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Old 01-25-2008, 12:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Headlights Nightmare-fuses/shorts/melting/anger/guns/etc...

Ha OK, so I got some projector headlights and I think they look sexy. I love them to death. All my problems are fixed, so if you were looking for a problem to give advice on, I'm alright. Just going to tell a story and offer advice to noobs or electronics-uneducated.

I put my headlights in and they worked fine for a few months.
My best friend let a girl borrow his truck for 1 day and she fell asleep at the wheel and rolled it, totaling the truck (she's fine). So now he's out of a truck (had insurance and all, but it sucks to have to let go of all the work you put into something).

I'm supposed to be leaving for Chile for 2 weeks. My departure date is only 3 days away. I tell him he can borrow my car while he searches for cars and goes to work etc... He says thanks etc...

I leave.
I have fun, I meet people, I see stuff, I do stuff.
I return.

I'm met by a smiling friend. He picks me up in my car, and I drive it home, dropping him off, and practically orgasming to be back in my car after 2 weeks of separation.

He tells me that there was a problem with fuses and stuff, and says that he replaced them and that everything is mostly OK now. I'm tired, so I ask for a little explanation, but he plays it down and it sounds alright. I go to sleep.

Later, I get the whole story by talking to both my friend, and my other friend whose garage I use to work on the car. HE told me the story because my first friend had called him up for help.

While he was driving it, a 10 amp fuse blew, the headlights went out, the running and signal lights still worked, and the dash lights went out. He replaced it with a 10 amp fuse. It blew again. He replaced it 3 more times. Then he decided to put a 15amp fuse in. That blew.




Then he decided to put a 20amp fuse in. That blew.






Then he decided to put a 25amp fuse in. That blew.







Then he decided to put a 30amp fuse in. That blew smoke.

So he took it to my garage friend, who practically beat him over the head for doing all that. He had melted wires in the engine compartment, causing the lights to stay on when the car was off and the switch was off. There were a few other odd symptoms, but that was the main one.

Upon investigation and many hours of research and electrical system diagrams, we were able to locate and separate melted wire bundles. We re-ran some wires, then taped it all back up.

Start the car and it works fine. The next night I hit a bump and the headlights go out and so do my dash lights. CRAP. So we start to do some diagnostics on that circuit. Replace the fuse and the system works fine. As I'm reinstalling the headlights (while they were on), the fuse blows and the lights go out. THERE IS A PROBLEM INSIDE THE HEADLIGHT ASSEMBLY. Pretty simple.

Take apart the headlight assembly and the positive lead is not insulated and rests extremely close to a ground contact. Bumpity bump and you have a short. So we put shrinkwrap on the contacts and no more problems. Yay!


LESSON: The fuse is DESIGNED to be THE weakpoint in a circuit. Occasionally, a fuse will blow due to fatigue, but this usually happens after a long time and/or much use. If a fuse blows repeatedly, THERE IS A PROBLEM IN THAT CIRCUIT AND IT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED.

BUMPING FUSE VALUES WILL NOT FIX ANYTHING. When you bump fuse values, you are eliminating the weakpoint of the circuit. Now, when there is too much current, the WIRES are the weakpoint. Wires like to get hot. RED HOT. They will melt the plastic/rubber shielding around them and can catch it on fire.

When a fire starts like that, it's hot. It will burn along the wires, catching anything rubber or plastic on fire along the way. It can burn right along those wires, THROUGH YOUR FIREWALL (grommets are plastic/rubber too!) and can catch the interior of your car on fire, burning it to the ground. Not cool.

Also, another danger I was at risk of resultant from melted/shorting wires in the harness--my car still has airbags. If the airbag circuit got tripped when I hit a pothole or any other bump, I could get smashed in the face with an airbag, causing chemical burns and most likely, loss of control of the vehicle, causing a wreck (but now with no airbags!). Not cool or safe.
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Old 01-25-2008, 05:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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thats alot of mess..
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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you should kill your friend- it's a no brainer not to put a bigger fuse in there
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Dont make me mad, ill punch you right in the armpit
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Old 02-05-2008, 05:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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He will never drive any vehicle of mine again. He still doesn't get that. He asked to drive and I just said no and he looked at me weird. I haven't told him directly, and he still has not understood that his actions have gotten him banned from driving my car.
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Old 02-05-2008, 05:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I feel ya i build elevators and we get service guys that come in and find a 3 amp fuse blown and dont have the knowledge of finding the problem so they put a huge fuse in just to make the customer happy to get the elevator running i come in the next day and the circuit board looks like a big piece of melted plastic. Some people just dont get it. Glad to see you fixed your problem.
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Old 02-05-2008, 06:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I hate when people can't say "I don't know." If you don't have the knowledge to be confident about what you're doing, you need to ask someone or tell the person you're working for that you simply don't know the answer and that you'll have to check and get back to them.

People are so stupid. ^"some people just don't get it."^ Actually, MOST people don't get it, at least around Kansas City and the surrounding areas.
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