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Topic: Headlight Dimmer Problems - 69 Bug

I'm having problems with my 69 Bug.  Went to get the vehicle inspected in Virginia, and they failed the car because the headlights would not switch on high beams.  I replaced the turn signal/dimmer switch on the steering column as well as the headlight dimmer relay.  I have poured over the wiring diagram but can't find a problem.  Every wire seems to be going to the right place. The headlights come on, but they still will not switch to high beam.  Any suggestions?

Re: Headlight Dimmer Problems - 69 Bug

Hiya DC,

Just a quick question..........when you replaced the switch and the relay did you replace those parts with VW OEM parts or did you use aftermarket parts?

Mike

1970 AS Bug

Mike

1970 AS Bug
1970 Bus - The Ruptured Duck

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Re: Headlight Dimmer Problems - 69 Bug

Hi Mike,

The turn signal switch w/dimmer was German OEM but the dimmer relay was made in Brazil.  Bought both from Mid-America Motorworks . . .

DC

Re: Headlight Dimmer Problems - 69 Bug

DC: Is what you're saying is that the low beams are on "all the time" even when the high beams are supposedly on? Does the high beam dash indicator light come on? You've probably already checked this, but make sure that your headlight wiring socket is properly connected. Speedy Jim has a clear drawing at http://www.nls.net/mp/volks/schem/headlite.gif which shows the correct layout. Sometimes having a wire out of place will cause quirky headlight issues. Good luck. Clancy

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Re: Headlight Dimmer Problems - 69 Bug

Clancy,

Thanks - I have checked the wiring, but I will double check to make sure it lines up with the headlight wiring diagram you referred to.  As far as the headlights, I pull the headlight switch, and they come on.  When I pull the turn signal lever to engage the high beams, there is not change in the headlight beam and the high beam indicator light does not come on.

DC

Re: Headlight Dimmer Problems - 69 Bug

DC: Are you working with standard 12 volt sealed beam units? Check your high beam fuses; maybe they're out. They should be on fuses 3 and 4 if I recall correctly...look for the white wires going to 2 adjacent fuses....
See Wiring diagram at: http://66.34.72.138/wiring/bug-68+69.jpg
Also look as speedy Jim's diagram of the dimmer circuit:
http://www.nls.net/mp/volks/schem/hibeam3.gif

If both bulbs don't light I don't think it's a filament problem..the odds of both high beam filaments burning out at the same time is slim. Good luck. Clancy

Re: Headlight Dimmer Problems - 69 Bug

Hiya DC,

I'd echo what Clancy has to say and add this..............

I encountered a situation in my 70 Bug not unlike yours.  When I would go to engage high beams the switch did not "click" nicely and I got no high beams.  Turns out that that the dimmer relay (VW OEM) was kaput.  The points inside the relay had fused together.  Replaced the relay with another OEM type relay (outta my parts inventory) and I was good to go.

Might be worth checking out after you inspect the wiring.  By the way, Clancy referred you over to "Speedy" Jim Mais and his website.  If this proves to be a stubborn problem, e-mail Jim and ask his advice.  There is nobody (NOBODY!) who is better at VW electrics than Jim.  To boot, he is a genuine nice guy who will take the time to get you back on the road.  He is simply one of the best VW resources one could ever find.

Mike

1970 AS Bug

Mike

1970 AS Bug
1970 Bus - The Ruptured Duck

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Re: Headlight Dimmer Problems - 69 Bug

I had an identical problen that turned out to be the wiring at the connection to the headlight.  I had put in all new wiring but connected the headlight socket incorrectly by switching the positions of the yellow and brown wires at the connector.  Switching those wires back solved the problem.

Assuming you hadn't taken everything apart and put it back together wrong like I did means your problem is (1) bad bulbs, (2) bad fuses, (3) bad relay, (4) bad signal switch or (5) bad wiring.

A clue here is that your high beam indicator light doesn't come on.  As it is powered directly from the high beam circuit at the fuse block, this seems to point out that power isn't coming off the fused side of the system.

The first obvious check is the fuses.  I've had fuses that looked good still test open.  Pull them, clean the contacts on the fuse block and on the fuses themselves and, after testing them with a continuity tester, replace them.

If this doesn't help, go under the hood, behind the dash and identify the wiring at the fuse block that you're concerned with.  On the bottom side of the fuse block you'll see two white wires, one of them doubled with a blue wire with a white stripe.  These are the wires going to the high beams (the blue/white iwre goes to the high beam indicator.)  The wire at the top side, opposite the white wires, goes to the high beam relay.  Make sure it is secure on the connector.  You might want to pull it off and ise emory paper to clean the contact.  Trace it back to the relay which should be clipped to the dash support above the steering collumn.  Check the connection at the relay like you did at the fuse block.

If the problem is still there, it's most likely either the relay or the high beam switch.  You can check the switch by going to the relay, pulling the wire that is brown with a white stripe.  This is the switch wire.  Use a continuity checker between it and ground to see if you get an indication when the switch is pressed.  If you do, the switch is good and the remaining culprit is the relay itself.  You might try using a small variable force applicator (hammer) against the relay.  If the contacts are stuck this might jar them loose.

Or you can save yourself a lot of time and bother and just replace the relay, as it is most often the problem and is easiest to get to to fix.

good luck

David H
'66 sunroof Beetle

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Re: Headlight Dimmer Problems - 69 Bug

ok real quick here no time too read all the post here what was said ? Not said etc. Most common problem here is plastic nub on dimmer switch itself ? << Meaning some body stuck a screw driver in around the turn signal switch witch probably resulted in the breaking off of the plastic nub that actuates the dimmer switch ? Way too tell is by looking and would like ta tell ya that you can check by using a screw driver too actuate dimmer switch But if im wrong ya will probably break the plastic nubb off when ya use the screw driver as this is most commonly what happen,s ? << Meaning if ya use a screw driver too actuate the dimmer switch behind the turn signal switch arm ? Be damm carefull not too break the plastic nubb off as it is a small delicate usually brittle plastic part . << Breaking this plastic nubb off will result in the need too replace entire turn signal switch assembly under the steering wheel ? Sean