Headlights -1971 -- 521

1965-1971 Datsun 521 forums. All 520 and 521 topics and discussion can be found here.
hippyhoppyhappy
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:22 pm
Car: 1971 521 1995 CC

1972 521 1600 CC

1952 CHEVROLET PICKUP 3100 235 CUBIC INCH

1977 FORD LTD TWO DOOR 400 CUBIC INCH

Headlights -1971 -- 521

Postby hippyhoppyhappy » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:25 pm

My wife came home the other night, and said people were flashing their headlights at her. Yeah....You pull the headlight switch on, and all you get are high beam....4 lights, regardless the position of the switch on the steering column. Battery voltage drops tremendously. Never heard of a headlight relay failing. Is that the problem? Or is it the switch on the dash? The wiring on this thing was messed up to begin with, but at least it worked ok the past 35 years I have owned it. I also have a 1972, and I notice when you move the switch on the column from high beam to low beam a particular relay does make a noise. Does not happen on this 71 though. Have never heard of a headlight relay failing. I can not find an original relay, but can put a new version in. But is that the problem? A guy sold me a relay, but....seems if the relay was not operational, no lights would come on at all. Or is it just the opposite; and the relay points are more or less 'glued' together? Or is there a wire shorted before the 12 volts gets to the relay? Why so much current drain? Is the relay being 'bypassed' somehow? Anybody got a quick answer, or do I have to spend umpteen hours trouble-shooting this thing? The amperage goes sky-high when you pull that switch on. Regardless engine speed, the voltage goes to the ...world beneath us. The voltage regulator works fine, otherwise. 15 volts or so.....with the lights not on. I am not an electrician. One guy wanted about $80 for a new voltage regulator, but. I replaced the old one just a few months ago. Up until the other day, everything was working fine. Before I start ripping things apart, anyone got any ideas? I have never heard of this problem before. Thank you.


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elwesso
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Re: Headlights -1971 -- 521

Postby elwesso » Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:45 am

I'm not sure how it's supposed to work, but when you press the high beams, do the low beams stay on or do they shut off? If they're supposed to shut off but don't, that would explain the higher than normal current draw.

Personally if I was troubleshooting this, I would start at the switch and high beam switch and work my way toward the headlights Correct me if I'm wrong but the headlight switch shouldn't have anything to do with the high beams, correct? I'm assuming it's like any other car that you pull the turn signal stalk and that activates the high beams?

hippyhoppyhappy
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:22 pm
Car: 1971 521 1995 CC

1972 521 1600 CC

1952 CHEVROLET PICKUP 3100 235 CUBIC INCH

1977 FORD LTD TWO DOOR 400 CUBIC INCH

Re: Headlights -1971 -- 521

Postby hippyhoppyhappy » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:13 am

I took the relay from the other Datsun, and it will not work either; on this one. Pulling the light switch out, it only is supposed to control the low beam. Just turns on two of the four headlights. You activate the high beam; (the other two lights, making a total of four,) with the switch that is on the steering column. I am hoping that switch is not the problem. It is hardly ever used; so seems odd it would all of a sudden short out. The wiring is so messed up on this thing, that I almost suspect there is wiring that is shorted coming from that switch, if I can find it. Somewhere along the line, someone added extra wires to the wires that go to the relay, even. Wonder if that was done, to activate the lights with the alarm. I certainly do not know. There was once an alarm system in the vehicle, but I don't know if those wires added were part of the alarm system or not. Yes; it is the turn signal stalk that activates the high beams. Pull the switch on the dash; and you get the high beams and cannot turn them off when you move the turn signal stalk now, and that is not right. Should just be two lights coming on; not all four. Guess I just never noticed how much current when using high beams. Rarely use it in that position. I appreciate your input. So does that make sense? That it is a short on that switch (or wiring coming from it) controlled by that turn signal stalk? I am curious as to why someone added two wires to the wires already going to the relay. Maybe they are shorted somewhere. I can pull them, and check for continuity or voltage. She had driven the other one all winter, and just started driving this one a few weeks ago, and then all of sudden this problem. She says she has been turning on the lights and no problems. Until now. If you have any more thoughts or suggestions, please give them to me. I have never heard of such a thing before. I am going to go back out there and see what or where those extra wires go. Maybe those wires are activating the relay, and keeping the extra lights on. They are soldered onto the original wiring, and it definitely was not done at the factory, you can tell that! Thanks again for your input. I appreciate any ideas or thoughts. I went out there, and cut the extra wires to the relay. No difference. Will take the pieces off the column and see if I can see which wires go to the high beam switch, and go from there. I think that is what you were suggesting.

hippyhoppyhappy
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:22 pm
Car: 1971 521 1995 CC

1972 521 1600 CC

1952 CHEVROLET PICKUP 3100 235 CUBIC INCH

1977 FORD LTD TWO DOOR 400 CUBIC INCH

Re: Headlights -1971 -- 521

Postby hippyhoppyhappy » Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:45 pm

I cleaned the contacts on the switch that is on the column. It started working properly. Unless I do it several times. Then it seems to want to 'hang-up', and all the lights stay on no matter what. The contacts were dirty. No doubt that is the first time since it left the factory the contacts have been cleaned. Seemed as though it did not hang up when I started the engine, and had plenty of voltage and current available. The relay did start working. I suspect when the battery is full charged again, everything will be ok. I did do a little re-wiring, and got rid of some old wires that must have gone to the alarm system years ago. Overall, it is drawing less current now. I will work on it again next week when she has her days off again. Get rid of wires that go to nothing, and maybe do some more re-wiring. Thanks for the assistance. After looking at the mess of wires and the bad connections and extra connections, I was not too anxious to do anything! Your words put some fuel into my engine! Thank you. Have a nice day. In essence; I presume cleaning the contacts decreased the resistance, and increased the efficiency. It was simple to do it.
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