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  • Headlights stopped working

    All of a sudden my headlights & left rear tail light don't work. Cowl lights work. What do I need to check to get headlights working ??

  • #2
    I would start by checking the switch at the bottom of the steering column for oil or grease on the internal parts.

    I am wondering, you stated "left rear tail light", does this mean the right rear tail light still works?

    If you lost a ground, it would normally only be on the light where the ground was lost. It is possible that a surge was able to burn out the light bulbs, and if you find they are indeed burnt out, check for a clean ground at the generator, and battery, and I suggest running an extra ground wire from frame to engine.
    You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!

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    • #3
      Yes right tail works. I think the bulb may be bad in the left 1 because it doesn't come on with the cowl lights but the right 1 does.

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      • #4
        Something tells me it is time for a light bulb change, and a grounding strap or two, or at least a clean up of the engine grounding, specially from frame to engine.
        You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!

        Comment


        • #5
          OK I'll check into all that. Thanks !

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          • #6
            agree with the Wiz.
            If you are running the stock generator, may want to see if the output is too hi, thus burning out bulbs. What does the ammeter show at fast idle with the lights off?

            As stated if there are weak, corroded connections, that will drive the voltage up also.
            If you have a voltmeter, that reading would help also. Good clean connections to the battery are important, since the battery itself helps to regulate the voltage. The ground strap from grounding battery post to frame is often suspect, and after all these years has a buildup of rust and paint. Does the engine crank slower than it should?

            I'd also be checking all the bulbs that don't work to see if any are blown, then get back to us with updates on all these points
            Last edited by tbirdtbird; 10-24-2017, 11:12 AM.

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            • #7
              I always do my power and ground tests first at the end of the juice. In this case it would be at the light bulb sockets.
              3 ~ Tudor's
              Henry Ford said
              "It's all nuts and bolts"


              Mitch's Auto Service ctr

              Comment


              • BILL WILLIAMSON
                BILL WILLIAMSON commented
                Editing a comment
                YES, pop out a wiring diagram, your handy test light, & some jumper wires, for "substitute" grounds & you'll FIND it. When electrical problems are diagnosed properly, the actual REPAIR is usually very SIMPLE!
                DIS-REGARD stupid replies, like, "REPLACE THE TROUBLESOME CONDENSOR"
                Dad Shorted

            • #8
              On the same trail as this, today I had a young fellow over to correct a few problems he was having. Starting with slow cranking, low spark at dizzy and ammeter heating up!

              First we took a measurement from the frame grounding point at the battery, went to Autozone and got 19" eye to eye cable and ran from cleaned off chassis ground to trans top bolt.
              Next pulled dizzy to find more paint than dipping in hot tar could produce, cleaned and reinstalled that, has nice body to head connection now.
              Next went for the generator, found the left front motor mount bolt ¼" out, tightened that, also tightened generator mounting, pulled cover ring and adjusted generator to about 10amps at high idle because he drives a lot at night.
              Next, pulled dash to find not only the wrong nuts on the ammeter, but way wrong thread, some metric crap. Replaced with OEM nuts.

              After all this, the engine is happy to crank now, starts right up and purrs, charges nicely even with lights on, cool ammeter to the touch since the nuts are tight now. The poor car now needs a new rear window frame as it runs without now, so look in the Wanted area and respond if you have a '31 rear window frame. BTW, this kid is just 18 years old and lovin his '31 Standard Coupe, and is wanting to learn! I have found that his dad was a Model A parts hoarder, so I will try to trade my help for parts
              .
              You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!

              Comment


              • Mitch
                Mitch commented
                Editing a comment
                Nice job Wiz

            • #9
              Update ! Tail light bulb was bad . Replaced it. Headlights work on high beam nothing on low. Didn't realize that. The switch on the steering column has a metal clip on it. Do I pry it apart there ??

              Comment


              • #10
                Are the low beams getting power? Maybe both bulbs are blown out
                That's why i check at the end of the juice first
                3 ~ Tudor's
                Henry Ford said
                "It's all nuts and bolts"


                Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                Comment


                • #11
                  No not sure of anything ! Do both usually go out at the same time ??

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Very possible as bulbs have so many hours of life built into them. Also be aware of what tbird mentioned about too high of a charging rate. That could be the main reason why they all blew
                    3 ~ Tudor's
                    Henry Ford said
                    "It's all nuts and bolts"


                    Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                    Comment


                    • Mitch
                      Mitch commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Get yourself a simple 1.99 test light if you don't have one

                  • #13
                    Harbor freight sells a very good quality test light for only about $3. I bought a few and keep then in my car, tool box, and in the house.

                    BTW, that wire is known as the bail, and you just slip it off the switch to remove the switch, then untwist the two halves of the switch to expose the contact plate, but check for power first as Mitch said.

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Just to clarify what Tom said, that bail slips off in a downward motion, usually needing assistance from a screwdriver to both lower the bail, and reattach the bail.
                      You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!

                      Comment

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