Main IndexAuto Repair Home Search Posts SEARCH
POSTS
Who's Online WHO'S
ONLINE
Log in LOG
IN









Search Auto Parts

Light issues, probably electric


  Email This Post



Sven3B
New User

Mar 26, 2020, 8:24 AM

Post #1 of 13 (480 views)
Light issues, probably electric Sign In

I have an electrical issue with my 2004 Saturn Ion, and with everything shut down, I figured I’d try to fix it myself, if possible.

It started out with what appeared to be my front, left (driver-side) turn signal going out. Easy – I replaced the bulb. But that didn’t work. I checked the connector at the light and it seemed fine. So I just hand-signaled for a while.

Then, after a little while, the dashboard’s left turn-signal indicator started lighting up whenever I pressed the brake.

So I decided to do a full check of the lights, and they are all sorts of messed up (see below).

I’m guessing there is an electrical problem somewhere, with a switch or a relay or a wire. I check the fuses, and they all appeared good.

I understand I will probably have to check throughout the car to find the problem, but I was hoping I might get some guess on where to start based on the symptoms, which I will list below. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I do have a Haynes Repair Manual with the wiring diagrams, so I should be able to follow along with that.

Run-down of which bulbs function, when. (Apologies in advance, I don’t know for certain what each bulb is called and couldn’t find a clear explanation anywhere – so some of my terminology may be inaccurate). Also, it’s possible I wrote some of this down wrong.

Left (driver) Front
  • Inner bulb (main headlamp)

    • Works under all circumstances (other than headlights turned off)

  • Outer bulb (turn signal - and parking light, I think)

    • Works when headlights are on alone

    • Turn signal – does not flash

    • Hazards – does not flash


    Right (passenger) Front
  • Everything works fine


  • Left (driver) Rear
  • Top bulb

    • Lights when headlights are on

    • Does not get brighter when brake applies (not sure it is supposed to, though)

    • Turn signal – flashes fast

    • Hazards – works

  • Middle bulb

    • Lights when headlights are on

    • Gets brighter when brakes applied – if headlights are off, see note*

  • Bottom bulb (back-up light, I think)

    • Doesn’t work (might just be burned out coincidently, I haven’t tried changing it)

  • *All – when headlights are on, all left rear lights go out when brake applied


  • Right (passenger) Rear
  • Top bulb

    • Lights when headlights are on

    • Does not get brighter when brakes applied

    • Turn signal – works normally

    • Hazards – works normally

  • Middle bulb

    • Lights when headlights are on

    • Gets brighter when brakes applied

  • Bottom

    • Lights up when in Reverse


    Thanks again in advance for any help!
    Kevin

    PS – If you think I’m going to need any electrical tool other than a multimeter, let me know.


    (This post was edited by Sven3B on Mar 26, 2020, 8:45 AM)


    Tom Greenleaf
    Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
    Tom Greenleaf profile image

    Mar 26, 2020, 9:16 AM

    Post #2 of 13 (462 views)
    Re: Light issues, probably electric Sign In

    Sven: Think simple if just the one bulb didn't work at first just find any test light you can use for power (12V) and ground, handle lights, pointed prick end type. Back probe socket if it has power and ground when it should. If not socket is the issue - good luck fixing or finding one called a pig-tail new used could be fine or fix is you can.
    Just that for now new bulb didn't work so try also on other side if it's the bulb.
    If enough jumper clips you can make a bulb work with one or two 9V batts in series is ~18V just for a second no longer. One may work but dim?
    Limited quick parts now with things shut down this isn't priority shipping good luck.
    Clean out with socket if need be to see if fixable bet that's it. Grease needs to be waterproof not regular find a bulb grease only on contacts, other types purest Silicone products also work prevent quick repeat problem.
    Look for that plain tester brick and mortar when/if open also Wallyworld does if open for groceries not all do food!
    Can make one but wait and see what you'll find yet.
    High chance just that simple the rest is noting it's not using current is probably all for now start simple,


    T



    Hammer Time
    Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
    Hammer Time profile image

    Mar 26, 2020, 9:17 AM

    Post #3 of 13 (458 views)
    Re: Light issues, probably electric Sign In

    Most of these symptoms sound like a bad ground somewhere.

