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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I'm new here & new to RCs, so bear with me. I just bought a 1985 Ramcharger... & it needs some love. We started out by replacing bulbs & are now realizing that the fuses are preeeetty old. So, they're starting to fail. After we installed new headlights, they worked fine. However, last night, BOTH headlights failed. Neither will turn on when the light switch is on. I still have tail lights, parking lights, & turn signals both front and back. I'm thinking the only thing that it could be is a fuse. However... it doesn't appear that any of the fuses are broken. Since I'm pretty new to all this, as well as to working on cars myself in general, which fuse is the one for the headlight? I really am not sure how to tell... & I feel like a total newbie b/c of it haha. Any help is greatly appreciated!
 
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phenoi3arbidoll said:
Hey guys,

I'm new here & new to RCs, so bear with me. I just bought a 1985 Ramcharger... & it needs some love. We started out by replacing bulbs & are now realizing that the fuses are preeeetty old. So, they're starting to fail. After we installed new headlights, they worked fine. However, last night, BOTH headlights failed. Neither will turn on when the light switch is on. I still have tail lights, parking lights, & turn signals both front and back. I'm thinking the only thing that it could be is a fuse. However... it doesn't appear that any of the fuses are broken. Since I'm pretty new to all this, as well as to working on cars myself in general, which fuse is the one for the headlight? I really am not sure how to tell... & I feel like a total newbie b/c of it haha. Any help is greatly appreciated!
Hello Welcome to RRC.com

you can ask the Dodgeboys for wiring diagrams cause that will have your fuses listed on it, but are they not labeled?

all of mine are....

sometimes a fuse can "appear" to not be blown, but they can be....
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They're labelled, but the box is so worn that a few of them like.. you can tell they were labelled but they're too worn to read. Thanks for tip, though! I'm headed to Kragen in a bit to get some fuses and see what's going on. :eek:) I appreciate the help!  ;D
 

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If I remember right, the headlamps do not use a fuse.  There is a circuit breaker inside the headlamp switch.  Check to make sure you are getting power to the switch, if not you may have a fusible link gone bad in the engine compartment.
 

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What headlights did you install?  My 83 started eating Sylvania Silverstars.  But regular halogens seem to last a while. 
Just as a test to see if it's your switch or the lights, try the high beams.
 

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Good point on the high beams.  A lot of headlight problems are caused by the floor high beam switch getting corroded or damaged.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't have power to highs or lows. At all haha.. but still have parking lights, that's the part that confused me. So when the switch is off, it's off. But when I pull the switch on, I get parking lights. I also still have front turn signals.

Also, if it was the switch, wouldn't that mean NONE of my lights would work? I still have tail lights as well.
 

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No low or high beams, huh?  I'd still include the floor switch in your check-out.

Got a test light or voltage meter?
 

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Looking at the diagrams in my 85 FSM

you said you have marker lights, confirm again the ones below the headlights are working.  They look to use the same ground as the headlights.  If they work it shouldn't be a ground issue.  They ground to the driver's side of the radiator support.  Worth checking it out anyway.  Really, anytime you find a ground anywhere it's worth making sure it's clean and tight.  Testing for power at the headlight connector could also say if it's a ground issue or not (if you have power, look for ground problems).

The headlight portion of the headlight switch (and I think the front "park" lights below the headlights) is fed through a dark blue fusible link.  On the inside of the driver's side fender (under the hood) look for a triangle shaped rubber connector with one wire going in and 4 coming out.  Gently tug on each of those 4 wires and see if one is extra stretchy.  If so, it's blown.  Use the search function here on the site for Fusible Link and you'll find much more information on those.

The other exterior and interior lights are fed through fuses, cavities 8, 9, and 2 (through 8).  So a bad fusible link could cause you to lose headlights but not marker lights.

Aaaand, it looks like high beam AND low beam do go through the high beam switch on the floor.  As I think has already been mentioned, if that switch is bad you could lose both low and high headlights.

Well that got to be a mess.
In short:
Check the ground on the radiator support.
Check the fusible links.
Check for power at the high beam switch (power yes, replace switch)
Then headlight switch itself as has been mentioned.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think my next option is to check the switches. I tried to check the fusible links annnd.. well. Whoever decided to rewire the truck basically took them out. I found the black rubber thing and the 4 wires coming out, but only 3 of those 4 go to anything and there aren't any fusible links to be found. I don't know if I have voltage meter (my bf might though). I was hoping it was a fusible link but, when I realized they don't exist in my truck, it made things a little trickier. We're putting it in the shop as of tomorrow to get some other minor stuff fixed since the bf doesn't have all of his tools out here. Hopefully, it's just the in-dash switch. If not.. well.. my bf planned on rewiring the entire truck anyway. So, if it's something we can't fix before he rewires everything, I guess we're not driving anywhere at night! haha. Thanks for the tips. I'm going to look into a few other things and if I can't find the problem, I'll let them know when we take it in tomorrow. Thanks everyone!  :)

EDIT: As far as cavity 9 goes in the fuses, it's a green 30 fuse. It appear to be okay, but the fuse cavity is labelled lps/pnl. I'm assuming that stands for lamps/panel? The fuse that's in the slot appears to be okay. I know it could still be blown even with it "appearing" to be okay. Is there any way I could put a 15a into that cavity to test it? Would it give any power at all to the lights enough for me to tell if that fuse needs to be replaced?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
But if it was the ground, like Donk said above, I wouldn't have parking/marker lights either.... right? & I still have those. I'm going to check the ground anyway next time I'm around the truck. I'm replacing all of the fuses in the box just in case it's any of those. All of those fuses were super old anyway, so it's better to replace them than leave them.
 

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phenoi3arbidoll said:
But if it was the ground, like Donk said above, I wouldn't have parking/marker lights either.... right? & I still have those. I'm going to check the ground anyway next time I'm around the truck. I'm replacing all of the fuses in the box just in case it's any of those. All of those fuses were super old anyway, so it's better to replace them than leave them.
Doesn't have to be the entire ground screw. it could just be the wire from the headlights only. Check first to see if you have current *at* the headlights and work backwards from there.
 

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I'm guessing it's the dimmer.  Very common.  It's possible that the headlamp switch would power the parking lights and not the headlamps since they are different contacts but the ground is the same for both circuits.  It's either the headlamps switch, wiring/terminals from the headlamp switch to the dimmer switch, or the dimmer.  I'm putting my money on the dimmer and it's real easy to check it for power there as there are only three terminals, one is supply, the others are feed to the high and low beams.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I don't have a volt meter, so I can't really check for power at all. The ground is fine though. I'm going to try to get to the switch though, to at least see if everything looks okay. However... I'm a little scared to mess around with the dash. I tried to get to the switch from under the dash/the floor but even with my little ass hands it's at too weird a position for me to get to it. I did put in the second new bulb we bought because we'd only changed one. That didn't solve anything either.
 

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The dimmer on the floor is easy.  You may have to remove a trim panel or two if you have a truck with lots of options but once you get to the carpet, pull it up in the corner, and the switch is screwed down with two screws.  If I remember right, the plug have a plate that goes under the switch and can't be unplugged until the switch is removed from the floor so don't try to take it loose until you get it unscrewed.
 

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mine did this until i found the ground on the radiator support reploaced the ground wire and cleaned the mounting point then they worked fine.
 

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Our old 84 Rc had the headlight go out and we swapped the switch and dimmer and all it was was a ground on the rad support next to the radiator ::)
 

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She has already checked the ground.
 
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