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Electrical Problems, headlights and wipers not working

1401 Views 38 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  mainesaabc
89 Saab 900 Base

Seemingly all at once, my electrical went haywire:
-Dashboard shows brights are on, can't turn it off
-Lights don't work
-Right turn signal doesn't work
-Wipers don't work (wiper spray does)
-Right blinker doesn't work
-Only 3rd brake light works (well, the others were just really dim)
EDIT!-Forgot to add horn doesn't work either

After much digging through forums, I did the following:
-New headlamps, all 6 bulbs in front side lights replaced, side marker bulbs replaced
-Checked grounds in rear lights.
-Checked fuses with electric meter
-Cleaned (I think) all grounds

Not recommended in the forums, but I had had enough, I tapped into the ground feeding the right tail light and grounded it to the ground from the left taillight. This gave me blinkers, albeit the right one blinks fast and the left blinks normal. I imagine this might be because there is too much current, but I was having a hard time cleaning the contacts in the left taillight and imagine that is what needs to be done.

I still cannot get headlights to work or windshield wipers.

If I turn the lights on while the blinker is going, the blink gets very slow, like one change per second (ie two seconds for a full on/off cycle).

Based on what I have read it seems like it is either a ground somewhere that I have not found, or the headlight relay. I did not find a lot of good info on the latter, but I took it apart and visually checked it for anything obvious and didn't see anything. I uploaded pictures of it in case someone smarter than me sees something.

Lastly, I am a novice, so please use small words in your reply! :)


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1 - 5 of 39 Posts
Remove the Ignition Lock Relay (in the fusebox) and see if the terminals are loose, corroded, or melted.
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Check the Battery Junction Black on the R/F inner fender for corrosion.
Check for loose terminals on cables too.
The items you mention do not share a ground. They do share power sources. A bad connection on either side acts the same.
It's common for terminals to get pushed out of their sockets in the fuse/relay panel. They can make intermittent contact. Lift the panel further, it can take a little polling. Look for wires pushed out under relay sockets.
The brake lights may be a separate problem. Fix you power problem first. A heavy gauge jumper wire can bypass the ignition lock relay for testing purposes.
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I think the only thing wipers and lights have in common is the power supply before the fuses (Ignition Lock Relay/ Ignition switch circuits)).
If you want to try disconnecting wipers, do it at the motor in case they're trying to park themselves.
1 - 5 of 39 Posts