Low beam problem ( Passenger side )

zach04trailblazer

Registered Member
Original poster
Jan 21, 2018
38
Florida
About two months ago, I had an issue with my passengers side low beam headlight going out. I immediately replaced the bulb and it started working again for 3 days. Went out again, replaced again and this time I checked the connectors/sockets to the bulb. Both the drivers side and passengers side were burnt. It's worth mentioning the drivers side bulb has never gone out. I cut off connectors and replaced them along with 2 new bulbs. I thought the issue was fixed until today the passengers side went out again while driving home at night. I've searched youtube and different forums and this is obviously a very common issue for different years. Most common suggestion is replacing the relay. I checked #45, #46 relays and both look to be the original GM with numbers on top.

What would you guys recommend as far as troubleshooting steps? Again, the only thing I've tried is replacing the connector and bulb(s).
I do have a digital multimeter just not sure where to start.
 

zach04trailblazer

Registered Member
Original poster
Jan 21, 2018
38
Florida
Thanks @Mounce. So black lead goes to white wire, and red goes to orange wire in connector, yes? If I get a reading of 12 volts should pass the power to harness check, right? To test ground, I need to hook red lead to positive on battery and black lead to white wire in connector, correct?
 
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christo829

Platinum Donor
Dec 7, 2011
424
Fairfax, Virginia
Did the replacement sockets have heavier gauge wiring than the stock socket? My passenger side low beam went out from socket/wiring damage. I replaced driver and passenger sides with a socket and wiring rated for high temperatures. No problems since. If yours has the more stock wiring,
it could have heated up and lost connection.

Good Luck!

Chris
 
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zach04trailblazer

Registered Member
Original poster
Jan 21, 2018
38
Florida
@christo829 I don't believe so. They appeared to be the same diameter as the original wiring that I can recall. I bought 2 pigtails from Oreilly's and spliced that onto original wiring using butt connectors to mend the original with the pigtail gel sealed. The local clerk there advised I should use the dielectric grease INSIDE the bulb haha I definitely didn't do that especially when the packaging said in bold the opposite. I won't be able to check everything out until the weekend. Passenger side low beam is the only bulb that has gone out several times. All the other bulbs (in the front) have worked ever since I bought the vehicle. I'm thinking it's probably either a bad ground, fuse, or too much power running through the specific wiring for the low beam passenger. I use the have the problem where both headlights would dim temporarily until I replaced both connectors and got 2 new bulbs.

One question for you Chris -- did you completely replace the entire wiring to both headlights or splice the wiring like I did?
 
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Bow_Tied

Active Member
Dec 21, 2014
453
London, ON
I had this recently happen on my '05 Jimmy (bulb failing, burnt socket, pass side). I believe it was at least in part due to using a cheap aftermarket bulb. I replaced the connector and bought some mid range Sylvania bulbs and fine for the last couple of months (knock on wood!) I do recommend a proper solder and heat shrink connection.
 
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Mounce

Guru
Mar 29, 2014
13,663
Tuscaloosa, AL
Yeah my next thing was going to be asking how you attached the new pigtails. Crimp connectors can be iffy. If you've got a multimeter verify power/ground like you had planned but also back probe the butt connector, wouldn't surprise me if you had power on one side but no the other confirming a bad connection.
 

zach04trailblazer

Registered Member
Original poster
Jan 21, 2018
38
Florida
@Bow_Tied I actually purchased the Sylvania bulbs higher grade brighter bulbs and yes they indeed worked for awhile but I think it was due to replacing the obviously burnt connectors to the bulbs. Hope you have better luck than me! When I spliced I simply pushed the old wiring and new wiring into each end of the butt connections and used a lighter to seal them. Not sure about how one would solder each cable end into the butt connection but what do I know.
 

zach04trailblazer

Registered Member
Original poster
Jan 21, 2018
38
Florida
@Mounce I didn't crimp the connectors at all. Simply sealed them with heat shrink and applied some pull force to verify they wouldn't happen to disconnect on their own. Will definitely check passengers side this weekend with multimeter. I doubt it's a lack of power since I can place a brand new bulb in and it works for a few days but I'll check anyways.
 

