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Old 08-16-2008, 07:36 PM
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Headlights AND Wipers not working

Yesterday I was heading home when a storm blew in. I went to turn on the wipers and they refused to work. Also the headlights wouldn't come on either.

I checked fuses for both and they were OK. So I sat out the storm and barely made it home before dark.

There is 12.6v on the left, (power), side of the fuse block and power to the right, (fused), side when the key is on.

The only one on the left that has no power is the headlamp circuit. The wiper fuse does have power but still, she's a no work!!!

This may be 2 separate problems but may also have something to do with each other. Both failed at the same time.

It would certainly help to have a wiring diagram for this and I guess a shop manual will soon be ordered as future stuff will obviously arise.

I searched on here for any wiring diagrams and info but have come up empty.

Any suggestions???????????? Mucho Gratzi, John

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Old 08-16-2008, 08:24 PM
F&J F&J is offline
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Let's make this a mystery...


er....what are we working on?


Most old stuff around this site has the old way of fusing a headlamp circuit.... a fuseable link "inside" the headlamp switch. It is designed to pop in a front end crash. Then there are fuses for park, dash, & tail.


The wipers sound like a seperate problem at this point, because there is no info on what vehicle. Lots of cars here use a grounding to activate the wipers.
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Old 08-16-2008, 09:19 PM
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Son of a weechy, I can't believe I left out important info like that.

Similar to the avatar...........'63 Chevy swb, even the same color. Only changes:

350, HEI, pwr brakes, pwr steering. All else stock.

And you are correct on grounding to activate the wipers if I'm not mistaken.
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Old 08-16-2008, 10:05 PM
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One of my Vehicles is a 63 suburban I do have some GM factory manuals here someplace; I moved 7 months ago and I am not set up yet

Anyways, my 63 wipers; I redid mine with a 72 c series 2sp motor & switch so I can't trace mine. yours is likely the single speed, and as I recall from 10 yrs ago, it was a single ground wire going from the motor to the switch. Power should be found at the motor with key ON, even if the wipers are on or off.

The lights: Several "bad" places; the bulkhead connector wires sometimes get corroded. Also, the dimmer wires at the dimmer switch. Put the headlights on and see if you have power at the 3 wire dimmer connector. If so, which ones? Power goes in at center terminal, and there should be power at ONE of the other 2 if the headlight switch is on (if it is working as designed). Then when you click the dimmer, you lose power to one outside wire, but gain power on the other. From there, those 2 wires (hi and low) eventually have to pass through the bulkhead.

I assume you tried high and low, so you are looking at the main feed failure. I'd first check the dimmer. If you do not have power there, go up to the HL switch, looking for a heavy feed "in" and one that should be the same color as the center wire on the dimmer.

If you can't trace it out, i'll try to locate my books tomorrow, or at least look at my 63.


EDIT; You know, I do recall having HL probs with my 63. I had bad connections on BOTH sealed beam connectors that attach to the beams, PLUS I had a bad connection at the HL wire connector where it passes through the radiator support. That connector pulls apart, and mine needed the terminals cleaned. It should be a 2 wire connector.

Last edited by F&J; 08-16-2008 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 08-16-2008, 10:40 PM
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(QUOTE) Anyways, my 63 wipers; I redid mine with a 72 c series 2sp motor & switch so I can't trace mine. yours is likely the single speed, and as I recall from 10 yrs ago, it was a single ground wire going from the motor to the switch. Power should be found at the motor with key ON, even if the wipers are on or off.

The lights: Several "bad" places; the bulkhead connector wires sometimes get corroded. Also, the dimmer wires at the dimmer switch. Put the headlights on and see if you have power at the 3 wire dimmer connector. If so, which ones? Power goes in at center terminal, and there should be power at ONE of the other 2 if the headlight switch is on (if it is working as designed). Then when you click the dimmer, you lose power to one outside wire, but gain power on the other. From there, those 2 wires (hi and low) eventually have to pass through the bulkhead.

I assume you tried high and low, so you are looking at the main feed failure. I'd first check the dimmer. If you do not have power there, go up to the HL switch, looking for a heavy feed "in" and one that should be the same color as the center wire on the dimmer.

If you can't trace it out, i'll try to locate my books tomorrow, or at least look at my 63.


EDIT; You know, I do recall having HL probs with my 63. I had bad connections on BOTH sealed beam connectors that attach to the beams, PLUS I had a bad connection at the HL wire connector where it passes through the radiator support. That connector pulls apart, and mine needed the terminals cleaned. It should be a 2 wire connector.[/QUOTE]



The problem was at the connector where it passes through the radiator support. Most brilliant man, I was too concerned with the fuse area and the connections at the light switch itself, all of which were good.

We now have lights!!!!!!!!

On to the wiper problem. It is a 2 speed switch BTW. I'll trace down power in the AM as lil wifey is beckoning. Sat. nite and all.

I need to get at the motor connections as the wires at the fuse block are OK

Oh yea, I've been following your REO thread.....mighty nice stuff!!!

THX for the input so far, John

Last edited by speedydude; 08-16-2008 at 10:48 PM. Reason: No post info
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:07 PM
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Just an update on this. The problem with the wipers was at the terminal to connector at the motor.

I had checked for power to the motor and it was good. The problem was a corroded connector. After cleaning these up and reconnecting them, the motor works like a champ.

I just wanted to pass this along as I learned not to rely on just testing for power at the back of a terminal. Sometimes it pays to disconnect it and have a look.

Also, to not overlook the obvious........
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