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#4526330 - 09/26/17 02:13 AM Drivers side headlight works only sometimes
TheKracken Offline


Registered: 04/18/17
Posts: 515
Loc: Fort Worth TX
Howdy all, I have 280k Miles on my 04 sienna awd limited and I am about to take a 2k mile move to texas from seattle.

Anyway, the drivers side headlight only seems to work sometimes... I replaced the bulb twice now so I don't think that is the issue...I am not sure how to check what else it could be. It for the most part will turn on but I think it might go out while driving? And sometimes but less often it just won't turn on the first time.

I appreciate if someone could help me figure this out. The bulbs are Halogens I think (the expensive bulbs)
_________________________
2011 Prius 96k miles RLI 5w20
97 Toy T100 4x4: amsoil 0w20 242k Miles
04 Toy Sienna awd: Pennzoil 0w20 281k Miles

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#4526334 - 09/26/17 02:20 AM Re: Drivers side headlight works only sometimes [Re: TheKracken]
Kool1 Offline


Registered: 01/25/13
Posts: 906
Loc: California
Your intermittent bulb issue is probably caused by an intermittent connection. I would start by turning on the light and wiggling wires until the light goes out. You can also check your grounds for the headlight. Clean all the grounds and make sure they are properly connected.

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#4526342 - 09/26/17 02:44 AM Re: Drivers side headlight works only sometimes [Re: TheKracken]
Wolf359 Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4774
Loc: MA
Also those brighter bulbs tend to draw more current and in previous cars I had, people use to upgrade the wiring harness.

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#4526393 - 09/26/17 05:56 AM Re: Drivers side headlight works only sometimes [Re: TheKracken]
tcp71 Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 275
Loc: Alberta
There could be a relay dedicated to that headlight that is sticking intermittently. Check relay descriptions in the manual for one that controls that headlight.

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#4526410 - 09/26/17 06:40 AM Re: Drivers side headlight works only sometimes [Re: TheKracken]
mk378 Offline


Registered: 09/27/15
Posts: 1421
Loc: USA
Halogen bulbs are the common inexpensive kind. The expensive bulbs that light up bright white are HID's.

HID headlights have a ballast unit for each bulb to convert from 12 volts to a high voltage that the bulb requires. These ballasts can become intermittent or fail entirely.

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#4526428 - 09/26/17 07:18 AM Re: Drivers side headlight works only sometimes [Re: TheKracken]
mightymousetech Offline


Registered: 04/03/17
Posts: 1444
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: TheKracken

The bulbs are Halogens I think (the expensive bulbs)


Halgoens the "expensive bulb"? Uh, halogen are the cheap ones these days. Are they HID? An HID bulb usually runs about $100/bulb, as long as you are not buying a [censored] bulb.

When HIDs start having issues, only about a 50:50 chance of it being the bulb. The system is a lot more complex than that. Also, if you are not sure, be very careful, there is enough voltage in an HID system to kill you.
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#4526490 - 09/26/17 08:54 AM Re: Drivers side headlight works only sometimes [Re: mightymousetech]
SHOZ Offline


Registered: 06/28/03
Posts: 5751
Loc: Illinois
Originally Posted By: mightymousetech
Originally Posted By: TheKracken

The bulbs are Halogens I think (the expensive bulbs)


Halgoens the "expensive bulb"? Uh, halogen are the cheap ones these days. Are they HID? An HID bulb usually runs about $100/bulb, as long as you are not buying a [censored] bulb.

When HIDs start having issues, only about a 50:50 chance of it being the bulb. The system is a lot more complex than that. Also, if you are not sure, be very careful, there is enough voltage in an HID system to kill you.
Usually HIDs will flicker if it's a voltage or connection issue. They change color if it's a bulb issue.

The high voltage is used when starting the bulb. Once the arc is established the voltage drops way off. But the starting voltage is much like a spark plug voltage/amperage.

I have 8 ballast for HIDs on my two cars. Never had an issue with a ballast in over 5 years. They are not expensive brands.
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#4526525 - 09/26/17 09:30 AM Re: Drivers side headlight works only sometimes [Re: TheKracken]
MichiganMadMan Offline


Registered: 07/18/11
Posts: 250
Loc: SE Michigan
I just chased down this issue on a 2009 car.

The ground wire or attachment was bad somewhere after the lamp. It would usually be normal intensity, but sometimes would be as dim as a candle and occasionally out completely. This usually happened more when it was hot underhood. Solution was to run a new ground wire from the lamp to the nearest body grounding point, I shined up the connections while I was in there. Works great now.
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#4526537 - 09/26/17 09:40 AM Re: Drivers side headlight works only sometimes [Re: TheKracken]
oldoak2000 Offline


Registered: 07/23/14
Posts: 119
Loc: North TEXAS
Originally Posted By: TheKracken
Howdy all, I have 280k Miles on my 04 sienna awd limited and I am about to take a 2k mile move to texas from seattle.
Anyway, the drivers side headlight only seems to work sometimes... I replaced the bulb twice now so I don't think that is the issue...I am not sure how to check what else it could be. It for the most part will turn on but I think it might go out while driving? And sometimes but less often it just won't turn on the first time.
I appreciate if someone could help me figure this out. The bulbs are Halogens I think (the expensive bulbs)


Check wiring on that side, and check the FUSE for drivers-side HL (most vehicles have separate fuse for each side).

