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Old 08-24-2014
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Headlights Flickering

So me and my friend were headed home from a failed night of partying. As we were driving my headlights turned off and then they came back on and off for about 3 seconds and then they came back on and off. So we pulled over and played with them on, off, on , off. Left them on and they stayed on. After scratching my head I started to play with the wires under the dash to see if my interference of the wires would cause them to go off again (with my friend telling me if they were on or off). Me moving the Wires did nothing. Moved to the wires to the light switch and nothing. Went under the hood moved the fuse box wires and nothing. The only thing was that the circuit breakers were very hot.
Any thoughts of what could be the problem would be great!

1996 Ford Ranger XLT 5 speed 2.3 L
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Old 08-24-2014
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If both low beam lights were flickering, the most likely cause would be the multifunction switch or the headlight switch.
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Old 08-24-2014
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your headlight switch has failed , they do wear out over time
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Old 08-25-2014
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The circuit breaker (or relay) being hot is a concern. Not sure if a failed headlight switch can cause the relay to get hot, as the headlight switch is a "trigger" to the relay to allow the battery circuit to the headlights. In simple term, the headlight switch operates the relay that provides power to the headlights. It sounds like the headlight switch is working, but the relay is hot, possibly malfuntioning. I'd test the operation of the relay befor going out and spending money on a new headlight switch, as a relay is cheaper (and easier) to replace.

Not saying the light switch is not at fault, but if the relay is getting power, then the switch is good.
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Old 08-25-2014
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carbon buildup inside the switch over time will allow small amounts current to pass from the positive wire to the negative wire

i have seen it before , not enough to blow a fuse , but enough to cause a relay to heat up and melt

commonly known as cross current
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Old 08-25-2014
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Replace the relay since its cheap, if that doesn't help change the switch. There is a good write up in the How-To section that covers removing the dash (It's very easy). The switch can be a PITA to disconnect, you have to release a microscopic tab located in a impossible to see location while its connected to the cluster bezel.
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Old 08-25-2014
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Thank you guys! im going towards the relay because the next day I inspected 2 of the them and one of the little terminals on was tan around the terminal but it was burnt it was just tan around it. Ill put up a picture in a little!
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Old 08-25-2014
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The low beam headlamp circuit does not utilize any relays. The circuit consists of 1 (20 amp Maxi fuse) located in the Power Distribution Box under hood and 2 fuses, number 4 (10 amp for the left headlight) and number 8 (10 amp for the right headlight) located in the instrument panel block.

For a pictorial of the IP Fuse block and the Power Distribution Box click this link Owners Manual and reference pages 310 through 316.

Last edited by Rev; 08-25-2014 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 08-26-2014
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I stand corrected! I checked my manual and its the same way; no relay, just a 20 amp fuse.

I'll go back and place blame then back to the headlight switch, or the wiring to the headlights.

Last edited by bucko; 08-26-2014 at 06:42 AM.
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Old 08-26-2014
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headlight switches / throttle position switches / camshaft position switches / crankshaft position switches are all wear items , and they do wear out over time
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Old 08-26-2014
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If things are heating up, it may be connections.
Pull the head lights, check the connectors, clean them up, add some conductive paste and last but not least check the ground wires.
Find the grounds, clean the connections and add some conductive paste.
If still happening, pull the switch, make sure the connector is secure, pull the steering wheel cover panels and check the connector on the Multifunction Switch.

Now if things are still blinking, go for the relay.

AND there is another thing if the components are heating up, it maybe the wiring.
Have you done any off road runs lately, why too many bumps and jolts can chafe wiring, just maybe one of the wires shorted out.
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Old 09-13-2014
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At one time, i noticed i had a headlight issue. The beams seems to be pulsing weaker then brighter then weaker, etc. then i noticed the interior lights doing the same thing. Turned out it was my alternator, the case bolts had worked themselves out and all but one were gone, the case starting to separate was the cause.
Moral of the story is: don't count out the basics and check everything.
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Old 09-16-2014
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Good that you found the problem.
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