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Old 12-09-2008, 07:11 PM   #1
Subie_Sleeper68
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Default Headlight flicker?

Ok. Here's another oddball question about or truckcarthings . Since day 1 my Baja has had what looks like a tiny voltage drop when I have my lights on at night. It did this BEFORE I added an amp to my stereo. I'll be driving at normal to highway speeds and for a split second the lights will dim the tinniest bit and come right back. I'm planning on getting H.I.D. s and my concern is will that voltage drop cause the ballasts to restart leaving me with just the DRLs for a second? Has anyone else had this issue? I've had my alternator and voltage regulator checked by a tech at work and he said that they're both fine. I never feel a hesitation or loss of power when it happens so that should rule out the alternator anyway. HELP?!
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Old 12-09-2008, 07:21 PM   #2
su-be3
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Cool

I have noticed the same thing since day one, and I can't find anything wrong with the system. I have no add-ons (save my satelite radio, and I don't see how that would affect anything), but I do have the towing light wiring package, along with the tow bar. Again, I don't think that would do anything, as it is all Subaru parts.
I recently replaced the factory battery, cleaned all connections and I am still seeing the drop off of the lights. It may be normal, but the 2003 Outback I had never did it, and my Tribeca doesn't do it either.
Anyone have any answers?
Keep it under 90, folks!
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Old 12-09-2008, 11:34 PM   #3
machinegreen
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Its the air conditioner/ heater i noticed it on mine too. the car will idle at a higher rpm off and on when the heater or air conditioner is on and during those times the lights will dim.
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Old 12-10-2008, 08:13 AM   #4
Hawk296
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Also, If you are planning HIDs, you will want to disable the DRLs. The DRLs work by adding resistance to the headlights (same bulb, just running at a lower voltage) With HIDs, this will mean the ballasts will be receiving low voltage any time the lights are off and just DRLs are on. This isnt good and can sometimes cause a strobing effect where the lights will flicker on and off.

Almost all cars will be more dim at idle as the alternator is not producing as much electricity. if you bump up the engine speed a few hundred RPM (which also happens when the A/C compressor kicks on as stated above) you should see an increase in voltage as well as slightly brighter headlights. In fact, at idle with headlights and the blower motor running on high, I can hear the fan speed change slightly when the turn signal is turned on and flashing. My voltage gauge shows about a half of a volt drop in these situations, even though it is still well within spec.
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:52 AM   #5
Subie_Sleeper68
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Mine will also flicker when the heat/AC is off. I tried it last night on the way home. As to the HIDs .... I thought we have a low voltage high beam for our DRLs. I'll go check in with one of the techs in the shop and post up later with a definate answer.
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:59 AM   #6
Subie_Sleeper68
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Dammit dammit.. sumnabtch DRLs are 20% power low beam. I stand corrected. Plus now I have to disable them.
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:29 AM   #7
Cooter13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subie_Sleeper68 View Post
Dammit dammit.. sumnabtch DRLs are 20% power low beam. I stand corrected. Plus now I have to disable them.
One of the great Greek philosophers once said:

"The wisest man is the one that admits he knows nothing."

Thanks for letting us know, you are forgiven.
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:34 AM   #8
Subie_Sleeper68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooter13 View Post
One of the great Greek philosophers once said:

"The wisest man is the one that admits he knows nothing."

