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Old 11-16-2010
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I am: Matt Guthrie
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Clyde, OH
Vehicle: 1988 Ford Ranger
Posts: 3
Total Props: 0
Headlights flicker while driving

I'm not really all that automotive tech savvy, but I do know a little bit. So here is my problem. As you see, by the title, the headlights on my Ranger just randomly go out while i'm driving, in some cases they never come back on, unless i push the switch in and pull it back out or use the Brights switch (Dimmer Switch). First off, i have a 1988 Ranger. I talked to my dad about it, which he would know more about it than anyone, and he said to check the actual headlight switch. So, went out, bought a new headlight switch, and replaced it. Well while replacing it, I noticed that the actual Socket, had burnt up, so it turns out I didn't need the switch but whatever, figure it won't hurt. So then I went and my dad and I replaced the socket. Afterwards, tried the lights, still didn't work. So now what my dad has told me is to check all connections going up to the Dimmer Switch because he thinks that's where the problem lies. Well I have had the bottom cover of the steering column off for about 2 days now, and last night i was fiddling with the wires when the headlights went out, and they came back on, and off, and on again. So I think there may be a loose connection, or a burnt up connection there. If anyone has any insight on this please let me know :). I appreciate any help and thank those who do offer their advice. thanks again
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Old 11-30-2010
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I am: Anthony Shelton
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Knoxville, TN
Vehicle: 2000 Ford Ranger
Posts: 622
Total Props: 6
I'm not too familiar with an 88 model. I had a similar problem with my 2000, turns out it was the headlight switch harness. My wires were burnt up. There is a lot of current being drawn through those wires. I'm not too familiar with your wiring but I was able to pull a diagram for your year.

Its either the main switch or the dimmer. Even if you had a lamp out module, I don't think that would be the problem because you have a wire that still keeps the circuit if the module went out. (The reason it is a resistance wire is to have more resistance than the module, is so that current can flow through the module, other wise it would all go though the straight wire and the module would be useless). The best way to see which part is bad is to try to get the lights to go out again. Then take a test light or voltage meter and start going down the circuit. Start at the fuse which I'm sure it always has voltage then check on the positive side of the headlight switch, then the negative. Then try the positive side of the dimmer, and finally the negative of the dimmer. Example, if there is voltage at the positive side of the dimmer switch and then no voltage on the negative it is obviously the dimmer switch. ALSO, check all the wires, especially where they meet the switches for discoloration and the harnesses being burnt up. Post what you find out.
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Old 09-17-2013
I am: Dan M
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Pa
Vehicle: Ford Ranger
Posts: 2
Total Props: 0
This is the exact problem my 88 is having. It was bad for a while, and went away, and now its back again. I have traced it to a wire on the multi function switch that controls the headlights. It is discolored, and i even saw it smoke once. Now my question is, do i just replace the wire, or is something else causing this ie. bad ground or coating rubbed off the wire? Please excuse my ignorance, as I have a very high mechanical aptitude, but when it comes to electrical problems i am as dumb as they get.
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