In the dark, literally


#1

I own a Hunter Green 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan (nicknamed Big Red) which had been performing normally until last week: Driving home I noticed that although I had the light switch on, I was without heradlights. By swithing the high-low beam (multi-funtion) switch I determined that low beams were still available, but high beams were not. Nor was the high-beam indicator light lit. I concluded it was a bad relay: I located the high beam relay in the engine compartment and discovered I could actuate the relay by hand and make the high beams come on. I concluded I had a bad relay and installed a new one in the relay box. That didn’t fix the problem. I checked the fuses for the high and low beams for continuity. No soap. I took apart the steering column (yes, I disconnected the battery first) and measured continuity between the terminals of the switch. All good, but it still wouldn’t light the high beams. Then I checked every fuse I could find, including those in the cabin. I have a sneaking suspicion that there is another relay involved in the circuit: my Chilton’s shows another relay with a High Beam marking. The cabin panel has six relays on it. Does anyone have any idea which may be involved with the headlights, and how?


#2

How many terminals were there on the hi-beam switch? My suggestion would be to make careful notes of which terminals have continuity between which other terminals in both positions, and then go to a parts store and see if they’ll let you plug your ohmmeter into a new one. Keep in mind the switch turns the hi-beams on and turns the low-beams off.

Also, are you getting 12v to the switch? If the fuses are okay, I’d assume that you are, but with a wierd problem like this who knows.

If the relay fires by hand, that means its not getting the primary current. I doubt that there’s another relay between the switch and the main relay, but I could be wrong. You could try switching around the relays in the cabin, for experimental purposes.