Bow_Tied

Active Member
Dec 21, 2014
453
London, ON
@Bow_Tied I actually purchased the Sylvania bulbs higher grade brighter bulbs and yes they indeed worked for awhile but I think it was due to replacing the obviously burnt connectors to the bulbs. Hope you have better luck than me! When I spliced I simply pushed the old wiring and new wiring into each end of the butt connections and used a lighter to seal them. Not sure about how one would solder each cable end into the butt connection but what do I know.

If you didn't at least twist the wires together at the connection point then I think you will have a high resistance connection.

Referring to buying a new socket with attached pig tail wires, I recommend using a western union connection. This style is good for resisting strain from pulling.
Cut the old connector off and strip back about 1" of insulation on each wire (and the same on the new pig tail). Once twisted together heat it from the bottom side with your soldering iron until the wire is hot enough to melt the solder. Then cover with heat shrink.

14027_122_2.jpg
 
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zach04trailblazer

Registered Member
Original poster
Jan 21, 2018
38
Florida
Thanks! @Bow_Tied
The butt connectors I used had a metal divider in center so couldn't simply slide them over wire but with regular heat shrink can do that. When I check the splice I'll consider replacing them using this method if everything else checks out. Hope you guys can overlook my ignorance. Obviously, butt connectors are a bit different than heatshrink namely with the crimp and seal process.
 
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Bow_Tied

Active Member
Dec 21, 2014
453
London, ON
I might have misunderstood. If you crimped the wire inside a butt connector properly it shouldn't be terrible; twisted wire not needed there. I incorrectly read that you had put two wires together in the heat shrink only.

I wonder if the 'local clerk' you talked with mis-spoke or was misheard - di-electric grease inside the bulb makes no sense, agreed, but inside the butt connector would be fine so long as properly crimped. That would help mitigate corrosion.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Donor
Jul 22, 2015
2,455
I didn't mention this last night, but wanted to...

For the low beam sockets, the spec calls for a 'high heat' version - you can get them as carded stock at the local parts store.

I bring that up b/c the OP mentioned the old or replacement socket melted. I found one of mine that way... that may be helpful.

On a slightly different topic - the illustration is also referred to as a 'military splice'. :whistle:
 
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Wooluf1952

Guru
Nov 20, 2011
2,663
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Getting oil from your fingers or greasing the connections can cause hot spots on the bulb and cause them to burn out. Clean off any oil or grease with alcohol and don't touch the glass after it's cleaned. :twocents:
 

christo829

Platinum Donor
Dec 7, 2011
424
Fairfax, Virginia
@christo829 I don't believe so. They appeared to be the same diameter as the original wiring that I can recall. I bought 2 pigtails from Oreilly's and spliced that onto original wiring using butt connectors to mend the original with the pigtail gel sealed. The local clerk there advised I should use the dielectric grease INSIDE the bulb haha I definitely didn't do that especially when the packaging said in bold the opposite. I won't be able to check everything out until the weekend. Passenger side low beam is the only bulb that has gone out several times. All the other bulbs (in the front) have worked ever since I bought the vehicle. I'm thinking it's probably either a bad ground, fuse, or too much power running through the specific wiring for the low beam passenger. I use the have the problem where both headlights would dim temporarily until I replaced both connectors and got 2 new bulbs.

One question for you Chris -- did you completely replace the entire wiring to both headlights or splice the wiring like I did?

I replaced the low beam socket and about 6 inches or so of wiring on both sides. Soldered the joint, and used heat shrink tubing with sealant in it. Also replaced both low beam bulbs at the same time, to cut down on possible resistance differences. I've had bad results from butt splices in the past.

Cheers-

Chris
 
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zach04trailblazer

Registered Member
Original poster
Jan 21, 2018
38
Florida
Finally got around to putting on new socket ( high temp ) with western union style connection. My soldering skills were lacking but I kept trying and got enough solder to cover the splices. Now, I'm really hoping it will last awhile. Btw, I soldered the OEM wiring inside the headlight assembly only. The outside wiring I never touched. As soon as I completed the passengers headlight came back to life.
 

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