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Edward, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 3136
Experience:  ASE certified. Auto Transmission rebuilder for Ford Motor Co. from 91 to 2000
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headlamps out on1996 explorer

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my headlamps don't work. went to get gas were working when I pulled in would not come on when I restarted truck (1996 Explorer XLT) checked fuses-fine checked bulbs-fine high beams work when I pull back on lever but not when lever pushed forward

Hello and thanks for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do all I can to help.

First thing to do, is check the fuses in your power distribution box out under the hood. You want to check fuse numbers 4 and 8. Also, If you have a 12 volt test light, check for voltage to the headlamp connector at the back of the headlamp assembly. I have seen 2 bulbs fail at the same time. So we definitely want to verify the bulbs are not burned out. