Question about 1996 GMC Sierra

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Headlights won't work on my 1996 GMC sierra

The headlights will not turn on when I turn them on. The daytime running lights and marker lights and blinkers all still work fine, but when I turn the headlights on just the marker lights are on. I have checked the 50 amp fuse and it is fine... Is there a relay or something for the actual headlights or anything? I also have put a new switch on it as well so I know that is not the problem... I can't figure out why they are not coming on, they just all the suddon stopped working. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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  • Donnie Matney
    Donnie Matney May 11, 2010

    what about the highbeams?

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My best guess is a bad ground common to both headlights.

I think the 50 amp fuse is for your starting circuit, not the headlamps, which is a 15 or 20 amp fuse. Did you try both dim and bright settings?

Since you don't know which fuse is for what, just remove and replace each fuse one at a time. As you go, visually inspect each fuse and test for continuity with an ohmmeter, then use a pink pearl eraser to clean the wafer tips before replacing. Do this methodically one at a time and replace any bad fuses with THE EXACT SAME AMPERAGE RATING.
Now, if your fuses are clearly marked and you do have a 50amp fuse in your headlamp circuit then you need to put the correct amperage in ASAP. If you have a 50 amp in the headlight circuit the whole circuit could be fried before the fuse blows, which is why you NEVER replace a fuse with a higher rated amperage.

Once you've worked over the fuseblocks go to the headlamp circuit and follow the wires and plugs coming from the lamps and going to the fuse block. Look for ground connections and tighten those, especially those coming from the headlamp wiring harnesses. If your lamps are good, the fuses are good, the plug connections are clean and making good contact and your grounds are good then all thats left is your headlamp switch and wiring to and fro. If you don't know what the plugs are for no harm can come from cleaning and reconnecting them, so you can't go wrong if you just do one at a time in a methodical fashion.
I have an old S-10 and the headlamp switch is junk- I have to hit it with contact cleaner every once in a while because Houston air quality is poor and there is a lot of ozone- all this corrodes connections- fuse maintenance cures a lot of ills.
After the fuseblocks I'd start by checking the actual headlamps to make sure they are working (check each filament for continuity or put 12v to it to test) and clean the contacts.

Then you can work your way back to the fuseblock and switch checking your plugs and connections. Its all pretty straightforward, just be methodical and clean your plug connections as you go. No schematic needed- just a little patience.

One thing to think about if your headlamps are both blown is that your alternator may be overcharging, or the regulator isn't working properly and your headlamps are blown because they got hit with too high a voltage. Eventually this will sulfate the battery and cause an internal short- if it is bulging you can be sure this is happening. So get your alternator and regulator circuit checked if this is the case.
Good luck, If this fixed ya then please rate this solution

Posted on Jun 21, 2009

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All of my running lights and blinkers work and high beams but no low beams on my 1997 Chevrolet TahoeA


Headlamps Inoperative - Low Beams

Step

Action

Value(s)

Yes

No

DEFINITION: This diagnostic procedure should only be used if the high beam headlamps are operating properly and the low beams are inoperative.

1

Did you perform the Headlights System Check?
--
Go to Step 2
Go to Headlight System Check

2

  1. Turn the headlamp and panel dimmer switch to the ON position.
  2. Move the headlamp dimmer switch to the LOW position.
  3. Backprobe the headlamp dimmer switch connector with a J 35616-200 from cavity A to ground.

Does the test lamp light?
--
Go to Step 3
Go to Step 5

3

  1. Remove the daytime running lamp relay.
  2. Connect a J 35616-200 at cavity G5 to ground.

Does the test lamp light?
--
Go to Step 4
Go to Step 6

4

  1. Re-install the daytime running lamp relay.
  2. Backprobe cavity B at the high/low beam headlamp with the headlamp dimmer switch in the LOW position.

Does the test lamp light?
--
Go to Step 7
Go to Step 8

5

Replace the headlamp dimmer switch.

Is the repair complete?
--
Go to Headlight System Check
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6

Repair the open in CKT 359 (PPL) between the headlamp dimmer switch and the daytime running lamp relay.

Is the repair complete?
--
Go to Headlight System Check
--

7

Replace the high/low beam headlamps.

Is the repair complete?
--
Go to Headlight System Check
--

8

  1. Inspect for an open in CKT 12 (TAN) between the daytime running lamp relay and S120, repair as necessary.
  2. Replace the daytime running lamp relay if no open was found in CKT 12 (TAN) between the daytime running lamp relay and S120.

Is the repair complete?
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Go to Headlight System Check
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