Was there a issue with headlight switches

Ford LTD Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, Lincoln Town Car, Lincoln Mark VI
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junkyardjeff
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Was there a issue with headlight switches

Post by junkyardjeff » February 11th, 2019, 5:50 pm

Lost dash,and tail lights and figured it was the switch so I picked up a used switch and now its doing the same so I was wondering if bad switches are a common problem. That car the switch came from has been in the junkyard for about 10 years so it looks like I will be ordering a new switch friday,is there anything I should look for that would cause the switch to loose those lights. I can play with it to get them to come on with more sucsess then the old switch.
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Re: Was there a issue with headlight switches

Post by BigMerc96 » February 11th, 2019, 6:14 pm

Its not unusual. The contacts wear out. There is no relay in a Box headlight circuit, so the full current for the bulbs passes thru the headlight switch (and turn signal switch), so they will all probably burn up eventually.
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Re: Was there a issue with headlight switches

Post by junkyardjeff » February 11th, 2019, 8:17 pm

Since I rarely use the auto lamps can a regular switch be installed,the auto lamp switch is not stocked at the parts stores and they do have the regular switch.
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Re: Was there a issue with headlight switches

Post by GM_Guy » February 12th, 2019, 3:03 pm

The switch AND the connector pigtail. 18guage wire comes off the headlight switch that feeds dash, tails/running lights that gets crispy for an inch or two past the connector. You will probably want a new pigtail.
HeadlightConnector.jpg
HeadlightConnector.jpg (29.76 KiB) Viewed 350 times
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Re: Was there a issue with headlight switches

Post by Ponyguy » February 12th, 2019, 3:38 pm

Just for what it's worth:
For cost purposes, Ford (and probably other manufacturers as well) spec the absolute minimum wire gauge necessary to get the job done. Using 18 gauge wire to power headlights is laughable, if it wasn't so problematic, as evidenced by the burned-up connector seen in the above picture. Those of us with newer Panthers having LCM difficulties have seen how much better things work out when the headlight wiring is supplemented with an external relay arrangement; the wiring system lasts much longer, problems vanish, and the headlights burn brighter. All of this could have been accomplished during the design phase if cost-cutting hadn't entered the picture. For the manufacturer's cost savings of a change in wire gauge, owners are saddled with a marginally acceptable, potentially dangerous (if headlights quit at speed on the highway?) electrical system.

I'm not familiar with the earlier "Box Body" Panther's headlight electrical system, but I would expect that the external relay arrangement we use on the later models would be a significant improvement, by taking the heavy headlight current off the headlight switch contacts.

Many owners will find similar "burned wire connector" problems elsewhere on the vehicle as well; license plate lamps, tail lights, parking lights, and dash lights all are susceptible to burned connectors and wire ends. Sometimes the problems can be minimized by using readily-available "bulb grease" on the bulb sockets and connectors. However, I expect this problem to diminish as manufacturers switch to the use of lower-current LED's for lighting.
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Re: Was there a issue with headlight switches

Post by junkyardjeff » February 12th, 2019, 5:34 pm

I noticed the connector on mine was starting to get like that but I have to play with the switch to get tail/dash lights to work so it seems to me there is a issue with the switch design too,of all the cars I owned this is the first one I had to deal with the head light switch. I do hear a relay when turning on the lights but do not know what its for.
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Re: Was there a issue with headlight switches

Post by junkyardjeff » February 13th, 2019, 8:58 pm

Bought a new switch today and installed it,was going to put a regular switch in it but would have needed some parts to do it but got the auto lamp switch so I could do it tonight.
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Re: Was there a issue with headlight switches

Post by GM_Guy » February 15th, 2019, 7:20 pm

Ponyguy wrote:
February 12th, 2019, 3:38 pm
I'm not familiar with the earlier "Box Body" Panther's headlight electrical system, but I would expect that the external relay arrangement we use on the later models would be a significant improvement, by taking the heavy headlight current off the headlight switch contacts.
Ford used the same headlight switch arangement on the panthers, (box & aero) until they changed to the LCM. So crispy wire syndrome is #1 suspect when tails and instrument lights become an issue on them.
junkyardjeff wrote:
February 12th, 2019, 5:34 pm
I noticed the connector on mine was starting to get like that but I have to play with the switch to get tail/dash lights to work so it seems to me there is a issue with the switch design too,of all the cars I owned this is the first one I had to deal with the head light switch. I do hear a relay when turning on the lights but do not know what its for.
If you don't have sausage fingers, you can barely get your hand snaked in to the headlight switch wiring, in the dark helps, turn on the running lights and get your fingers up there, if the lights flicker when you touch the wires, time to repair that. Resist the temptation to pull or really push on it as you don't want to break it, or short it to anything. There is hardly enough length of wiring when you pull it down to do a pigtail repair, but it is doable.

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Re: Was there a issue with headlight switches

Post by junkyardjeff » February 15th, 2019, 8:20 pm

I am thinking it was just a switch issue,I could get the tail and dash lights to come on when the switch was in between running and head lights but will check the wires.
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Re: Was there a issue with headlight switches

Post by junkyardjeff » February 18th, 2019, 12:10 am

Still having issues so its in that connector,studied the trouble shooting manual and found the wire to look at so I know what I will be doing tomorrow.
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Re: Was there a issue with headlight switches

Post by junkyardjeff » February 18th, 2019, 9:01 pm

After studying the EVTS manual and wiring diagram there is a LCD dimming relay right after the switch where the wire for the dash and tail lights goes to first then to those lights,disconnected it and now all the lights seem to be brighter. The head lights have always seemed dimmer then usual and that relay dims the light in the OEM radio and since its long gone its no longer needed and will see how it does,if the dash and tail lights stay on I know I have fixed it.
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Re: Was there a issue with headlight switches

Post by junkyardjeff » February 19th, 2019, 7:05 pm

That did not fix it and back to the same,ran a jumper wire to the dash and parking lights and the come on and test the switch and its dead unless I jiggle the knob and can get them to come back on. The only thing I think that can be killing the switch is the remote start which turns the parking lights on when operated so taking the new switch back and will disable the remote start and see how long the next switch will work.
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Re: Was there a issue with headlight switches

Post by junkyardjeff » February 19th, 2019, 9:25 pm

Its fixed and was that connector where the plug was slightly discolored,did not think it was that bad but it was so I cut the plastic away and put a new end on the wire and now parking and dash lights.
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Was there a issue with headlight switches

Post by KamHita » August 15th, 2019, 8:14 am

Yeah I am thinking about doing it just because I hate to scrap the capri but if I use parts of it to make something somewhat unique then It makes it a tad better...


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