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Discussion Starter #1
I'm really new at this, so if this is a stupid question, I apologize ahead of time.

When I set my light dimmer switch to the low beam setting, the headlight dims to about the brightness of parking lights on a car, and the headlight failure light comes on. If I set the switch to somewhere between Hi and Lo, the failure light shuts off, and the headlight seems to be lit at about the regular low beam brightness. If I set the switch to Hi, the high beam light comes on as normal, and the headlight seems to be as bright as the high beam should be.

My question is, is this normal? What I gather from reading the manual is that this is not normal. My VN is from 1998 and I bought it used. Could it be the result of a mod the previous owner did?
 

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Prowling Tiger
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No, should have low beams when set to low and hi-beams when set to high. No middle setting. Sounds something wrong with switch contacts or the wiring.
 

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It sounds to me like your bulb is bad....low beam may be burned out.
The Reserve Lightning Unit is using your high beam element at half brightness to cover the low beam....because the low beam is burned out.

This is normal....the RLU was designed to do this so you would still have some light when the bulb burns out.....replace the bulb.

As far as having any contacts or lights with the switch in the half between hi and low.....that is not how it was intended to be used.....that is just an incidental observation.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It sounds to me like your bulb is bad....low beam may be burned out.
The Reserve Lightning Unit is using your high beam element at half brightness to cover the low beam....because the low beam is burned out.

This is normal....the RLU was designed to do this so you would still have some light when the bulb burns out.....replace the bulb.

As far as having any contacts or lights with the switch in the half between hi and low.....that is not how it was intended to be used.....that is just an incidental observation.
You know what, that actually all makes sense. I'll swap out the bulb in a few days when I have the chance...and in the event that doesn't fix it, I'll go with blazblu's suggestion that it could be a problem with the switch or the wiring.
 

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..have a vulcan good day!
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You know what, that actually all makes sense. I'll swap out the bulb in a few days when I have the chance...and in the event that doesn't fix it, I'll go with blazblu's suggestion that it could be a problem with the switch or the wiring.
Go with the bulb !

:smiley_th
 
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Hey, I will sell you the new bulb I needlessly bought when I had the same symptoms.

Is dim, really really dim? If so, that is not the way the RLD works. When you burn the low element, the RLD should automatically transplant the high beam @ reduced voltage.

edit- I would test the bulb w/auxiliary power source. I plugged mine into my '92 S-10.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey, I will sell you the new bulb I needlessly bought when I had the same symptoms.

Is dim, really really dim? If so, that is not the way the RLD works. When you burn the low element, the RLD should automatically transplant the high beam @ reduced voltage.

edit- I would test the bulb w/auxiliary power source. I plugged mine into my '92 S-10.
I wouldn't say it's really really dim. It's not bright enough to use at night, but you can still tell that it's lit.
 

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Chasin' the blacktop
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With dimmer than expected lights (filament type bulb which we have) it's usually low voltage. If the problem is only at low engine rpm's (under 1500 rpm) it could just be a weak battery (several potential causes but probably just a bad battery). If the headlight is still dim at higher rpms you probably have a problem with your charging system.
With the filament type bulbs we have they generally work or they don't so I doubt it's a headlight issue although a loose or corroded headlight wire connection could do it but unlikely. Get a voltage meter out and test your voltage to the battery with the engine over 1500 rpm. If it's below 13v you've got a charging issue.
 

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"and the headlight failure light comes on"

This was the obvious clue. The headlight indicator on the dash will only come on fully bright when a filament is out. I believe that over thinking troubleshooting issues is not helping......go for the obvious stuff first.

And I would suggest replacing it with a Silverstar Ultra bulb.
 

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..have a vulcan good day!
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"and the headlight failure light comes on"

This was the obvious clue. The headlight indicator on the dash will only come on fully bright when a filament is out. I believe that over thinking troubleshooting issues is not helping......go for the obvious stuff first.

And I would suggest replacing it with a Silverstar Ultra bulb.
SilverStar Ultra 9003/HB2 H4 Headlamp...
available @ Walmart or Auto Parts Store.
I purchased a Pair for $2.00+ more than a single, I still have a spare. LOL

:smiley_th
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well I just replaced the bulb. Still no difference. The low beam filament is really dim and the failure light comes on when the switch is all the way on lo, it lights up to normal brightness and the warning light shuts off when you move the switch up a little bit towards hi, and then switched all the way to hi, the high beam works like normal. Could the problem be the switch itself? I can get the low beam to work normally, so it's not a huge problem, but it's just kind of annoying that I have to find a sweet spot if I want to use the low beam.


Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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Well I just replaced the bulb. Still no difference. The low beam filament is really dim and the failure light comes on when the switch is all the way on lo, it lights up to normal brightness and the warning light shuts off when you move the switch up a little bit towards hi, and then switched all the way to hi, the high beam works like normal. Could the problem be the switch itself? I can get the low beam to work normally, so it's not a huge problem, but it's just kind of annoying that I have to find a sweet spot if I want to use the low beam.


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have you tried switching from hi to low beam multiple times (with power off, then with power on) in an attempt to clear off any oxidation of switch contacts?

Kenny
 

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Hey, I will sell you the new bulb I needlessly bought when I had the same symptoms.

Is dim, really really dim? If so, that is not the way the RLD works. When you burn the low element, the RLD should automatically transplant the high beam @ reduced voltage.

edit- I would test the bulb w/auxiliary power source. I plugged mine into my '92 S-10.
........

edit-On mine, both high/low elements were on w/dimmer switch on high. IMO, the bulb will not last when switched to high for some time.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
have you tried switching from hi to low beam multiple times (with power off, then with power on) in an attempt to clear off any oxidation of switch contacts?

Kenny
I have not...I'll definitely give that a try before I take any drastic measures, such as taking apart the switch (or taking it somewhere to have the switch replaced).

wmsonta said:
edit-On mine, both high/low elements were on w/dimmer switch on high. IMO, the bulb will not last when switched to high for some time.
Luckily, that's not happening here. Hi is just the high beam filament, Lo is just the low beam filament, either dim with the warning light, or a normal low beam brightness without warning light, depending on whether or not I've hit the "sweet spot" on the switch.
 

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Well....it appears you will need to open up the switch to clean it.

Sorry if you feel that buying the bulb was a waste of money.....at least you have a spare now.
 

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Well....it appears you will need to open up the switch to clean it.
I'll throw the X2 on that, since you have to find a sweet spot in the switch to get the low beam, the contacts must be misaligned and/or dirty. I'm pretty sure these switches have been cleaned or repaired successfully, should be some past posts on it.

You could try some contact cleaner and repeated switching back and forth, or just try it without a cleaner, but there's usually no substitute for getting eyes on the problem spot.
 

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Sparky!!!
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Luckily, that's not happening here. Hi is just the high beam filament, Lo is just the low beam filament, either dim with the warning light, or a normal low beam brightness without warning light, depending on whether or not I've hit the "sweet spot" on the switch.
Edit/Delete Message
This sounds like a problem with the Reserve Lighting Unit. The Low beam light is supposed to faintly burn when every thing works, but not the way you are describing.
 

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..have a vulcan good day!
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This sounds like a problem with the Reserve Lighting Unit. The Low beam light is supposed to faintly burn when every thing works, but not the way you are describing.
I've been waiting for you (Slim) to post...you are almost always correct in your advice. :p

:smiley_th
 

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I agree with Slim's thinking, but if you don't get to the contacts in the ignition puck, you won't know for sure. The RLU is not repairable....and to be honest I have not heard of many failing.

try THIS first and if it doesn't help then we can go from that point forward and continue troubleshooting it.
 
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