With No break lights the cops will come! - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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  #1  
Old 05-14-2010
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With No break lights the cops will come!

Please help me out on this one. Sometimes my break lights work most of the time they do not. Where is a good place to start to try to figure this out? There is no aftermarket hitch on the truck. I did go mudding with it but i dont think that would have anything to do with it..... I just dont want to get pulled over by are wonderful WI police i already have paid enough tickets with my sports cars. **** i should own that damn police department by now! Any help like always i will give a big THANKS TOO!

INFO ON THE TRUCK(if any of this helps)
1998 Ranger 4.0 4x4 Ext cab 69800 miles
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Old 05-15-2010
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check the bulbs make sure the connections are good. then check the switch behind the brake pedal.

thats where i would start
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Old 05-15-2010
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my old ranger would do this, alternate which one didnt work, both stop working both work, it was funny for me. but best way to start its to check the connections on your light socket and then move all the way up threw the truck following the wires till you find your problem
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Old 05-15-2010
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if it's all of your brake lights, (left right and high mount) all at the same time not working, it's a common point on the truck, i don't know if your truck has a local ground or if it's wired back to somewhere, but that is the most common problem, bad grounds... if they are local (ie, it comes off the bulbs and is mounted somewhere in the 1 foot area) this is not your problem, if they are remote, which i doubt, they will be wired back to a centeral location and have 1 wire to ground, your problem is probably between where the 3 wires meet, and where they bolt to the body.

this can be checked easily with an ohm meter, when the lights are NOT working, put an ohm meter to a ground location (bumper frame ect) and the other probe into the light socket, (making sure the light isn't illuminated before you pull the bulb, if it is, you will be buying a new ohm meter) one of the contacts inside the socket will test at something like .7 ohms or something like that the others will give you nothing, the same as if you hadn't probed a contact. if you get continuity (shown by either the needle moving on an analog meter, or a number, hopefully in the <1 range, on a digital) your ground is not to blame (if your lights are working, but turned off, this test won't work) if you get like 6 ohms on the ground, that could be the problem, but this is unlikely

next is try the same, but use a volt meter (or dc setting on multimeter) on the other contacts, engine off, you should show 11.5ish volts at one contact (headlights&markers off, brakes on) if you don't get the proper reading on any of the above listed contacts, follow that back to where you get proper readings,

a sewing needle will pierce through the insulation of the wire with minimal damage, use the sewing needle as the contact for one of the probes, with the other on ground



i can give more details, but we need a little more info from you
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Old 05-15-2010
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check the wires leading to your license plate lights

sometimes the sharp bumper edges can wear through the plastic conduit and electrical tape

and short the wires out
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Old 05-15-2010
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that wouldn't cause his brake lights to go out, they are completely seperate circuits, not a bad thing to check though
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Old 05-15-2010
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The license plate would only affect the marker lights. Even then all marker lights and plate light should share a common power and common ground wires split from on location into multi wires to each light. Even if the wires for the plate are grounding it won't affect the other lights
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Old 05-15-2010
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I'm going to try some of this out. Here's some more info though yes it is all the brake lights all 3.. THANKS FOR ALL THE HELP!!!!! :) BIG BUMP FOR ALL!


Update: I took off the tail lights clean it all with elec cleaner. I tried to follow all the wires but i just need more direction Its looks to me they all meet at this gray plug?? Sorry not a big wiring person at all . So forgive me here if i sound dumb. Thanks agian!

Last edited by thorny; 05-15-2010 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 05-16-2010
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grey plug? possibly post a picture, or a description of where this plug is... go buy a decent multimiter, doesn't need to be name brand, probably get one for 30$ and is totally worth it... the wires will probably go into a wire loom

