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1997 Ford Explorer headlights won't turn off..HELP

Posted by nancy420 (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 12, 06 at 10:04

Last night when I arrived home from a 12 hours roadtrip and parked my 1997 Ford Explorer in the driveway, I noticed that the headlights would turn off for a couple of moments then turn back on. Even the little headlight button on the dash lite up. We had to disconnect the battery because we didn't want the battery to die on us.

If anyone knows what is wrong and/or knows how to fix it, please reply to this posting.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: 1997 Ford Explorer headlights won't turn off..HELP

Replace the lighting control module.


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RE: 1997 Ford Explorer headlights won't turn off..HELP

Nice guess chad. Now would that be like changing the whole fuel system for a clogged filter if your wrong?

Nancy, does this have DRL's? (Daytime Running Lights?)
Does this have an aftermarket security system?
Does this have a windshield/cowl water leak?

All three of those topics have been known to cause the symptom of the headlights coming on by themselves. The multifunction switch in the column can actually do it too. The best way to approach this is to test during an event where the lamps are staying on. FWIW there is no "lighting module", there is a DRL module, and a GEM module, the second of which needs the replacement to be programmed. The trouble here is that a bad guess can cost you hundreds of dollars in the wrong part being replaced. If there is a GEM module/fuse block corrosion problem, you need to do more than just replace the parts. You need to look for a water leak, such as in the windshield/cowl area.


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RE: 1997 Ford Explorer headlights won't turn off..HELP

John G: are you going to trot out one tired old comment from me forever now? Or will you come up with a new argument after a couple of weeks? You're exactly the type I was talking about before. The "holier than thou, I have the only right answer and anyone else who dares to speak up is wrong" person that every auto forum has. Maybe we should rename it from the Cars Forum to The John G Forum. lol


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RE: 1997 Ford Explorer headlights won't turn off..HELP

**Maybe we should rename it from the Cars Forum to The John G Forum**

If it were and he agreed to answer all the questions, it would certainly be more educational. Being a current mechanic, his approach is diagnos first and then repair. That is the correct way for a professional to proceed. His answers always reflect that.

Your answer reflects the play the odds and throw parts at it approach. That can work too, especially if you had the same year make and model of vehicle with the same problem, and the word on the steet is that a lot of them do the same thing. That's not the approach a good mechanic is going to take though. When talking about $100+ parts, one doesn't have to guess wrong to many times before it would have made more sense to pay someone who's up to speed $60 to diagnos it.


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RE: 1997 Ford Explorer headlights won't turn off..HELP

"Maybe we should rename it from the Cars Forum to The John G Forum."

Hmmmmmm.... dang it boy! That is by far the best suggestion you've had thus far! It DOES have a nice ring to it. ;-)

Nancy, I have seen more than a few Ford Generic Electronic Modules do all sorts of weird stuff like that. The GEM module is responsible for controlling many accessories including your lighting system. Sometimes the module goes bad from a faulty windshield seal allowing water to enter the passenger compartment and leak into the module. In many cases, cusomers could not see or smell the water intrusion.

Of course, this is not to say that there could not be some other component at fault. Only a qualified and knowledgeable repair facility can tell you for sure. Please post your FIX once you find out.


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RE: 1997 Ford Explorer headlights won't turn off..HELP

No chad, I'm not gonna keep dragging that around, I think I made my point. :)

As far as being holier than thou?, Heck not a chance. I got thirty years worth of scars from learning about cars. Working on cars has a way of teaching you things you never wanted to know, because it gives you the test first, and the lesson (hopefully) afterwards. So when I see certain comments that come across as disrespectful of just how hard auto repair really is, I take them to task. Compare my next short paragraph to virtually anyone elses career.

After thirty years of fixing cars, today I have more to learn ahead of me than I ever did at any time in my career. That is how fast the technology is changing. I have spent some $200,000 on tools, equipment, and software to date, and yet I have a greater expense ahead of me, than I have ever had at anytime in my career, if I am to stay fully up to date. Once again, thats because of how fast the technology, and the tools to support it are changing.

I just spent the last two evenings, sharing every trick, and detail of knowledge that I have about Ford's 7.3l diesel, with 50 other techs from shops all around mine. These guys are all my competition, and I'm doing everything I can to help them be the best techs they can be for their customers. So I don't need "this" forum, I have one that really counts IMO and it's with my peers in the field. Oh, and if your wondering, I don't cut them any slack at all. If they try and take on work that they haven't been trained for, or don't have the right equipment for, I tell them exactly how it is. I do the same thing here, the motto is "Test, don't guess".

Stick around chad, and just watch how someone new will roll in here in the future, and take shots at auto repair technicians out of "the old worn out stereotype". Then sit back and laugh as you see me not only help them figure their car out, but rattle them a bit just as I did you. Trust me when I say, I don't fit the stereotype, and neither do the fifty other techs that I just spent the last two evenings with.


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