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No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super??????
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john diego
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:21 pm    Post subject: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

Well guys, here we go again. Iím hoping you guys can shed some light on my situation. I left my lights on over night, got up early morning to start my 74Super only to find out my battery was 💀 dead. I attempted to push an clutch it on my own, only to jump in, while doing that grabbed the turn signal handle instead of the steering wheel an ended up braking the handle . Bomber right, you would think.
Now this is where the table turns. Before this delema , both high beams an low beams were working well. I ended up changing the turn signal switch, now the high beams stays on, and no low. I donít even get that click sound when I depressed the high beam switch handle towards me. Not even the high beams light indicator on the dash. When it comes to the fuses, I am aware that the #3 fuse controls the left and the #4 controls the right side, which supposed to be low beams. Of course theyíre both stuck in highs. # 5an6 supposed to be highs, I realized when I removed the # 5and 6 fuse they both remained in the on position. Can someone help an shed some light on thi situation. Oh, before I forget, when I was replacing the turn signal switch their was 2 small black skinny plastic piece that was sitting side by side to each other, about 2 1/2 in in length that fell from behind the turn signal switch while changing the turn signal switch, not sure where it came from or the name it, an if it plays a significant role in why I donít have low beams.Can someone name me the 2 little black plastic piece that sticks out behind the switch itself.an what is the porpose of it.I will attemt to post it if can. Thanks
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:37 am    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

The relay that switches between high and low beam is a latching relay - whichever position it is currently in, it will stay in, until you pull the switch handle, then it changes to the other position and stays there. All the switch handle does is momentarily provide a ground for the headlight relay itself, it has no connection to the wiring for the headlights.

Are you sure the headlights are stuck in high-beam? Have you tried removing fuses #3 and #4 to see if the lights go out? That would normally be the low-beam circuit, but its possible the lights have been wired incorrectly. The indicator in the speedometer is powered off the same circuit as the high-beams, and since removing fuses #5 and #6 doesn't affect the lights, it makes since the indicator isn't lit either.

I'm not familiar with the installation of the turn signal switch, but that is most likely the source of the problem - either the wire from the headlight relay is shorting to ground, or the headlight switch is never making contact.
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john diego
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:42 am    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

What I meant by stuck is, it wonít engage/ click into low beams.When I took out #3 fuse the right went out, I took out#4 the left went out. They both stayed in the high beam position after putting them back in. The low beams were working well until I broke the handle for the switch. All I did was replace the turn signal switch. But like I was saying concerning the 2 piece black plastic that sticks out the turn signal switch. Do you know the purpose of what itís for, what it does. Thatís the only thing that fell from behind.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:51 am    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

Sounds like the wires for the headlight relay are not connected or the switch contacts in the new switch are not completing the circuit.

I think if mine I'd jump the circuit to the switch in the turn signals, see if that clicks/switches the relay.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:58 am    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

How do I jump the circuit to the switch in the turn signal?
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:31 pm    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

john diego wrote:
How do I jump the circuit to the switch in the turn signal?


Well, I've never worked hands-on on a VW as new as a 1974, as my VW work experience was from 1971-1974 and of course on my own 1970 and 1971.

But assuming that your 1974 is similar to the earlier models, if you turn the ignition key to "run" position (1971 and newer need this on) and turn the headlight switch on, you should be able to touch the "S" terminal on the headlight relay or the brown wire with white stripe to ground (body bare metal, or a screw head that's screwed into the body); touching for a second should make the relay click, then you'd know to trace why the circuit doesn't ground and switch the relay when you pull on the turn signal lever.
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john diego
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:43 am    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

I touched the ďSĒ terminal on the relay or the brown wire with the white stripe
To ground an nothing happened ignition was on an light was on. No clicks, nor did the light come on. Did I not go something right? Thanks
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:14 am    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

Sound to me like your dimmer switch in the turn signal assembly is stuck in the closed/ON position.

Grab a flashlight and look at the inside end of your turn signal lever. You should see two brass tabs with contacts that sit a few mm apart.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

When you pull on the turn signal lever you should see the two contacts come together. I'm guessing you will see that the two contacts are in permanent contact with each other. This means your dimmer relay S terminal is permanently grounded. This is why grounding it manually made no difference.
I used to adjust my contacts every year or two because they would eventually weaken and remain stuck together.

With the ignition and headlights OFF, take a small flat head screwdriver and pry the contacts apart so there is an air gap between them. Pull the turn signal lever and make sure the contacts come together. Release the lever and make sure they separate.
Turn the ignition switch ON, turn the headlights ON and test that the dimmer relay clicks and the headlights switch between hi/low. If it does NOT, the relay may have burnt out from being ON all the time.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:51 am    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

Good response, Ashman.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:51 am    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

Cusser wrote:
Good response, Ashman.


