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bsk.kelly 01-31-2013 09:48 AM

Brake lights, head lights, turn signals!
Hi all,

First time posting on the site, but I've gotten lots of great information (nutter bypass, yes!) from it over the last couple of months, since I bought an '89 YJ that has had a few more problems than I would have liked.

Turn signals and headlights have been kind of flaky for a while. As of yesterday, nothing at all, and no brake lights to boot. Hazards work fine (?!), so I don't think the problem is at the bulb end.

The under dash wiring looks like a rat's nest, and I don't really know where to begin. Previous owner did all sorts of insane sound system customizations, the Jeep was literally full of amps bolted under seats, speakers built into boxes to fill every space. Custom horns. There was an extra battery just to run it all.

For the headlights, just squeezing and jiggling the wires behind the button to turn headlights on got the parking lights on, and recently just flipping that button on and off a couple of times would get the headlights on, so it seems like that's where I should be looking. But still kind of clueless as to how to fix.

For the turn signals, it might be the flasher, right? But I can't quite figure out how to get it out...

The brake lights, I have no clue. Sometimes if I press really hard on the pedal I can get them to come on but they don't stay on. Is it difficult to replace the switch?

Sorry for the rambling post. I'm just suddenly a bit desperate since it's really not okay for me to drive in the city with no turn signals or brake lights. And I'm really figuring all of this out as I go along. No real mechanical experience before this Jeep.

Thanks in advance for any help or ideas!

jokerchief462 01-31-2013 10:11 AM

Headlight switch fix.

Brake lights switch on brake master cylinder one connector two wires. check it is secure. The YJ is notorious for seemingly wire related issues that are nothing more than dirty grounds. Drop both tailight assemblies from the rear of the tub. Where they mount is where they pick up a ground. So check for rust and dirt.

Turn signal start with a new flasher but first check and see if the hazards are working the flasher relays are side by side. swap across and see if that help or just replace both and go from there.

As far as the brids nest left over by PO and wild stereo you will have to decide what to keep and see how you can straighten all that out. Slow and easy don't get pissed and start cutting. You can figure it all out just take a little time.

Keep posting here we have a great bunch with some really great ideas and knowedge. Welcome to the forum!!! By the way I am partial to 89YJs.

Xpress 01-31-2013 11:10 AM

Check your grounds on the mounting posts on your tub. If all is clean there, then check to see if the brake lamp switch is working properly.

I had to replace mine, BUT I had to add in a small shim to get it to flick the lights on without stomping it to the floor.

The turn signals can be as simple as the fuse under the dash being corroded.

bsk.kelly 01-31-2013 12:03 PM

Thanks for your advice, jokerchief.

I'm going to try that for the headlights, but the under dash wires are such a wreck and dangling everywhere that I think they could still be the problem. I'll also check the grounds for the brakes, thanks for the description.

The hazards work great, oddly enough. The turn signal will go on solid, no flashing. So I'll try replacing the flasher. I have already replaced all of the fuses.

Thanks for the idea about the shim, xpress. What did you use to do that?

Yeah, I love the Jeep, but it's just giving me some trouble lately and making me kinda crazy! I've already had loads of fun learning how she works and fixing little things.

Xpress 01-31-2013 12:10 PM

I found a zip tie end, clipped it off, sanded it down a bit, then stuck it in place. Worked perfectly, and the brake lights come on within 1/8" of brake peddle movement.

bsk.kelly 02-01-2013 01:43 PM

So the turn signals were just the flasher. Thanks for the idea about switching the hazard flasher in. I didn't know they were interchangeable! And I didn't even want to drive to autozone with no blinkers or brake lights.

And shimming the brake light switch did the trick. Brilliant! Although I have to admit it took me more than a minute to find it/figure that one out!

I also took the headlight switch out and took it apart to try to get a better connection like that other post suggested. It got the parking lights working normally, but still no headlights. Any more thoughts on that? I kind of scared myself trying to make heads or tails out of the wiring diagrams in Haynes. They just quit working spontaneously a couple of days ago...

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