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Old 09-09-2019, 10:24 PM   #1
doug022984
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Default Reverse / Backup Lights Blink

Despite passing inspection, I've noticed that my reverse lights blink when backing up. I've been trying to see if it's effected by the brake light pedal at all, but doesn't seem to be. They don't blink in perfect cadence like a turn signal, but don't really ever go on solid for more than a second either. I can do a youtube video if anyone is interested.

I read on some older threads that there isn't actually a reverse switch, but a transistor? Is that possibly the problem (hoping not).

Some other data in case it's pertinent:
-both sides blink, so seems to be a circuit issue, not bulbs
-brake lights all work fine
-I thought it was the aftermarket, non-powered, trailer harness the PO had on there, but I've removed all of that and currently have no trailer harness connected. Still same issue
-passenger side tail light assembly had a crack and was partially filled with water at one point. I replaced the bulb holder and cover. Still have problem.
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Old 09-10-2019, 01:52 AM   #2
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Default Re: Reverse / Backup Lights Blink

Hmmm ...if it was an NCV3, i'd say:
I'd be suspicious that there's a short circuit somewhere along the way, causing enough load to have the transistor shut off to save itself.

BUT you have a 2004. The switch (with a transistor) is inside the shift lever assembly.
There is going to be a splice somewhere so that the one wire gets to both bulbs.
S320 in this diagram. I'd try to chase it down and see if it's loose or shorting to body metal.

ReverseLights2004.png

You could probe the wire with a voltmeter at connector 202 ... see if the voltage there is hopping up and down (indicative of a short), or if it's stable (indicative of a simple loose wire downstream).

--dick (drawing from 2004 service manual, available at: http://www.diysprinter.co.uk/reference/ )
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Old 09-10-2019, 12:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: Reverse / Backup Lights Blink

My shifters transistor crapped out long ago. My current plan is to wire an external power/switching mosfet. Then use the shifters output to trigger that. The shifter can produce a few mA, but it can't power the lights themselves.
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Old 09-10-2019, 02:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Reverse / Backup Lights Blink

Quote:
Originally Posted by autostaretx View Post
I'd try to chase it down and see if it's loose or shorting to body metal.

Attachment 118312

You could probe the wire with a voltmeter at connector 202 ... see if the voltage there is hopping up and down (indicative of a short), or if it's stable (indicative of a simple loose wire downstream).

--dick (drawing from 2004 service manual, available at: http://www.diysprinter.co.uk/reference/ )
Thanks. I'll start there. One other thing I noticed when doing a night video of light function last night in case it's related. My bottom tail lights are both out. I replaced these with the proper bulbs when I replaced the light socket and cover a year or more ago (can't remember if I actually verified they worked after that though). Both bulbs look brand new and unused (not burned out). All fuses under the steering wheel are good. All fuses under the seat are good. I didn't check socket holder for voltage yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midwestdrifter View Post
My shifters tra nsistor crapped out long ago. My current plan is to wire an external power/switching mosfet. Then use the shifters output to trigger that. The shifter can produce a few mA, but it can't power the lights themselves.
Sounds like a good work around, but also probably too advanced for my abilities. My electrical skills tend to end at checking voltages, currents, and continuity. Knowing what size Mosfet to procure and how to wire it in without instructions is beyond me. Whenever you do this, post a writeup. I can usually follow instructions well.
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Reverse / Backup Lights Blink

Quote:
Originally Posted by doug022984 View Post
...Thanks. I'll start there. One other thing I noticed when doing a night video of light function last night in case it's related. My bottom tail lights are both out. I replaced these with the proper bulbs when I replaced the light socket and cover a year or more ago (can't remember if I actually verified they worked after that though). Both bulbs look brand new and unused (not burned out). All fuses under the steering wheel are good. All fuses under the seat are good. I didn't check socket holder for voltage yet.

...
That is probably an easy one. If both rear lamp units are aftermarket you need to screw them.

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...924#post763924

As to the blinking lamps.
Even with a transistor involved, in my opinion an intermittent ground on the 12+ volt power wiring would take out a fuse or pop a solid state component.

Both side lamps blink? It is not likely a single lamp assembly/ground issue.

I would be looking for a loose connection somewhere, or possibly that the reverse switch is wonky.

A temporary indicator light on the shifter module reverse wire should verify the shifter module and switch. If the temporary light off the shifter doesn't blink, you have a harness issue further downstream.

vic

Added:
From another thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerball0 View Post
I hear ya. A couple of years back i bought pattern part bulb holders (knowingly to save money) for the back lights and had no end of electrical problems (think DJ's disco lights whenever you switched them on) switched out to OEM parts and everything was fine, was definitely a case of buy cheap buy twice.
...
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Reverse / Backup Lights Blink

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua Puttana View Post
That is probably an easy one. If both rear lamp units are aftermarket you need to screw them.
It was almost that simple. The one I replaced was indeed an aftermarket (although I purchased it from EuropartsSD which they claim as OEM) and jumping in your screw location turned the light on. However, the other one that I didn't replace has a factory jumper installed already (so it's presumably OEM). That one didn't come on... even when putting a second jumper in to make sure it was good. I swapped bulb holders between the sides as well as bulbs and had same results (as in non-working bulb followed the holder), so it would appear that the older, OEM bulb holder needs replacing also.

Anyone know sources for the holders that don't need a jumper installed other than the stealership? It would appear Europarts doesn't sell the correct US versions.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: Reverse / Backup Lights Blink

Your OEM unit porbably has a bad spring connection. If yes, that can be repaired with a hairpin of solid wire or other conducting wedge.

Info here.
https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...692#post591692

Quote:
Originally Posted by doug022984 View Post
...

Anyone know sources for the holders that don't need a jumper installed other than the stealership? It would appear Europarts doesn't sell the correct US versions.
If you refer back to the link I gave you I believe that I gave the part number for the Dorman copper trace unit. The one that I received had the OEM style jumper.

The above said, the sheet metal screw is a permanent fix. It is more reliable than the OEM lamp holder spring connections which corrode. (OEM and aftermarket use those spring connections though. After my first failure I now apply Vaseline to all of the spring connections.)

vic
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: Reverse / Backup Lights Blink

You were right again. Spring clips. The one in the tail/brake lamp socket was one fiddle away from not contacting also. I didn't have any wire like you were suggesting, so I tried other things as well as bending and poking the spring clips. Ultimately I made them even worse because the plastic grooves they sat in were worn. I didn't feel as bad once I noticed my "OEM" bulb holder was actually one of the ebay Chinese knockoffs. A Dorman one is now on the way.

I'll go back to my reverse lamp diagnosis once the new bulb holder is in (secretly hoping the new bulb holder will somehow fix the reverse lights blinking).
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Reverse / Backup Lights Blink

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua Puttana View Post
A temporary indicator light on the shifter module reverse wire should verify the shifter module and switch. If the temporary light off the shifter doesn't blink, you have a harness issue further downstream. .
I probed the reverse light wire coming off the shift lever assembly with a test light and it does the same intermittent blinking as the reverse lights. Does this mean my shifter assembly transistor is officially bad?
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: Reverse / Backup Lights Blink

Looks like it. Last thing to rule out is voltage from fuse block 1 and fuse condition. See attached schematic.
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File Type: jpg 050BackupLamp.jpg (56.1 KB, 29 views)
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