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Old 05-17-2003, 08:41 PM
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Post Flickering Lights

I took my truck out tonight ... first time driving at night since I did the EZ-Wire kit ... and when I was at stop lights I noticed my dash lights and headlights SLIGHTLY flickering. Not when the engine is revving ... only at stops when the rpm is lower.

Bad ground, right?

But here are my questions :

1 -- If the headlights are flickering, does that mean the headlights have a bad ground? Or does it mean there's a bad ground SOMEWHERE on the truck? I know I made good ground contacts everywhere on the truck when I rewired ... but for the tail lights. They're grounded via the tail light body-fixtures and the bracket that holds them on the truck ... which is bolted to a painted area. I didn't remove that and make sure there was metal on metal for a good ground ... so I'm thinking THAT could be the cause. Am I right???

2 -- What about this >> My dimmer switch for high/low beams isn't grounded ... normally that gets mounted to the body via the floorboard, but I'm doing a different mount with it above the floorboard, on a raised panel (which I havent finished yet). That involves the headlights and the gauge lights ... so maybe that's the cause?

3 -- OR ... I'm wondering if this is a matter of low voltage and a relay is the answer, such as <a href="http://www.madelectrical.com/electricaltech/brighter-headlights.shtml" target="_blank">MadElectrical</a> talks about?

Thanks.

Alan Horvath
<a href="http://AlanHorvath.com/54chevy/" target="_blank">54 Chevy Pickup</a>

[ May 18, 2003: Message edited by: horvath ]</p>

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Old 05-18-2003, 03:04 AM
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Alan, Frist check all you connection. making sure all your wires are soild in your plugs. Some aftermarket harness have wire that back out of there plugs. Then check your light switch. ( with your lights on wiggle your wires and see if they flicker). could be a lose plug or bad switch. since your talking about head lights and dash lights. check the ground for your headlights. move the wire and see if they flicker.
I would check these before buying anything.
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Old 05-18-2003, 06:23 AM
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I suspect the flickering headlights at idle is related to a low rpm of the engine and thus a lower output of the alternator. If you raise the idle a tad does the flickering headlights go away? Did you ground the headlight ground wire to the fender well again like original or did you ground it to the frame this time? I've had problems in the past when I grounded the wire to the fender well and now drill and tap a hole in the frame to attach the headlight ground wire. You could always just make another ground wire and attach one end to the frame and then attach the opposite end to the fender wells that way you don't have to move both headlight ground wires. It would be nice to have an amp meter hooked up to the truck as see what the amperage is at idle with the headlights.

The headlight dimmer switch doesn't have to be grounded to work.
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Old 05-18-2003, 10:06 AM
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Thanks, guys.

I grounded the left headlight to the frame, because there was an easy spot to do so ... the right headlight is grounded to the fender well -- I hope that's the culprit! The dash lights are grounded to the firewall and I have a direct #4 groundwire from the starter post to the firewall and the frame ... none to the body.

Do you think these relays from <a href="http://www.madelectrical.com/electricaltech/brighter-headlights.shtml" target="_blank">MadElectrical</a> are worth buying? They're $25 a pop and they say you need one for low and one for high beams -- that's $50!

I'll check all connection points today and I'll check voltage readings, too -- hey, Joe : What's the difference between taking a voltage reading and taking an amperage reading?

Alan Horvath
<a href="http://AlanHorvath.com/54chevy/" target="_blank">54 Chevy Pickup</a>

[ May 18, 2003: Message edited by: horvath ]</p>
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Old 05-18-2003, 05:17 PM
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Still flickering!

I grounded the right headlight to the frame, so both headlights are grounded to the frame now. Then I ran new grounds to my tail lights from the frame ... then I ran a #12 wire from my #4 firewall ground (coming from the starter bolt) to my ground wire-screw that grounds the dash stuff (just to be sure) ... so everything is grounded as well as I can think of doing it. But the headlights and front park lights are still flickering.

If I rev up to about 1800 rpm the flickering goes away, so I'm thinking it's a voltage drop that's causing it and not a ground problem or loose contacts.

Would you guys agree?

Thanks for your help.

Alan Horvath
<a href="http://AlanHorvath.com/54chevy/" target="_blank">54 Chevy Pickup</a>
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Old 05-18-2003, 07:47 PM
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call me crazy but when i first read this a few days ago i thought 'voltage regulator'. maybe?????
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Old 05-18-2003, 09:06 PM
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I think you're right, Larry.

I just got 2 posts from guys over at ChevyTalk.com and they both said the alternator and/or regulator may be going.

I'm actually GLAD to hear it! I was suspicious of the alternator.

Is there a way to test with a multimeter and know for sure? Or should I just go ahead and buy a new alternator?

Alan Horvath
<a href="http://AlanHorvath.com/54chevy/" target="_blank">54 Chevy Pickup</a>
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Old 05-19-2003, 03:52 PM
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Hey, all

I took my truck to an alternator shop today and bought a rebuilt alternator for $68 ... installed it ... flickering is GONE.

I was getting whacko voltage readings with the old alt, too - which is why I suspected it was going bad. It was pumping 15+ volts with the engine running! Voltage readings are all right on the mark now.

THANKS for your help.

Alan Horvath
54 Chevy Pickup
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