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Discussion Starter #1
I have a '94 Firebird Formula and am having a headlight issue.

When I turn the headlights on, both headlights come up, the left one turns on, the right one stays off.

When I pull the left stalk back to switch to the high beams, the right one comes on (on high beam), but the left one turns off.

This alternating pattern leads me to believe it's a high/low beam switch issue.

So it seems there's two parts that are sold as part of the assembly, this is reflected on a few parts websites:
94 1994 Pontiac Firebird Wiper Switch - Body Electrical - Standard Motor Products - PartsGeek

There's no CC, but uhh, yeah, that should be the same(ish) part. I don't think the actual stalk/arm has anything to do with the high/low beams, right? Just that receiver which goes into the column?

It's annoying as hell that they're both 100 bucks, that's ridiculously priced :-\. Gotta find a junk yard around here or something..plug is probably the same for cruise control or no cruise control. Also, the high low beam switch receiver is moving around in the column a bit (like it shifts up when I hit the turn signal) - I'm assuming this isn't normal and it's not mounted correctly.

I just bought the car so I'm still trying to figure out the issues, but does it sound like I need a new high/low beam switch socket/receiver??

Thanks!
 

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Hrm, just noticed tonight when I had it out. The right one that I thought was 'out' is actually incredibly (barely noticeable, I only noticed because it was night time) dim.

NORMALLY this would point to "bad ground" - but when I hit the high beams that SOB turns on full blast...and I'm assuming it uses the same ground. Though as I described in the OP, the left one is now off (completely).

Def. thinking it's the switch, but am not sure :-\.
 

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Hey man I dont think its your switch, I have a bad high/ low beam switch because I dont have high beams at all. It sounds like you have a connection with the bulb. I had a problem like this with my 2000 Galant it turned out to be a bad connection to the bulb. A female connecter on the harness melted therefore my high beam would work but my low beam was very dim. Have you checked your connection at the bulb yet?
 

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Hey man I dont think its your switch, I have a bad high/ low beam switch because I dont have high beams at all. It sounds like you have a connection with the bulb. I had a problem like this with my 2000 Galant it turned out to be a bad connection to the bulb. A female connecter on the harness melted therefore my high beam would work but my low beam was very dim. Have you checked your connection at the bulb yet?
I haven't checked it yet. Looks like a bitch to check b/c it's right in front of the battery (and obviously that must be connected to verify voltages). I can do continuity tests (or try to, anyway), though.

Hrm, I had an issue with my Tercel way back that was similar to this, except it wasn't dim, one was always out (ie. they swapped which one was out when I went from low to high beam). The fact that it's dim makes me agree with you that it's a connection issue.

Though the question is would a connection issue cause the toggling? That is to say, when I turn on my high beams, the dim light comes on full blast, but the left light, which was working fine on low-beam, shuts off completely. I feel like if that's a connection issue, that's way before the lights, like at the switch or something (some interior harness/connector), know what I mean?
 

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Ok I hear what you are saying now. I guess I kind of skipped the part where you said the left light was working but stops when you turn on high beams. I would still check all connections first. Because I kind of recently purchased my Trans AM and wipers did not work at all. I changed the motor and everything and how about it was not plugged in under the dash the whole time.
 

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Ok I hear what you are saying now. I guess I kind of skipped the part where you said the left light was working but stops when you turn on high beams. I would still check all connections first. Because I kind of recently purchased my Trans AM and wipers did not work at all. I changed the motor and everything and how about it was not plugged in under the dash the whole time.
Yeah, you have a point.

This is a connection issue somewhere, just have no idea where :-\. It's difficult for me to figure out how the hell the electric circuit works by looking at the diagrams in the FSM, bleh. I lack circuit diagram reading skills.

Think the first thing is to see if the headlight connectors are outputting voltage on the right pins when they should be on. If it's not, or low, then the problem is before there. If it is, and it seems correct, then the issue is probably a grounding issue.

