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93 Chevy Cavalier-no Headlights


BENS's Avatar
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03-25-04, 01:11 AM   #1  
1993 Chevy Cavalier

I own a 1993 Chevy cavalier 4 cyl, auto, 4 door sedan, 64kmi. The car runs good. Is clean in and out so I want to keep it as long as I can. However over this past winter I began to have some problems as expected with an old car.

1. My low beam headlights are not working. First I noticed one of the lights burnt out and I replaced it. Then the other blew out and I replaced it. Then both blew out and I replaced them and they blew out again. The high beams work fine. Now that the weather is getting warmer I want to try and fix the problem before going to a mechanic. Any ideas?


2. Towards the end of last summer I lost the freon in my A/C. I recharged the system and within a few days the charge was lost again. I retrofit the system a few years ago to the new freon. The clutch works when I charged the system. Does the freon sealer kit like the one sold in K-Mart for around $30.00 dollars work or is the leak too big because I lost the freon in a few days???

 
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03-25-04, 04:28 AM   #2  
#1 sounds like you need to check the charging system output.Your car should charge between 13.5 and 14.7 if it's way higher like 15.5 or higher you need a new alternator.
#2 you need to find the leak with dye or an electronic tester stopleak will just ruin the a/c system and the equipment of anyone who services the system afterwards.

 
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03-26-04, 05:27 PM   #3  
Thanks.

#1 ELECTICAL PROBLEM

Is there a way I can test the charding system to see if I need to replace the alternator? I can change it myself. Is it worth doing it myself to save labor costs or should I just go to a mechanic.

 
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03-26-04, 06:40 PM   #4  
Get a digital voltmeter and put the test leads across the battery terminals and increase the rpms to about 2500 rpms and note the voltage hold it there for several minutes to be sure.Yes it would be worth fixing it yourself,probably save at least 60 on just labor.Also have your battery load tested to check for a shorted cell or damage from possible overcharging.

 
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03-30-04, 10:16 PM   #5  
FYI.

I was looking on line to see where I can buy a voltage meter and I was surprized to find this. I will be calling tomorrow to see if this is true!!! This is not an add. some helpful info.


Don't buy a part you don't need. AutoZone will test your car's parts for free. We can test your car's battery, alternator, starter and voltage regulator while they're still on your car. We can also give your car a complete starting and charging systems test.

You can also take your alternator, starter or battery into our store and we'll test it. In most stores, we can also test voltage regulators, control modules, coils, throttle position sensors (TPSs) and other engine management components.

 
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03-31-04, 01:11 AM   #6  
mike from nj
don't believe everything you read. there has been some questionable diagnosis from autozone lately on here. remember, you get what you pay for. paid nothing, sometimes you get nothing(valuable)

i think you would be better off heading to radio shack, sears, or any big store and buying a $20 digital voltmeter. it will more than pay for itself with useful information and the satisfaction that YOU diagnosed it yourself.

 
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03-31-04, 03:45 AM   #7  
Let them test it and take the results home. Just don't let them try to diagnose any problems or sell you anything for repairs without talking to us first. They are just a parts supplier but make attempts to interpret the data to sell more parts.

 
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03-31-04, 04:43 AM   #8  
an autozone opinion...

...speaking only from my personal experience and in reference to our local store...I have to say that when it comes to testing anything, i'd take it with a grain of salt. I once bought a battery from autozone and after a year the battery began to fail(i tested it with a midtronics conductance battery tester). i took it to the store and one of the cheerful counter fellas came right out to test it with his handheld "bread toaster" and attempted to perform a load test on a group 27 deep cycle battery. unfortunately...that handheld was only capable of loading the battery to 125 amps...a far cry from the real load value (should have been around 400 amps if memory serves me). he told me that the battery was OK...at which point i informed him of the limitations of his testing device and why...this, in turn, blew his mind...but he was convinced by my words and went in and told the MGR that the battery was bad and they gave me a new one. their offer to test everything under the sun is generous to say the least...their ability to test accurately is questionable to say the most. all they know is that if the green light comes on, the test is passed and that's that. i agree with davo that buying a DVOM is a good value...whereas trusting the implied value at AZ may be a huge gamble.

to the poster...this forum exists to help DIYers with procedure(s) and at times...some understanding of a system or process. buy the DVOM and we'll walk you thru the process of electrical system testing and evaluation. it's not hard and it's one of the most neglected things on the car...and yet we depend on it to function at peak efficiency daily.

one thing not mentioned about your low beams is...could there be a small hole in your headlamp lens or a leak of any kind...look at them every day for a while and see if you see condensation in them at all...it only takes a small amount of moisture to blow a halogen lamp and may are prone to leaking. also...are you installing the correct lamp back in it or are you deviating from the specs and installing an aftermarket lamp that is of a higher wattage? i'm starting to see lots of wrecked sockets and wiring because of the heat difference in brighter bulbs...just a couple thoughts.

sorry for the diatribe...

 
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03-31-04, 04:35 PM   #9  
Well said..................

 
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03-31-04, 10:44 PM   #10  
Thanks for the info. Now that you mentioned it I do have a crack in one of my lights. It is the corner light assembly that I temporarily (permanently) taped up. This is completely separate from my headlights. The running lights that are in the broken lens work ok. It will be raining here for the next few days and I will take a look to see if there is any condensation or water in the headlights. If not I guess I should check the electrical system. I am installing the correct bulb; I double-checked so this can be eliminated.

Question. Why are only the low beams blowing out and not the high beams or running lights???

