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#1452193 Fri May 20 2022 12:29 PM
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 2,182
J
JW51 Offline OP
'Bolter
New issue. Probably something silly that I can figure out, but might as well cheat and ask the experts first. Background is a 1951 truck that was long ago converted to 12v. Lights had worked last I knew.

Last night I had high beams but nothing at low. Something in the dimmer switch perhaps?

JW51 #1452203 Fri May 20 2022 01:43 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 6,094
3
3B Offline
'Bolter
Hy JW51, the dimmer switch is a good suspect, but verify the headlight bulbs aren't burned out on the low beam side, good luck.

JW51 #1452206 Fri May 20 2022 02:17 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,970
Grease Monkey, Moderator General Truck Talk & Greasy Spoon
Unplug the wires from the dimmer switch and clean ALL the contacts. Take your air compressor and blow out any debris inside the switch contact area. Work the switch several times then plug the wires back in. Good luck.


Martin
'62 Chevy C-10 Stepside Shortbed (Restomod in progress)
'47 Chevy 3100 5 Window (long term project)
‘65 Chevy Biscayne 4dr 230 I-6 one owner (I’m #2) “Emily”
‘39 Dodge Businessmans Coupe “Clarence”



"I fought the law and the law won" now I are a retired one!
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JW51 #1452210 Fri May 20 2022 02:32 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 24,758
H
Kettle Custodian (pot stirrer)
The dimmer switch lives in a wet, dirty, hostile environment under the floorboard, and carries the full current needed to run the headlights. A new switch and a set of relays out on the radiator support close to the headlights makes a lot of sense. Then all the dimmer switch has to do is carry the small current needed to turn the relays on. That also protects the headlight switch from heavy current, and you get brighter headlights to boot!
Jerry


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JW51 #1452212 Fri May 20 2022 02:38 PM
Joined: Jan 2022
Posts: 250
B
'Bolter
Quick check of the dimmer switch is to swap the 2 wires on the switch that go towards the headlights at the front of the truck. If the low beam now work and the high beams don't the switch is bad.

Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 2,182
J
JW51 Offline OP
'Bolter
Originally Posted by Hotrod Lincoln
The dimmer switch lives in a wet, dirty, hostile environment under the floorboard, and carries the full current needed to run the headlights. A new switch and a set of relays out on the radiator support close to the headlights makes a lot of sense. Then all the dimmer switch has to do is carry the small current needed to turn the relays on. That also protects the headlight switch from heavy current, and you get brighter headlights to boot!
Jerry

Particularly hostile in my truck. It’s gross under there. This rig eventually needs a full re-wire so I will keep the relay thing in mind.

And to the fella that suggested swapping the wires….brilliant! That might have eventually occurred to me after lots of futzing around. But no guarantees.

JW51 #1452216 Fri May 20 2022 03:36 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 1,142
D
'Bolter
Just asking here but is there a connector on your firewall that connects the under dash harness to the engine compartment harness (with the headlight wires)? Sometimes if this plug gets loose it pulls out just enough to disconnect one of the wires for the headlights. I went through two dimmer switches adn two new headlight switches before I found the loose connector on the firewall (cab side not engine side) Just something to check.

Last edited by Dragsix; Fri May 20 2022 03:37 PM.

Mike
JW51 #1452219 Fri May 20 2022 05:14 PM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 1,540
G
Insomniac
Get a VOM (multimeter) or an ice pick style tester and start tracing. You just don't have enough info at this time.


Gord
----
1954 1/2 ton 235 4 speed
JW51 #1452225 Fri May 20 2022 05:43 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,602
"Hey! I sound like Darth Vader!!
Make your life a little easier. Instead of disconnecting wires and switching them, have a decent length wire with an alligator clip on each end. The amount of diagnosing alone you could do with that tool would just amaze you. Work smarter, not harder as they say. On the '51, battery hot from the alternator, and touch the other end to the headlight terminals on either inner fender. Verify the lights are good before assuming any of the switches are bad.

I can remember when I learned this lesson. It was on a Ferd station wagon. The last of their breed. Both low beams out. Ordered the switch, it came in and I proceeded to do battle with the steering column. Yes, late model column switch. Took me most of the evening with the newly returned lead mechanic telling me we weren't going to put in any overtime. We were averaging 3-4 hours nightly. He was back from cancer treatment and didn't have the energy to stay. So, if he went home, everyone went home! Anyway, got the switch done 30 minutes or so before end of shift. Still no low beams. Then it hit me. There is no way the driver would wait until both low beams were burned out, would he? He couldn't be that dumb! He was. I learned. Still got the job done by shift end but that was some unnecessary labor and parts thrown at it!!

Do the simple stuff first.

JW51 #1452238 Fri May 20 2022 07:52 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 185
B
'Bolter
When rewiring my 50 chev pu 6v system I opted for the use of relays mounted on the firewall with the dimmer switch controlling power to the relays and the dash switch to control power to the dimmer switch. I used my own idea for a terminal block made of 1 inch thickness plastic which I modified. So I have been happy with the changes and encourage you to do the same. I like the idea of troubleshooting the problem with the least effort so no time and money is wasted. You will find the solution.....good luck


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