Tail-Light Electrical Short- This is getting maddening.

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Apr 15, 2008
Alright. So... I've had this short somewhere in my tail-light circuit. I've posted about it before. And as of yet, I still don't have a vehicle that I can drive after sun-down. So... I'll give you the run-down of what I've done and maybe there will be a hero to prevent me from either shooting myself or buying something boring like a Civic.

After about 5 minutes of driving the fuse for the tail-lights blows, and of course takes the dash lights, marker lights, and license plate light with it. Most people suggested that it could be the connectors in the back quarter panels. Well, those look to be in very good shape, however, heeding the advice I bypassed them. I spliced a wire into the harness around the front seat, then ran a wire back directly to the tail-lights. This way I don't have marker lights and license lights, but if it was one of the connectors, the tail-lights would stay on as they aren't doing anything this way. But it still blew. This tells me the short is somewhere in the front, presumably under the dash. Where do I start? Before the relay? After the relay? The relay? What wire do I need to be looking for? Where?

I know it could be just about anything but my frustration level is getting pretty high and I would really like some advice. And I just noticed that the word level is a palindrome. Neat.

At the moment I have just the tail-lights wired directly to the headlights. It works, but it isn't right, and if something happens I loose my headlights AND tail-lights, and besides, I'd like my dash lights to work.

So... Sorry for the long post, but what advice can y'all offer me? Thanks in advance. -Ted
2 cents only,pull all marker lights out they get very bad after time,look for shorts and breaks,pull rear taillight assemblies they get rust and wear out look for the same.Any old trailer hitch connections get rid of them. Hope this helps, also if this doesnt work wait till after dark get some help and more fuses,turn on lights have people around outside of cruiser at connections looking for a flash! Mike
The thing is, I've already bypassed all of the stuff in the rear. I took the wire that feeds all of that stuff, the red with green tracer, and spliced in a new lead and then ran that back to just the tail-lights. So of course the markers and license weren't lit, but the tail-lights were. And it still blew the fuse. So I don't know how it could be one of those connectors....
You have a direct short some where,but they are hard to find I have had good success after dark',where ever you have not looked thats where its at. Mike
Direct short? Maybe not. Got a multimeter? Use the continuity beeping function. Odd that is takes five minutes to occur, this suggests heat is a factor. Did you look in the steering column at the multipurpose directional switch? Lots of parts in there to go bad.. So what gets warm after being on for five minutes? A flat out short would blow the fuse right away so if it takes a few minutes it is most likely a heat issue. Things that heat up draw more amperage. More amps = more heat . So knowing this, look at the circuits with higher amp fuses first. Another option is something worked loose and is laying on something that gets hot like the manifiold or exhaust or the like. Its not an easy issue to debug. You can also try removing all the fuses you can that DO work to see if replacing them one by one affects the tailight circuit. The power circuits are wired to individual fuses...unfortunately the GROUND points are all over the chassis for assembly convience. Good luck and be patient in your investigation....write things down and take a break and review each dead end or failed idea.....its a finite problem, just how finite is for you to find out.
Try disconectong your trailer lights first. I've seen more of those plugs go bad, causing more wierd problems...Just my .02
Try disconectong your trailer lights first. I've seen more of those plugs go bad, causing more wierd problems...Just my .02

try removing all the bulbs and if the fuse dont blow try installing one bulb at a time until the fuse blows , also see if there is any other circuits that run off of that fuse that maybe where the problem is

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