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Mystery Headlight Problem

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Hello Everyone,

First post here.

I recently purchased a 1976 2002 and I am having an issue with my headlights. They come on just fine when I start up the car but if I turn them off after driving for a bit they don't come back on. If I leave the switch on for a bit they will come back on in after a little bit ~5 min. or so. It would be easier if they just went out and didn't come back on at all, I could just track it to where the power stops but they keep coming back on. All my other lights work fine. Checked the switch on the dash and it is working fine so I am kinda at a loss.

On a side note where is a good place to get performance parts other then Ireland Engineering.

Thank you.

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Check your relays and the plug that connects to them. I had some pretty gnarly corrosion that caused intermittent contact on mine. Putting in fresh relays and cleaning the wires made all the difference.

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Sounds silly and basic, but the tried and true "spinning of the fuses" might solve your problem - or better yet: remove all of them, clean up the brass tabs in the fuse box and install fresh ones.

*EDIT* - I just remembered BMW puts left and right headlights on separate fuses, so that's likely not your problem. Worth doing occasionally anyway!

If the fuses don't cure it, follow the others' advice above.

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Sounds like there are some bare wires shorting to a ground in the lighting power circuit. Check under fuse box and anywhere wires go through bodywork for unwanted grounds.

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As was pointed out, each low beam is on a separate fuse, and both high beams are fused (and relayed) together.

If both highs and lows are acting up, I would check these three places: 1. where the headlight ground (follow the brown ground wire from each headlight plug)

2. the high/low beam selector lever on the steering column and

3. the headlight switch on the instrument binnacle

Other than the wires themselves, these are the only three places where both high and low beam circuits come together and/or are controlled. The first two suggestions above are the most likely given that they work for awhile and then don't want to. Something is overheating.

If it's high beams only, suspect the high beam relay.

mike

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Sounds to me like a relay overheating. When you turn it off, it does not come back on till it cools down a bit perhaps. Perhaps you can swap the high beam and low beam relays and see if the problem shifts to the high beams. Then its the relays.

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As far as performance parts - there are several venders to pick from. To me it really kind of depends on what your looking for and who has what you need. I also find that shopping around is a good idea from a cost perspective. Do an internet search and you should find several places. The link given above has a good list also.

Send me an email at willie002 at wbcable dot net and I can give you additional information if you like.

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If you suspect it is a headlight relay you can swap in the one from your horn to check.

The 3 relays above the battery serve the high beams, low beams, and horn(s) on a '76. The forward-most relay is for the horn. All 3 relays are the same, so it's possible to swap them around to see if that's the problem.

Bob Napier

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