Did you expect anything less??? Cool
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

I'm having what seems to be exactly the same problem on my 75 standard Beetle.
Thanks for the interesting posts and advice, hopefully this will solve my issues too.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:52 pm    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

I have inspected the two brass tabs that sits few mm apart on the turn signal lever, all seems in good condition. I forgot to share, the turn signal switch is only 6 months old. As far as the eyes can see, all is in good condition.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:09 am    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

For reference, this is the wiring of the headlight dimmer switch for US-spec late model Beetles w/ the "X" circuit ('71-later) from Speedy Jim's site:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

The white and yellow output wires go to the fuse box where each wire powers two fuses; one fuse for each headlight filament.

john diego wrote:
...now the high beams stays on, and no low. I donít even get that click sound when I depressed the high beam switch handle towards me. Not even the high beams light indicator on the dash.

I'm confused by the above statement. You say the high beams are stuck ON, but the high beam indicator lamp in the speedo is NOT ON. The indicator lamp is basically a 3rd high beam as it is powered from the same fuses as the high beams.
Look at the wiring side of your fuse box. You should see where the single white wire from the dimmer relay comes into the #5 & #6 fuses on one side. It connects to a brass bar that connects both fuses together allowing the one wire to power BOTH fuses. On the OUTPUT side of the fuses you should see two individual while wires (one will have a stripe) and there should be a blue/white wire coming off of one of the fuses. This is the high beam indicator lamp wire that runs to the speedo. So as long as the high beams are powered, the lamp in the speedo should also be ON. Unless of course the bulb is bad.

john diego wrote:
When it comes to the fuses, I am aware that the #3 fuse controls the left and the #4 controls the right side, which supposed to be low beams. Of course theyíre both stuck in highs. # 5an6 supposed to be highs, I realized when I removed the # 5and 6 fuse they both remained in the on position.

Again this makes no sense. Are you saying that when your high beams are ON it is the yellow wires connected to the #3 & #4 fuses that are powered? If so, then your low beam circuit is powered and they are cross wired somewhere.

Try this test,
    Remove the dimmer relay from the relay bridge over the fuse box.
    Using a jumper wire, connect the #56 (white/black wire) to the #56b (white wire). This should directly power the high beams & the high beam indicator lamp.
    Turn the ignition and headlights ON (headlights will only work with ignition ON).
    Move the wire to now power the #56a (yellow wire). The low beams should be powered.
    Turn off the ignition and headlights.

    Using a test lamp or voltmeter, connect it between the brown/white S terminal wire and a constant on 12v+ source from the fuse box (#8 or #9 fuse).
    Go to the turn signal lever and pull it towards the rear as if you were changing the hi/low beams. The test lamp should light (or voltmeter register 12v). Try this a few times. This confirms if the dimmer switch is working.

If you can power both high and low headlight circuits and the dimmer switch is grounding the S terminal, then your headlight circuit is working. It would seem the dimmer relay is bad.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:51 pm    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

Thanks for your response The Ashman, very interesting information.
Yes, presently I have only high Beams.The indicator for the high beams are a
No show.
After conducting the 1st test removal of the dimmer relay, using a jumper wire
an connecting #56(white/blk) to #56B (white wire) for the 1st time in awhile I saw the blue indicator, with the high beams.By the way the lights can be turned on without ignition being in the on position.
2nd test moving the wire to now power #56 (yellow) wire. The high beams remain on, didnít get low beams on this test.
3rd testing, using a test lamp. connecting the test lamp to brown/white, S terminal wire on a constant 12v source. From the fuse box # 8 or 9 fuse.
Pulling the turn signal switch inward, a few times towards low/ high beams.
The test lamp light up every time I pulled inward, lighting in red.
Throughout all the tests, the only thing that was a disappointment was not seeing Lowbeam. I did learn a lot though, thanks 🙏. One last ???? Is the dimmer relay bad? Thanks Ashman 40. 👍. Information I know many will learn from
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:56 pm    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

I have no idea why your yellow headlight wire is powering you high beams. You will need to trace the wires all the way to the headlights. This time remove the plug at the back of the headlights and test the yellow wire in the plug. When you jumper the low beam ON you should have power at this yellow wire. When you jumper the high beam white wire the white wire at the plug should be powered.

Here is a headlight plug diagram from Speedy Jimís site:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The only thing I can think of is you have the headlight plug miswired. If you have the high beam terminal wired to ground then the current will ALWAY flow thru the high beam filament regardless of where the power comes in. Remove the headlight plug on both sides and compare with the above wiring.

To test you dimmer relay, re-install it making sure the correct wire colors connect to the correct terminal #s. Disconnect the yellow and white wires running from the dimmer relay to the fuse box at the fuse box end. Make sure they do not touch anything. When you turn the headlights ON pull the turn signal lever towards the rear and test if the power moves between the yellow and white wires. If only the yellow wire remains powered then you could have a bad relay.

