Electrical issues.. break lights turn signals etc

Amanda Bushee

Asked by Apr 11, 2013 at 02:11 PM about the 2004 Chevrolet Express

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Headlights all work, but do notice the intensity of the parking lights dim.. had  run with a lot of bulb falures.. then all the sudden the the primary concern.
Hit breaks tail light dim, and back up lights come on. both sides..  when you use the L turn signal it blinks normal unil you hit the breaks, then the reverse light comes on and that blinks.. If the headlights are on, same thing but much dimmer..
I read a lot about socket issues.. so inspected and it looks pretty nomal.. however if I disconnect it.. the break light comming on issue stops on the left side.. so I suspect or can it be as easy as just replace that socket, and wiring harness?  or should I consider some other issues.. Grounding could be it.. it does have a aftermarket trailer wiring harness on that side..  suggestions steps to trouble shoot?  other parts to consider?

8 Answers

Whoa, your last sentence speaks volumes. Thoroughly inspect those wires for frayed, pinched anything that does not look sanitary and secured, then let's go from there

Amanda Bushee

it all "looks" ok.. neat and tidy... although the plug outside the van is in bad shape.. I did disconnect the splices into the break light wiring. but no impovement there.. also still think it may be the trailer harness? when I disconnected the LR tail light harness, with the trailer splices.. it fixed the reverse light issue on the R side..so I did remove the 3 wires spliced into that harness.. hoping it was a ground fault in thoes wires somwhere.. then I replaced the l taillight harness - issue returned. without any direct connection to the trailer wiring and the tail light assembly.. nope..

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Amanda you know what you are doing, I can tell you have knowledge about these things. (BTW I would say the same to anybody it has nothing to do with being a woman)..it's just that so often women write "I'm a helpless female"..what's that got to do with it? Anyway, it's beginning to look like the trailer harness is not the culprit. Let me look at some schematics..be back in a bit. Meantime maybe somebody will see this and offer some other ideas too. But there is a crossed wire somewhere or something along those lines, with the back~up light thing in the mix.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

David, I too believe that Amanda has a firm grasp of the situation and does not need the hand holding and step by step guidance that less knowledgeable people require. --- Any time you see lights coming on when they are not supposed to - you have current back feeding. Electricity seeks the path of least resistance. If you lose a ground connection, that path is through another bulbs filament to get to ground. I have seen the turn arrows light up on the dash board and you have seen the reverse lights turn on. --- The other thing to consider is some of the GM products use a circuit board in the tail lights and they are a source of some problems.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Thanks for the input TS. Valuable. You're right, I don't think I know any more than she does. Matter of fact less .. Sorry Amanda for talking about you in third person like that. Not real polite. But tenspeed is exactly what I meant by somebody coming along...consider what he said. I am not having much luck..I studied wiring diagrams and he has it pegged.

Amanda Bushee

no problems.. thanks.. but not complete grasp.. just willing to look into previous questions.. and gave me some ideas or thoughts.. I have "some" idea..of some basics.. but most a case.. well hell why not try this vs any real formal knowlage.. I been thinking cheap enough part to try the sockets and harness.. only because find it odd.. that one of the issues, the break light reverse light thing.. does resolve when I remove that group of items.. unplug that side.. makes me think it MUST be something on that side.. however.. also do know.. or have at least a minimal understanding yeh I unpluged it.. however there is other things further down the chain so to speak.. so May not prove a simple solution.. :) it bugs me..because frankly the whole thing looks good on visual inspection.. ideal.. no.. but pretty standard for a lot of aftermarket work..

Caroline Mitchell

when i had a problem with nonfunctional reverse and brake lights, i took a VOM DC clamp on to all the wires in my 3500 express 05. i found that certain lamps needed 7 amps to light, others took only 4. if a wire is not delivering enough amps the bulb will be dim or not light at all. (i found that the Haynes manual for Chevy vans $20 at autoparts stores have great wiring diagrams of lamp assemblies. all wiring for t he right and center lamps runs off the left driver side . so if you have a right side problem, check the amps in to the left...

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Darby Hauanio

Try n double check the fuses. Because the brake n turn signal system uses the ground from the emergency flasher. Try turning on the flasher n hold down the brake paddle. See what happens..

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

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