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86-95 Trucks & 4Runners 2nd/3rd gen pickups, and 1st/2nd gen 4Runners with IFS

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Old 10-09-2008, 08:22 PM   #1
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Headlights won't turn on????

Well, I get off the train tonight, jump in my truck ('91 4Runner), start it up, flip on the headlights and I get no headlights. Everything else works, all parking lights, front and rear, all blinkers, reverse lights, brake lights, just no headlights at all.

Checked both headlight fuses, and they are good. Now I know the chances of both headlights blowing at the exact same time...when they worked fine last night.....is pretty slim. Also when I have the headlight switch on, the high beams don't kick on either. Now I KNOW there's no way that both headlights and high beam filaments are both blown coincidentally.

Had to leave the truck at the train station and have the wife come and get me, too risky to drive home with no lights.

Now she is convinced I should sell it. It's something else wrong everytime I turn the key. First it was missing, then it went through a period where it would randamly not start at all and just crank, then it started having an idle problem where it would shake at 500RPM in gear, then the A/C blew out, now I have no headlights. I have only had this thing since April, and it doesn't even have 200K on it yet.

What is the deal?? I am starting to really lose my confidence in Yota's. I had an 87 Cherokee before this with 170K on it, and the thing never hickuped.

Anybody ever heard of some weird shart like this happening to the headlights?

Thanks.
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:41 PM   #2
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headlights, no... but everything else you mentioned, yes...
they're toyotas, and we love them for their good qualities, and their bad qualities... altho, the latter seems to have more...
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:44 PM   #3
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well i dont know what truck you have year model motor ect. but for the head lights i know toyota had a recall on certain models for exterior lighting i dont know exactly if you truck fits into that category. also check your wires if any look bad loose if they all the sudden went out sounds like something got disconnected cant be that hard of a problem to figure out. now about the other problems i dont know what type of truck you have so i cant tell you why its happening good luck dont give up on yotas just yet!! and you shouldnt use the Jeep word here people dont like it!! haha im kidding but really..

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Old 10-09-2008, 09:59 PM   #4
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'91 4Runner, as mentioned in the fist sentence. I checked every connection that I can find for the headlights, at least at a quick glance with a flashlight in the train station parking lot, after a 12 hour day at work, the market right now is not making work too fun. Last thing I needed after a train ride home from NYC.

Guess I will have to see if I'm even getting voltage to the headlights, and work back from there. Probably have to pull the switch too and see if I have voltage there.

Just figured I'd see if anybody has had this problem or if it was a known thing.

I won't give up on Yota's, I've had a few and love them.....for some reason. But never had gremlins like this...WTF????
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:22 PM   #5
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It is possible to blow out two headlights at the same time, very unlikely but it can happen. I blew both my silverstars out at the same time one morning when I had to go to work. That was a first and I'll probably never experience that again. The fact that both your high beams won't come on is even more suspicious and if you have checked your fuses I would then check the relay for your headlights. That could definitely be the problem if both your lights are not coming on. Possibly your switch too.

Don't give up, I'd rather wrench on a toyota then own a cherokee.
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:34 PM   #6
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sounds like you have electrical issues some of those other problems could have been electrical the problem with electrical is it can run from you when you fix one thing something else is already waiting to happen
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:40 PM   #7
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THE RELAY!!!! That's what I forgot to check! Damn!! Oh well I will check that first thing tomorrow night. Just so I'm sure I'm checking the right thing, the headlight relay is just below the two 10amp headlight fuses, in the fuse box on the pass side wheel well under the hood, right?

Thanks!!
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:17 PM   #8
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I'm not sure where it is, I've never had to mess with mine yet. I'm at work so I can't look at my manual either since it's at home. I know there's a few relay's in the fuse box in the engine bay, it could be there. If not it's probably under the dash somewhere. I'm almost definite that's your problem from what you described.
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:08 AM   #9
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The relay is on the passenger side, in a relay box. It's a little square unit beside a round relay... it'll be marked on the relay box lid. You'll see it has 2 large blades and two smaller ones. You can usually use a piece of wire between the two large slots in the box to trip the headlights manually.

