Dimming headlights and dash (yes, I read the sticky)
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Thread: Dimming headlights and dash (yes, I read the sticky)

  1. #1
    NECO Member spridget's Avatar
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    Dimming headlights and dash (yes, I read the sticky)

    First I noticed dimming headlights and dash lights when I applied the brakes while driving at night. My first attempt at a solution was to improve the ground wires from the battery. No change. Next, I noticed dimming headlights after completing a sub/amp install. The amp is smallish, ~300W RMS. The same setup was in my '97 Contour with no problems.

    I've only been driving the 2002 Cougar for a few weeks. While rebuilding the car and performing the 3L swap, I noticed the wire gauge used in the Cougar is thinner that what I've seen in Contours. I'm assuming Ford saved a few pennies and made this change. I rebuilt the engine harness in the Cougar using pieces from '97 and '98 Contours along with the '02 harness. I tried to used as much of the Contour wiring as possible, especially for the injectors, as the wire gauge is heavier.

    So, now I'm in the process of adding additional 4 gauge wire from the alternator to the battery. Does the "big 3" generally correct the dimming headlights?
    1999 SVT Contour 3L
    1998 SVT Contour - SOLD
    2002 Cougar Sport 3L - SOLD
    1997 Contour Sport 3L - RECYCLED

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  3. #2
    Administrator Lifetime Platinum MemberAdministrator wadespencer99's Avatar
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    Re: Dimming headlights and dash (yes, I read the sticky)

    You said you read the sticky, but did you do the fix that involves jumping a wire on the plug of the alternator over to the power wire?
    1999 Cougar | 2004 F150 FX4 Supercab
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    NECO Member spridget's Avatar
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    Re: Dimming headlights and dash (yes, I read the sticky)

    Quote Originally Posted by wadespencer99 View Post
    You said you read the sticky, but did you do the fix that involves jumping a wire on the plug of the alternator over to the power wire?
    TSB applies to '99-00. I have an '02.
    1999 SVT Contour 3L
    1998 SVT Contour - SOLD
    2002 Cougar Sport 3L - SOLD
    1997 Contour Sport 3L - RECYCLED

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    NECO Member spridget's Avatar
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    Re: Dimming headlights and dash (yes, I read the sticky)

    I upgraded the Big 3... only minor improvement with dimming headlights under braking. Weak battery maybe?
    1999 SVT Contour 3L
    1998 SVT Contour - SOLD
    2002 Cougar Sport 3L - SOLD
    1997 Contour Sport 3L - RECYCLED

  6. #5
    NECO Member Jackasmacka's Avatar
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    Re: Dimming headlights and dash (yes, I read the sticky)

    Check the battery, its free at any good auto parts store, if the alternator has a low output or you have a high draw on it it could be causing it to dim. Before my last alt went the dash lights would dim when the turn signal went and i didnt have that battery light go on in the dash until some weeks later.

  7. #6
    NECO Member spridget's Avatar
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    Re: Dimming headlights and dash (yes, I read the sticky)

    Just to update....

    I haven't bothered with this issue since it hasn't caused any real problems, just annoyance. The car starts fine on cold mornings. The alternator tests OK. The battery has 12.8V and checks out OK. I decided to swap the battery with one from my '99 Contour. Both batteries are the same age, about 4 years old. Both have the same CCA. However, the battery from the Contour has solved the problem of dimming lights. The original battery is weak even though it tests OK. The car cranks faster and lights do not dim anymore.
    1999 SVT Contour 3L
    1998 SVT Contour - SOLD
    2002 Cougar Sport 3L - SOLD
    1997 Contour Sport 3L - RECYCLED

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