I suspect the voltage will be lower or non-existent, which would probably mean there's a problem further back...but then where to go from there is iffy to me. It would most likely be to either go back to the headlight on/off switch, or the headlight hi/low switch, depending on how it's wired...which I'm having trouble understanding.

Also don't even know wtf they mean by 'dimmer' switch...is that their nomenclature for the hi/low beam stalk? In the FSM they speak of a headlight switch and a headlight dimmer switch. I think that's the on/off switch and the hi/low stalk respectively..but I'm not sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I hope that picture isn't implying that i need to drop the whole column to remove the switch..?

So that adds a 'multi-function lever' to the list of switches. Sounds legit, but what's the difference between that and the dimmer switch? Is the lever just the actual mechanism and it connects to the dimmer switch which is further down?
 

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The actual dimmer switch is attached to steering column. There's a rod attached to stalk that works the actual switch on column.

You don't have to take the steering column out of the car, only take the mounting bolts out and let it drop down some so you have working room.

Trying to remove the dimmer switch or ignition switch is a bear when steering column is bolted up to dash.

Also, if you ever have ignition switch problems that are not related to the key lock part of ign sw, This is where electrical part of ign sw is located. Key cylinder communicates with electrical part of switch with a rod also.
 

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As it shows in the photo, the ignition switch and dimmer switch are fastened to the bottom of the steering column near the "floor". They are linked to the controls at the top of the column by rods. If you can get to it without dropping the column, good for you. Most people lower the column, not really that hard. From your comments, I assume you do not have the FSM. Get it here: My Files
There is a complete procedure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The actual dimmer switch is attached to steering column. There's a rod attached to stalk that works the actual switch on column.

You don't have to take the steering column out of the car, only take the mounting bolts out and let it drop down some so you have working room.

Trying to remove the dimmer switch or ignition switch is a bear when steering column is bolted up to dash.

Also, if you ever have ignition switch problems that are not related to the key lock part of ign sw, This is where electrical part of ign sw is located. Key cylinder communicates with electrical part of switch with a rod also.
Thanks for the explanation, that helps a lot.

Though those rods just look metal, I assumed one was for hi/lo beam actuation, and the other for the actual key cylinder turning actuation. I assume there's a harness for the key chip recognition in the ignition box and likewise another harness for windshield wiper functionality and the like? It's not like it's all just mechanical until the actual dimmer switch..right?

After I test the lights and inspect the headlight connectors I'll investigate the column side of things, I'll try to look at the electrical diagram again to figure out which component is closer to the lights if nothing is obvious.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
As it shows in the photo, the ignition switch and dimmer switch are fastened to the bottom of the steering column near the "floor". They are linked to the controls at the top of the column by rods. If you can get to it without dropping the column, good for you. Most people lower the column, not really that hard. From your comments, I assume you do not have the FSM. Get it here: My Files
There is a complete procedure.
So there's no electrical component from the hi/low switch down to the dimmer switch? It's all mechanical, and then the harness just connects to the dimmer? Gotcha.
 

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Look at your wiring diagram for the headlights. If you look closely, you will notice a splice in the headlight wiring. Anytime there is a splice, it is potentially a trouble spot as splices can work themselves loose after many years of service. Same with connectors and their pins.

And yes, the electrical part of dimmer and ignition switches are where the electrical activity occurs in those systems.

The only electrical activity that ignition lock cylinder has, is for vats. It reads the key resistance. Those 2 wires that come from lock cylinder, that people put resistors to bypass the lock cylinder reading of resistance.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Look at your wiring diagram for the headlights. If you look closely, you will notice a splice in the headlight wiring. Anytime there is a splice, it is potentially a trouble spot as splices can work themselves loose after many years of service. Same with connectors and their pins.

And yes, the electrical part of dimmer and ignition switches are where the electrical activity occurs in those systems.

The only electrical activity that ignition lock cylinder has, is for vats. It reads the key resistance. Those 2 wires that come from lock cylinder, that people put resistors to bypass the lock cylinder reading of resistance.
I see, thanks for the info!
 
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