1988 Chevy van

ptt1369

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#1
My daughter hit a big deer in her '88 Chevy van and pushed the bumper/grill/bezels in about 4 inches. I replaced the grill and headlight bezels. Then I found there is only intermittant quad-headlight funtion. I did notice that the 4-way flasher indicators on the dash are on when headlight switch is pulled on. When the headlight switch is pushed off then the 4-way hazard indicators go out until they are activated, then they work normally but only when the headlight switch is off. I checked all four sealed beams and they are good. I cleaned and tightened the left/right headlight grounds on the radiator cross-support. I swapped the headlight switch with another working one with no results. Fuses are good. Any ideas very welcomed.
 

Pestco1

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#2
do the turn signals work?
 
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#3
If the battery was not properly secured during the crash, a battery/chassis ground connection may have come loose.
 

Transman

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#4
Amazing coincidence, we had one in the other day that when they turned on the headlights, the wipers would come on. The ground wire on the passenger side was broken off from an accident. The wire connects just above the headlight on the front support. Transman
 

Mo

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#5
I'm posting from daughters out in the sticks so my user name is different....The battery is secure. The turn signals DO NOT work. The grounds on both left/right sides of the radiator cross-support have been cleaned and tightened. Hazard indicators light up when headlight switch is pulled on. Switch headlights off and hazard indicators go out and they work normally when 4-way hazard switch is pulled. Now the upper headlights of the quad headlights don't come on. I jumped the dead battery (1 year old) and all four head lights came on! I pushed the light switch off and pulled it back on and no more headlights. I don't hear/feel a "click" when pulling the turn signal stalk to hit high/low beam operation either. I think the Prince of Darkness has got me!!! :eek:
 

ironhead

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#6
I would be chasing that harness from one end to the other looking for signs if damage like the covering cut, torn or crushed. Also check all of your fuses, when one circut loses a fuse, other circuts can back feed into it causing some really wierd things to happen.
Guy
 

ptt1369

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#7
Well, I went back out to the van in the country and started checking the wiring. No breaks or damage. I checked every fuse and they're fine. I changed the headlight switch with a known good one and still he same. I did notice that the old switch was very hot to the point I couldn't hold it! Does that mean something I should check? The turn signal blinkers will not work if the headlight switch is pulled on but if its off the blinker is very rapid. Still has the hazard indicators on when headlights are on. I checked the thru-firewall harness plug...its good. Rechecked the headlight grounds...good. Cleaned the main firewall ground above the battery and it was good. I probed the driverside lowbeam plug and it was all over the place and showing OL on my multimeter when idling. High beam sockets show 0v. The newer battery was slightly under charging at 13.4v at idle and only 11v with the engine off. The hi/low beam switch down low on the column clicks but seems weak/worn. Could this be the hi/low beam switch is defective? I'm stumped.
 
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#8
Check for bad bulbs in your front turn signal lamps. When you turn on the head lamps they are possibly shorting out the turn circuit.
As far as the headlamps go check for power at the head lamp sockets and make sure you have a good ground. If no power at the sockets then check for power at the switch. No power at the switch check fuses and relays. Then when you turn on the switch see if there is power to the headlamp dimmer switch then after the switch see if you have power to each side of the dimmer switch legs one would be for high beam the other for low beam. If you have power here then it time to check the wires and possible relays between the dimmer switch and the headlamp sockets. HTH Good luck Greasemonkey :)

Just looked up the wiring in alldata for a full size van 4 lamp system. Shows that after the dimmer switch power is sent back to the fuse block to fuse 11 for high beam on a light green wire and 12 for low beam on a tan wire, then to the headlamps. The yellow wire is the power wire from the headlamp switch to the dimmer switch. If there is another light green wire it should feed the instument cluster for the high beam indicator lamp. Good luck!!!
 

WallysTrucks

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#9
You may be looking at headlite problems when it is park,tail lite problems. Start by just turning on park lites and see if indicators come on in dash. If they do remove front T.S. bulbs and see if problem goes away. If this works then you have a ground problem in lite socket or bad bulbs.

