Headlights fail at will! PLEASE HELP - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old April 18th, 2008, 03:41 AM
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David Frank
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Headlights fail at will! PLEASE HELP

My headlights fail at will.
Now they won't turn on at all . Has this happened to anyone here?

History First. It is a 1995 D90 ST #1625

They first started failing while driving to Tahoe. They just went out without warning. It was dark as heck so I flicked on the high beams to havesome light while I toggled the light switch back and forth. They came back on and stayed for the duration. Figured I would resolve the problem later. But I left it unchecked because it didn't hapen that often. Until now.

Yet they would always come back on when I either toggled the high beams or threw the light switch back and forth. So it wasn't fixed but I had a way to resolve the issue when it occurred, a bit more regularly than I'd like.

Now they won't come on at all. I leave the running lights on from dusk until dark falls, then I hold the high beams on until I get home. I'd push the lever for the high beams forward to keep them on but it won't stay engaged and the high beams don't come on that way anymore anyways. So I hold the lever back, like as if I'm flashing my beams, until I get home. Fortunately they aren't that bright. But it limits taking the defender out at night.

Just the other evening, not yet dark, I had the light switch lever all the way on, just for the heck of it, and was running with just my navs on. After an hour or so, the lights came on for no reason. I switched them of and on again and they responded properly. Sweet right. After I picked up dinner, I tried the lights again and guess what. Nothing. What the*@&!

I don't know what to do. I could buy another light switch as my mechaninc said to do. I took my old one out and and spected the nodes and wiring. It all looked ok, but then again, I might only recognize some sort of obvious or catastrophic problem.

So does any one have any ideas of what it could be. I checked all the fuses already. Is there a relay I should look at? I'll try anything so any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. - Dave
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  #2  
Old April 18th, 2008, 03:47 AM
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Mike Hammond
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Do the lights work if you bypass the switch - run a temporary wire from the battery to the lights?
What happens if you bridge the contacts in the switch - will the lights work then?
Sounds like bad/dirty contacts in the switch to me.
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  #3  
Old April 18th, 2008, 06:16 AM
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Chris Hinkle
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I've had to replace a couple of switches - they get hit by knees when entering the vehicle. Anyway, try and establish if it's a ground or wiring issue - you can pull the switch off the column and jump (bypass the switch) very easily.
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  #4  
Old April 18th, 2008, 08:02 AM
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Jim Cheney
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Sounds like the headlight switch melted - looking at it will diagnose it immediately. There are some threads on here, but probably very old. I'll take a look and see what I can find.
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  #5  
Old April 18th, 2008, 09:24 AM
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Joe Barefoot
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Sounds to me like your turn signal/horn/light dimmer switch. I had similar problems and had to replace mine. That requires pulling the steering wheel and in my case, some minor mods of the retaining bracket for the switch. With my old switch (turn signal), at first my low beams didn't work, then my high beams started giving me trouble...sound familiar? Good luck!
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  #6  
Old April 18th, 2008, 02:21 PM
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David Frank
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Thanks. I'll run the bypass.

Thanks for your thoughts on this. I had already yanked the switch and I thought it looked fine, but I'll run the bypass and see what happens. The switch is $50 and I didn't want to buy one if it wasn't the problem. But the bypass should tell me if it is. If so, $50 is a cheap fix. I'll let you know. - Dave
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Old April 18th, 2008, 02:39 PM
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Switch.
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  #8  
Old April 18th, 2008, 04:20 PM
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Robert Ragland
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The switches will fail at regular intervals. I've replaced two in 9 years. Once unscrewing the lower portion of the column pull out the switch and look for melted plastic around the contact points.

In a bind, I have gently scraped away the melted part, and, with practice, learned to get the switch to rest slightly past the hump between running lights and headlights. Contact is made, and the lights work again so long as the switch doesn't spring itself into the full on position. This temporary fix has gotten me home at night and through the two days before the new part arrived.
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Old April 18th, 2008, 05:20 PM
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It's most likely the switch.

I've experienced the very same issue you've reported and used my brights to supplement too.
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  #10  
Old April 19th, 2008, 03:16 AM
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David Frank
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Resolved! Thanks All

Ripped it all out and air gunned it. No melted plastic but I see why it could. Must have been dust/mud bunnies or their gremlin kin. Lights are on command now, but if they fail me within a reasonable amount of time, I'll call foul and replace the switch. This is the horn/ turn/ bright switch I might add. Not the light switch that I originally suspected and which I bypassed to no avail. No slight to all of your suggestions, I just guessed at the wrong lever. Thanks to you all for your insight and I now have had a good look inside my girl's column! - Dave
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  #11  
Old April 19th, 2008, 06:20 AM
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Joe Barefoot
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"No slight to all of your suggestions"

Not "all" good sir! Sorry, I couldn't resist . Glad you got it figured. Hope you don't have to replace the switch... they are pretty spendy.
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