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Old 08-16-2014, 08:06 PM   #1
schwag27's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 230
got pulled over yesterday - tailights were not working !!

weirdly my dash lights were out, and my taillights were out - unbeknownst to me.

it was 2:00 a.m. and mr. po-po didn't like the lack or taillights. had to do the follow the pen test with my eyes, and then hit a breathalyzer off the record. was 0.04 so all good.

BUT today i check all the fuses - everything is good. still no dash lights or taillights. took off the lenses and the brake lights are the same bulb and the brake lights work. all other system work fine from a fuse standpoint.

still no taillights or dash lights.

thoughts? - crappy wire?

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Old 08-16-2014, 08:19 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 187
Check the swith for the dash lights. Could be a bad connection. And check grounds for the tail lights

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Old 08-16-2014, 08:34 PM   #3
schwag27's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 230
1) light switch works for headlights - how would that differ/where need to look for dash lights??
2) any idea on grounds for tailights? how is that different from brake lights?

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Old 08-17-2014, 04:44 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 211
Taillights and brake lights are the same bulb, but two different elements and circuits are inside it. You can have one without the other.

Same ground (body) for both. Through The three mounting screws for the taillight housings and that metal plate. Rust anywhere in that path can mess with things. I run a dedicated ground from that plate up into the cabin to the big grounding screw by the parking brake under the dash.

Most common aliment is dirty contacts inside the headlight switch. I just took mine apart today and cleaned and lubed it up.

'91 YJ Sahara 4.0L/AX-15/NP231, D30/D35 @3.07
'12 KK Cherokee 3.7L/42RLE/MP1522, D30M/8.25 @3.73
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Old 08-17-2014, 12:51 PM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: CA
Posts: 680
Two more things to check:

  1. The fuse itself. I had a bad fuse on this circuit one time, but at first glance the fuse looked intact. Wasn't until I tested it for continuity that I discovered it was bad. A 45 minute drive home at night on the freeway without dash or tail lights could have been avoided if I had only replaced the fuse with a known good one.
  2. Check the fuse slot itself to make sure the fuse terminals are intact. These old terminals like to break and won't always be apparent. If the fuse wiggles in the slot, you have a broken teminal.
1990 Wrangler 4.2L
Howell TBI, 2.5" OME springs; OME Nitroshocks; 5/8" OME shackles; Swaybar discos; 31" tires/15" rims
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Old 08-17-2014, 01:04 PM   #6
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Georgia
Posts: 169
I had this problem. The little plastic piece that is suppose to stop rain cracked and a little water fried them. I can't remember the brand but I put boat lights on the back and they look the same and water proof
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:15 PM   #7
schwag27's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 230
thanks - i swapped out all the fuses and check them. all the fuses are good.

the one did have some wiggle and play in it so maybe the termianl is broken? how would I replace the terminal? any thoughts?
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Old 08-19-2014, 05:39 PM   #8
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 230
took a chance and changed out the headlight switch based on my father saying he had a similar issue on a 67 impala he has.

got one from advance auto parts with a online discount code - $17.43 out the door + 5% cashback from my credit card.

installed light switch with help of an easy video i saw on youtube by searching "88 YJ" ... problem solved !!!!

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