On the point about the headlights do not need the ignition switch to be ON to work... you have a Ď74 Beetle, right? From Ď71-on the headlights were powered by the ďXĒ circuit (black/yellow wire) coming from the ignition switch. The X circuit is only powered while the ignition switch is ON. In Ď74, the black/yellow wire from the ignition switch runs to the #10 fuse. On the same INPUT side of the #10 fuse there should be another black/yellow wire that runs to the ďXĒ terminal on the headlight switch. Look for this wire.
It is possible the PO re-wired the headlight switch. If you add a jumper from the red #30 wire to the ďXĒ terminal then your headlights will work even with the ignition switch OFF. But this was not the original design for your model year.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:03 am    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

Something that I don't think has been asked, do you have the original type headlight bulbs, or have they been changed to some type of aftermarket headlights?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:12 pm    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

Removed the headlights from the plug, an tested the yellow wire in the plug. I jumped the low an have power. I also jumped the high beams, white wire, the white wire at the plug was also powered.
The headlights are positioned correctly.
On the dimmer relay test. Iíve installed the dimmer relay making sure the wire
Color connecting to the correct terminal #S. I disconnected the yellow an white
Wires running from the dimmer relay to the fuse box at the fuse box end.
I turned the headlights on, an pull inward the turn signal switch, while I tested the yellow an white wire with a light tester to see if there was any power between them. Their was None. Should I change the dimmer relay?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:44 pm    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

john diego wrote:
Removed the headlights from the plug, an tested the yellow wire in the plug. I jumped the low an have power. I also jumped the high beams, white wire, the white wire at the plug was also powered.
The headlights are positioned correctly.

Something I should have mentioned... when you have the yellow wire powered, check that the white wire at the plug is NOT powered. When you have the white wire powered, make sure the yellow wire is NOT powered. Do this for both sides.

While you have the headlights out, run a ground wire to the ground terminal and run a 12v wire to the low and high beam terminals one at a time. You should see a difference in the light output which proves you have a high and low bean in the headlights.
FYI, I do recall in the early days of aftermarket HID headlamps there were off-road headlights that did NOT have a low beam (I think it was no low?). The reason was that low beams are "shaped" to light the road but not blind the oncoming drivers. High beams are just full intensity light everywhere. Could your headlights be one of these? What is the make/model of your headlight?


john diego wrote:
On the dimmer relay test. Iíve installed the dimmer relay making sure the wire
Color connecting to the correct terminal #S. I disconnected the yellow an white wires running from the dimmer relay to the fuse box at the fuse box end.
I turned the headlights on, an pull inward the turn signal switch, while I tested the yellow an white wire with a light tester to see if there was any power between them. Their was None. Should I change the dimmer relay?

Huh? Previously you only had high beams, now you have nothing? With the headlight switch ON (2nd position) test the #56 INCOMING wire for 12v. If there is no power on the #56 go back to the headlight switch and test the X and #56 terminals for voltage.

When you say "I tested the yellow an white wire with a light tester to see if there was any power between them" does this mean you were testing each wire individually for 12v+, or did you have one test probe on the yellow wire and one probe on the white wire measuring the current flowing between the two wires?? This will not work and not what you should have been testing.
You are testing each of the OUTPUT wires of the dimmer relay for 12v+ while the headlight switch is fully ON. The dimmer relay should flow current to one of the OUTPUT terminals (#56a or #56b) as long as there is current flowing into the #56 terminal. When you ground the "S" terminal you energize the relay and it will toggle to the other OUTPUT. Energizing the relay causes the OUTPUT to swap between the two OUPUT terminals. The relay is always capable of flowing current regardless of whether it is powered or not. The headlight dimmer relay is a special type of relay called a latching relay and is not your normal SPDT relay.

Does your headlight dimmer relay have 4 or 5-prongs? The 5-prong relays have an extra terminal (#30). Often this terminal NEEDS to be powered for the relay to work. If you swap a 5-prong relay into a spot that used to have a 4-prong relay you need to run an extra wire to power the extra #30 terminal. Normally, you run the wire from one of the constant 12v+ powered fuses in the fuse box to the new 5th terminal.
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john diego
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:40 pm    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

Ashman, I appreciate your time an patients, too much testing I believe, an with your knowledge an wisdom, itís like the saying ďIím a small fish in a big pond. Tomorrow after work Iíll redo the test. Thanks again.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:13 pm    Post subject: Re: No Low beams, high beams only on my 74 Super?????? Reply with quote

Ashman I went over the works you told me.yes, the #6 fuse controls the high beams. When I connect #56 an 56b even though the high beams are on, on the head lights, the high beams indicator on the dash is off.
After removal of the plug at the headlights, Iím getting power on the yellow on both sides, no power at the white. When I tested the white previously I had power, not anymore.
After removing the yellow and white wire at the dimmer switch testing the output wires for 12v while the headlights switch is fully on. I didnít get no power.
I tested both headlights for high an low beams using ground an running 12v wire to the headlights. Both are good.
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