In the dark, literally


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?


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.