condition of the grounds on the multiconnector ground trees above the fuse block on the left wall of the van. The headlight grounds will be two 16AWG brown wires terminated into one 1/4" female disconnect terminal. If the terminal looks less than perfect, cut it off and replace it. For even better grounding, separate the headlight grounds and put a new 1/4" terminal on each wire independently before reinstalling them on the ground trees.

Next, check for voltage at the bulbs with a multimeter. While you are out at the bulbs, inspect the white plastic plugs for signs of melting by pulling the bulbs off and carefully checking for melting or scorching of the electrical contacts as shown in this post: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=559933&highlight=9004+connector. Also be sure to take a close look to ensure that there are no broken filaments inside the bulbs.

Once all of the physical connections and wiring have been verified to be in good working order, we can move on to troubleshooting things further.
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KevbOliver
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow man, thanks for the precise breakdown. You certainly have boosted my confidence going into this in the morning. I'll report back in the early afternoon tomorrow.

Jay-I'm sending a pm about relay kit
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