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Old 10-27-09, 10:16 PM   #1
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Lightbulb tail lights don't work, brake lights do

So all the lights in my car work properly, except for my tail lights. The brake lights work fine, flashers, side lights, etc. all work fine, except for tail lights. I dug around in the trunk and the bulbs are still plugged in fine, and connection looks good. They just randomly quit the other night on my way home.


Fortunately, the cop that let me know about it was pretty understanding and didn't give me a ticket.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Last edited by overyander; 10-27-09 at 10:25 PM. Reason: more descriptive title
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Old 10-27-09, 11:52 PM   #2
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Question

hey, just went out there and was looking at it... i noticed that none of the marker lights come on either, including license plate lights... is this all controlled by the fuse labelled "Illum" ?
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Old 10-28-09, 01:28 AM   #3
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the headlight switch and the harness to it is burned out.

do you have lights inside the dash as well? if not, then....

get new switch and new harness. dont just get one or the other, get both.
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Old 10-28-09, 02:57 AM   #4
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Common problem as said by Sir Cyrus above.

Pull the elec plug off the headlight switch. Look in the plug on the harness. Near one end is a White/Green wire. It is the power wire. Usually you'll find it's got a burnt look about it.

It's powered by the ILLUMINATION fuse in the interior. If the fuse is good, then make a jumper wire and jumper b/t the W/G wire in the plug and the Red/Black wire. The tail lights and side lights should come on. No key needed.

That elect plug with the white/green wire in it is in a short harness about a foot long with two elect plugs on one end and one on the other end. They can be bought at the wreckers or a dealer like Mazdatrix.
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Old 10-28-09, 09:41 PM   #5
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I found earlier that when I pull the fuse and do a voltage test where the fuse goes, i don't get any voltage when the headlight switch is off. but when i turn the headlight switch on, the ILLUM fuse gets voltage. So that means it's not the switch right?
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Old 10-28-09, 11:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overyander View Post
I found earlier that when I pull the fuse and do a voltage test where the fuse goes, i don't get any voltage when the headlight switch is off. but when i turn the headlight switch on, the ILLUM fuse gets voltage. So that means it's not the switch right?
sigh...


really?

hailers and i just told you what the problem is.

heres a thing to check. take your gauge cluster surround out. then yank the headlight switch out. make sure to yank out all the ***** for that switch, and un plug it. does it look like one pin on that connector and on the switches plug looks burnt?
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Old 10-29-09, 04:59 AM   #7
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HELP! no dash or tail lights! have already tried everything i know

There are probably fifty or more threads on non working side lights/tail lights on this forum. ICEMARK used to answer most of them, like the thread attached above.

The light switch has but one wire that is batt power. It is the White/Green wire in the connector. Usually it is burnt or the pin in the switch the white/green connects to is burnt.

I know that if the plug is off the switch, and you jumper a wire b/t the white/green and the red/black the side and tail lights will come on because your bypassing the switch. You prove the wiring from the switch to the lights is good and that the problem lies with the switch or the connector on the switch one. This eliminates a lot of needless poking around and possible shorts in the rest of the harness. IF there is a short in the wiring from the switch to the lights, then the fuse would blow when you jumper the W/G to the R/B in the plug. THEN you look for shorts in the wiring and leave the switch and plug out of the picture.

Yours is a common problem with this series RX and nintey percent of the time it's the W/G wire burnt (bad harness) or switch. There's a thread in the archieves dealing with how to fix this so it does not happen again.
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Old 10-29-09, 05:11 AM   #8
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pm pele, he rebuilds switches, he redid both my wiper and my headlight switch and a relay for the headlight switch, turns out one of the main reasons my lights died was the harness that connected to the switch. he gives a warranty, so if you got money, no reason not to give it a try, everything in my car works again, even the rear wiper and all the wiper speeds.
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Old 10-29-09, 08:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirCygnus View Post
sigh...


really?

hailers and i just told you what the problem is.

heres a thing to check. take your gauge cluster surround out. then yank the headlight switch out. make sure to yank out all the ***** for that switch, and un plug it. does it look like one pin on that connector and on the switches plug looks burnt?
I've seen them where they don't burn visibly on the outside...

If you dismantle the switch, you can get inside the **** part. There's four little tabs of metal on the **** and they touch four little prongs in the switch...

