Running lights turn off when headlights turn on - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old Jan 31st, 18, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

Hello. I have a 67 RS with a strange problem. If the headlight switch is pulled out 1 notch, the running lights all go on as one would expect. If the headlight switch is then pulled all the way to activate the headlights, the headlights do go on, but the running lights go off. Since the running lights do work in the first position it seems like their wiring must be OK. And since the headlights work, it seems like their wiring is OK. That left me thinking it must be a bad headlight switch. I purchased a new no name one from the local parts store and installed it. It did not fix the problem. Running lights go on at first click. At second click headlights go on but running lights are off. Anyone have any thoughts or insights?

I am wondering if it needs a different headlight switch. In looking at an online parts site, I see there are 5 different ones for the various early model camaros. Maybe it needs one of those instead of the one for a 67 RS?

Thanks
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old Jan 31st, 18, 04:48 PM
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Re: Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

I'm not sure why, but that is the way the RS lights are set up. Front markers shut off with headlights on.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old Jan 31st, 18, 05:59 PM
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Re: Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

Normal for all cars of the late sixties. You can keep them on with a solenoid powered off the head lights if you want. I suspect it was done because early transistorized DN alternators were not that reliable at full rated power. So shedding load made them last till the end of the warranty period would be my guess.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old Jan 31st, 18, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

I wasn't clear enough in my initial post. When I said "running lights" I meant front and back lights, not just the front lights on the lower valence panel.

So I have taillights and front marker lights showing on the first pull of the headlight switch. The front marker lights AND the taillights are going out when the headlight switch is pulled all the way out. Shouldn't the taillights stay on when the headlights are on?

Are the taillights maybe on a different circuit than the lights I see at the back of the car on the first pull of the headlight switch? I don't know how that would be possible since I only see 2 wires going to the rear lights in a wiring diagram. One wire for taillights and one wire for brake/turn signals I am assuming. There is no 3rd wire for just running lights at the back.

If it is connected in any way, the neighbor said I don't have brake lights either when I press the brake pedal.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old Jan 31st, 18, 07:37 PM
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Re: Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

Might think along the lines of a possible turn signal switch problem also, since the brake light circuit goes through it.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old Jan 31st, 18, 07:47 PM
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Re: Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

Bad ground on one of the lights. Probable the the front park
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old Jan 31st, 18, 10:00 PM
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Re: Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

You really have me confused. 67 Camaros don't have running lights on the front or marker (side fender) lights. The light in the front lower valence are called parking light. They are only supposed to come on when the headlight switch is pulled out to the first detent position. The tail lights also come on. The front parking light go off when the switch is pulled all the way out and headlights come on. Tail lights should be on in both positions. The dash lights should come on in both positions also.

The picture shows what the owners manual says.

Roger
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old Feb 1st, 18, 03:26 AM
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Re: Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

I had the same problem with mine. I had forgotten that I disconnected one of the front turn signal connectors. When I saw it, it was like "Why is that not connected,,,That must be why", and it was. Parking lights stayed on after that.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old Feb 1st, 18, 06:50 AM
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Re: Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

As stated above brake lights and tail lights are two different problems. Have you replaced the dash wiring harness? I"m thinking the connections are incorrect at the headlight switch for the tail lights (brown wire). The brake lights don't go thru the headlight switch but instead go thru the turn signal switch and out feed goes to the yellow and green wires going back. Also make sure front and rear lights all have good grounds, another common issue on the 67 and 68's.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old Feb 6th, 18, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

OK. This problem is officially insanity in my opinion. Here is a description of what has been done and what is happening.

There is a video on Youtube of someone electrical testing a headlight switch. At around the 5 minute mark in the video linked below, he tests the parking light terminal which shows 12 volts on the first pull of the switch, then 0 volts on the full extension of the switch, which means parking lights on at first pull, parking lights off at full switch extension.

how to test wire troubleshoot GM headlight switch (Can't post links. You will have to search for the video on Youtube)

He then tests the taillight terminal which shows 12 volts at the first pull and 12 volts at full extension, which to me means the tailights turn on and act as rear parking lights at first pull of the switch, then the taillights stay on at full extension of the switch, acting as tail lights, while the front parking lights turn off.

