89' Ranger missing tailights

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Farmer Willy, Mar 29, 2006.

  1. Farmer Willy

    Farmer Willy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Anyone have suggestions on why I've lost tailights on my truck? Brake lights work, turn signals work, license plate lights work, emergency flashers work. Everything but the tailights.
     
  2. wendle

    wendle Well-Known Member

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    You probably have a bad spot somewhere in the wiring if both are out. I've had mice chew my wiring before, or other critters. They should be color coded so just trace the wires. I would test for power along the wiring as well that helps.
     

  3. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    Do the side markers work? if not than most likely a blown fuse.
     
  4. Doug in Wa.

    Doug in Wa. Active Member

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    With the license lights working you have power to the rear, they use the same circuit. Mine had a problem where someone had wired in a trailer plug and the connection worked loose. Or possibly a ground issue. Then of course the obvious question. Have you tried new bulbs?
     
  5. DrippingSprings

    DrippingSprings In Remembrance

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    seen it a zillion times and it is almost exclusively a bad headlight switch. I have seen em work every where but the taillights on those.
     
  6. Farmer Willy

    Farmer Willy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've tried the headlight switch---no go. The drawings I have don't call out "tail lights". The truck uses two bulbs in the light housing but I can't remember which one was which. Filaments look good in the bulbs (left and right) so at this point I suppose I get out the multimeter, pull the lens and start probing. I assume that headlights and tail lights use the same switch lead since they should both be on at the same time.
    There is a pigtail for trailer lights, may have to pull that apart to make sure I've a clean connections there. I figure turn lights and brake lights will be using the same ground lug so if they're working the ground lug should be fine. My best guess is the hot line for the tail lights is the problem.
     
  7. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................The brake lights and turn signals are pretty much tied in together and energized from either the turn signal switch or together from the switch on the brake pedal . Take either a voltmeter or a 12vdc test light and with the lights removed and the lights on touch\test the contact in the taillight housing that powers the tail light . I have seen the receptacle for the tail light bulbs that some idiot had basically destroyed because he didn't understand the procedure of "push and twist" with a moderate amount of force . Rather , he had strong armed the bulb in and completely ruined the metal housing that holds the tail light bulbs . If , you had a bad ground the brake lights probably wouldn't work . You can also have defective light bulbs or bad sockets as i pointed out above .
    ................Has someone installed a Brake controller for a trailer ?? There could be a bad\defective connection involved here . You're just going to have to start at the switch and work your way to the back of the truck . fordy... :shrug:
     
  8. Farmer Willy

    Farmer Willy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Brake lights work just fine, turn signals work fine. Just no rear tail lights when the headlights are turned on. nothing else added or removed since they worked. I don't think it's a bad socket, lights aren't working left or right side. I'll track it down eventually, surrender is not in my creed. If nothing else I'll tap into the headlights and run a new line back to them.
     
  9. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    It has been a while, but my friend used to have an 88 Ranger. Same exact problem, all lights worked except the tail lights. While I am not sure, I think it was in the headlight switch.
    One reason I remember this is because he ordered a headlight switch from a dealer, without knowing that his dad had done the same. Carried the extra switch around in that truck forever.
    I will email him to see if he remembers. I really doubt he does remember though.
    clove