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Glad Max III...The Great Light Way

First and foremost, thanks to everyone who takes time to share your knowledge and lend a helping hand. It is truly appreciated.
Quick update for those who helped out previously on my 96 Maxima: Decided on 3 drain and fills of tranny fluid, replacing the pan gasket and filter and cleaning the screen and magnets on the last one. I’ve read here that you get a little less than half the fluid out with a simple drain, so 3 should do it. Super simple to access the drain plug so doing that myself. Had power steering pump and both hoses replaced. No drips or seeps any more! (of course) The shop I went to warrants their work and parts for 15 mo/15k miles, so maybe I found a good mechanic in the process. Thanks again for all your input.

This week’s project: The Maxima has cornering lamps which illuminate when you turn on the directional. The driver’s side stays lit whenever the parking lights or headlights are on. Passenger side works properly as do all 4 blinkers and emergency flasher. Obviously something is “making” the circuit. Saw nothing about this in the Haynes. Where should I start looking? Bare wire contacting metal somewhere?

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to update since you guys have been so gracious with your time in helping out. Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day by celebrating heartily and not driving! Make mine a Guinness.

Obviously something is "making" the circuit. Saw nothing about this in the Haynes. Where should I start looking? Bare wire contacting metal somewhere?

That sounds like a bad ground problem. Where to look??? Check the ground of each circuit.

Thanks @MikeInNH. Not embarrassed to display my championship level of ignorance. I have an Ohm’s Law level of knowledge and a multimeter. The Haynes does have a wiring diagram. I know I need to check each connection to make sure it’s oxidation free/tight. Is that what you mean by checking the ground? Thanks.

I have an Ohm's Law level of knowledge and a multimeter.

That’s pretty much all you need.

The trick with tracing a ground fault like this is the ground may be taking a new path trough another bulb. So remove all the effected bulbs before testing. Otherwise you may get false readings.

Request a schematic and a wiring diagram of the circuit from the Nissan parts window guy. Ask nicely and he’ll likely to be happy to print one up for you. NOTE: schematics and wiring diagrams are different representations of the circuitry. The schematic is an electrical interpretation of the circuits, the wiring diagram is an illustration of physically where the wires run and where associated fuses, relays etc. and the connections are. Get both.

Those, with colored highlighters, should make tracing the circuits easy. There are no fancy components in these circuits, basically just circuits, relays, switches, and fuses. Nothing fancy. You’ll see little pitchfork-looking things that show where the circuits ground to the chassis. People usually find understanding simple schematics easy once they’ve had a chance to think about them. If you like, post photos of them and we’ll help.

Thanks as ever @thesamemountainbike. You as well Mike in the free state. Will pop by the parts counter and try to make another friend. Great suggestion.

I’m not sure I understand the issue. With the headlights off, the drivers side front marker blinks like it is supposed to when the left turn signal is turned on, but if the headlights or parking lights are on, then it stays lit and does not blink? Have you tried using the emergency flashers to see if it behaves the same way?

If the emergency flashers work properly, then I’m afraid the problem may be in the multifunction switch in the steering column, and that will not be easy to troubleshoot.

The problem is either in the cornering lamp switch or someone has repaired and miswired the lamp wiring in the left front.

Unplug the “Turn and cornering” connector from the combination switch, if the cornering light is still lit the problem may be in the wiring.

Thanks @keith and @Nevada_545. The blinkers work fine whether the parking lamps or headlights are on or not. The cornering lamps never light up when the flashers are on. They’re separate clear lamps that give you a little more light in the direction you are turning. Thanks Nevada for posting the diagrams and diagnosis. Now I just need some sunshine. Is it common that whenever you want to work on your car it rains for a couple straight days or is it just me? (lol)

Just you, really dry here.

ALL good advice… Make SURE nobody installed trailer light wiring…by far the biggest culprit for these things… aside from a failing turn sig switch that gets goofy contacts over time…


The first test is to check the cornering lamps with the 4 way (emergency) flashers on. This helps to isolate the problem to the light end of the circuit or the switch end.

Edit: maybe I didn’t understand your earlier post, you said flashers, did you mean the emergency flashers or directional flashers or both?