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Old 04-10-2012, 05:28 PM   #1
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brake lights not working... help please, low on funds

I have a brake light problem... they're not working. This happened before, and i replaced almost all bulbs, and the brake switch, then they worked. more recently this happened again, and this time i replaced all the fuses, still not working, traced main wires and found no shorts... any sugguestions? others who may have had this problem with a 2000 2.5L? it's base model, and no major modifications with electronics yet, so no reason anything should be out of wack...

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Old 04-10-2012, 05:32 PM   #2
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Do you have a trailer wiring harness on it? Or anything "extra" (not factory) hooked to it? This was my problem took me almost a day to figure it out...so now first thing I think of in this situation.

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Old 04-10-2012, 05:47 PM   #3
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recheck fuse , I had similar problem with a short in wiring harness and would blow fuse when brakes pushed.
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:04 PM   #4
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Are your emergency flashers working? I had the same thing happen on my 97. Read on here were the flashers can cause them not to work. My flashers were'nt, I sprayed a little w/d and worked the flasher switch back and forth a couple dozen times and the flashers and tailights worked.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jp2611
Do you have a trailer wiring harness on it? Or anything "extra" (not factory) hooked to it? This was my problem took me almost a day to figure it out...so now first thing I think of in this situation.
Trailer harness and wiring yes, should I disconnect the wiring? I'll probably never tow with this, also I have a wire for 3rd brake light that's just hanging around
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bama Stan
Are your emergency flashers working? I had the same thing happen on my 97. Read on here were the flashers can cause them not to work. My flashers were'nt, I sprayed a little w/d and worked the flasher switch back and forth a couple dozen times and the flashers and tailights worked.
Flashers and blinkers worked yesterday, I'll re check when I can
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatitism
recheck fuse , I had similar problem with a short in wiring harness and would blow fuse when brakes pushed.
Just replaced all fuses in vehicle, all old ones were still good, but figured what the hell
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:03 PM   #8
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Did you check the grounds on the brake lights themselves. Make sure the three bolts in the tail light housing and make sure they're fastened down properly.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLynx View Post
Trailer harness and wiring yes, should I disconnect the wiring? I'll probably never tow with this, also I have a wire for 3rd brake light that's just hanging around
My "light problem" was due to a bad ground on the trailer wiring. May or may not be your issue...but everything you can remove from the equation just makes it that much easier to find the problem.

Good Luck!!
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calrain07
Did you check the grounds on the brake lights themselves. Make sure the three bolts in the tail light housing and make sure they're fastened down properly.
Will check that tonight, thanks, and thanks jp, I'll give these a go and ldt you guys know if it fixes the problem
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:58 PM   #11
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where exactly are the grounds? I disconnected the towing package under the body panel where the fuel hoses are, and looked but did not see any ground for the brake lights... still not lighting up, maybe after i start and run for a while..
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLynx
where exactly are the grounds? I disconnected the towing package under the body panel where the fuel hoses are, and looked but did not see any ground for the brake lights... still not lighting up, maybe after i start and run for a while..
Bump, anyone else have a tip?
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:10 PM   #13
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Bump, anyone else have a tip?
The taillights ground through the bolts that mount the taillights to the body. You might want to check those. If you have taillight guards I suggest taking them off to see if you get a better ground without them. I have read about them making bad connections to the body. I hope this helps.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:12 PM   #14
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Do you have parking lights, but no brake lights? I know you just replaced the switch, but this is just for clarification... If you don't have either, it is very likely the ground as stated. Have you checked to see if you have voltage at the light socket at all?
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:19 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Wheel2Work
Do you have parking lights, but no brake lights? I know you just replaced the switch, but this is just for clarification... If you don't have either, it is very likely the ground as stated. Have you checked to see if you have voltage at the light socket at all?
I didn't see the ground when I took covers off, I'll tear into it tonight.

and I do have parking/ running lights, flashers and blinkers, everything else works, maybe I'll just replace the switch again? I may have damaged it when I was struggling to fit in the space to get the position required to install it? Problem is that it worked for weeks.... I'm really pushing my luck while driving right now.....
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:26 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by TheLynx View Post
Trailer harness and wiring yes, should I disconnect the wiring? I'll probably never tow with this, also I have a wire for 3rd brake light that's just hanging around

This could be an issue right here. If that wire is just hanging then it could be touching some metal somewhere and shorting out your brake system. Tape that wire off and secure it somewhere that it wont ever touch metal again.