Wally
 

ptt1369

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#10
The top sealed beams are the low beams and they are working when switch is pulled on. Rear tail lights are working. Turn signals do not work when headlights are on. When headlights are turned off the turn signals will blink very rapidly. I noticed that when I unplug passengerside highbeam the driverside highbeam tries to light faintly. When I plug passengerside highbeam in and the driverside light goes back out. I am turning the 6 month old battery back in on warranty as it shows 11v w/engine off and only 13.4v at idle. As I posted before, the headlight switch was very hot to the touch when I swapped it with another one. I got a reading all over the place at the driverside lowbeam socket.
 

WallysTrucks

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#11
Ever thing you are stating is most likely a ground problem in the front grill area. You did not mention if the front park lites are working. They are the ones that will lite up the T.S. indicators if there is a ground problem.

Wally
 

ptt1369

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#12
Yes, the front turn signal/running lights are lighting up. I know of the two grounds above each set of headlights. I have cleaned and tightened those. Is there another ground I'm missing somewhere? I also cleaned and tightened the main ground (2 bolts) right next to the harness plug on the firewall above the battery. It has to be something related to the jolt the van took when it hit the deer. It was a hard enough hit that it flattened the center of the steel bumper and I had to use a porta-power to get it pushed back out to put the replacement plastic grill and HL bezels back in place. There's no auto repair businesses near where she lives and she needs to get the van inspected soon for a daily driver. The old '88 van only has 82K showing. All your help is very much appreciated. What ever it is is keeping the highbeams from coming on and turn signals from blinking when switch is pulled. Switch off and turn signals will blink rapidly. Pull passengerside high beam plug and driverside highbeam glows faintly. Plug PS HB back in and DS HB goes back out. I've missed something. All four sealed beam bulbs look like the filaments are intact and the 3 socket prongs on the bulbs are clean and shiny.
 
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#13
You still have not told us what we need to know. Let me make it simple. Remove all plugs from front lamps and remove lamps. Using a test light check to see if there is power to the front lamp sockets when you turn on the headlamps. There should be power to the low beams and the park lamps sockets. If you have power to all 4 socket we move on, Now turn your highbeams on and check for power at both low beam sockets which have 3 wires 2 should now have power and the high beam socket which should also have power on 1 side of the 2 wire socket the park lamp should also still have powerto 1 of the 3 wires in the socket.now lets check the turn lamps leave headlamp switch on and turn on the right turn switch make sure koeo(key on engine off) as most turn lamps will not work if ign is not in the run positision and check for power at the right front turn socket you should have power to 2 wires now and lamp may or may not blink when you put the test lamp on the turn power wire. Now do the same for the left side. If all wires have power then Most likely have bad bulbs or bad grounds. Both the low beam headlamps and the park turn lamp have 2 filiments and can cause problem if they are sorted together. Now after you have check for power at all of the sockets and you find a problem post back and let us know where you dont have power so we can pinpoint your problem better. HTH and Good luck Greasemonkey :) Now you know why mechanics charge soo much, its not just being able to change a part its knowing what parts to change and the time it takes to diagnosis problems like this. We also have tools that make it a whole lot easier to daignosis like a test lamp, ohm meter, power probe, and scan tools. But if you dont have a test lamp you can make one with a simple 12volt parking lamp and 2 wires and some good tape or you can solder it together. Tape or solder one wire to the side of the bulb and the other to the terminal at the bottom. When checking for power just ground 1 wire to the frame or battery negitive and insert the other wire into the socket you are testing at the time and if it come on you have power to that wire. Agian Good Luck and let us know what you find so we can help you better. Greasemonkey :)
 

Starbird

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#14
This really sounds like a crushed harness. Especially with the lights not coming on and the headlight switch getting hot. Current=Heat, and if the lights are not coming on, that current is going to ground somewhere. If the grounds were bad, the switch wouldn't be getting hot.