Two tabs are for the headlights, and the other two are for the dash and exterior lights... Sometimes those tabs burn up.
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Old 10-29-09, 10:41 AM   #10
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AR

thanks everybody. i'll take a look at this as soon as it stops raining like a typhoon outside.
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Old 10-29-09, 12:45 PM   #11
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go inside the car, and close the doors and windows.
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Old 10-31-09, 06:35 PM   #12
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not the switch... i jumped the white/green wire with the red/black wire and the interior lights came on, but none of the others. the exact same results i was getting with the switch plugged in.

what else could be the problem?
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Old 10-31-09, 11:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overyander View Post
not the switch... i jumped the white/green wire with the red/black wire and the interior lights came on, but none of the others. the exact same results i was getting with the switch plugged in.

what else could be the problem?
uh...


Quote:
Originally Posted by SirCygnus View Post
the headlight switch and the harness to it is burned out.

do you have lights inside the dash as well? if not, then....

get new switch and new harness. dont just get one or the other, get both.
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Old 11-01-09, 02:44 AM   #14
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You jumpered the W/G to the R/B ? and the brake lights and side marker light did not work. Odd.

The W/G and R/B are next to each other in the plug. Are they the ones you jumpered? Like in the attached jpg? Where I show the plug and the two wires next to each other? third jpg.

Look at the jpgs attached and you see that if the W/G and R/B are jumpered then the tail lights, side lights, license plate lights, all should illuminate. HARD to believe both the front and rear side lights would not light up in this condition, much less the tail lights.

Don't know what I'd do it that happened to me. Probably find the other end of that short light switch harness and pull it apart. Then jumper the W/G and R/B wire in the plug the light switch harness is connected to.

The ILLUNINATION FUSE must be good for this to work. I'd put the meter on the Illumination fuse to make sure it is hot. It's on the batt bus so no key is needed. The bus the Illumination fuse is on is fed by the BTN fuse in the engine bay.

You must have a blown Illumination fuse. Only thing that makes sense.

It almost sounds like you jumpered to the R/G instead of the R/B.


This car have a air bag?
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tail lights don't work, brake lights do-redblacktwo-jpg   tail lights don't work, brake lights do-redblackthree-jpg   tail lights don't work, brake lights do-redblack-jpg  
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Old 11-01-09, 03:08 AM   #15
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It helps to say what year car you have. I was assuming series five earlier, so no airbag for you. Even though the jpgs above are series five, the series four is the same as far as the R/B and W/G go.
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tail lights don't work, brake lights do-wgone-jpg   tail lights don't work, brake lights do-wgtwo-jpg   tail lights don't work, brake lights do-wgthree-jpg  
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Old 11-01-09, 01:52 PM   #16
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Its an '88 convertible, non turbo, no air bags... yes the wires i jumped were right next to each other, i have all the schematics and diagrams and double checked that it was the right one. I have metered every fuse in the car for continuity and also did a voltage check on the ILLUM fuse, and it checked out fine. I also checked the big fuses under the hood too (the five or so grouped together on the drivers side) and all tested good with a meter.

I can't think of what could be the problem. The switch and the fuse are the only two common points for the inside lights, license plate light, tail lights, and marker lights that I can think of; and I've already ruled both of those out of the problem.

Thanks for everybody's help already and for any more ideas.

Don't forget that all the lights mentioned above are out EXCEPT for the inside dash and control lights.
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Old 11-01-09, 02:10 PM   #17
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oh, and i don't think it's anything between the switch harness and the fuse because the fuse doesn't get voltage until i turn the light switch on. If i'm mistaken about how that works please let me know.

Thanks again.
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Old 11-01-09, 04:11 PM   #18
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oh, and i don't think it's anything between the switch harness and the fuse because the fuse doesn't get voltage until i turn the light switch on. If i'm mistaken about how that works please let me know.

Thanks again.

IMHO you need to chunk that test light your using and buy a digital meter from ???? try Harbor Freight. For ten bucks you can find one that has many features of which you only need the DC VOLT set at 20vdc.

The ILLUM fuse is on the BATT bus and should have power 24/7 if the BTN fuse in the engine bay is any good (feeds the batt bus in the interior).

If you already have a meter......then I don't understand what your doing at the fuse as you describe turning the light switch to on and now getting voltage to show up on the meter.

IF the fuse is pulled out, the touching the pos lead of the meter to the side of the fuse slot with the W/R and the other meter lead to the W/G side of the fuse slot results in no voltage until the light switch is turned to on. See attached jpg.

