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Thread: Head light switch and wires get very warm to hot.

  1. #1
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    Angry Head light switch and wires get very warm to hot.

    I have a 63 Studebaker Lark Daytona. I am a new owner. I drove my car for the first time at night. After a while the head lights went off and then back on while on high beam. I checked the wiring diag. and seen that the headlight s/w has a 18 or 20 amp. breaker built into it. I am a retired automotive tec., I checked the amp. draw it was only 15 amps. on high beam. I assume the switch is going bad. but that is not my issue, I can not figure out why all the wires to the dimmer s/w and to the highlight are way hotter then they should be. Yes the headlight switch is all so very hot. My volt drop tests do not show a major issue. The head light are correct (1 & 2) and the wiring harness is original and show no signs of being repaired. Has any on ran into this problem before? I know how I can fix it but I would like to hear from some of you.

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    President Member (S)'s Avatar
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    The switches are weak internally and put an extra load on your main (Red wire) from the Starter sol . I suggest you search how to install a relay in the system to reduce load on the switch, wires. I see all the time as these get older, more and more wire melt downs.

    Clean all headlight connections and switch connections, Clean stud at starter sol, sometimes replace the first 6 inches of the big red wire at sol. Replace the dimmer switch, clean all connections, replace the headlight switch and add a relay ASAP.

    Welcome to the forum.

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    That is just what I did, I put a relay next to the battery just beside the horn relay and ran the high beams through the relay. I all so changed the dimmer switch. I did not check the big red wire at the sol. but will do that. The Head light switch seems to handle low beams just fine. I all so took apart the head light switch and cleaned the contact points. Thanks for confirming the fix I came up with and giving me so other suggestions of things to check. Have a nice day.

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    You having completed the repairs as stated, I would like to know if this solved the problem. I have not driven at night on my Hawk but I sure would like to not melt wires. I could drive during the day with brights on and then see if things get hot. It took me over 4 weeks to get my wires and switches on the car as I received them in a box...not fun. Thanks, Chet445

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    President Member BRUCESTUDE's Avatar
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    My Larks headlights would go out temporarily, I installed a headlight relay and fixed the problem. I found an NOS mechanical relay on EBay which works for both beams.

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    Beachamp 1,
    One alternative; Years ago I had a 65 Commander where the headlights would go on and off on occasion and with the same heat you could feel on the dash switch. I'm going from memory but I had a front turn signal light which not only burned out but had black arcing marks around the socket it fit into. Once I replaced the bulb and cleaned the socket all was well.
    Rick

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    Yes it fixed my problem: After I installed my high beam relay I turned the lights on high beam for 30 mins. I keep checking the switch and wires for heat. At the end of the 30 mins. everything was still cool or slightly warm. So yes I feel good about installing the high beam relay. (Before installing the relay the wires/ switch would be hot to the touch with in 5 mins.).

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    Also check that both beams are not on at the same time. I owned a Ford model with the high low switch on the column and you could hold the switch in the middle and have both beams on at the same time the lights were extra bright but it fried the switch in the column.

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    Silver Hawk Member bezhawk's Avatar
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    Or, you could convert to LED bulbs that draw only a small fraction of current over what the original bulbs do. No rewiring involved.
    Bez Auto Alchemy
    573-318-8948
    http://bezautoalchemy.com


    "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

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    Quote Originally Posted by (S) View Post
    The switches are weak internally and put an extra load on your main (Red wire) from the Starter sol . I suggest you search how to install a relay in the system to reduce load on the switch, wires. I see all the time as these get older, more and more wire melt downs.

    Clean all headlight connections and switch connections, Clean stud at starter sol, sometimes replace the first 6 inches of the big red wire at sol. Replace the dimmer switch, clean all connections, replace the headlight switch and add a relay ASAP. "Thanks I did check the red wire and in stalled a new on from the sol. to the amp. meter. I apricate your input. Just for added protection I installed a fuse link between the red wire and the sol. That will protect the elect. system from a major overload or short to ground."

    Welcome to the forum.
    Thanks I checked the red wire at the Sol. and it did show signs of a overload. So I installed a new wire from the sol. to the amp. I all so installed a fuse link to protect the system from an overload. Thanks again and have a nice day.

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    President Member (S)'s Avatar
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    The forum is way more fun when the problem gets fixed and you come back and explain how it went. Sounds like it went well. Thanks for the update.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chet445 View Post
    You having completed the repairs as stated, I would like to know if this solved the problem. I have not driven at night on my Hawk but I sure would like to not melt wires. I could drive during the day with brights on and then see if things get hot. It took me over 4 weeks to get my wires and switches on the car as I received them in a box...not fun. Thanks, Chet445
    "yes it solved my problem. In addition to the repairs I made I all so replaced the red wire that runs from the starter sol. to the amp. meter. It showed signs of over heating. (I used a 10 gauged wire instead of an 8 gauged wire) Have a good day.

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