Thanks for letting us know, you are forgiven.
Nice. Hundreds of thousands of wise people have said if you don't have something nice to say say nothing. you're forgiven too.
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:38 AM   #9
Subie_Sleeper68
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Back to the problem now. I'm pretty sure that I won't pass inspection with disabled DRLs. I wonder if theres a way to divert that 20% to the high beams and would that cause an issue when using them???
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Old 12-10-2008, 12:29 PM   #10
Hawk296
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subie_Sleeper68 View Post
Back to the problem now. I'm pretty sure that I won't pass inspection with disabled DRLs. I wonder if theres a way to divert that 20% to the high beams and would that cause an issue when using them???
They will let you pass inspection with non-DOT approved HIDs but not without having DRLs!?!? just flick the parking light switch on the steering column and tell them those are the DRLs.
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Old 12-10-2008, 01:43 PM   #11
PA-Outback2000
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i am from scranton, PA and i have a HID kit on the car. i have had no inspection problems with this kit on the car. i do know the manager of the garage i go to so that may help. i don't think that a car w/o DRL's won't pass inspection unless it is marked down that it had DRL to start with. i would recommend Apexcone HID conversion kit from xenonexpert.com or from lightwerkz.com. lightwerkz is a vendor here somewhere, but don't know if they sell the Apexcone kit. either way, it is a great kit.
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Old 12-10-2008, 02:17 PM   #12
Subie_Sleeper68
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Anyone heard of MAXX HIDs? I think that's te kit my friend sells at his shop.
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:49 PM   #13
YBajaSteve
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plus disabling your DRL's is as easy as unplugging one harness from the control box, plug that thing back in for your inspections and you'll be fine. My DRLs are disabled and VA inspectors have never said a word. I dont know how youre are tho of course.
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Old 12-13-2008, 01:14 PM   #14
uj2
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DRL's disabled (unplugged the module), HIDS installed (low, high and fog), split-second flicker....yup, happens here too. More noticeable with the HIDS than with stock lights.
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Old 12-15-2008, 11:42 AM   #15
Subie_Sleeper68
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I was hoping that with the ballast setup the HIDs wouldn't flicker. DAMN. Do they cut out and restart, or dim?
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Old 12-15-2008, 12:23 PM   #16
subeman90
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you'll be fine with inspection (disabling the DRL) (and you can take that from me cause I do have a PA inspection license)
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:34 PM   #17
Subie_Sleeper68
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Cool.
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:43 PM   #18
uj2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subie_Sleeper68 View Post
I was hoping that with the ballast setup the HIDs wouldn't flicker. DAMN. Do they cut out and restart, or dim?
It's almost like, you think you saw a flicker but you're not sure...but they do dim a fraction of a second.
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Old 12-15-2008, 05:20 PM   #19
Subie_Sleeper68
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Gotcha. As long as they dont completely shut down and restart.
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Old 11-20-2010, 12:10 AM   #20
carbonRX8
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Anybody ever figure the "headlight dimming/presumptive voltage drop" issue . I noticed this from day one driving the baja home in the dark. I finally decided to work it out (as it is getting dark on the way home now and re-noticed it.) I did nothing but chase my tail.

I checked the battery and changed it as it was only putting out 400 cranking amps and was 5 years old. New battery had no effect.

My bro-in-law checked the alternator on a vat and it checked out fine. Puts out 90+ amps at 2000rpm and 40 at idle. Voltage is fine.

We strung up a grounding strap from the alt to the battery. While I swear the car runs WAY smoother now, there was no effect on the dimming headlights.

I will toss in the observation that it seems that the voltage drop is only really reproducible while under way. If I just sit in my driveway and stare at my lights on the garage door, while turning on and off the a/c and wait for the compressor to kick on, there is only the slightest hint of dimming. However, driving home, following a white work van WAY too closely, my lights dimmed almost to yellow (reflected off the white paint) when the compressor clutch kicked in.

This really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The lights dont even dim that much when the car is off and running just off the batt, i.e., even if the a/c compressor was going bad and putting a JUGE load on the system, the batt should pick up the slack. I suppose I could be imagining the whole thing, but I dont think so.

I suppose it could be a light system specific issue where there is over much resistance in the line such that when the voltage drops a bit on the rest of the car, there is enough resistance to reduce the current within the headlight circuit to a point the lights dim.

Are the headlights on a switched ground or a common ground? I suppose if the relay is going bad or if the common is corroded, this might happen.

Anyone?
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:20 AM   #21
ascott13
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i just stumbled into this thread, and started thinking about it electrically, has anyone thought of wiring a large capacitor into their electrical system, like the ones that they use in crazy car audio setups to prevent the lights from dimming when real hard bass hits and draws way more current than a stock electrical system is designed for.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:20 PM   #22
Baja_Gernaut
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Post Possible theory

Well today after choking a bit with some smoke of my car while idling, I was observing the lights flicker and maybe I got it. I checked the A/C and of course the lights flicked and okay I turned it off. I then waited for the cooling fan to kick on and when it did, the lights flicked just as expected. I think just like our A/C system sucks in the summer, I think the alternator is a weak b^%h and can't handle any pulls including the cooling fan. Or maybe the fans itself pull too much oommmfff on the alternator. But then we face a baja with a strong battery then maybe this theory is wrong because the battery holds enough amps for every accessory in the car.
Please don't start bashing my theory because it is just an observation of my car. who knows but I am sure the dealership will never know unless we agree to pay the 89 bucks an hour to "check it".
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:35 PM   #23
BajaSleeper
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Read the manual and look in the contents for the "Rave" section. It explains everything ;]
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:52 PM   #24
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I have noticed the flicker in my 04 baja turbo since I got it in 06.
I notice it mostly while decelerating/ slowing down with the engine speed dropping down to around 1200-1000RPM.
I am thinking that it is the voltage regulator.
Maybe when the alt voltage output drops with lower RPM's and it switches to battery is when the flicker happens.

Has anyone replaced their alt and noticed that the flicker has gone away?

Mine is not dependent on the A/C clutch switching on/off at all.

-steve
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:22 PM   #25
Emsanon
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I haven't noticed any flicker in mine yet but it does dim which is normal from what I've seen in ither cars I have owned. I'm impressed it's all I see since I have quite a few off road lights and a full upgraded speaker system with subwoofer and amp.
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