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Old 08-05-2011, 05:13 PM   #1
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Default VERY dim headlights

Just bought a 94 Grand Cherokee. Needs some work but the first problem is the headlights. Very, very dim. Can hardly see the road.

Thought it might be the alternator. Used to be we could disconnect the battery and the engine would stop if the alternator was bad. It kept running when I did this.

What should I be checking?
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:24 PM   #2
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it should have a voltage gauge on the dash. should read in the middle (14 volts)
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:32 PM   #3
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buddy of mine told me how to fix that

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyordie
Dude, pull out one of your headlights... flick the switch and test the voltage at the pigtails.

If its below 12.3V with highbeams, ur wiring is crap. I pull 14.2V with my highbeams on after the rewire and got an extra 100-120ft in distance and 40% better light area along the side sweep. I can see deer n **** so much easier. I also don't even use the 55w running lights I did use prior to the upgrade.

At bare minimum it should be 13.7V as thats what halogens are rated at for full light output.
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:44 PM   #4
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Do the headlights have a yellow oxidation on them? Get a headlight restore kit and it should help a little in the lens area.

As for wiring, is there any corrosion on the connections for the lamps? How about the wires? if so, clean the corrosion off with a wire brush and retest.

Also, try replacing the bulbs, over time a light bulb's filament will get weak, producing very dim light.

Another thing to try is a resistance test, there should be little to no ohm's resistance.
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Old 08-06-2011, 02:00 PM   #5
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The gauge is pegged at about 14. Stays right there.

I'll check the lenses this morning, clean them and check for corrosion.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1996XJSport View Post
Do the headlights have a yellow oxidation on them? Get a headlight restore kit and it should help a little in the lens area.

As for wiring, is there any corrosion on the connections for the lamps? How about the wires? if so, clean the corrosion off with a wire brush and retest.

Also, try replacing the bulbs, over time a light bulb's filament will get weak, producing very dim light.

Another thing to try is a resistance test, there should be little to no ohm's resistance.
hey man,

sorry for reviving an old post but I'm curious to if you fixed the issue. I just picked up a 96 XJ and have the exact same problem. A buddy has a 96 too and has the same issue. I haven't done any troubleshooting yet and will check the voltage sometime this week.

My battery reads between 12 and 14 but normally 14.
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:12 AM   #7
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I had the same problem, I got new headlights and that fixed it.

But seeing how this thread is over 2 years old, the guys probably fixed it by now.
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
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hey man,

sorry for reviving an old post but I'm curious to if you fixed the issue. I just picked up a 96 XJ and have the exact same problem. A buddy has a 96 too and has the same issue. I haven't done any troubleshooting yet and will check the voltage sometime this week.

My battery reads between 12 and 14 but normally 14.
You probably need to upgrade the headlight harness. Its a weak point on these trucks. Heres a fairly recent thread with a how to.

http://www.cherokeeforum.com/f2/head...inners-182360/
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carbuff View Post
You probably need to upgrade the headlight harness. Its a weak point on these trucks. Heres a fairly recent thread with a how to.

http://www.cherokeeforum.com/f2/head...inners-182360/
Yup upgrading the harness makes a huge difference. If you don't feel like building one though, Get the putco harness. It works great!
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:51 AM   #10
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I need to do this so badly. My headlights suck, but I am terrified of electricity. I have no understanding of it, ha ha.
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:45 PM   #11
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I just realized that the op has a zj. Why is it in xj tech? Anyway, I dont believe theres a harness problem with the zjs, probably just oxidized plastic housings. But for xjs the harness is the fix.
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:58 PM   #12
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Don't overlook the grounds. There is a ground strap attached to the frame by the battery. I found my ground in bad shape when I installed my putco harness. Might not have needed it.
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyB View Post
Don't overlook the grounds. There is a ground strap attached to the frame by the battery. I found my ground in bad shape when I installed my putco harness. Might not have needed it.
Youu still needed it you now have a more direct power supply going to your headlight causing them to be brighter.
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:50 PM   #14
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A lot of times headlights go dim or brown is because of grounds, either at the headlight harness or just the connectors. Why do you think they sell the bulb connectors separately? ANY TIME you have electrical problems on an older car, check the grounds first.
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