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Help! no lights...

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I have a 2000 Defender and I've no side or head lights at all except for the flash, which is of course on a different circuit.

Initially, my lights intermittently stopped working - and the multimeter was showing nothing at the brown wire that feeds the switch but the fuse was OK - so its clear I have a small problem somewhere between the fuse and the light switch. I took a seperate live and fed it into the switch - and bingo lights. Then the intermittent fault moved into its working phase ...so I've left that until it goes again and I might have a chance of tracing it .....

In repeatedly fiddling with the switch when trying to trace the intermittent fault - it (the switch) fell to bits (it was a cheap replacement part). So I simply cut the block connector off it and soldered the 3 wires together as a temporary fix until my new switch arrived. All was well - plugging and unplugging the block connector to switch the lights. However on clipping the connector in, on one occasion, a small spark and I lost the whole light circuit.

Here's the diagram:

post-10144-078547300 1294675297_thumb.jpg

70 is the light switch

75 is the head light relay

76 the dim dip relay

6 is the fuse box

With the circuit broken I'm still getting 12 V at the switch feed - ie pin 1 measuring from the brown live feed to an earth on the column. So the problem is now further 'down stream' than that. The main light solenoid and the dim dip relay do not seem to get a live feed as they no longer click.

I've removed the Fuse F20 - and measured from there (both pins as I couldn't see which was which) to the earth on the column again - to check the wire from pin 2 on the switch - and got no voltage.

I've removed the light solenoid and tested between pin 87 to the earth on the column again - to check the wire from pin 4 - and got no voltage.

I'm not very adept with the multimeter - in fact I don't really know much at all - so once I switch the circuit on I don't know how to check what's wrong after that ...?

Assuming I've carried out my readings correctly - am I right that I must have a break in both wires leaving the switch?

Would the next thing be to check for continuity between f20 and pin 2 and also pin 87 and pin 4 ?

It seems very odd that a fault would develop in both wires at the same time ? unless I've pulled them about too much?

If anyone would be kind enough to point me in the right direction, talks me through a few things, or just shout encouragement - I'd be hugely grateful!

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Try F15 (5A)and see if that has failed as it appears to be an ignition switched feed controlling both the headlamp and Dim dip relays.

Forget the multimeter for all but continuity testing - use a 12v test lamp (Spare Indicator lamp prehaps) as this will give you a definative result Bright = power / Dim = poor connection or earth / Not lit = no power.

Hope this Helps


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Thanks Ralph

I am really confused now! I've been out and measured the two fuses for sidelights again - which are 19 and 20 on the land rover - but seem to be 18 and 19 on yours. Both of these have 12v. - So I've no idea why power is getting to these two feeds but not producing side lights or dash lights anywhere. I seems to point to a bad wire close to the switch and before the header hat spreads it all out.

I re-measured the Lighting Relay - and got 12v at pin 85 .... which according to the diagram is an earth.

I also re-measured the blue wires coming into the dim dip and can't find a live at all.

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anderzander, sounds like you are having the same issues i was, stupid multimeter showing 12v at things and then failing to deliver the power!

turns out on mine it was the column switch, it was showing 12v at the output and then when a load was on it nothing happened. I;ve since taken the switch out and there is a very faint crack and pitting on one of the metal switch plates which i presume is what was causing the problem.

If i could go back in time and do it all again, i would do as ralph said and find a spare indicator bulb and use that as a tester instead of the multimeter. Using the multimeter and getting a false 12v reading on the column switch caused me a 5 hour delay in finding the fault and running large numbers of wires all over the bloody place bypassing most of the dash and fuse and engine bay wiring needlessly trying to find a fault in the circuit that wasnt there!

Wire it all back up as normal and turn the ignition on and the lights to position 2. Put one side of the test lamp to a convenient earth (fag lighter will do) and gently loosen all the connection pin blocks a couple of mm on both the light switch and column switch and anywhere else and also loosen off the fuse box panel.

Now, start at the first point in the lighting circuit just after the main fuse. Got test light? move on.

next stage is power in to light switch, then power out of light switch, power in to column switch, power out of column switch, power in to fuse panel, power out etc etc etc..........

keep going until the test lamp doesnt work and there you have it.

ps. the circuit diagram ralph linked to is much better and easier to read and follow than the haynes one you posted. Print it out, cellotape the 2 sheets together and work your way through it from the battery onwards.

