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Old 01-06-2004, 02:25 AM   #1
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Default Cold causing crazy lights?

The last two nights, it'* been really cold here. When I start my cold car, in darkness, the twilight sentinel should turn on the lights. Just the parking and fog lights come on. The normal heaghts won't come on until I move the steering wheel down. I always put it all the way up when I get out. I have long legs. I like to drive with it in the second notch from the bottom. If I put the wheel all the way down, they wouldn't come on until I put it all the way back up, then down again to where I want. If any of you remember, my dimmer quit a few months ago, and I still haven't fixed it. Is this related?
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Old 01-06-2004, 02:40 AM   #2
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I can't think of how the tilt has anything to do with this. The harness isn't that close. What happens when the lights aren't working right, and you kick upward into the hush panel above the brake pedal?
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Old 01-06-2004, 02:44 AM   #3
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I'll give her a kick tomorrow and see what happens. I also haven't tried turning on the lights the old fashoned way, either, to see if it acts the same way.
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Old 01-06-2004, 04:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cold causing crazy lights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwikoff99
The last two nights, it'* been really cold here. When I start my cold car, in darkness, the twilight sentinel should turn on the lights. Just the parking and fog lights come on. The normal heaghts won't come on until I move the steering wheel down. I always put it all the way up when I get out. I have long legs. I like to drive with it in the second notch from the bottom. If I put the wheel all the way down, they wouldn't come on until I put it all the way back up, then down again to where I want. If any of you remember, my dimmer quit a few months ago, and I still haven't fixed it. Is this related?
I... think so. The only way this could be related is if the dimmer switch is damaged and stuck between Low and High beams. The switch itself is further down the steering column on the left side behind the dash, but there'* an actuator slide/lever/rod thingy leading down to it from the base of the turn-signal lever, which could conceivably be affected when you tilt the column up or down.

Certainly try using the headlight switch manually, but I suspect you're not going to have any better luck that way, because the High/Low beam switch is downstream of both the dashboard switch and the twilight sentinel relay, so if it wants to block the headlamps from switching on, it'll do so regardless of how the circuit is being powered.

I think you need to get under the dash (remove the lower hush panel) and see what'* up with that High/Low beam switch.
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Old 01-06-2004, 06:39 PM   #5
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If it was stuck in between, why would the fogs come on without the dims? It may have to stay this way until it'* warmer or it doesn't work at all.
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Old 01-07-2004, 02:09 AM   #6
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No luck with the kicking, nor the manual turn-on. It quits doing it if the car has warmed up some.
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Old 01-07-2004, 11:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwikoff99
If it was stuck in between, why would the fogs come on without the dims?
The fogs can come on with parking lights only; you don't need headlamps at all. I usually drive like that in daylight.

Incidentally, the fogs behave differently depending on headlamp switch position: when only parking lights are on, the foglights stay on regardless of the High/Low beam switch position. When headlamps are on, the foglights go _out_ when you switch to High beams. In other words, when only parking lights are lit with foglights on as well, you can click the turn-signal lever for High/Low/High/Low/etc. but the fogs stay on regardless. They're tied to the high-beam switch position only when the headlamps are actually on.
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Old 01-07-2004, 03:40 PM   #8
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When you said stuck in between, I figurd you meant stuck in between switching, dims off, broghts not on yet, I thought the fogs should be off also.
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Old 01-07-2004, 03:43 PM   #9
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I don't believe your fogs will go off until the high beam relay is actually engaged. They may even go through the same relay.
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Old 01-07-2004, 05:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willwren
I don't believe your fogs will go off until the high beam relay is actually engaged. They may even go through the same relay.
If it'* a double-pole relay that cuts one circuit as it activates another, sure. I'd have to slog through the wiring diagrams at home to find out exactly how it'* wired but I could see them doing it like that, yes.

In any event, I think the original problem here has something to do with that column-mounted dimmer switch. I had a problem in that area with the Trans Sport minivan: it took so much force to activate the dimmer that the lever finally broke. In addition to replacing the lever, I had to make some adjustments to the actuating rod and the dimmer switch mounting on the column in order to decrease the amount of force required to trigger the switch, so that I wouldn't end up breaking the new lever the same way.
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