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RH high beam dead Topic is solved

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
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greg850r
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RH high beam dead

Post by greg850r » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:54 pm

This is the 96 wagon I worked on forever for no spark and finally got it to run. I did a light check and the passenger high beam was out. I figured no problem, I have bulbs and put one in it. No dice. Ohmed the old one and it was good. Then I saw someone had been in there and there was electrical tape the length of the high beam wires in the housing. Again, no problem, off to the barn for another RH headlight housing. Installed and no joy either.
Then the headlight switch came apart as I was removing it from the dash do I grabbed another from a 95 parts car thinking I had found the problem. Ha! No such luck. Then I noticed a difference that caused me to go get a switch out of a 96 dash (see below).

I'm now chasing wires and a full check identified the blue wire with a white lead on the passenger side headlight plug as dead (Powers RH high beam). I pulled the fuses (19, 20) for the high beams and discovered continuity between each high beam wire at the headlight and it's respective fuse socket, yet only the driver's side high beam wire has 12 volts when I turn them on.

Oh well, guess I won't get this one inspected today.

There is a dip switch on the back of the headlight switch in the dash and the 95 is set to position C whilst both 96s are set to position A. A big wasp nest with attendant nasty flying things discouraged me from pulling the one out of the 97 dash to look at it.
Headlight switches.jpg
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05 Cross Country wagon
99 C70 Convertible
96 850R wagon
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96 850 GLT 5spd N/A sedan
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66 GTO 421SD 4spd
67 GTO 455 T400
02 Powerstroke 4x4
85 Yota 4x4
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Re: RH high beam dead  Topic is solved

Post by greg850r » Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:31 pm

I may have found out why I've been chasing my tail on this one so long with electrical problems.
While fiddling with the fuses I noticed the bad high beam winking at me. It does not appear to be the fuse connection but the spade connector inside the fuse box that plugs in to the underside of the fuseblock. I pushed down hard on one side of the fuses and now the light works. Leaves me wondering how many others are intermittently losing connection.


05 Cross Country wagon
99 C70 Convertible
96 850R wagon
96 850T wagon
96 850 GLT 5spd N/A sedan
97 850R 5spd sedan
66 GTO 421SD 4spd
67 GTO 455 T400
02 Powerstroke 4x4
85 Yota 4x4
24' 454 Challenger
07 Softail Custom
02 Sportster Custom
Parts cars not included

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Re: RH high beam dead

Post by Clemens » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:49 pm

Greg, your posts make my wake up at night in horror of what could go wrong on my p80ies... Seriously. I hate electrical gremlins. Thought we are well off, but your storeis make me wonder...
Glad you found the root, though.


Summer: 1996 855 R
Winter: 1994 855 T5M
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Re: RH high beam dead

Post by wizechatmgr » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:08 pm

Those are the type of problems that give me a headache. Glad to hear you tracked it down =)

They also make RF injector/tracers to find shorts and broken wires. Bit expensive for the hobbyist but most definitely something a serious shop would want to own if they do electrical often.


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Re: RH high beam dead

Post by greg850r » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:38 am

wizechatmgr wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:08 pm
They also make RF injector/tracers to find shorts and broken wires. Bit expensive for the hobbyist but most definitely something a serious shop would want to own if they do electrical often.
Toners are nice and I've used one, but it was borrowed to troubleshoot old wiring in a house. Not wanting to spend the money on one, I've since come up with an alternative. A cheap ohmmeter with an alarm that beeps on continuity works great in it's place. You may need a piece of wire so it reaches where you need the probe to go. On the house job I carried a hundred foot roll of signal wire to make my connections. On the car an extra 10 feet usually will suffice.


05 Cross Country wagon
99 C70 Convertible
96 850R wagon
96 850T wagon
96 850 GLT 5spd N/A sedan
97 850R 5spd sedan
66 GTO 421SD 4spd
67 GTO 455 T400
02 Powerstroke 4x4
85 Yota 4x4
24' 454 Challenger
07 Softail Custom
02 Sportster Custom
Parts cars not included

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Re: RH high beam dead

Post by abscate » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:18 pm

greg850r wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:38 am
wizechatmgr wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:08 pm
They also make RF injector/tracers to find shorts and broken wires. Bit expensive for the hobbyist but most definitely something a serious shop would want to own if they do electrical often.
Toners are nice and I've used one, but it was borrowed to troubleshoot old wiring in a house. Not wanting to spend the money on one, I've since come up with an alternative. A cheap ohmmeter with an alarm that beeps on continuity works great in it's place. You may need a piece of wire so it reaches where you need the probe to go. On the house job I carried a hundred foot roll of signal wire to make my connections. On the car an extra 10 feet usually will suffice.
You can adapt a circuit tracer for home use (pretty cheap) with wire and a slip on connector or probe - ground the fat side, then detect with the detect tool

You still have to know some circuitry to isolate stuff though, its not idiot proof, or even dullard proof.


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