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Reverse light problem....... AGAIN!

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by LUCKY 7, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. LUCKY 7

    LUCKY 7 Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    Our 88 Chev. 3500 keeps losing the reverse lights. When we first got this truck they didn't work and discovered that the park/rev/neu switch at the base of the column was fried. Now they are not working again.:realmad: The only answer I get from the locals is "yeah that's typical". I would really like some input on how to take care of this problem. (B&B perhaps??) Even though the part is not very expensive, it's not real fun to stand on my head trying to install it- especially if you have to do it often. Thanks for your help
     
  2. chp

    chp Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    Install a relay in the circut and that should thake care of the problem
     
  3. LUCKY 7

    LUCKY 7 Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    Thanks for the reply. Sounds simple enough. Any further advice on how & where I should do this? It's in a tough area to work- can I install it somewhere else in the system? I'm not the greatest when it comes to electrical but I would like to try to get this fixed.
    Thanks again!
     
  4. Snowzilla

    Snowzilla Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 397

    I've replaced the steering column plastic switch you are talking about to alleviate having to wiggle my shift lever so the lights come on in an '89 K1500. It didn't make much difference. I still have to wiggle the lever sometimes. I recall the switch you replaced does have some ratchet like slide adjustment to tune the switch to working correctly. I think my shift lever just has too much free play.
     
  5. LUCKY 7

    LUCKY 7 Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    The last time it was replaced, part of it looked melted and brown like it got really hot. They worked for a while so it's not happening immediately. Don't understand.
     
  6. Snowzilla

    Snowzilla Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 397

    Oh I didn't catch the part where you said switch if fried. Do you have additional lamps running off your reverse light circuit? If so, this additional load is probably the culrpit. If this is the case - do what chp said. Have the oem reverse light hot wire trigger a relay which carries the load to the accessory lights.

    I have done this on my '89 pickup. I run a couple 55w. driving lights under rear bumper. I managed to find the hot wire for the oem backup lights coming through the firewall so I didn't have to run a wire into the cab. I put a driving lamp relay on the inner fenderwell and ran a dedicated hot feed to the rear.

    If this is not the case I am puzzled because something must be drawing excess current.
     
  7. chp

    chp Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    Sorry was at work when you asked about the relay fix. Snowzilla has the correct fix in his post. If you need anything more specific let me know
     
  8. LUCKY 7

    LUCKY 7 Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    Actually, I don't have any acc. lights hooked up on it yet- that's what makes it even more strange.
     
  9. Snowzilla

    Snowzilla Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 397

    Hmmm. I guess if it was drawing excess current it should blow your fuse. Are you certain it is the switch. If that is an a 1988 it would be first year of the new body style. You could remove your taillight lens and inspect the circuit board you remove to change a light bulb for corrosion for electrical green fungus. I have replaced mine 2x since oem. You can get these in the Help! section at auto stores for around $30. Sometimes I have no more than wiggled a bulb to get something working. Maybe even replace your bulbs.

    Other than that I am out of ideas. It shouldn't be melting. I agree, that switch is awkward to replace.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  10. LUCKY 7

    LUCKY 7 Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    The last time I looked at it, I checked with a test light at the tail light and there was no juice. That led me to assume that the switch is fried again (guessing). I'm out of ideas too. The responses have been great guys- keep 'em coming- I really appreciate it.
     
  11. Steve'sZr2

    Steve'sZr2 Member
    Messages: 86

    Just an idea, but try chasing down the grounds on the rear frame. Take them off, clean everything up and inspect the terminals. (and check out the rest of the wire harness and see if anyhting is shorting out or what not.
    hope that helps.
     
  12. chp

    chp Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    Another thing to check is the connector from the main tail light harness that runs down the left frame rail to the short one that runs side to side. I,m pretty sure the connector is below the left rear tail light. The ground is also on the left rear frame or on the left side of the rear most cross member .
     
  13. LUCKY 7

    LUCKY 7 Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    Sounds like some good places to check- won't be able to tonight though.
     
  14. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    If you're only running the stock B/U lamps there's no need for a relay. Millions of trucks out there with the same setup as yours don't require a relay to prolong the life of the NSBU switch. The actual issue is possibly what some of the guys already touched on...too much resistance in the B/U lamp circuit. Start with the grounds and rear harness connection as they mentioned but the real issue may be the circuit boards on the rear of the tail lamp housing. They're well know to corrode and cause issues such as excess draw and of course dead bulb sockets eventually.

    You also have to be sure the connector pins in the plug on the NSBU are not now oxidized from the excessive heat as that itself will create excessive resistance thus heat and burn the switch up again.
     
  15. LUCKY 7

    LUCKY 7 Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    Thanks for all the help. Now with a little luck maybe I'll find the problem. I'm glad there's such a great resource like this to get the answers we need.