My 91 Runner had the exact problem. Markers worked, but no headlights. Eventually the markers crapped out too. I found it was the integrated relay box down in the Drivers kickpanel, below the fuses. Water had gotten at the box, and rotted away some of the terminals. I managed to fix it for a while, but the problem reoccured after some time.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Eventually the whole fuse box started to fail. At that point, I ran external circuits for the systems that had failed. Headlights, Running lights and turn signals.
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:09 AM   #10
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Thanks Noltz, is this relay box the one under the hood or on the pass side inside the vehicle?

Is there any way to check the relay with a meter, or should I buy a new and see if it's the problem?

Thanks.
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Old 10-10-2008, 05:11 PM   #11
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Main light relay and high/low relay are in the fuse box with the head light fuses.
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:25 PM   #12
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Alright, I jumped the two big slots that the headlight relay sits in with a wire and the headlights turned on, high beams worked also. I want to make sure that the switch is working before I buy a relay, it's almost $30 and I can't return it once I buy it, like most electrical parts.

Is there supposed to be voltage somewhere at that relay when the switch is turned on and then no voltage when the switch is turned off? I checked all 4 slots that the relay sits in and one big slot had voltage and one small slot had voltage...with the switch off. Then turned the sitch on and both of the same slots had voltage and the other two still didn't.

Thanks.
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:10 PM   #13
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The headlights in my '88 were having problems. I pulled the relay and took it in to get a new one but they had to order it. So I took it back home and plugged it in again and my lights worked completely (brights hadn't been working for about a month). We also replaced the plugs going into the lights. Worked fine ever since
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:18 PM   #14
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I've pulled the relay and plugged it back in 3 times, it still doesn't work. Is there anyway to check the switch in that relay/fuse box, should the switch put voltage anywhere in that box?
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:27 PM   #15
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One way to check the relay is to put a finger on it and turn the headlights on and off. If you don't feel or hear any clicking from the relay, then it is either not getting power or the coil inside is burned out. If it does click, then that means it is getting power and trying to turn on. In that case it may be the internal contacts are burned and not making electrical contact.
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Old 10-14-2008, 10:42 AM   #16
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I'll give that a try. I thought it was strange though that there is power on one of the Big slot and power on one of the Small slots all the time, and nothing changes when I turn the headlight switch on.

It seems to me that turning the headlight switch on would send voltage to one side of the relay to energize it, and thereby causing the relay to connect voltage through to the headlight circuit.

Why would there be voltage on one of the small slots all the time, that doesn't change with the switch on?
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Old 10-14-2008, 10:49 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmcpeck View Post
I'll give that a try. I thought it was strange though that there is power on one of the Big slot and power on one of the Small slots all the time, and nothing changes when I turn the headlight switch on.

It seems to me that turning the headlight switch on would send voltage to one side of the relay to energize it, and thereby causing the relay to connect voltage through to the headlight circuit.

Why would there be voltage on one of the small slots all the time, that doesn't change with the switch on?
Constant power to the relay because the headlight switch supplies a ground connection to complete the circuit and cause the relay to turn on:
- http://www.4crawler.com/4x4/CheapTri...l#HarnessTypes

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 10-14-2008, 10:58 AM   #18
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don't forget to check for a bad ground(s) at the bulb(s).I had this problem before. Run a wire from neg. post to the bulb ground as a test,then, turn the lights on. Let me know what happens!!! Kev
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:08 AM   #19
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don't forget to check for a bad ground(s) at the bulb(s).I had this problem before. Run a wire from neg. post to the bulb ground as a test,then, turn the lights on. Let me know what happens!!! Kev
The headlight switch IS what grounds the headlights to make them turn on. So a bad ground IS most likely due to a bad headlight combo switch.

Other vehicles, most domestic and European vehicles do have a common ground at the headlight bulbs and the vehicle supplies 12 volts via the switch or relay to turn them on, but on the Toyotas (at least most of them), the common pin on the bulb has 12 volts and it is the ground that is switched to turn on the lights:
- http://www.4crawler.com/4x4/CheapTri...l#HarnessTypes
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:42 AM   #20
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Haha....that actually occured to me right after I posted that question, I was just about to go out and check for ground in that relay slot with the switch on, just to make sure my switch is good.

I know the ground at the bulbs are good as they both turned on when I jumped out the relay slots with a piece of wire.

Thanks for the info guys, and for the diagram, it helps a lot. I'm sure I have a bad relay, just don't want to make sure before I spend $30 for nothing. The relay I pulled out looks original, it's a Toyota part and looks old. So it could be a 17 year old relay.

Thanks again.
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:42 AM
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