Have 86 gmc caballero all my lights work but headlights just stop working and I'm driven what is a quick fix so I can go home

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Asked by Jan 11, 2015 at 04:01 AM about the 1986 GMC Caballero

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

32 Answers

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Need help fast please

8,060

Two new lights. Use a bulb that is smaller like a 194, straightem the wires and use it to verify power and ground. predicting you have no tools and no test equipment and no goto experience.

Best Answer
30

I have new bulbs in it..I was driven and i could smell something burning and I stop shut my car off.then I turn it back on and headlights didn't work

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Is there a fuse under the hood for it..or could I undo the switch for the lights n bypass it..

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8,060

Inspect your headlight switch and connector if no interior fuse panel fuses burnt. If you find any light relays not contained in the switch, it would be something you could find in schematics on autozone website. Know your rigs setup and find your correct schematic. My recent use of that was helpful but for a few newer years. they are not nec. the same. I did find fuses that were not contained in a fuse panel, but above the evaporator case, and the truck's ground cables were not grounding the engine, body and frame. you could substitute a set of cables to make grounds that can be used temporarily. Any cause of heat and burning you would expect a thermal limiter to be in the main lightswitch. Your particular schematic will have to be what you trust as you verify its correctness and continue to search.

30

Ok I have taken the light switch out and unplug it could I wire it up just to make it home for now

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8,060

jumper cables i mean to improve ground. I do not recall seeing a power distribution center under the hood on those, just the fuse panel up under the instrument panel at the firewall and some associated relays. some books depict them at the instrument panel reaching back to it from the fusepanel with your hand. books, sometimes, are "full of it" too though. GM seems to have mastered the art of misdirection some times.

8,060

No wiring should be rigged. if you havent the fuses or breakers to add you could burn it down. Once a fire like that starts you cannot stop it. Not recommended.

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Ok ill look under the hood n c..I have the light switch out now trying to get something going...I'm stuck on side of road cuz I have no lights

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30

Ok I'm looking now

8,060

Headlight dimmer switch concern, sometimes actuating the dimmer on an off gets the circuit breaker in the headlight switch to cool and reset.

8,060

The headlight switch should contain a circuit breaker that operates like a thermal limiter. The dimmer being where it is, can get corroded and so can the light switch if the vehicle has any water entry problem. espec. if it is from the windshield seal. Repeat actuation on and off can clear the green cheese off the parts inside the switch to restore operation till it gets hot again.

8,060

after several tries, try once and wait a minute or two, then actuate one or the other again. repeat or try another switch and wait, sometimes extra patience is the answer till it cooperates.

8,060

That is a GM A body car right ? not a pickup but like an elkie ?

8,060

Google 86 GMC caballero headlight circuit protection. i was using one of the color schematics and quoted from there.

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Yes its a gmc just like a elcamino..I took the switch out n put it back in didn't work I have all my other lights but headlights

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Is there a fuse I'm over looking that goes to the head lights...its hard to tell what fuse goes where.have no writing on the fuse box

8,060

Circuit breaker resets when it cools, sometimes the dimmer can get corroded and switching it and the lightswitch can lead to reset of the circuit breaker. Google GMC caballero headlight circuit protection. Looking at the simplest color schematic shows how the vehicle is wired.

8,060

the dimmer is on the turn signal, right? if actuating the dimmer does not affect it, follow the wires leading to the steering column. The area below may have a broken wire if you have a tilt wheel. lifting and dropping the wheel over the years can pull on the wires perhaps. if you had a jumper with alligator clips you could temporary jump for power if that was the case. the circuit breaker would be your safety, but not from your clips touching any metal. so insulating between would be necessary.

30

No my lights n dimmer is a knob you pull out n turn it to dim it..but ok ill Google that..thank you for you help..I been sitting on the side of rode for ever..

8,060

Your dimmer is the 2 wire switch attached to the bracket on the column by the ignition switch.. is it smoked, or corroded ? or damaged ? What did your lightswitch and its connector look like? If no other problem found yet, see if there is any power coming out of the lightswitch on pin 6. and there should be power coming into the headlight switch on pin 1 When they work both are hot, if 6 is not, it is the circuit breaker.

8,060

Refer to the schematics from autozone and find your source for pin 1 and then your dimmer for directing it to Hi or Lo. You may have reason to reverify your headlight bulbs are still good. Your supply may be fed by a fusible link before pin 1 but I cannot prove that yet. see if you show that in your schematic or continue seeing where you have battery voltage or lose it.

30

My dimmer is not on the column its to the far left by its self dimmer and low beam on that knob...and my turn signal has the hi beam

8,060

A dimmer switch on a GM product is a switch that switches your headlights from lo to hi. it is near the ign sw. on the column. the power goes from that to the headlights either hi or lo. If you dim the headlight switch by turning the rheostat, that dims the instrument lamps. a little off topic there pal. The headlight sw. receives power at pin 1 if your fusible link is good from your engine starter, and the circuit is undamaged and has not been modified before reaching pin 1 at the headlight sw. after the sw. completes internal through the circuit breaker, it leaves on pin 6. Then it goes to be directed by the dimmer to Hi or Lo. Read your schematic and you will see this is so. Switching the dimmer hi and lo can sometimes reset the circuit breaker. If you had a failure beyond that kind of luck, it is just going to have power at pin 1. comes from fusible link at starter.

8,060

Now I must take this op. to suggest you carry a 12v test light and or a cheap volt meter in that 30 year old jewel. Some spares like fuses and a length of fuse link wire for emergencies, or having AAA is like money in the bank my friend.

8,060

By the way, is your turn signal lever actuating the dimmer for the headlights? clicking each time? not mushy or loose like the actuator rod was disconnected? Sorry for asking but you oughta had lights a while ago, tryin to think of any way a car that old could break or malfunction different from what you usually hear.

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I know I need to do that and thank you for the help

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No the turn signal has nothing to do with the dimmer just works to turn on my brights

8,060

Dimmer switch is for hi to lo and lo to hi beam headlamps, The pin 6 wire powers both from there. the dimmer divides into two circuits either it is switched to low beam or high beam.

8,060

The rheostat in the headlight switch is for the instrument panel lamps and illumination of switches or other parts of the instrument panel.

8,060

The main headlight switch powers all headlight functions high or low, courtesy lights and a few others. you just need to verify pins 1 and 6 and or the starters fuse link. decide if your light switch can reset? or if it is unable to reset.

8,060

I have to guess a new headlight switch was his correction because it would not reset the circuit breaker. odd. The fuse link would have needed a short to ground to have failed, but after almost 30 years ? i suppose recent starter work could change the condition there at the fuse link? a guess.

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