Problem #1: No headlights
Problem #2: Moron w/ screwdriver thinks he can fix it.
Other symptoms: parking lights/turn signals/flashers  all OK.
History: Lights used to work, now they don't.
Cause: I dunno.

What I've done:
1) Checked the bulbs, they're OK
2) Checked the power at any of the four headlight fuses.
3) Pulled the switch, and checked and checked, and checked -> switch OK
4) Using a meter, I checked for voltage before and after the switch -> Good.
5) Went to check the dimmer relay. Confused because actual location of relay was not where the diagram in the Chilton's manual said it would be. There are five sockets for relays behind the fuse box...I had only three relays installed-  in positions 1,2, and 3. The diagram  I have shows positions #2 and #4 as open and that the headlight dimmer would be in pos #1. but my flasher relay was in #1, the headlight dimmer in #2, and wiper relay in #3. After yanking out all the relays and ID'ing them and examining the wiring in the fuse box, I placed them back where they were..figured hey..wipers and flasher were working fine..don't muck w/them.

And this is where I got lost and couldn't figure out which way to go. How do I determine if the dimmer relay is at fault, without needlessly purchasing another? The wiring diagram, which unlike the relay diagram, appears to be correct. According to the diagram the only other thing (besides the dimmer relay) that comes between the fuses and switch is a second input line to the dimmer relay from the hazard flasher relay..(I guess due to the relationship established by the fact that the high/lo-beam switch is paired with the turn signals)

So I'm like 6 ft tall, hanging upside down under the dash, one leg up over the seat, the other wedged around the passenger seat, fuse box parts scattered all around my head - which happens to be stuck between the gas pedal and the brake,  a continuity tester clamped in my teeth, dash board in pieces, screws digging into my elbows, trying to balance my multimeter on the floor, while trying not to short anything in the fuse box with the alligator clips on the meters test leads -  in 90 degree heat, while the mosquitoes are feasting on me.

When I began to think that I was going to have to go through and check the entire flasher circuit as well, despite the fact that the hazard flashers and turn signals all work fine, I just said to myself  "Self, you don't what the heck you're doing. Give up and go burn some meat on the grill" So I did.

Short of duct taping on a couple of flashlights, any ideas?

One day I thought I was being too hard on myself...then I thought, "Damn, that's stupid!"
Quote 0 0
Just a quick update...I hope somebody here has been through this before and has some input. I pulled out all four fuses, and removed the headlights. Then I checked for current in the headlamp sockets..totally expect to see nothing...this is what I found:
  • Passenger side low beam = no current at all times
  • Passenger side high beam = no current at all times
  • Driver side low beam = no current at all times
  • Drive side high beam = no current when switch is off, approx 8v current when parking lamps are on, approx 12v current when headlamps on
This is with all four headlamp fuses removed from the fuse box, and the ignition in the run position. I have been following the wires to try to locate a short, but so far no luck. The high beam indicator lamp on the dash turns on when the headlight switch is in any position other than off, regardless of what state the high beam switch is actually in. I did check the fuse box to make sure the fuses I pulled were indeed the headlight fuses, and did not see anything to indicate otherwise.

The fact that there's current in that wire (it's the white one)has me stumped, I cannot find any source for it..obviously it's there somewhere, I just need to keep looking till I find it. Next thing i'm going to do is follow the blue/white wire for the high-beam indicator, and see if the short is there back-feeding through the fusebox.

One day I thought I was being too hard on myself...then I thought, "Damn, that's stupid!"
Quote 0 0
Almost there....Last night, I opened the headlight dimmer relay and found that the 'switch' inside was stuck between the high-beam and low-beam circuits, leaving both open.  I 'fixed' it by inserting a non-conductive insulator between the high-beam circuit and the contact switch, putting a drop of solder across the low-beam circuit, and removing the armature from the coil that switches the circuit.. so basically I left it stuck in low-beam position and prevented it from switching to high beam.. Since this car is very rarely used, and even rarer at night, it seemed to make sense to temporarily disable the high beams.

Today, since I'm not a big fan of hack fixes, I picked up a replacement relay from NAPA, but found that it doesn't work any better than the hacked relay I left in. With the new relay, low-beams are working fine, but the high beams don't  come on, when you hit the high beam switch, the coil in the relay doesn't does absolutely nothing. The old one you can hear it wanting to switch, at least that tells me the steering column switch is still good. I think I recall somebody mentioning that the Pin marked "30" on replacement relays needs to be grounded, whereas the older ones were not attached to anything at all....I've also read that grounding T30 will burn out the relay..maybe T30 and S are supposed to be bridged? Does anybody know anything about this? The original relay was VW # 411 941 583 C.

One day I thought I was being too hard on myself...then I thought, "Damn, that's stupid!"
Quote 0 0
  Thanks to this post I was able to get things to come around my way. Low beams and Hi Beams are now both working...Yay!

   The high beam indicator lamp is just buggy...such a simple thing..but I think it's grounding out somewhere weird..just seems to be doing its own thing.

  The relay I bought from Napa is part ECH AR284, despite being listed as a direct replacement for the VW relay, the OEM VW relay is a single pole (1 switch), while the napa (and most other replacements that I found) are two pole relays. I made the bridge suggested in the other post, and everything seems to be working right, except that sometimes the new relay wont switch immediately..sometimes I gotta pull it two or three times for it to switch.

I'm glad this issue is almost, is this little car gunna teach me some lessons...

One day I thought I was being too hard on myself...then I thought, "Damn, that's stupid!"
Quote 0 0