Also, replace your fuse, sometimes the fuse can break but not fully disconnect, it will still register as powered with a test light but will not be putting through a full 12v to power your lights. I had one helluva time figuring this one out on my own.
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:31 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by LilYeller

This could be an issue right here. If that wire is just hanging then it could be touching some metal somewhere and shorting out your brake system. Tape that wire off and secure it somewhere that it wont ever touch metal again.

Also, replace your fuse, sometimes the fuse can break but not fully disconnect, it will still register as powered with a test light but will not be putting through a full 12v to power your lights. I had one helluva time figuring this one out on my own.
What fuse? Because I replaced all the mini fuses in the hood fuse box, and behind the glove box. The fuse for brakes in the glove box area did look burnt a little, but like I said earlier in the thread, I replaced all fuses, just in case
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:16 AM   #18
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If you replaced the fuses already then sounds like there is only 1 more place to look. The switch, near the brake pedal, you said you had issues getting it on. I would think that this is likely the only culprit left. to get it off you need to twist it 1/4 turn (cant remember which way) and same for when you put it back on. also maybe check the plunger on that switch and see if it might be depressed all the way. I wish I had more potions for ya.
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Old 04-12-2012, 10:24 AM   #19
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I have the same issue on my '97...only my third brake works fine! Just not the outboards. Have park and turn signals...just no stop lights. Kind of eliminates the "usual suspects"...doesn't it? Just sayin'. Ron
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Old 04-12-2012, 10:25 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LilYeller
If you replaced the fuses already then sounds like there is only 1 more place to look. The switch, near the brake pedal, you said you had issues getting it on. I would think that this is likely the only culprit left. to get it off you need to twist it 1/4 turn (cant remember which way) and same for when you put it back on. also maybe check the plunger on that switch and see if it might be depressed all the way. I wish I had more potions for ya.
I tried to reset the plunger, guy at the auto parts store said that could damage it, but I'll just replace it anyhow... so I'll do that, trace all the wires... again..... and hopefully that'll be it... I'll let you guys know
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:33 PM   #21
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Umm, instead of guessing at a problem, maybe a little diagnosis would do you better.
Not picking on you, but you should always start with the basics when diagnosing a problem.

#1 do you have power to the switch.
#2 do you have power out of the switch when the switch plunger is activated.

In your case, was the switch installed correctly?

No power to the switch, find out where you lost it. Work backwards from the switch to the fuse and if need be to the fuse's power source to find your fault.

OK, we'll say you got power in and out of the switch, and it's installed correctly.
You go to the other end and check for power and ground at the socket. What's missing?

Power? start following the wires till you find the break, or where it's grounded out.

Ground?, as stated the connection between the lamp housings and tub are notorious for bad connections. Not there? then it's more following of wires to find the fault.

Since you have the other tail lamps functioning, more then likely you have a problem further forward.
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Old 04-12-2012, 07:12 PM   #22
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Umm, instead of guessing at a problem, maybe a little diagnosis would do you better.
Not picking on you, but you should always start with the basics when diagnosing a problem.

#1 do you have power to the switch.
#2 do you have power out of the switch when the switch plunger is activated.

In your case, was the switch installed correctly?

No power to the switch, find out where you lost it. Work backwards from the switch to the fuse and if need be to the fuse's power source to find your fault.

OK, we'll say you got power in and out of the switch, and it's installed correctly.
You go to the other end and check for power and ground at the socket. What's missing?

Power? start following the wires till you find the break, or where it's grounded out.

Ground?, as stated the connection between the lamp housings and tub are notorious for bad connections. Not there? then it's more following of wires to find the fault.

Since you have the other tail lamps functioning, more then likely you have a problem further forward.
Yeah, just installed new switch, correctly for sure this time, going to start tracing wires again, I did today test the connections, and it is somewhere between the switch and the rear plug.... I would've tested earlier, but didn't have a tester needle.....
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Old 04-20-2012, 01:33 AM   #23
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So I traced the easy to get to wires, no visible shorts, I'm staring to get frustrated with this issue, is there no one who has had this issue before? New bulbs, switch, fuses, no visible shorts, the only places I haven't checked are the ones that would require me taking the whole dash off. I taped off the third brake wires, don't think I disconnected them, but they don't have a short either.
The only thought I have left is that maybe something is behind the fuse block in the dash shorting out the wiring....... disconnected and all but pulled the towing light wiring, and I don't have any other extras added yet.... help
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Old 04-20-2012, 04:21 PM   #24
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Bumpity bump bump
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Old 04-20-2012, 05:05 PM   #25
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Test third brake light wire with meter or test light to ground....If you have brake signal there, then look closely inside your tail light housings for bad/bent/corroded sockets, wrong bulb or installed wrong

