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Headlights went while driving
#764279 August 02nd 2020 2:30 pm
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 69
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I have turn signals and running lights but no headlights. Also not able to get the highbeams on. I am thinking of changing the dimmer switch and possibly headlight switch. It was raining last night when this happened so I was wondering if water may had blown a fuse but I am reading there is no headlight fuse?

Does the power for both low beam and high beam go through the dimmer switch? I am looking on the dash and it looks like when I kick my dimmer switch the indicator light is not popping up. So if that fried maybe that would just be the issue?

Last edited by jtozier406; August 02nd 2020 5:11 pm.

1977 Chevy G20 with 350
Re: Headlights went while driving
jtozier406 #764290 August 02nd 2020 5:32 pm
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Try locating the grounds from headlamps themselves, to nearby sheetmetal. remove, sandpaper shiny mating surfaces and screw threads, and retighten.

Also follow all wires from battery (-) terminal, to firewall and give them the same treatment. If these smaller wires have any white corrosion at the battery terminal, consider them toast. If there is no ground wire from engine block to nearby frame, add one.

Look for wires to headlamp switch or dimmer switch that have burnt or somewhat melted looking insulation. close to the connector.

Need strong light and perhaps some magnification and might need to clean the wire insulation to see properly. wd-40 on a rag works best..

Throwing a new switch at a bad connector is not going to fix the issue, for long.

Fixing a bad contact inside a multi wire connector takes 'some' skills. Often the housing is melted near the bad connection and reusing it with a new contact is not really feasible or desirable.

If your headlamps are not bright enough for you, this can be the time to use the original wiring to trigger relays, which is another way of saying shorter fatter wiring delivering more pressure to the headlmaps and thus make them brighter.

A headlamp bulb getting 14.4v is 50% brighter than one getting only 12.6v, and often there is 3+ volts of drop along the old undersized circuit. I was having over 3.5 volts of loss on my '89 dodge. now, post harness upgrade, the bulbs get within 0.3v of battery voltage. Much much brighter.

Also upgrading the harness with relays, the current for the headlamps no longer flows through the headlamp or dimmer switches. Only the current required to hold the electromagnet closed does, and this is about 1/10th the headlamp current.

Re: Headlights went while driving
wrcsixeight #764817 August 16th 2020 12:45 pm
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Thanks for all the advise. I am definitely going to swap out and clean up some grounds. I ordered new connectors and switches from Rock Auto. I changed only the dimmer switch so far and that fixed the headlights. The clue that led me to believe that was the cause was the lack of the high beam indicator light coming on the dash when clicking the switch.

I will follow through with the other wiring and switches in case that was the cause.


1977 Chevy G20 with 350
Re: Headlights went while driving
jtozier406 #764820 August 16th 2020 5:20 pm
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I was once inside my dimmer switch, the contacts within were so carboned up I was surprised it worked at all. I cleaned it all up, stretched some springs for more contact pressure, used the buffing wheel on the dremel to make the copper contacts gleam like gold and reassembled.

That was about a decade ago, before I added relays, effectively removing headlamp current from flowing through headlamp switch and dimmer switch.

Only the current needed to trigger the relays flows through the dimmer switch now, about 0.8 amps instead of ~15. The tiny spark which jumps just before contact is made or when removed, is much much smaller now and will degrade the contacts at a much slower rate.

If you want brighter halogens, more voltage reaching the bulb via a thicker shorter circuit, is the best way to do it. Seems to be intimidating before doing it, but it really quite simply achieved.


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