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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an 07 duratec SES with 217,000 miles on it. At 190k I had the Alternator rebuilt by reputable establishment in Southern Indiana. I had it rebuilt in hopes this would solve my headlights burning out so quickly, it did NOT. This past Dec 3rd I replaced them with a middle grade from Napa, tonight I already have the dim burnt out on the drivers side, not one side is more prone than the other. I replace them with good bright light, they are not the blue or purple one. This has been going on for about 3 years, any suggestions?
 

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Vince your Moderator
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A random short in the headlight circuit?
 

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That type of problem, and fixing it, does not have a single or simple answer. A careful visual inspection of the wiring is a good first step. Find the ground terminal lugs for the headlights; one on each side of engine bay, on or close to the wheel well. Disconnect and clean the mating surfaces.

I am guessing you have little experience using a multimeter, so after doing your best to clean-up the connection points, you should pay a professional tech (1 hour of labor) to check out the car.
 

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Vince your Moderator
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There are 4 fuses for your headlights in the engine compartment fusebox. Have you checked them?
 

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ive had a couple automotive electrical classes so im hoping my word is reputable, but it sounds like you have a shortage in the circuit or someone put too big of fuses in your vehicle. you'll need some electrical diagrams showing your headlight circuit so an experienced mechanic can trace the wires and find the underlying issue.
 

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There are 4 fuses for your headlights in the engine compartment fusebox. Have you checked them?
if his lamps are going before the fuses, the fuses arent his issue. the fuse is only there to protect the wires in any event that the amps would fry either A) the wires or B) the entire circuit as a whole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No, I have not checked the fuses. A little history about the car, I bought it new in 07, at 9k miles the car had a lunge or surge when I would pass someone or accelerate, the surge would begin as the car was wanting to upshift. I took it to the shop for the warranty work, after 9 days they were still baffled, they then called someone at Wayne Michigan where it was built. They were advised to change the Alternator, they said that the electronic Torque converter was recieving mixed signals and where not decoded. So once the Alt was replaced the problems went away. I believe it was about 3 years ago I started noticing the headlights were becoming a problem of burning out and I also noticed in my 45 mile commute to work very early mornings my headlights on low beam would dim or pull down as if they were lack of power for a moment and get really bright and then return to normal, this still happens to this day and does it about every 10 to 15 miles. Im not sure but it makes sense to me that the surging is the problem with the headlights burning out.
 

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Big question: did the reputable establishment change the voltage regulator when they rebuilt the alternator? You'd be amazed how many don't.

Even if they did, it's one of those parts that are sometimes bad new. Ask the establishment to test your alternator as you suspect it's faulty. Most will gladly do so for free.

I went through three alternators in one year on a Dodge Sprinter (the Mercedes-built one) and every piece of crap one had a bad voltage regulator that burned headlight bulbs every few months.
 

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Vince your Moderator
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if his lamps are going before the fuses, the fuses arent his issue. the fuse is only there to protect the wires in any event that the amps would fry either A) the wires or B) the entire circuit as a whole.
There are separate fuses for each hi and low beam left and right. But, I still think there is a random short as I stated in my first answer.
 

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Hate to say it, but someone has to.

You started by guessing at a problem, and now you want more guesses since that parts replacement didn't solve it.

Until some testing is done, every possible component involved can be guessed at for a cause - even the light bulbs since some have a rep. for burning out early & others usually last a while (IF they don't burn out soon).

Checking voltage while it's operating would certainly be one place to start, then you'd KNOW if that is fluctuating or not.
 

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No, I have not checked the fuses. A little history about the car, I bought it new in 07, at 9k miles the car had a lunge or surge when I would pass someone or accelerate, the surge would begin as the car was wanting to upshift. I took it to the shop for the warranty work, after 9 days they were still baffled, they then called someone at Wayne Michigan where it was built. They were advised to change the Alternator, they said that the electronic Torque converter was recieving mixed signals and where not decoded. So once the Alt was replaced the problems went away. I believe it was about 3 years ago I started noticing the headlights were becoming a problem of burning out and I also noticed in my 45 mile commute to work very early mornings my headlights on low beam would dim or pull down as if they were lack of power for a moment and get really bright and then return to normal, this still happens to this day and does it about every 10 to 15 miles. Im not sure but it makes sense to me that the surging is the problem with the headlights burning out.
dimming headlights is typically an indicator of the alternator. but your headlight issue implies a shortage somewhere
 

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As Sailor says, monitoring the voltage would be a good diagnostic step.
I would also check all power/ground cables/connections for your battery, alternator & headlight circuits.
Remember that the relays are switches, and every time they are switched on/off a little arcing happens. The arcing damages the relay contacts and over 8 years that can lead to high contact resistance causing dim lights. Normal vibrations can cause the dimming to vary as you drive. Relays are pretty cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This past Friday I checked the output, the meter read 14.44 to 14.85 volts. The Alt still would surge the lights every 10 to 15 miles. My only thing left to do was to replace the Alt, so I removed it and replaced it with another rebuilt, driving in to work this morning the headlights never surged once. What causes the Volt Regs to go out? Hopefully this one lasts longer than the others.
 

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though it isn't a direct answer as to "why", the usual comment is that most over the counter rebuilts use the cheapest VR avail., when it's replaced at all.

One reason to search out a local rebuilder where avail., as they usually use better parts (at a cheaper price) to avoid comebacks.
 
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