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zanthus

My lights suck.

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So I got the car to run but the headlights don't work. I can turn the combo switch on and the parking lights work. When turning it so the headlights are on they don't come on. I can use my brights though, so I don't think its the combo switch (I took it apart and cleaned it anyway though) and its not a fuse I've checked and I've got power to the fusebox. Does anyone have anywhere else that is a notorious problem that I should start looking at so I don't just start tearing into things?

Also my turn signals don't work. Any help on that one? All the other lights work but headlights and turn signals. Kinda need them in the winter though. Thanks.

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Since your brights/dims are controlled by the turn signal lever and your turn signals don't work, I think I'd look at the turn signal switch first.

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Agreed. You can take it apart and clean the contacts/make sure they're mating properly. With a search, you should be able to follow a stepbystep with pics.

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Dave has the up grade head light harness that is a plug in and play. Uses all Nissan plugs. It takes the load off the old wiring and uses relays . I am running H-4s 90- 100s and it handles the added Amperage great and the fuse block is not ever warm. Reduces the load to about 5 amps to the combo switch. He also has a harness that does the same for the tail lights and dash lights. All are about 30% brighter. Gary

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Dave's headlight relays don't fit 280Zs, so they aren't applicable for the original poster's car.

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So I've been up since before the Butt-crack of dawn and I decided to remove and inspect the turn signal side of the switch so I could see if I can get the lights to work. I've taken it all apart, cleaned it, and put it all back together. No luck. The head lights still will not work unless I have my brights on. Any other ideas? Oh the Turn signals still don't work either. Is there a turn signal relay?

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Decades ago my dad was sure his 78 Dodge Diplomat had an electrical problem as the low beams didn't work, (4 headlight system)...In the end it was that both low beam units had burned out.

Try a new headlight or check the plug with a voltmeter.

-Al

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Just rewired 1970 Z and had a lot of the same. Head lights have a +B power feed from the fuse box to the light switch. That wire is working. There are two wires that go out to your head lights from the collum, High beam and low beam that are controlled by the dimmer switch. My guess is the low beam wire is not working. Do a continuity check on that wire. If you want to have low beam only switch the spade connections at the light connection/plug high to low wire in the plug. I use a set of tweesers to push down the spring part of the spade connector that holds it in the plug. Good luck

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As for your turn blinkers. Does your hazards work? If they work then its in the switch. Make sure your big round fuse is ok the one that makes the blinking noise. Also check all you bulbs associated with your blinkers. When I bought my car some one put a single fillament bulb in the back and that side blinker did not work front or back. Strange things happen with electrical. One thing that helped me the most was a color wiring diagram. Got mine on ebay www.slash5.com check them out.

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Dave's headlight relays don't fit 280Zs, so they aren't applicable for the original poster's car.

Arne,

Dave can make a relay kit for the 280, I wrote and asked him about it while awaiting delivery of my car. Please see his email response:

I can make one for your car but it does cost more than the 240Z harness. the harness is $150 and would have to be hard wired into your system, if you don't have a spare set of headlight plugs to supply me with. The plugs in question are pictured below this mesage. They are the white, round 3 wire plugs located to the right and left of the front pulleys, on each fender.

I charge $150 because it isn't your basic harness, it takes measurements from you and more wire than the 240Z harness. I have an extra set of 280Z plugs but they are $7 each for a total of $21 added to the $150. The harness will be completely plug and play, fused and the relays are easily replacable with relays from your local Auto Parts Store. Shipping is included in the harness's price.

If you are still interested in the harness, I will need these measurements from you.....

1) measure from the battery's positive post down to the frame, and over to the area that you want the dual relay pack to be mounted ( mounting hole wil need to be at least 6" above the frame)

2) measure from the relay packs location to the right headlight plug (following the stock wiring so you can use the OEM wire clamps and holders)

3) measure from the right headlight plug, following the stock wiring, to the left headlight plug. remember to add slack to your measurements. (all these measurements are in or near the engine compartment, not the headlights themselves.)

4) each headlight plug will have a new ground wire pertruding from it and will need to be ground to the frame using a stock or pre-existing screw or bolt. SO measure from the plugs to the nearest mounting hole for each of the two ground wires.

I've added a picture of the 240Z headlight uprade harness so you can see what I mean in terms of grounds and relay pack mounting. I've also included a diagram that explains the wiring in a 240Z with plugs but also somewhat pertains to the 280Z in terms of wire colors.

I only take Money Orders made out to David W. Irwin and you can send your order and payment to me at.....

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Dave made me a harness for my 76 280Z an its one of the best upgrades for the money that I've ever done. I also put on some sylvania silver star headlights with the new harness. Fantastic!

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I'm not that familiar with the 280Z schematics but the headlight wire colors are the same. ZANTHUS, the white, 3 wire switch on the turn-signal assembly, is the headlights HI-LO switch. Make sure the the center wire is getting contact to each of the side wires with each flick of the switch.

At the plugs, (Round white 3-wire plugs) either in the engine compartment or in front of the radiator, the red/white is the hi beam wire and the red/black is the low beam wire. On the right headlight plug the solid red is the power wire, on the left headlight plug the red/yellow is the left headlights power wire. The lo and hi beam wires are negatives when activated.

Your BEST diagnostic plan would be to turn on the HI beams, and start pulling relays around the car, one at a time, till the highbeams go out. When they go out, you'll be in the right area to find the low beam relay. replace the lowbeam relay with the HI beam relay and see if the lo beams work. If they do, then find another relay (at Nissan or local auto parts store) and replace the bad one.