    Very carefully check the connection at and going into the G101 ground point which is behind the left headlamp.





    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



    Sven3B
    New User

    Mar 27, 2020, 11:03 AM

    Post #4 of 13 (387 views)
    Re: Light issues, probably electric Sign In

    Thanks for the feedback, folks!

    I checked the socket after the first replacement bulb didn't. It looked fine on visual inspection, but once I get my multimeter, I will check it more thoroughly.

    In the meantime, I'll check out that ground.

    Thanks again!


    Ramntm
    User

    Mar 28, 2020, 7:39 PM

    Post #5 of 13 (346 views)
    Re: Light issues, probably electric Sign In

    Check for a bad ground on the brake light socket on the left rear. Make sure you installed the correct bulb on the left front, and be sure it is correctly installed. does the left front socket have 3 wires attached to it, or is it the type that has contacts on it that contact a circuit when you push it in and twist it?


    Ramntm
    User

    Mar 28, 2020, 7:41 PM

    Post #6 of 13 (344 views)
    Re: Light issues, probably electric Sign In

    Make sure the bulb you installed in the left front is a 3057 bulb.


    Sven3B
    New User

    Mar 31, 2020, 6:05 AM

    Post #7 of 13 (317 views)
    Re: Light issues, probably electric Sign In

    On the 3057 bulb, did you mean the for the left taillight?
    The owner's manual says the front lights are 9007 (headlamp) and 5702 (front turn signal/parking lamp). It has 3057 for the Stop/Top taillmaps.


    Tom Greenleaf
    Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
    Tom Greenleaf profile image

    Mar 31, 2020, 6:27 AM

    Post #8 of 13 (312 views)
    Re: Light issues, probably electric Sign In

    If you have an original owner's manual chances are you can trust it. Better if it matches VIN of the vehicle an OE door jam or thru the windshield. Other for something like this when or if bulb type by part # is in any question what came out and how marked? Does that match #s to exact bulb on other side that isn't a problem too?
    If all different but appears proper see if you can find a "crossover" chart of what is exactly compatible with what other,
    T



    Hammer Time
    Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
    Hammer Time profile image

    Mar 31, 2020, 6:33 AM

    Post #9 of 13 (309 views)
    Re: Light issues, probably electric Sign In

    Have you checked that ground connection yet?



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



    Ramntm
    User

    Mar 31, 2020, 6:19 PM

    Post #10 of 13 (292 views)
    Re: Light issues, probably electric Sign In

    You are correct, the front takes a 5702 and the rear takes a 3057 bulb.


    Sven3B
    New User

    Apr 3, 2020, 4:53 PM

    Post #11 of 13 (244 views)
    Re: Light issues, probably electric Sign In

    Okay, so here's the update (another long post, sorry):

    Started with the front:
    I checked the continuity and resistance for the bulbs, sockets, and grounds - no obvious problems that I could tell.

    I did disconnect the ground for the front lights and clean it, just to be safe (the nut was a bear to get loose; I ended up using a pipe wrench). The only potential concern there was the the washer between the ring terminal and the metal to which it was bolted wasn't quite flush to metal (I would post photos, but I don't have an account for whatever I need an account for). However, I don't think that makes a difference, since the metal there isn't actually grounded - bolt goes through to something else. Also, the bolt and washer tested fine as grounded. I couldn't budge the washer for the life of me (almost impossible to maneuver any tools there to get a sufficient grip on a washer).

    Here's where I get confused (as an electrical layman; might be simple to others): The driver front (D/F) turn signal bulb that was not working (for turning; worked in its DRL role) is a 3157 bulb. The manual calls for 5702, but last time I had to replace it, the auto parts place told me I couldn't get 5702 anymore and I needed to get 3157 (which itself appears to now be superseded by 4157). The passenger front (P/F) turn signal is still a 5702A. I had checked the 3157 in the D/F with my multimeter, and the bulb seemed fine - but so did the socket when I tested that. So I switched the D/F 3157 and the P/F 5072 - neither worked as turn signals, both worked as DRL.