I’ll take your advice and p/u a voltage meter. Although I am very handy I have never used one. I’ll probably only need it for this job. Not sure what else it’s good for. Here is what I found so far. Any suggestions.


Sunpro Digital Multi-Tester 34.99 Sears
Sorry, no additional description is available for this item.



15-Range Digital Multimeter $19.99 Radio Shack

An economical tester with big features! Measures up to 500 volts DC in four ranges, 500 volts AC in two ranges, DC current to 20mA in three ranges, resistance in five ranges. You also get diode-check to test conductors for opens and shorts. Overload and low-battery indicators. Auto power-off helps save battery. Indoor use only.
PRODUCT FEATURES
• DC voltage (four ranges): 2V/20V/200V/500V
• AC voltage (two ranges): 200V/500V
• DC current (three ranges): 2mA/20mA/200mA
• Resistance (five ranges): 200/2K/20K/200K/2M ohm
• About 4-5/8×2-3/8×1-1/16"
• Requires #23A 12V battery, extra (RadioShack #23-144)


(Unrelated issue. Can the meter be used to test humming on phone lines???? I hate to buy something and only use it once)

Thanks again for all the info.

 
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03-31-04, 11:05 PM   #11  
mike from nj
i wouldn't know how to test phone lines like that. maybe someone in the electrical forums can help with that.


if you think you would never use it again, maybe you don't really need a meter. i find myself using it around the house as much as i use it on cars.

if an autozone is close by, maybe let them check the charging system, (while it's running), they should put some type of meter across the battery terminals. if they hook something up with red, yellow and green LED's---- that isn't going to work. you need an actual voltage reading, in numbers, both at idle, and at 1500-2000 rpm, with no accessories on, and all accessories on.


one thing that wasn't mentioned here, if you have bulbs that screw into the housing from the rear (halogen bulbs, like 9004's) these bulbs cannot be touched on the glass portion with your fingers, that might be your only problem.



let us know what you find/do.

 
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03-31-04, 11:40 PM   #12  
Thanks. I am installing 9004's. This is the 2nd set I installed and I was very careful not to touch the bulb. Even if I did wouldn’t the high beams blow as well? This is why I am confused.

I'll p/u a meter and go from there. Should I get the one in Sears or Radio Shack?

 
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04-01-04, 02:52 AM   #13  
The Sears unit would be more automotive adapted that Radio Shack.

 
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04-03-04, 10:29 PM   #14  
93 Chevy Cavalier-no Headlights

Does anybody know what happened to my post? I checked my post yesterday. Having problems with my low beam headlights blowing out.

 
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04-04-04, 12:39 AM   #15  
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it scrolled to the bottom and ended up on page 2. at the bottom click on the right arrows or simply (2).

 
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04-04-04, 05:35 AM   #16  
The low beams would fail more because they are used more than high beams by most people.I knew a guy who blew all 4 bulbs on an older dodge he was charging 24 volts with a stuck mechanical voltage regulator,yes Mike from nj the alt was throwing solder sparks.lol.So it needed replaced also.

 
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04-04-04, 05:50 AM   #17  
Please keep your posts together for continuity in the future.Unactive posts drop off to the back pages to make room for active posts.

 
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04-04-04, 09:27 PM   #18  
I checked all 5 pages of posts yesterday and couldn’t find it???

Anyway. I went to Sears and they didn’t have any voltmeters. I then went to Radio shack and they had several kinds (as listed in their web site). When I told the clerk I needed one to test my alternator he handed me one that was specifically made for testing a car’s battery and alternator. See below

****************************************************
Vehicle Alternator & Battery Tester
$5.99 Brand: RadioShack
Catalog #: 22-112
This dual-purpose tester checks automotive alternators and batteries.
PRODUCT FEATURES:
• Quick and easy to use, it has 6 LEDs that indicate various charging system conditions and faults
• A magnet on the back lets you position the tester on any convenient steel surface
****************************************************


I purchased and used the tester (mentioned above) and the alternator is good. I know someone said the LED meters are not good but not knowing much about this stuff I’m at the mercy of the sales person. Should I rely on this tester or should I return it for another one????? They had one for $20.00 (See below) but the clerk said the one he gave me is the only one good to test an alternator. I don’t want to spend much more. I have no other use for it.


****************************************************
15-Range Digital Multimeter

$19.99 Brand: RadioShack
Catalog #: 22-810 Model: 22-810
An economical tester with big features! Measures up to 500 volts DC in four ranges, 500 volts AC in two ranges, DC current to 20mA in three ranges, resistance in five ranges. You also get diode-check to test conductors for opens and shorts. Overload and low-battery indicators. Auto power-off helps save battery. Indoor use only.
PRODUCT FEATURES
• DC voltage (four ranges): 2V/20V/200V/500V
• AC voltage (two ranges): 200V/500V
• DC current (three ranges): 2mA/20mA/200mA
• Resistance (five ranges): 200/2K/20K/200K/2M ohm
• About 4-5/8×2-3/8×1-1/16"
• Requires #23A 12V battery, extra (RadioShack #23-144)
****************************************************

I ordered a new corner light for the one that is cracked, even thought the light has not burnt out. I’m hoping this has something to do with the problem.

Thanks for your help. Let me know about the voltmeter.

The low beams would fail more because they are used more than high beams by most people.
P.S. I've been driving with my high beams on for months (45 minutes to work) and they have not blown??? I know it's wrong but I have no choice until I get this fixed.

 
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