If my headlight switch is tested by itself as he is doing, the results mimic what he got. 12 volts first extension, 0 volts full extension on parking lights, 12 volts first extension and 12 volts full extension on the taillights.

But......

If the headlight switch is plugged into the harness, while the parking lights behave as expected, first 12 volts, then 0 volts, the tail lights show 0 volts first extension, and 0 volts full extension, instead of the 12 volts reported when the switch is tested by itself.

After proofreading all of the above step by step, I realized the next thing to do was to pull the brown wire out of the harness and stick the meter probe down into the hole the brown wire was in to see if the switch terminals still put out 12 volts. They do. 12 volts first extension, 12 volts full extension. So thinking the brown wire terminal has a bad connection to the terminal in the headlight switch, I put a jumper down into the slot where the brown wire goes. I test the other end of the jumper and it shows 12 volts. I then connect that jumper end to the brown tail light wire. 0 volts. No taillights. Where did the 12 volts from the taillight terminal go?

Losing my mind and with no other options, I thought "Why not try the 12 volts from the red wire on the headlight switch directly to the brown tail light wire?". So I do that and guess what? I get 12 volts on the brown wire at a point after where the jumper is connected, and more importantly, the taillights turn on.

So how in the world can 12 volts from the red wire on the headlight switch turn the taillights on, but 12 volts from the taillight terminal on the headlights not turn the taillights on? Isn't 12 volts, 12 volts, wherever it comes from? Why would the 12 volts on the taillight terminal disappear when it is connected to the brown taillight wire, and where would it disappear to? It doesn't seem like the taillight wire is shorted out because the taillights do work with 12 volts from the red wire on the headlight switch.

( As an aside, some readers might be thinking, "Earlier he said he had rear parking lights. Now he is saying he has no rear lights at all. He must have made a mistake". Nope. No mistake. The reason the parking lights in the rear worked before is that the previous owner had jumpered the parking light terminal to the taillight terminal. I removed that jumper which resulted in no rear lights at all. So apparently the taillights will work with 12 volts jumpered from the parking light terminal, they work with 12 volts jumpered from the red terminal on the headlight switch, but they will not work with 12 volts from the taillight terminal.)
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old Feb 6th, 18, 04:58 PM
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Re: Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

Here is an old thread discussing 67 RS headlight switch. https://www.camaros.net/forums/19-ele...n-problem.html
The pics don't show in that thread but they do here. Details of a Headlamp Switch - Chevelle Tech
This should help you verify wire locations at the switch.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old Feb 6th, 18, 06:00 PM
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Re: Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

Quote:
Originally Posted by xyzabc View Post
ff
how to test wire troubleshoot GM headlight switch (Can't post links. You will have to search for the video on Youtube)
This is the YouTube clip I got when I searched.


1967 Camaro SS/RS 350/295HP Coupe. First and only owner.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 18, 05:09 AM
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Re: Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

My best guess is the connection inside headlight switch has continuity with out a load but not when the load is connected. I would try a different switch.

Jeff
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 18, 06:53 AM
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Re: Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

I had a similar problem when I first got my 68. Individual bulbs would lite then go off after driving a few miles. I checked every bulb and it's socket for corrosion or loose fit. I found plenty of small corrosion situations or poor fitting bulbs.
Most supplier's have replacements and I went with American Wire for socket replacements. LED's?
I also replaced my rs dash switch.

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numbers matching
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 18, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Running lights turn off when headlights turn on

I know a wall of text is difficult to process, and I also know that if someone told me that one 12 volt source would make their tail lights work, but another 12 volt source would not, I would think they had made a mistake somewhere. So I made a video demonstrating what was said previously. The tail lights will light up if the brown tail light wire at the headlight switch is connected to the 12 volt red wire at the headlight switch that powers the headlights, but the tail lights will not light up if the 12 volt orange power wire that normally powers the tail lights is hooked up to the brown tail light wire.

The only things I know about wiring are what I have read over the past week and a half, so even if a possible solution or any advice seems super obvious, please go ahead and offer it. In detail.

you have to put the youtube URL in front of the below because I can't post links

watch?v=CVyHx1Adcc0&feature=youtu.be"]Taillight 12 Volts Disappears - YouTube
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