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Tail lights, Brake lights, Rear turn signals don't work HELP

Something went wrong and now the rear has problems

Tail lights, Brake lights, Rear turn signals don't work HELP

Postby Snowman21 [OP] » Dec 25 2012, 1:47am

Hey everyone, first off I want to say I am so thankful to have found this website, it has helped me a lot. I haven't ever had a reason to make an account though until now. I searched and searched but could not find anything helpful, maybe it was my wording of searches but could not find help. So here is my problem...

I have a 1992 GMC sierra, extended cab short box. I have had no problems with my vehicle in the 6 years that I have owned it.

I jumped into my truck to go to my family's Christmas Party and drove without any problems until I was about a block away from my mothers house. When I hit the turn signal, I noticed that the pattern had changed, so I assumed a bulb went out and that I just needed to fix that. So I waited until it got dark and had my mother come out to help me figure out which bulb it was that went out... that is where the problems began... all lights in the front work fine. I have turn signals, head lights, high beams, fog lights, etc everything wrong is in the rear of the truck just to narrow down possible problems/solutions.

I had brake lights and hazards, but when I turn the turn signals on the side lights up but the other side lights up dimmer, for example "Left turn signal is on, left light will blink, but the right light will also light up and blink, but is much dimmer."

So I thought a wire got shorted out somewhere but since I still had turn signals I was going to limp it home quick and deal with it tomorrow...

It's now dark out so I turn on my headlights and drive not even 2 blocks away from my mothers house I hit my turn signal to turn and something blows.

I now have absolutely nothing in the rear when my headlights are turned on. When my headlights are off I have reverse lights, tail lights, brake lights but my turn signals are doing a bunch of crazy stuff. When the headlights are off the turn signals will blink randomly, but will blink the opposite side, so the right turn signal is actually signalling I'm going left. But then it switched to just alternating lights.

When I turn ON my headlights, I have absolutely NOTHING in the back when my headlights are turned on...

This is where you guys come in... I really don't have the extra money at the moment to bring it into a shop and I would really like to not pay someone else to fix it, but if I can't figure this out within the next couple of days I'm going to be hosed and need to bring it into a shop...

I do have a manual for it as well, a chilton's and a haynes manual.

Please help!

I can also give my phone number out to people if they feel texting or calling me will be easier to explain stuff. I will most likely be available and ready to work on fixing it anytime after 1pm tomorrow. Ya know Santa has to come and bring presents for the little children and such.

Thank you all for the advice and help you can give me and Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all
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Tail lights, Brake lights, Rear turn signals don't work HELP

Postby Machster69 » Dec 25 2012, 4:26am

Well im sure you know you have a fuse out. The problem is why! Youll need to verify integrity of the harness. Ide start at the steering column... Ive seen the wire break in there and cause shorts. But a multimeter from front to back with continuity checks is in order. Youll also want to cross check the wires to ground to see if a short occurs. The problem with shorts is they can be intermittent and also the wires can actually break inside the insulator. Its gonna be a bit of a pain but they always are. Verify connections also, a poor connection arcing in and out will draw the heat for a fuse pop also...
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Re: Tail lights, Brake lights, Rear turn signals don't work

Postby Snowman21 [OP] » Dec 26 2012, 8:58pm

All right, thanks for the information. I am finally done with Christmas shenanigans so I will be spending the day today trying to figure out what happened... and where.
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Re: Tail lights, Brake lights, Rear turn signals don't work

Postby Snowman21 [OP] » Dec 26 2012, 9:38pm

Well just got back inside to post an update... Not a single fuse was blown. I don't have a multimeter so I can't check for power but a friend has one and is going to drop it off for me after he gets done with work. So any ideas as to why there isn't a fuse blown but something is clearly wrong?
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Re: Tail lights, Brake lights, Rear turn signals don't work

Postby country1911 » Dec 26 2012, 9:56pm

Sounds a lot like there is some corrosion in the harness to the taillights. There is a connector under the bed by the spare tire, I think on these model years, that is prone to corrosion. Check to make sure that is all clean. Do you have a tailgate light bar or anything like that? I have had corrosion in those too that caused similar symptoms.
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Re: Tail lights, Brake lights, Rear turn signals don't work

Postby Snowman21 [OP] » Dec 26 2012, 9:58pm

I don't have a tailgate light bar. The corrosion would cause those problems? When the headlights are off, the turn signals work, as soon as I apply the brakes they stop. What should I use to clean it if it is corroded?
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Re: Tail lights, Brake lights, Rear turn signals don't work

Postby country1911 » Dec 26 2012, 10:04pm

I would use a spray electrical cleaner and possibly a wire brush. You should be able to follow the taillight wires to a junction block where both sides hook into it. Those are notorious for corrosion and causing short symptoms just as you are describing. Also check all your lights. I have heard of bulbs going bad and causing some of those symptoms. Something to do with one filament breaking and shorting against the other filament.
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