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Discussion Starter #1
So I recently bought a 2003 ZX3 in really poor shape. Bad catalytic converter, etc.
I replaced the entire exhaust system, and took the car to get inspected, thinking I would have no issues passing.
The tech came to me and said the driver's side headlight wasn't working, and it would either fail my inspection, or cost $24 for a new bulb and installation. Feeling lazy, I said "Go for it"
They came back a few min later to say the driver's side BRIGHT still did not work with a new bulb, and that it was most likely a wiring issue since the passenger side dim and bright worked fine.
Anyone have any ideas on where to start troubleshooting? The wires are confusing as can be, and I have no idea where to even start tracing.
Thanks in advance! I have 14 days to get it fixed or I have to pay for the inspection again when I take it back. [?|]
 

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Start with basics, like checking the bulb connector & seeing if power makes it there. (seen bad connectors before)

Then look at the fuses/relays for the system. I can't remember the exact number without looking it up but it's NOT as simple as you might imagine, more than a couple involved.
 

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The icon there is 100% correct, once again our wonderful governor Rick Perry's effects on the public education system in Texas show up. In Texas in the '60s this would have been considered a rite of passage to a first car at 12 years old. One wire power in, one wire power out. Give it to the kid and the car is yours when you figure it out.

Sorry, I simply HAD to say that.

Take the passenger side working light and put it in driver side and if still no bright on driver then not bulb. Socket next. If the wires are that confusing then best take baby steps here. Clean/pry the socket terminals closer to make up for lost contact. You can often cut a narrow strip of #400 sandpaper just wide enough to fit in the contact slots and using another strip of say fake plastic credit card like sent in the junk mail all the time as a stiffener behind the sandpaper, then wrap the plastic with sandpaper both sides to make a sanding board that fits perfectly in those contact slots to bring the contacts back to like new. Don't look for that in any book, it comes with abstract thinking (out of the '50s) which they do not teach in Texas schools any longer. Haven't in 20 years, only how to pass the exact answers on tests. The most likely next new governor now prepared to do that to 4 year olds now, can't wait for the result.

Just fixed two issues using exactly that idea in the last month, both lights now work perfectly. Often not the wires at all. Total cost maybe 5 cents. What a brainfart..........
 

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Discussion Starter #4
amc49, not sure what your fascination with the Governor or the public education system is all about, but I am a bit older and more experienced than you're giving me credit for. Also, my Honorable Discharge from the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Electrician's Mate Second Class might remove some of your doubt for my understanding of electrical systems. Seeing how Ford did not issue me a Pub with wiring schematics when I bought this vehicle used, my wire tracing ability is a bit hindered.
I appreciate the tip for making a contact cleaner, but the contacts look brand new, as do the connections on the back of the plug.
 

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Each headlight has 2 fuses; 1 for low another for high-beam. A single blown fuse can cause your symptom.

Go here and download your owners manual (if needed)
http://www.focusplanet.com/

Owners manual will help ID the fuse numbers and locations.

F16 - LH Low Beam
F17 - RH Low Beam
F26 - LH High Beam
F27 - RH High Beam
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Each headlight has 2 fuses; 1 for low another for high-beam. A single blown fuse can cause your symptom.

Go here and download your owners manual (if needed)
http://www.focusplanet.com/

Owners manual will help ID the fuse numbers and locations.

F16 - LH Low Beam
F17 - RH Low Beam
F26 - LH High Beam
F27 - RH High Beam
Thank you Marde. It would appear it IS a fuse. The manual will prove to be very useful. Thanks again.
 

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'the contacts look brand new, as do the connections on the back of the plug.'

As an aviation electrician you first of all should know that absolutely means nothing in electrical, how many times have you fixed by cleaning/adjusting low volt circuits that looked impeccably clean? I myself cannot count them........the weather proofing there simply begs you to ignore those plugins, I have fixed more than one by doing just what was mentioned. They looked PLENTY clean before I started too. Clean all day long and does nothing if the contact is lost when plugged in, what multiple contact circuits often do. I built PCs all day long there for a while as well. Cleanest of the clean, they still didn't work until I messed with them. Sometimes you have to custom force every contact point in a 50-pin connection.

'The wires are confusing as can be, and I have no idea where to even start tracing.'

Sorry, I took that as the remark of a rookie, I certainly wouldn't expect it from an aviation electrician, no, not at all...........my bad, I was doing it with no formal training at like 13 years old. Owner manual mention and layout of fuses and relays enough to get one started with no schematic at all.

Luck, and thank you for your service...............I'll leave you alone.
 
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