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HID Headlights only work SOMETIMES - why?

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by Veccster, May 31, 2016.

  1. May 31, 2016 at 8:56 PM
    #1
    Veccster

    Veccster [OP] bass turds

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    On my 2009 Tacoma, I have installed an aftermarket HID headlight kit. It has the relay's, ballasts and headlight bulbs connected straight to the battery. The headlights will sometimes work and sometimes not work. It's completely random. On a trip recently, it started raining and I turned them on....nothing. Then 20 minutes later while driving, they came on.

    What could be going bad? If it was the ballasts, they would not come on at all / ever...right?

    Could it be the relay? Why does it happen to both at the same time? My fogs still work when the headlights don't.

    When they're not working, I do hear a click when I flick the highbeams.

    Help!
     
  2. May 31, 2016 at 9:44 PM
    #2
    AWorthyOpponent

    AWorthyOpponent Member Caught Off Road

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    99.9% sure Ballasts need to be replaced...
    Relay is for the high beams...
    Fogs come on because they are linked to the relay stating that you have the headlights on (whether they are actually on or not). This is why the fog light any time mod wires the fog light relay to the trailer lights allowing you to turn fogs on with the parking lights.
     
  3. Jun 1, 2016 at 7:57 AM
    #3
    Veccster

    Veccster [OP] bass turds

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    Thanks.
    I've had the headlight ballasts go bad a couple times over the past 3 years. It's annoying but easy to change out. But when they go out, they usually go out on one side or the other. It's odd that both went out at the same time. Also, when just one goes out, I never noticed if it came back on periodically before I replaced it.

    In other words, I thought when a ballast went...it went. It's odd that my lights are coming back on periodically. I already have the ballasts. I'll try installing and see if that fixes it.

    This is the ballast I bought...
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007R1C4EK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


    Incidentally, I do have the fogs on anytime mod. LOVE IT!!! When I'm driving on a back road and I turn on highs and fogs, it LIGHTS SHIT UP!!!!!!
     
  4. Jun 1, 2016 at 8:36 AM
    #4
    HawkShot99

    HawkShot99 Well-Known Member

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    Bad ground?
     
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  5. Jun 1, 2016 at 8:41 AM
    #5
    Veccster

    Veccster [OP] bass turds

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    I verified that both screws were securely anchored into the metal. Maybe I'll pull them both off tonight and rescrew them.
     
  6. Jun 1, 2016 at 8:44 AM
    #6
    medic2230

    medic2230 @Koditten Pirate Radio member #002

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    Is the relay in a place where it can get wet? I had a set do the same thing and they would even turn themselves on at times when the truck was off. Then they wouldn't work other times and I had to go bang on the relay to make them turn on. The relay can get water in it and cause problems like this.
     
  7. Jun 1, 2016 at 8:47 AM
    #7
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 Vehicle Design Engineer

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  8. Jun 1, 2016 at 8:57 AM
    #8
    Veccster

    Veccster [OP] bass turds

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    I just went outside to check. I gave them a few good whacks...nothing. I checked the grounds....nothing. Must be the ballasts.
     
  9. Jun 1, 2016 at 8:59 AM
    #9
    medic2230

    medic2230 @Koditten Pirate Radio member #002

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    You should only have one relay harness that runs to both of the ballasts. Is it mounted and in the proper position where water can't get inside it? That's kind of odd for both of the ballasts to go at one time unless something else caused it.

    Which HID set do you have?
     
  10. Jun 1, 2016 at 9:23 AM
    #10
    Capt. Obvious

    Capt. Obvious Fearless Keyboard Warrior

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    Your truck is trying to tell you to take the HIDs out of your halogen headlight housings because it's the wrong way to do it. Do it right, or don't do it.
     
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  11. Jun 1, 2016 at 9:56 AM
    #11
    Veccster

    Veccster [OP] bass turds

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    Well, when I get home, I'll try replacing one of the ballasts to see if that fixes it. If not, I guess I'll replace the relay. I get the kit from Retrofit Source.