Fersure remove trailer light harness, but first test it to see if you get brake signal to trailer pigtail...If you get signal there, then you are good from the switch all the way to fantail of rig...If no signal and it's a modular plug in trailer harness, they are known to fail.....If it's a patched in harness, then yank it and insure wires where it connected are not compromised and well reinsulated.

Get you a test light or meter and a buddy to pump brake pedal or tie wrap the switch....either way buy, beg, borrow a test light or meter.....with either simply probe wires or bulb contacts while other side of meter or test light is firmly connected to ground.

You will discover it really is a simple problem ONCE you find it....Just keep narrowing it down...work fore to aft from switch
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Old 04-26-2012, 05:35 PM   #26
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So there must be a dusty connection somewhere, took apart my dash and looked for anything that may cause a short, didn't find anything, but they're working now. Thinking about replacing ALL wiring in the vehicle, anyone know what this will set me back? Also probably going to replace the taillights, maybe something better, saw a post where a guy replaced the reverse lights with some nice tiny aux driving lights..

Funny story/ about taking dash apart; I found several items left by PO, the wiring for the aux lights that he didn't leave for me, 2 random wires that weren't missing from anything else, part of a fishing pole, an earring, piece of trash, 2 bottle caps, pencil and eraser, a hole in the firewall that's missing its insulation, and a shit load of dust..... good care taking PO.. thanks for selling me your trash
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:24 PM   #27
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Haha last week I did a complete stereo system on my new to me 97 Sahara. When I pulled out the 10 year old Eclipse CD head unit it, behind the dash was a complete spaghetti job.
Not only had the last stereo installer rigged up a new stereo wiring harness (hack job!!)but so did another previous owner as there were 2 stereo wiring harnesses back there and neither of them the factory Jeep system. So this jeep had 3 stereo wiring harnesses. And then I had to rip both of those out and solder up a completely new and correct one.
Stereo sounds awesome now

Oh and OP my reverse lights don't work either. Thanks for posting this. I will be getting out the multimeter this week to address that.

And then maybe I will get to the fog lights that don't work..

And then the turn signals that don't turn off after a turn...

When does it all stop? Haha I love my new Jeep!
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:44 PM   #28
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Haha, same real when I put in a new stereo deck, the PO had twisted the wires together like a twist tie, and did a terrible tape job. Had to buy a new wire harness from the auto parts store, and I didn't have access to a solder gun, so I just twisted them tight and put shrink wrap around them, looks much better now.

As far as you're blinker switch not going back into place, it's probably a rubber band type thing that broke, almost more trouble than it's worth. Had same problem on my custom deluxe pickup, it happens when you hold the switch while you're turning to " keep it from turning off" too many times and it'll break, could be different in jeeps, but I doubt any company needs to reinvent that wheel if you catch my drift.
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:24 AM   #29
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Please dont take this the wrong way... but, if you say you are on a budget, randomly replacing things that aren't actually malfunctioning is pretty much a waste of money. Instead of dumping money into rewiring the ENTIRE vehicle, why don't you just take it to a shop> A local mechanic, or better yet car accessory shop (high end stereo shop, etc) that works on vehicle wiring would probably be able to figure out the problem in fairly short order.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:02 AM   #30
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Thanks for the thought, but I was on a budget when I started this thread. Almost a month ago.... now I have the money to do this stuff, noir to mention I haven't replaced or spent money on anything that wasn't needed, or soon to be needed, I appreciate the concern, but I don't take vehicles to a shop unless its inner engine work, or transmission work. I do plan on getting some remote speakers for the rear, and maybe I'll have them check it out while they're doing it. Might I also remind you and other readers that it can be time consuming, but far far cheaper to do things yourself, and without the and yea, it may be a little foolish to replace things, but then you know it's new, and in the end, you have a better running vehicle and or electrical system. I would rather have that, than pay 3-4 times as much to fix one problem. In the end I would prefer to have a " New" vehicle

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