No Tail Lights at Night

Stereo, security systems, vehicle electronics, and electrical-related discussions
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ElectronWrangler
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2022 4:29 am

No Tail Lights at Night

Post by ElectronWrangler »

I am new to this forum. My son recently purchased a vibe and had an issue I'm working to solve. Here are the details.

The "Tail" Fuse keeps blowing. I disconnected the connection (that runs along the floor/door area panel right near the driver foot) to the back of the car for all the tail lights and it still blows. Then I thought since the manual says Tail is connected to "Front Parking Lamps, Taillamps, License Plate Lamps, Instrument Panel Lights, Engine Control System" I disconnected all the front lights bulbs thinking one of them might have shorted, but even with all of that disconnected it still blew. So now I'm down to looking at "Instrument Panel Lights, Engine Control System" next. (Yes I now I could have a short in the wiring to the front bulbs, but I'd to look at instrument panel lights and engine control system next.)

The backlight for the instrument panel is always on and does not respond to the dimmer switch. So my my next thought is a failed dimmer switch and that is what I'm going to disconnect yet. But the following would be helpful if anyone can advise.

1) Wiring diagram for lighting / Tail fuse circuit. (Or where I could get more service info.)
2) Any ideas or history people have with similar issue.

I love the look of the vibe and have always wanted to have a Pontiac. Finally able to get used ones I might be able to afford. Looking to fix this one up and get my son off to college in it and then probably get another vibe as a project car for my 14 year old son and me to work on so it is ready when he gets his license in two years.
andrewclaus
Posts: 405
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:38 pm
Location: Golden, CO

Re: No Tail Lights at Night

Post by andrewclaus »

When you say you disconnected the bulbs in front, did you unplug them or disconnect the wiring harness? Bulbs don't short out, they blow out. The fuse blows either because of an overload or a direct short to ground, probably the latter.

I have a diagram from a 2004 Corolla, similar but not identical to the Gen1 Vibe. There are too many places the TAIL fuse shows up to include, and there are substantial differences in chassis wiring from the Corolla to the Vibe.

The rheostat for the display could just be broken.

You'll probably need to hunt with a continuity tester to find the short to ground.

On another car, I solved a similar problem by disconnecting the cigarette lighter/power outlet. I would also suspect any aftermarket components in the dash.
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joatmon
Posts: 9748
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2003 5:19 am
Location: SMC MD

Re: No Tail Lights at Night

Post by joatmon »

Welcome to genvibe
ElectronWrangler wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 4:44 am
1) Wiring diagram for lighting / Tail fuse circuit. (Or where I could get more service info.)
2) Any ideas or history people have with similar issue.
1. There is a wiring diagram for the tail lights/illumination for a 2003 Matrix at download/file.php?id=5198 It should be the same as for a 2003-08 VIbe. You didn't say what year your Vibe was.

The TAIL relay is actually above the glove box (some pics in viewtopic.php?t=5078 )

2. Don't remember anyone here having that problem. Maybe someone did, but it is not a common failure in these cars, so there's no "usual suspect" to go after
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ElectronWrangler
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2022 4:29 am

Re: No Tail Lights at Night

Post by ElectronWrangler »

Okay we figured it out. Thanks for your input everyone.

The aftermarket radio when installed didn't need a backlight dimmer (like the OEM radio had) so the wires were disconnected. The wires had a insulation on them (restriped) for easy installation in the retrofit, but since the lines were not used they just were unconnected. Overtime the pre-strip insulation fell off and the wire shorted to ground blowing the fuse. (see image below).

Now we are back in business!
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joatmon
Posts: 9748
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2003 5:19 am
Location: SMC MD

Re: No Tail Lights at Night

Post by joatmon »

Glad to hear it, and thanks for letting us know what the issue was. Also nice you don't have to keep changing fuses in that under dash fuse block.
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