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49 2R - High beams, no low beams...

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  • Electrical: 49 2R - High beams, no low beams...

    So, on my '49 2R10, the high beams (and parking lights) are totally fine, but the low beams do nada. I am thinking that means the dimmer switch has gone, but before I drop the cash and scrape up my knuckles getting it replaced, can anyone confirm? I know it isn't a short in the wire between the switch and the lights, because the multimeter tells me there is no power coming off the switch on the low beam circuit.

    The system is now 12V and the headlights are modern halogens, if that might factor in.

    Thanks for any help.

  • #2
    Check for power at dimmer, one side hot when lite switch is on and power going to hi beams, hit dimmer,you lose power to hi beam but still have switch power, it's dimmer. they are in a bad place to collect junk,moisture and such, a shot of WD40 might restore operation and will make R&R easier. they are common. Luck Doofus

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    • #3
      Verify that the power to the bulbs is not going to the ground wire. My '53 once was wired that way, the High beam wire went to ground, low didn't connect anywhere.

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      • #4
        Finally had a chance to track it down. Seems to have been a combo of the headlights themselves (the low beam problem - both went at pretty much the same time - maybe not surprising as previous owner probably changed them at the same time) and the dash light switch, which wasn't always making a clean contact.

        Hopefully that's that. It was all working fine when I closed up the garage. We'll see...

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        • #5
          When my older brother restored his 1949, 2R, one thing on top of the list was 12V conversion, and all new wiring harness, constructed with "Painless" components. That was maybe 10 years ago, and he has yet to have an electrical problem of any kind.

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          • #6
            Tempted to do the same, except the dash is far from stock at this point - tach, voltmeter, temp gauge, all aftermarket. Do you know - did he do a vehicle-specific kit or did he do a generic?

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            • #7
              And I don't quite have the headlights figured out. Tried it cold today: lows, yes. Highs, passenger side only. Back to sniffing sometime this afternoon.

              Thinking a bad driver's side ground maybe, but then why does the low work but the high only intermittently? Could it have something to do with the return circuit for the high beam indicator light?

              And mine is a 12V alternator system.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Rob Morris View Post
                Tempted to do the same, except the dash is far from stock at this point - tach, voltmeter, temp gauge, all aftermarket. Do you know - did he do a vehicle-specific kit or did he do a generic?
                He is quite experienced with wiring, and re-wiring. He just ordered the components he wanted, then constructed it himself.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rob Morris View Post
                  And I don't quite have the headlights figured out. Tried it cold today: lows, yes. Highs, passenger side only. Back to sniffing sometime this afternoon.

                  Thinking a bad driver's side ground maybe, but then why does the low work but the high only intermittently? Could it have something to do with the return circuit for the high beam indicator light?

                  And mine is a 12V alternator system.
                  Yes, sounds like bad ground. The electrons can go through the bulb base and use the other beam wiring as a phantom ground.
                  Skip Lackie

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                  • #10
                    That's fascinating, so the low circuit could be using the high's power source as their ground? Did I understand you right?

                    I didn't get to look at it today - had to replace the turn signal switch on my BelAir. It took priority because A, I really don't drive the 2R10 at night much; B, the whole family can fit in the BelAir, while only three of us can ride in the Studie; and C, failure to use a turn signal can get you pulled over, even if the cop likes your car.

                    Will see if I can find the ground problem. Thing is that my power probe told me it had ground when I tested it, so it might be a fun, intermittent thing.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rob Morris View Post
                      That's fascinating, so the low circuit could be using the high's power source as their ground? Did I understand you right?
                      Yes, but remember that there's no juice flowing through that other wire -- it's just a long wire going nowhere. Usually when that happens both filaments light up somewhat dimly rather than having one on and one off.
                      Skip Lackie

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