(right behind the brake light) and this will go up to the front of the box, then they will join together somewhere, possibly under the hood... what we (i) need to know at this point, being it's all 3 at the exact same time, is if the ground goes back and is all connected together or if they have individual ground locations. this can be found by following the wires into the side of the box (or underneath the box) you are looking for a wire that ends under a screw, screwed into something, if this is found, that means that you have individual grounds, and the problem is NOT your ground

from here, you need to find where all of the brake light wires meet up, i'm sure you can find the answer to this from google, which would be a lot easier than tracing the wires that are inside the wire loom all the way back to the engine bay, and finding the others meeting it somewhere... your problem will be between this junction and the battery, which does include the switch under the brake pedal... you could just jump in and test that, it's not really a systematic way to diagnose your problem, but it is most likely your problem at this point, if it is not your ground (as described above)

your switch can be tested most easily (imo) by removing it from the vehicle entirely, putting one test lead, of your new multimiter, set to ohms, to each of the 2 electrical contacts on the switch, then actioning the switch, and watching for any abnormal numbers to pop up, it show open circuit when the switch is in one position, and give you a small reading in the other, there shouldn't be any jumps or spikes while pressing it (see below on a breif of how to use an ohm meter, and how to make an ohmmeter/test light)

if something doesn't look right when you are testing it, double check how you have the probes lined up, and try again, if it still doesn't look right, your switch is probably dead, go hit up a jy for a new one


HOW TO:
use an ohmmeter, simplified:
two types of ohm meters (this includes multimiters set to read ohms) analog and digital, both work very similar, just different displays...
analog: turn ohmmeter to on, the needle should read an infinate symbol, seen below as a sideways 8. 0 ohms, on the right side of this picture, indicates a perfect connection with no resistance, this is virtually unachevable in the real world, if you touch the contacts of your probes together, you should get close to 0, play around to understand how it works, what an open circuit shows (infinity) and what a closed circuit shows (0 or close to) the purpose of the ohm meter is to measure how much resistance is in the line, this doesn't matter to us, as it's not a matter of resistance, it's a matter of open circuit/closed circuit



digital ohmmeter: same process to use as above, although your read out will be different, your open circuit will often show a 1 with a decimal, towards the left of the screen or the letters OL in capitals... play around with it to see what you can find, alternatively, it may give you a very high number for an open circuit (450kOhms) keeping in mind the k stands for kilo (thousand) playing will help you learn

picture of analog and digital multimiters: multimiter is a combination meter, measures several things, usually amps, volts (dc and ac) ohms, some measure tempature frequency ect


WARNING:
always make sure to turn your ohm meter off after using it, as it will drain your battery, ohm meters use electical current to measure resistance, as such, if you attempt to measure a live/hot circuit, the additional electricity can overload the ohm meter and burn out the circuitry. As always, use precaution when dealing with electricity, as as little as .000001A CAN kill you, and your car battery can deliver 100A for a solid hour
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Old 05-16-2010
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Do not go to Service Motors. You may not recognize your truck afterwards.
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  #11  
Old 05-17-2010
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I used to work for service motors worst place ever! I'd never take my truck there. But it look like i found the problem on the break pedal there is square like box attached to it if i push it forward my brake lights turn on. But for some reason its not staying forward enough to put them on when im braking. So with alittle messing around i should be able to get it. Will keep everyone updated! Thanks again to everyone for their help! Big Bump for you Weezl alot of good info came from you THANK YOU!!
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Old 05-19-2010
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I would only suggest what has already been posted.
Not to steal your thread but it reminded me of getting pulled over in my '60 Ranchero. I was out driving around heading home. I saw the cop car behind me and made sure to use my turn signal but I normally do anyway. Of course he turns the corner with me and then turns his lights on. I pull over. He walked up and asked for my paperwork and asked if I knew why he pulled me over. I said I used my turn signal. He told me my brake lights weren't working and asked where I lived, I said right around the corner cause I was headed home. He said he would follow me so no one ran into to me. I thought that was nice of him. I found my brake switch had failed and replaced it.
Also I was glad he asked for my paperwork in case it was stolen before he helped the driver out. O.O
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Old 05-20-2010
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Just niteshade them as black as can be, everyone on here says you don't get pulled over for that stuff....riiight.
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  #14  
Old 05-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerranger262 View Post
Just niteshade them as black as can be, everyone on here says you don't get pulled over for that stuff....riiight.
helpful...
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