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Old 02-11-2010, 05:41 PM   #1
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'97 TJ tail light help needed

I have a 1997 TJ that is having a problem with the taillights.

1. the rear parking lights do not come on.
2. the brake lights are not working either
3. when the turn signals are used, both tailights begin blinking.
4. the turn signals blink noticeably slower when the headlights are on.
5. the emergency blinkers seem to work normally.
6. the back up lights do not turn on either.

All fuses have been checked and replaced (just in case) and the bulbs in the light are brand new.

Any ideas?

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Old 02-11-2010, 05:52 PM   #2
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My best guess is that there is a single contact bulb forced in place of a dual filament bulb. Don't go by whats in the bulb socket. Put the correct bulb in it.

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Old 02-11-2010, 05:54 PM   #3
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double checked bulbs. correct bulbs are in their correct places. thanks tho.

turn signal/brake lamp on bottom has dual filiment and backup light has a single filament...so they look correct.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:29 PM   #4
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I believe they ground with the mounting screws. Check the grounds.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:33 PM   #5
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I believe they ground with the mounting screws. Check the grounds.
i agree, i would guess a ground issue...unless someones messed with the lights and has them completely wired wrong
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:39 PM   #6
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I don't believe that they ground through the mounting screws since the factory screws have a plastic washer that minimizes contact, but I could be wrong about that. I'm wondering if it's a grounding issue since it affects both rear lights or if it might be an issue with switching? maybe a bad master control switch?
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:41 PM   #7
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switch could be a possibility also...very odd
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:51 PM   #8
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Sounds like what mine was doing. Its something to do with the blinkers and a switch in the steering wheel. I called a local mechanic, told him and he new exactly what it was. Cant remember but it wasnt cheap to replace either. Have to remove the steering wheel.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:56 PM   #9
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The tail lights get their ground through the three hex-head mounting screws inside the tail light enclosure that secure it to the tub.

Do you by any chance have a brake light guard installed? If so, get rid of it... they are notorious for causing this problem by not allowing the lights to ground reliably.
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Old 02-11-2010, 07:11 PM   #10
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Sounds like what mine was doing. Its something to do with the blinkers and a switch in the steering wheel. I called a local mechanic, told him and he new exactly what it was. Cant remember but it wasnt cheap to replace either. Have to remove the steering wheel.
Just throwing out a wild guess: maybe a bad ignition switch. I know it can affect the blinkers. Good luck
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Old 02-12-2010, 05:50 PM   #11
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Looks like I was wrong about the grounding...definitely the problem, but I seem to have it fixed for now...amazing what a swift kick can solve. Thanks for all the help.

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