    20160601_124518_zpse0kenai6_3186c30638e328e54ab95b4a8e38dd270ba46d35.jpg

    20160601_124331_zpstjwbsuzd_504a2043794ca3813066a3e71aca696f0386ec62.jpg

    20160601_124307_zps8c2rjyv2_c40ba2cb16c7998f08bd43ad85c6b67ed44c32c5.jpg
     
  12. Jun 1, 2016 at 10:22 AM
    #12
    Veccster

    Veccster [OP] bass turds

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    UPDATE - so I called Retrofit Source and the tech walked me through a few things. Turns out, it was bad connections to the harness. After jiggling it a bit, they came on. So something is lose. I ordered a new one (and a new relay) - $40 shipped. This should get me trucking again!

    I like the system I have. It may not be the best but I have it dialed in. I don't get flashed by oncoming drivers and the light is pretty intense. Add in the fogs when I'm on back roads and its like driving in daylight. Other systems look cool too but I'm sticking with what I got....until I upgrade to that sweet looking 3rd gen!
     
  13. Jun 1, 2016 at 11:00 AM
    #13
    sr5vic

    sr5vic Buy & Hodl

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    Get some proper projectors and quit being a dick by throwing light everywhere. regardless if you're being flashed or not you're still throwing light.
     
  14. Jun 1, 2016 at 11:17 AM
    #14
    VangaSTL

    VangaSTL Well-Known Member

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    As someone who used to work at a HID store. I can share with you some tech tips to diagnose your problem.

    Before you do anything check the pins on the fuse to see if they are corroded.

    1. Do both lights go out and come on together? If yes, problem is in your relay. likelyhood of both ballasts going out at the same time is ultra rare. If no, then you probably have a bad ballast. (skip to step 3)

    2. When your turn on your headlights AND the HIDs do not come on. Check to see if your relay in the harness is clicking as you turn on/off the switch. If yes, then your relay is getting signal to turn on. If no, problem is either your signal wire is not seated correctly on the factory plug or a bad relay.

    3. If you have a bad ballast. switch ballasts from right side to left and vice versa leaving the bulbs in place. Does the problem follow the ballast to the opposite side? If yes, you definitely have a bad ballast. If no, use the same technique to switch bulbs from left to right and observe if the problem follows the bulb. Could be a bad bulb.

    4. Take out the bulb and observe the color of the gas bubble inside the bulb as well as any fractures in pipe next to the lens. If the gas bubble inside is pitch black the gas inside has probably escaped leaving nothing inside to ignite. (NOTE bulbs will darken over time so if there is some discoloration no need to be alarmed). If there is a fracture in the pipe next to the bulb, you arent having proper flow in electricity causing no spark.

    Let me know if you have any more questions or need any more assistance. I'm fairly knowledgeable on the subject.
     
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  15. Jun 1, 2016 at 11:18 AM
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    VangaSTL

    VangaSTL Well-Known Member

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    Glad to see you got things worked out.
     
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  16. Jun 1, 2016 at 11:20 AM
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    VangaSTL

    VangaSTL Well-Known Member

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    That damn .01% got ya didn't it.
     
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  17. Jun 1, 2016 at 12:04 PM
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    AWorthyOpponent

    AWorthyOpponent Member Caught Off Road

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    Yeah, fuck me - right? Haha. Didn't realize that they were going out at the same time. That's strange

    Glad it worked out for you OP.



    That aside, you should really get Retros...totally worth the cash.
     
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  18. Jun 1, 2016 at 12:14 PM
    #18
    HawkShot99

    HawkShot99 Well-Known Member

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    So they have shitty connections, and rather than warranty them they make you buy a new set? sounds like a quality kit/company to deal with....
     
  19. Jun 1, 2016 at 12:17 PM
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    CanadaToy

    CanadaToy Well-Known Member

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    Are they anchored, or did you sand off the paint so it gets an actual proper connection?
     
  20. Jun 1, 2016 at 12:39 PM
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    Veccster

    Veccster [OP] bass turds

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    <snipped quote>

    Awesome post!!! Thank you for the tips. This will certainly help anyone else who might read this post with a similar issue.
    Do you have a link to a good set of Retro's? When I bought these back in 2010'ish, there wasn't a whole lot of other options. Obviously that has changed and more options are available.

    They've actually been pretty awesome to deal with. I called, they answered. Quickly walked me through some troubleshooting steps to identify the problem. They have a newer version of the harness and relay out and he recommended I upgrade....so I did.
    Though you might expect companies to do more and give out free replacements, I am personally happy with the service that I received.

    The grounds are sanded for a proper connection.
     

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