Problem could also be headlight On/Off switch -OR- HiBeam-LoBeam Switch(maybe integrated with turn-signal) . . .

Is it only the low-beam ?
I had similar problem on one vehicle that couldn't find the problem, and no time to further 'diagnose' so,
I setup a 'fix' with ( 12v relay + fuse + wire + splice connectors) like this: battery+ to fuse to relay contact; other contact to headlight low-beam.
Relay coil - one side to passenger low-beam wire, other to ground.
Wha-la - lowbeam 'FIXED'.

DO NOT 'go cheap' and try to 'direct connect' one side to the other - you'll likely blow fuses, overheat wiring, and burn-out switches/relays leaving you with NO headlights at all . . .

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#4526637 - 09/26/17 11:16 AM Re: Drivers side headlight works only sometimes [Re: TheKracken]
TheKracken Offline


Registered: 04/18/17
Posts: 515
Loc: Fort Worth TX
Sorry, yes they are the HID's. It is the low beam on the drivers side that only works sometimes. I will check fuses and see about checking ground wires and such but I am not very familiar with lighting systems.
_________________________
2011 Prius 96k miles RLI 5w20
97 Toy T100 4x4: amsoil 0w20 242k Miles
04 Toy Sienna awd: Pennzoil 0w20 281k Miles

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#4526657 - 09/26/17 11:38 AM Re: Drivers side headlight works only sometimes [Re: TheKracken]
Wolf359 Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4774
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: TheKracken
Sorry, yes they are the HID's. It is the low beam on the drivers side that only works sometimes. I will check fuses and see about checking ground wires and such but I am not very familiar with lighting systems.


Jeez, that's a big difference. Factory or aftermarket? Who knows what the deal might be if they're aftermarket, but maybe the same possibility. They use a ballast so the ballast could be bad. Same with the bulb, those cheap aftermarket system use sub-par $10 HID bulbs when real ones go for $50-$100. They flicker and go out which the OEM ones don't. If they're factory and you got cheap bulbs from China/eBay that may also be your problem.

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#4526664 - 09/26/17 11:44 AM Re: Drivers side headlight works only sometimes [Re: TheKracken]
Ursatdx Offline


Registered: 11/01/11
Posts: 132
Loc: New Jersey
If in fact they are HIDs it might be the headlight ECU or ballast.
Google "Toyota HID problems"
My Father's Avalon has issues with the HIDs.

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#4526727 - 09/26/17 01:10 PM Re: Drivers side headlight works only sometimes [Re: TheKracken]
TheKracken Offline


Registered: 04/18/17
Posts: 515
Loc: Fort Worth TX
It is all factory OEM and I didn't cheap out on the bulb. Not really sure how to check a ballast or ecu but I will try and figure it out laugh
_________________________
2011 Prius 96k miles RLI 5w20
97 Toy T100 4x4: amsoil 0w20 242k Miles
04 Toy Sienna awd: Pennzoil 0w20 281k Miles

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#4526769 - 09/26/17 01:56 PM Re: Drivers side headlight works only sometimes [Re: TheKracken]
mightymousetech Offline


Registered: 04/03/17
Posts: 1444
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: TheKracken
It is all factory OEM and I didn't cheap out on the bulb. Not really sure how to check a ballast or ecu but I will try and figure it out laugh


HID are usually pretty easy to diag, you have a complete set of good parts on the other side of the car. wink

Swap parts one by one until the other side has the problem, replace the last part swapped.

Just a reminder, never, ever, EVER turn the headlight on with it apart. 20,000 V is nothing to sneeze at.


Edited by mightymousetech (09/26/17 01:57 PM)
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#4527034 - 09/26/17 07:25 PM Re: Drivers side headlight works only sometimes [Re: mightymousetech]
Wolf359 Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4774
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: mightymousetech
Originally Posted By: TheKracken
It is all factory OEM and I didn't cheap out on the bulb. Not really sure how to check a ballast or ecu but I will try and figure it out laugh


HID are usually pretty easy to diag, you have a complete set of good parts on the other side of the car. wink

Swap parts one by one until the other side has the problem, replace the last part swapped.

Just a reminder, never, ever, EVER turn the headlight on with it apart. 20,000 V is nothing to sneeze at.


Yeah, that's pretty much it. Normally you swap the bulbs from one side to the other. If it follows, it's the bulb, if it does the same thing, it's the ballast. Bulb may have been fake. Amazon mixes their inventory with 3rd party sellers so even if you buy it from Amazon, you can get a fake bulb from one of their 3rd party sellers.

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