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Old 04-07-2021, 03:31 AM   #1
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Default One lowbeam and one highbeam not working (not bulbs)

I'm having an issue where my driver side low beam and passenger side high beam are both out. I get one side lit in low and one lit in high. This is on a 1988 D21 Hardbody SEV6, standard bulbs.

I have replaced the bulbs and the problem sticks with the side of the car. E.g., if I swap bulbs between the 2 sides, the driver side low beam is still out.

When I check the voltages, I get 12-14 volts (depending on if the truck is running) across the appropriate terminals. On the driver side, that's between red/green to black for low beam and between red/blue to black for high beam. On the passenger side, that's between red/black to black for low beam and red/yellow to black for high beam.

Given the correct voltages, I'd guess that there's a weak connection or high resistance somewhere that is causing a voltage drop when a load is placed across it. I'd guess it might be the headlight or high beam switches on the steering column and I'd like to see if anyone has suggestions before I tear it apart.

One thing I see on the driver side is this random connector hanging loose on the wire to the headlight and I can't find anything it was supposed to connect to. Does anyone know what that is?


Last edited by jp2code; 04-07-2021 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:02 AM   #2
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On the D21 it is not possible to get low and high beam filaments on at the same time (without finessing the stalk). When high beam is turned on the low beam filament is deenergized and vice versa for the the high beam filament on low beam. If one isn't working right the bulb should not come on when put into the offending position.





I would check the alignment of the driver's side bulb.


Now, if the bulb alignment is good and you have confirmed low beam filament is staying on when the stalk is in high beam the last place is the stalk its self. The contacts in there are basically spring loaded fingers and do wear out.


If you do end up replacing the stalk, I have had good luck with an inexpensive Beck/Arnly in my truck, just remember to be gentle with the column cover. It's old and does have a few clips that hold it together.
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:42 AM   #3
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I don't think I worded my question clearly enough.
I am not expecting both high+low to be on at the same time. When I'm in the low beam position, only the passenger side low beam comes on (driver side is completely off). When I'm in the high beam position, only the driver side high beam comes on (passenger side is completely off).

I have tested with the harnesses pulled out with the bulbs hanging loose and swapped them back and forth. The problem is the same regardless of switching the bulbs, re-seating the harness, and jiggling the connections.

As you mentioned, I suspect it's probably the stalk. It just seems odd that the voltages are correct, at least without a load. I do appreciate the comment on the inexpensive part being adequate.
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:52 AM   #4
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It's the switch. Somehow the contacts in the switch are sticking and giving you the high/low combination of lights.
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:58 AM   #5
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Even though I'm not getting both lit at once (poor wording of my initial question that obviously caused misunderstanding), I'm guessing it's a couple of bad connections in the switch that are resulting in a reduced voltage for one of the highs and one of the lows. I went ahead and ordered a new switch and I appreciate the feedback.
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Old 04-07-2021, 06:29 AM   #6
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Had the same issue with mine. Replaced the turn signal/light stalk, problem solved.
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:25 PM   #7
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sounds like a switch...
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Old 04-07-2021, 05:20 PM   #8
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Left and right circuits are separate so you don't lose everything if a bulb shorts out or something of that nature. However, the switch controls both sides at the same time.



It is fairly common for that switch to go bad from age.
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Old 04-07-2021, 06:34 PM   #9
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Mine was having the same exact issue, but with only 1 of the headlights.

I troubleshooted and found that power was going to the switch, but not coming out.

I'd replaced the switch with one from eBay about 5 years ago, but it was not a name brand item.

This time, I used Standard:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000C7WSO2

Headlight works again.
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Old 04-07-2021, 06:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrismtb View Post
One thing I see on the driver side is this random connector hanging loose on the wire to the headlight and I can't find anything it was supposed to connect to. Does anyone know what that is?
That random connector looks like what plugs into the horn. Do you have horns on both sides of the front grill? My truck had both connectors, but only 1 horn was on it. I added another.
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