If i had followed the above advice i reckon i could have found the fault in about 30 minutes. Never going to use my multimeter again! Or certainly never going to trust it as completely conclusive!


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  • 2 weeks later...

Nick - somehow I missed your reply until I've just come to put an update on - thank you for the info. I think I will try a test light as I'm a bit baffled ....

Stuck from on here kindly came over and spent an hour or two with a multimeter - and confirmed I had a short. Thank you for that!

I had a strong sense that it is/was the side light wire from the main switch to the fuse shorting somewhere. If I pull all the fuses and run a direct 12v supply to them I can get every lighting circuit to work - side lights, dip, main beam, dash and number plate. Whilst I get 12v with the multimeter going into the switch. So it would seem somewhere between the fuse panel and the switches.

I also thought a fault on the side light circuit could knock out the main beam (as is the case) as when main beam is switched it also runs to the side light circuit - it seems likely that a short on the side light side would pull all the current from the main beam too.

But the really confusing thing is if I test for continuity between the sidelight wire on the switch and the fuse my multimeter buzzes - so its there? If I put an external 12v into the side light circuit from the switch it lights the side lights ?

How am I getting everything checking out ok but no lights!

So maybe it is a false reading for the 12v?

I went to do a bit more on it last yesterday - but the battery was flat. I didn't think I'd left the lights switched? but there you go. Its on charge now and I'll get back to it when its charged up. Though it is starting to get to me now.

I'll keep going until my ideas are exhausted (which won't be long!) and if its not fixed by then I'll take it into a local electrical garage - at lest having the dash out and a proper wiring diagram should save me some money from the labour.

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Hi Ralph - its a new lucas one - so the same as genuine.

I've spent sometime educating myself with youtube videos - and I'm going to try and take a methodical approach, working through the circuit from the battery carrying out a voltage drop test. From the battery to the main fuse, main fuse to switch, switch to side light fuses etc.

I had been checking for continuity - but a clip showed me that even a single wire strand will show continuity, but may fail under load - which may be the reason for my contradictory results.

So hopefully the weather will be ok on Saturday and I can get a day at it.

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Found it!! A melted header ....



Not the best photos.

Basically I got 12v at the feed to the switch - all the circuits beyond that seemed fine and yet no lights? If I ran a separate 12v feed to the lighting circuits everything worked.

So I thought the 12v must be a weak feed - and sure enough it wouldn't power my cb when I tried to run that from it. So a continuity test from the switch to the main fuse showed no connection - despite having the 12v reading.

I think the 12v was actually a bleed back from another circuit through the short in the header. Very misleading - but very happy it's resolved now.

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I'm trying these Ralph:


CPC / Farnell

They are a push fit, taking 0.75 to 2.5 wire - and are rated to 24 amps.

I've four connections to make - 3 green wires, 4 purple, 5 brown and 6 black. So I'm using 2 '4' connectors and 2 '6' connectors. They seem a really neat easy solution - the only draw back is that the thinner wires don't seem to 'clip in'. I think the wire is not stiff enough to push through the clips. That's tomorrows job to figure out.

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Have you got a soldering iron?

If so you could try "tinning" the thin wire, should give it sufficient rigidity to enable you to push it in.

If you don't have one you can borrow mine, I've already committed to doing some wiring on a mate's truck in the morning though so you would have to come over and pick it up.

Give me a call if you want to borrow.

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Mick - I never replied!

I took your suggestion and tinned the thinner wires and it worked. They pressed in nicely and couldn't be pulled out. So all is working again :D

Just taking the opportunity now to treat a small patch of rust and clean all the dash before I put it back ....



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I sent you a couple of emails Mick - did you get those?

Ralph - I used Jif and then wiped it all down with surgical spirit! - bit expensive but gets it as clean as it can be.

I'm attaching the 1999 wiring diagram to this thread - so if anyone searches for the same problem in the future they'll get a complete picture ....

electrical schemes - defender td5 (1999).pdf

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