View original topic: Mysterious headlight issues are haunting night!
shorepig Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:03 pm

My headlights my 85' westy are not working properly. I have the South African grille, which has been on for the past 10 years without any issues. Since I installed the SA grille, I somehow connected something improperly so when the high beam light is illuminated on my dash, it's actually the low beams that are on and vice versa.


It began about 1000 kms ago, where my low beams would not come on until the van had been running for about 10 mins, so I'd have to drive with the high beams on until the low beams would begin working. This progressively got worse to the point that the low beams will not work unless the van has been running for at least a 1/2 hour. Recently, I've noticed that the high beams will not work either until the van has been running for about 10 mins. so I have to sit and wait when I want to drive in the dark. Very strange. Once on the road for a while both highs and lows work fine.

I have removed the headlight on/off dash switch and checked for shorts by wiggling the connections but no change. I have also removed the plastic steering column covers and wiggled the connections that go into the high/low beam switch (this is the lever coming out of the column). I have noticed in the past a bit of a burning smell coming from what I thought was the fuse box, especially when my high beams were on, but never any smoke or blown fuses.

Any ideas what could be the culprit or how I would troubleshoot this?

dobryan Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:04 pm

Sounds likely to me that you have some ground wires going bad. When that happens strange things occur and bad smells sometimes too. BTDT.

I added separate grounds on the inner body panel behind the headlights to eliminate the need for the ground tree connections behind the fuse block.

Also check the connectors and wiring at each headlight to be sure you do not have a corroded connection or burnt wire.

Ride-Fly Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:11 pm

There was another thread about headlight issues with the SA grille and high power beams. There's some good info in there.

I had an issue with my SA/HP set up that I wrote about in that thread. It started with one of my headlights dimming to about 30% of normal. It would happen randomly and the duration varied. Then it migrated to the other headlight. In my case, the culprit were the Van Cafe pigtails. They are smaller gauge wires and after awhile of use I noticed that the pigtail's plastic housings were melted a bit. I ended up switching them out for another brand that I got from Halsey Imports that had much thicker gauge and the problem never happened again.

shorepig Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:52 pm

Thanks for the advice guys.

What I have found is that where the high beam/lowbeam wire comes up the steering column it ends in a black plug which plugs into the steering column. At this connection point there is a short. When I wiggle this the lights go on and off. How can I determine if its a faulty plug (male end) or faulty socket) female side?

hardway Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:16 pm

The thing that you are wiggling is the dimmer switch. It is part of the wiper switch. In the stock system all of the headlight current goes through that switch. They fail. Jumper around it to confirm the diagnosis. SWF is the OE supplier. If you have not installed a headlight relay kit yet, you should. The relays take the load off of the X terminal of the ignition switch, the dimmer switch and the headlight switch.

VicVan Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:52 pm

+1 for the relay!

bluebus86 Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:22 pm

adding relays is your fix, do it before the parts you are smelling totally fail!

Bug On!

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