what is right with light

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what is right with light

Postby ReTractor » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:48 pm

on my lo-boy when i put the lights on dim the headlights are dim but the rear worklight stays bright. I think that's what it is supposed to do. When i put the switch on bright the rear light is not as bright as the headlights. Does this sound correct? Also should the lights come on regardless if the ignition switch is on or off? I had never tried that before tonight. right now they come on regardless of where the switch is.
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Re: what is right with light

Postby Bigdog » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:04 pm

Lights should work with ignition off. The work light dims because of the increased load with the headlights on bright. Clean the connections in the circuit.
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Re: what is right with light

Postby Scrivet » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:15 pm

Are you saying (1) the rear light brightness decreases when you go to bright on the front lights or (2) that the rear light is brighter than dim but not as bright as bright on the front lights?

If #1 follow Bigdog's advice.
If #2 it could be the age of the bulb. I have sealed beams on the lowboy. Front right was burnt out when I got it last year and was replaced. Front left worked. FL on bright is about equal to FR on dim. FL could be 48 years old for all I know.
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Re: what is right with light

Postby beaconlight » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:39 am

Most common light problem on old tractors and for that matter all old machinery is poor, loose and or corroded connections. You can even find corrosion under the insulation of some old cotton covered wire. I personally hate crimped connections when there is any chance of weather exposure. I favor soldered connections. The he shells for the older bulb type headlights have a rivet holding a spring against the reflector. weak spring tension and a loose rivet introduce electrical resistance which reduces brightness too.
I realize this post is about sealed beams yet except for the rivet and spring the words of experience ring true.
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Re: what is right with light

Postby ReTractor » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:03 am

i don't know if it matters if they are sealed beam or not. perhaps the same thing would be happening anyway. the three lights are not sealed beam and are all the same age. curious too why only the back light is dimmer when all should be bright...why not one of the headlights?


Are you saying (1) the rear light brightness decreases when you go to bright on the front lights or (2) that the rear light is brighter than dim but not as bright as bright on the front lights?

If #1 follow Bigdog's advice.


i guess # 1 is the best description.
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Re: what is right with light

Postby Bigdog » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:05 pm

The rear work light is most likely dimming because of corrosion inside the switch where the terminal and wiper for the work light contact. The only way to deal with this is to dis-assemble and clean the wiper and contact. You can try spraying some contact cleaner inside the switch body if you can find an opening big enough to get some spray inside. it may help some.
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Re: what is right with light

Postby Matt Kirsch » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:52 pm

There are supposed to be two bulbs in the rear light. The first is a smaller bulb mounted behind the sealed beam, which shines through a red-tinted section of the sealed beam housing. The second is the sealed beam itself, which is a normal headlight.

On the dim setting, the red light should shine.
On the bright setting, the white sealed beam should shine.

I suspect that your rear sealed beam has been replaced with a "normal" sealed beam, and it is wired backwards inside.
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Re: what is right with light

Postby Scrivet » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:56 pm

ReTractor wrote: ..............the three lights are not sealed beam and are all the same age.................?

Matt Kirsch wrote:There are supposed to be two bulbs in the rear light. The first is a smaller bulb mounted behind the sealed beam, which shines through a red-tinted section of the sealed beam housing. The second is the sealed beam itself, which is a normal headlight.

On the dim setting, the red light should shine.
On the bright setting, the white sealed beam should shine.

I suspect that your rear sealed beam has been replaced with a "normal" sealed beam, and it is wired backwards inside.

Matt, I believe ReTractor DOES NOT have sealed bulbs, I mentioned them about my loboy.

When the rear light changes from red to white really depends on which one of the three (?) (LHDB-ODB-ODBR) possible switch combinations plus I know there's sometimes a switch on the rear light itself (LHDB?).I don't know if the different types of rear red light makes a difference; add on jewel light, red light through reflector, red light behind sealed bulb,??????

ReTractor wrote:..... curious too why only the back light is dimmer when all should be bright...why not one of the headlights? .........
I think Bigdog is on the right track. There are plenty of other connections as well, especially on the ground side of the circuit. Already has been mentioned about the reflector/spring/rivet then the shell to mounting bolt to bracket to battery box to axle housing to bolt to ground cable. Just for fun I would remove the ring and lens and turn the light on. Holding the reflector in tight so it lights up then pull the reflector out and touch a wire to the outside of the bulb socket and ground directly on the battery and see if it gets brighter. There's another place for corrosion the bulb base and socket.

I know you said they're all the same age but to prove it's not just a weak bulb, swap it with one of the headlights.
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Re: what is right with light

Postby lazyuniondriver » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:54 am

The quickest way to troubleshoot your rear light is with a jumper wire as follows:

Eliminate the possibility of a bad ground by hooking a jumper wire to ground and firmly attaching the other end to the case of the light or mounting stud (bare metal) while it is illuminated. If the light gets brighter, suspect a bad ground.

Move your jumper from the ground to the other battery terminal. With your light on, touch the other end to the power wire screw at the rear of the light. If there is a significant change in brightness, suspect the switch or wiring to the switch. You may notice a slight increase in brightness using a jumper wire because you are eliminating a lot of resistance in wire and switchgear, this would be considered normal.

If your jumper wire test fails to increase the brightness of your bulb to your satisfaction, suspect something in the inner workings of the light fixture, or your bulb is just inherently dim to begin with.

When a light doesn't light, avoid the temptation to grab a screwdriver, grab a test light or multimeter instead. Verify you have power and a good ground before you tear into the light for no treason if in fact the problem lies elsewhere. This may prevent the lens from being broken unnecessarily or the need for a replacement gasket.

Troubleshooting is very easy and saves a lot of time by eliminating guesswork... The what ifs and maybe's.
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Re: what is right with light

Postby ReTractor » Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:11 am

i'll think i'll start with the ground and then move to the switch if i don't see any change. the lights are new (3 years) replacements bought a couple of years ago when i bought the tractor. The headlights were beat up and there was no rear light at all. they have replaceable bulbs in all three.
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Re: what is right with light

Postby bear32055 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:58 am

I am not the leading expert on here but i used a volt meter to check my voltage at the bulb.As i cleaned up each corroded area from the bulb back to the source i saw my voltage increase and so did the brightness of the bulb.There are greases out there especially made for electrical connections that keep the corrosion down to a minimum after they have been cleaned which should keep this from happening in the future. jmo
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