My Headlight relay upgrade harness will do NOTHING for a system that does'nt work properly to begin with.

The fuses in the fusebox are for Left and Right headlight, not hi and lo beam. JFYI.

let us know what ya find.

Dave.

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Thanks for all the info I'll probably do it later on this morning. But now my parking lights are blowing fuses and I haven't done anything but replace the bulbs. Do any of you have an idea where I can start looking for the relay for the headlights? I'd love to be able to drive the car sometime soon.

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If your wiring harnesses are in as bad as shape as mine were. Do not drive the car. Do not turn anything electrical on. Pull the wiring harnesses and fix or replace the wires as needed. I had to unravel all 3 of mine along with 3 others and merge them together to get one that was not cut in a million places. It is amazing what people will do in order to get an older car to run, without spending any money. I found speaker wire powering my front headlights. Sad, Sad Sad.

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I did find out that my turn signals weren't working because someone had jacked up that little piece of harness that goes to the middle console. I'm in the process of going to Danny's Datsun probably sometime next weekend and getting a harness from one of his cars. Here's hoping I only need one.

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FWIW, there aren't any relays involved with the headlights on a 78 280Z. The power for the headlights comes from a fuse link, to the headlight combo switch, then to the fuses (one per side) then back through the combo switch, then through the connectors behind the glovebox, then to the lamps ( through the common wire) then back to the dimmer switch for hi & low beam.

You really should take your glovebox out and pull off all those connectors behind there to give the pins ( not blades) a good shot of DeOxit 100. I noticed an improvement in the lighting on my car after I did that.

Also, the "big round fuse thing" for the blinkers isn't really a fuse. It's a switch that's controlled by a bi-matallic strip inside. It makes & breaks the circuit for the turn signals and hazard lights, and the current flowing through it is what determines the flashing rate, which is why the lights flash faster when a bulb is out, or slower with new or extra bulbs.

Zanthus, are you trying to replace just that one part of the harness, that goes to the console? The wiring on a 280Z is in several large sections like engine bay/front, dash, interior, and rear, so you may just want to repair (properly) what you have, unless you want to splice in a whole section.:eek: Fortunately the hazard switch has its own connection into the dash wiring harness.

thxZ

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Thats what I was going to try and do but since I still have so many wires that are cut I'm going to atleast look at a hopefully unmolested wiring harness to figure out where my wires go and see if I'm missing anything. Thanks for the info about the relays I was really confused on that :) I replaced the flasher already and the turn signals didn't work after that. I'll try some more things and let people know incase they have the same problem.

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I just purchased my 1978 280z a few weeks ago. On the drive home, I noticed that the headlights did not work but the high beams did. The next day I was looking over the engine compartment area, and noticed the fusible links. There are two of them on the 280z, bolted to the passenger side shock tower. Normally they have white plastic covers on them, to protect the links from corrosion (they are right underneath the hood vent). Mine had no covers. Anyway, I jiggled all of the fusible links, not thinking much of it at the time. Well, the next time I drove the car at night the headlights worked fine.

You might disconnect the battery, clean all of the fusible link connectors, reconnect the batter, and give it a try. After 30 years, the connectors can get alot of oxidation on them. Can't say much about your other electrical problems. Sounds like you should carefully look over the whole car, inspect the wiring, and make any neccessary repairs.

To give you an idea of what I mean, I had a problem with my '87 VW van where it would not start when it was cold. After trying many things, I measured the voltage at the coil which turned out to be about 8 volts instead of 12. It was a dirty connector. I sanded the hell out of that connector and it did not improve. Then I took the connector off of the coil, sandblasted it, reinstalled it, and it worked perfect (read 12 volts). In the same car the fuel injection harness wore through from rubbing against the firewall, shorting an important wire to the idle control circuit that, coincidentally, also ran to the coil. This caused the car to intermittently die. Cars can be lots of fun . . .

Good Luck!

John

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Fusible link is for both high and low beam lights, if the high beams are ok then it's not the fusible link. I tried removing fusiblel link and neither high or low would work in 78 z. I say it pretty much has to be the switch, I cleaned mine and the low beams work intermittenly now.

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my 78 280z has this problem now, it just started today, headlights were fine yesterday and now only the highbeams work, i'll have to check the switch in the morning but its hard to work in the cold.:mad:

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also check the ground connection on the steering collumn combo switch. that was my problem in a previous post 'help with headlights'

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So I'm bringing this back from the dead for ideas. Until recently I had not had the money to work on my z thus the old post and only now fixing the relative problems.

Headlights work, yay me, but I now still have the problem with the turn signals. I have located the problem to the hazard switch, long story short I had no power to the column switch but the hazards do work so I took a jumper wire from the positive cable on the battery and hooked it to the wire coming out of the hazard that is supposed to go to the column switch. Low and behold the turn signals started working.

How am I supposed to repair it? I've already taken the switch apart and cleaned the contacts. All the wire and solder looks good (not to self, forgot to check continuity between contacts). That's all I could find with a search of what to do. Anyone else have any ideas? Something a little more in depth isn't that hard for me to do.

I'd actually like to drive the bucket on the road this summer and its so close to being legal.

Thanks

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If the power from the fusebox goes to the Hazard switch and is supposed to jump thru that switch and to the turn signal, then just do an external jumper on the hazard switch.

I would check the hazard for Cont. repair if needed or do the jumper. Hazards are full time where as T/S are a keyed item. If that jumper makes the T/S a non-keyed item, then I would rethink it.

Dave

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