Electrical gremlin: Headlights, Dash, Pulsing Interior Lights, Buzzing - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old September 20th, 2014, 01:07 PM
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Chris
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Electrical gremlin: Headlights, Dash, Pulsing Interior Lights, Buzzing

First off, really sorry if there's a thread on this. I've searched my brain to exhaustion, but maybe I'm not using the right terms.

Subject: 1997 D90 NAS. 2 months ago had engine work, 6 month old alternator. 6-12 month old headlight switch (I looked at it now and it looks great). Last year, I replaced an interior yellow relay along with the headlight switch, not knowing which was the problem.

Problem: First off the headlights don't work when they should. With the switch in the right position, only the psgr parking(?) light comes on - the light to the upper left of the headlamp. The interior dash lights illuminate, except for the temp gauge. The temp gauge like to bury itself in the red, all the way to the right. The dash lights, dome lights, and aux lights pulse/strobe slightly. The interior relays buzz occasionally, when driving, sometimes in a turns. Its a little unpredictable. Also, the heater blower switch/lever seem electrically finicky.

Observations: The "brights" come on only when holding the stalk forward, not in the typical position. Aux/driving lights come on as normal. I've localized on the interior really panel, near the fuses, and have rocked some of the relays back and forth. I can briefly make the headlights some on by pushing in on the group. If I'm lucky, the temp gauge bounces back to normal but does not illuminate. Looking at the front of the car, the lights come on except for the driver's parking light. The rocking of relays causes some buzzing.

What I've done so far: I've done little. I checked the battery connections, and a ground from the battery to the chassis, and one on the engine compartment's passenger side wall. Mostly I've tried to observe, and experiment if I can palliate the problem. I checked the bulb on the never working driver's side parking light and it looked good. Mostly, I've cursed at it.

Where i got from here: I think, based on very little knowledge, that it may be a grounding issue. I don't know the diagnostic step-by-step in order to proceed. A tired battery might contribute, the one I have isn't the latest or greatest. Bad relays? Wire short? I can follow directions, but don't inherently know the method of solving the issue. I'd just take it to the shop, but they take a long time, and I'd be without a car for a while. So if I can try a few things on my own first, thats preferable.

Thank you! Anyone who can provide even a little guidance would have my appreciation. I will forever protect you from alien invasions*, and erect a small shrine to your knowledge in my home. *Protection defined as saying, "I hope they don't get that guy."
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  #2  
Old September 20th, 2014, 01:14 PM
javelinadave
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You have a grounding problem behind the instrument panel my friend.
No shrine needed, just a lucky cat figurine on your dash will not only suffice but it will also ward off any future electrical problems.
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  #3  
Old September 20th, 2014, 01:18 PM
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FortyTwo
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Chris
1997 Defender 90 SW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javelinadave View Post
You have a grounding problem behind the instrument panel my friend. No shrine needed, just a lucky cat figurine on your dash will not only suffice but it will also ward off any future electrical problems.
Great, so I was on the right track! Any suggestions on next steps on ferreting the problem out? Would it potentially be a single connection that's loose, or a total wild goose chase?
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Old September 20th, 2014, 01:21 PM
javelinadave
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I made my own new ground and it fixed my issues. At the very least you need to see if something came disconnected or corroded.
Also, kudos for the very detailed, fact filled post.
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  #5  
Old September 20th, 2014, 01:58 PM
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And you verified that engine is securely grounded? A likely culprit especially after engine work.
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  #6  
Old September 20th, 2014, 02:13 PM
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Chris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rankar View Post
And you verified that engine is securely grounded? A likely culprit especially after engine work.
I have not verified it. Where would I look/test? Sorry for the super basic question.
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Old September 20th, 2014, 02:44 PM
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Run a jumper cable, ground side only, from your battery ground to the engine hoist point (looks like a big eye loop on the driver side front of the engine). Start car and see if problems still exist.
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