head light 'flicker'? - Impala Tech
Electrical & Wiring Troubleshooting electrical problems

 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-22-2017, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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head light 'flicker'?

While simply checking all my lights on my '63 Impala, I noticed the tail lights were not working with the switch in the 'headlights on' position. They did illuminate with the switch in the 'parking lights on' position. I reached under the dash and 'fiddled' with the connector to the switch and all was operational.

Today I pulled the headlight dash switch to do a house keeping on the connectors. Cleaned up everything re-assembled and re-installed. Everything was working as it should; almost. With the headlights 'on' AND the turn signals engaged, I noticed a VERY slight 'flicker' of the head lights 'in time' with the turn signal 'blink'. Looking directly at the head light bulb, I don't see the 'flicker' (with my old eyes). Looking at the garage wall is where I 'see' it. The 'flicker' is SO fast it is ALMOST imperceptible. I do not notice any 'dimming' of the head lights.

I am not an electrician. What could cause that?

It may have been like that before I messed with it, I do not know, I didn't perform a tun signal test w/headlights on.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-22-2017, 07:25 PM
BA.
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It's not completely abnormal. It just implies that the total electrical draw is a bit more than can be provided.

One cause might be older, crusty wiring, or a weak battery or alternator. I don't think you said if the car was running or not. An old small-block and stock alternator at idle doesn't have good output, the RPM's have to come up a good bit to get decent output. That's one reason its nice to do the newer 'one-wire' alternator upgrade and get a quality one, like from PowerMaster. You can get better output at lower RPM's.

This may or may not be relevant for you but your description reminded me of an old Bronco I had with 2 large subwoofers and a large amp and even a decent capacitor to 'store' a charge. When I had the music cranked, that bass would still make my headlights dim visibly. Not sure if you've ever seen/heard that but your situation is similar.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-22-2017, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BA. View Post
It's not completely abnormal. It just implies that the total electrical draw is a bit more than can be provided.

One cause might be older, crusty wiring, or a weak battery or alternator. I don't think you said if the car was running or not. An old small-block and stock alternator at idle doesn't have good output, the RPM's have to come up a good bit to get decent output. That's one reason its nice to do the newer 'one-wire' alternator upgrade and get a quality one, like from PowerMaster. You can get better output at lower RPM's.

This may or may not be relevant for you but your description reminded me of an old Bronco I had with 2 large subwoofers and a large amp and even a decent capacitor to 'store' a charge. When I had the music cranked, that bass would still make my headlights dim visibly. Not sure if you've ever seen/heard that but your situation is similar.
Thanks.

I did not say, but the car was at idle and has an original type alternator and voltage regulator. I'll run the car a few miles and make sure the battery is fully charged and check again.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 06:31 PM
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Probably a grounding issue. Make sure the you have following ground wires in place:
- Instrument panel to body.
- Engine to body.
- Negative battery post to body.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-30-2017, 04:40 PM
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Had the same issue with my '65 when I upgraded my lights, turned out to be a grounding issue. I installed a relay harness from Hella to fix the problem.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks to all.

I'll check all grounds next time I mess with it.
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