So I'm asking..........if the neg meter lead is touching a known gnd, when you put the positive meter lead to the fuse slot, do you see batt voltage? Only one side of the slot is hot and I can't tell which it is from sitting here. Probably the bottom side of the fuse slot.
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tail lights don't work, brake lights do-capitalettersred-jpg  
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Old 11-01-09, 04:23 PM   #19
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Its an '88 convertible, non turbo, no air bags... yes the wires i jumped were right next to each other, i have all the schematics and diagrams and double checked that it was the right one. I have metered every fuse in the car for continuity and also did a voltage check on the ILLUM fuse, and it checked out fine. I also checked the big fuses under the hood too (the five or so grouped together on the drivers side) and all tested good with a meter.

I can't think of what could be the problem. The switch and the fuse are the only two common points for the inside lights, license plate light, tail lights, and marker lights that I can think of; and I've already ruled both of those out of the problem.

Thanks for everybody's help already and for any more ideas.

Don't forget that all the lights mentioned above are out EXCEPT for the inside dash and control lights.
************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** ***
It's not all that hard to figure out. Pull the plug off the light switch. Put the neg lead of the meter to gnd. Then put the other lead to the W/G. Batt voltage should be there if the fuse is good.

Got power? Good. Then jumpering the W/G to the R/B should result in tail light power and front and read side light power. By power I meant those lights should come on. Also the INSTRUMENT/METER lights should also come on.

You say that does not work for you. So you now follow the harness that the headlight switch plug is on..........down into the foot well where you find it is connected to a BLUE plug that is part of the Front harness. You pull that plug apart (ain't so easy to do that you'll soon find out). Then put your meter on the Front harness side of that plug and make sure the W/G is hot. IF it is, then jumper the W/G to the B/R in that same plug. The afore mentioned lights should come on.

Right now the problem seems to lie in the wiring since you bypass the switch when doing the jumper job and the lights still don't come on. Hard to believe you blew all those light bulbs in a single event. Not likely.
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Old 11-02-09, 04:03 PM   #20
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ok, so with the help of a friend (who is not color blind as i am) i found that i was testing the completely wrong wires on the switch harness. so, that means it's my switch.

which brings me to my next question... how the heck do i get that switch apart? i'm pretty good at soldering on mother boards in computers, so unless i'm missing something completely, this shouldn't be too hard to repair; if somebody would be so kind as to lend a first hand of getting the headlight part of the switch out of the switch assembly.

Hailers: thanks for all of your help so far, it is greatly appreciated!
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Old 11-02-09, 05:09 PM   #21
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PM PELE who wrote a post above. I only know HAMMER and the switch will not ever, ever work after HAMMER. I know how to access the board but not how to dismantle the rotary switch to clean up the contacts there.
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Old 04-29-13, 07:59 AM   #22
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You jumpered the W/G to the R/B ? and the brake lights and side marker light did not work. Odd.

The W/G and R/B are next to each other in the plug. Are they the ones you jumpered? Like in the attached jpg? Where I show the plug and the two wires next to each other? third jpg.

Look at the jpgs attached and you see that if the W/G and R/B are jumpered then the tail lights, side lights, license plate lights, all should illuminate. HARD to believe both the front and rear side lights would not light up in this condition, much less the tail lights.

Don't know what I'd do it that happened to me. Probably find the other end of that short light switch harness and pull it apart. Then jumper the W/G and R/B wire in the plug the light switch harness is connected to.

The ILLUNINATION FUSE must be good for this to work. I'd put the meter on the Illumination fuse to make sure it is hot. It's on the batt bus so no key is needed. The bus the Illumination fuse is on is fed by the BTN fuse in the engine bay.

You must have a blown Illumination fuse. Only thing that makes sense.

It almost sounds like you jumpered to the R/G instead of the R/B.


This car have a air bag?
Sorry to dig this thread up.

Im having the same issue.... but when I bridge the W/G with R/B it kills the fuse. Im guessing my next step is to pull the bulbs at each point and try to find the fault. Any other quicker test methods ?
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Old 04-29-13, 09:19 AM   #23
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Sorry to dig this thread up.

Im having the same issue.... but when I bridge the W/G with R/B it kills the fuse. Im guessing my next step is to pull the bulbs at each point and try to find the fault. Any other quicker test methods ?

And ohm out the wires in question such as the ones which lead to the lights and see if you can spot a short in the wiring.
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Old 04-29-13, 09:19 AM
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