    So since the 3157 didn't work on either side and now the 5072 didn't work on the D/F, I thought 'maybe something in socket/wiring on the driver's side blew the 3157 somehow, and now it's blown the 5072, as well (but only the turn signal function).' So I put the 5072 back in the P/F, and it worked perfectly again.

    So since the 5072 still worked in the P/F, there must be a problem with the D/F - but also with the 3157 bulb, because it didn't work on either side.

    Since the 3157 bulb didn't work in either, I figured I'd have to replace it anyway and I happened to have a new 3157 on hand.

    Here's where it got weird (to me, a charlatan): I put the new 3157 in the D/F and it worked perfectly (turn signal and DRL). So the D/F socket/wiring didn't work for the old 3157, or the still-functioning 5702, but it did work for the new 3157.

    So I decided to retest the socket. At this point, the ground wire for the headlight assembly was attached at the G101 ground, and I attached one end of the multimeter to the ground point by the oil filter (which I had tested and was good). I don't know what each little metal prong/contact inside the socket is for or called, so bear with me. It has two smaller prongs and two larger prongs. The two small prongs read as .4ohms. One of the larger prongs read as 2.3ohms, and the other large prong read as .271 Mohms, which is clearly a lot. Is that normal, or should every contact inside the socket have low resistance to the ground?

    That's where I'm at in the front. The new 3157 bulb is working, so I guess that's good for now (not like I'm driving anywhere...).

    So I moved to the taillight situation:
    Took out the assembly and tested every bulb with the multimeter - all good.
    I unplugged the connector that the three bulbs all run to (six spots for contacts, but only five wires going in, so one spot was empty), then traced the wires from the connector to each socket and tested them all for continuity. They all seemed fine.
    Then I replugged in the connector and tested each socket with the multimeter (with the other probe attached to the ground point by the battery. Those all came out fine, too.

    So I reattached the battery and tested the lights and everything worked fine at first, but the back-up light went out when I moved the assembly. So I double checked everything there. Everything seemed normal in terms of continuity and resistance, I think something must be loose.

    Now, as you can see in my first post, initially the problem was that the driver-side back-up light was out and if I pressed the brake, the driver-side taillights went out. It would make sense if those problems were related, because I discovered the ground wire for the upper taillight goes to the middle taillight, which in turn goes to the back-up light. The back-up light's ground then goes into the connector and off with the rest of the wires somewhere into the body of my car. So if the problem was with the back-up light's ground, that could affect the other lights. But now the other lights are working normally.

    I got the back-up light in a position where it stayed on, then remounted the assembly.

    So currently, everything is working normally - but I couldn't tell you what I did that accomplished that. I changed the D/F turn signal bulb, cleaned its ground connection a bit, and jiggled the driver-side back-up light until it stayed on. Other than that, all I did was unplug things and test them for continuity and resistance.

    I would have to guess that the problem isn't fixed, just temporarily not manifesting. Any thoughts?

    Thanks again for the advice!


    Hammer Time
    Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
    Hammer Time profile image

    Apr 3, 2020, 6:17 PM

    Post #12 of 13 (240 views)
    Re: Light issues, probably electric Sign In

    You're really making this testing far more complicated than it needs to be.

    What you need for tools is a test light that can indicate either power or ground.

    Every light needs both power and ground to work so when something isn't working you need to test for those 2 things arriving at the socket. The results of that test will tell you which direction to go next. ie; ground side or power side.



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



    (This post was edited by Hammer Time on Apr 3, 2020, 6:18 PM)


    Ramntm
    User

    Apr 6, 2020, 4:43 PM

    Post #13 of 13 (179 views)
    Re: Light issues, probably electric Sign In

    I agree with Hammer Time. The bulb in the LF turn signal was bad. It happens sometimes. You fixed it by putting a good bulb in it, so stop overthinking the left front. Whatever you wiggled to make the left backup light work is an indication of the problem area. I suspect that you have a bad socket or ground wire that goes to the socket associated with your wiggle test.






      Email This Post
     
     


    Feed Button




    Search for (options) Privacy Sitemap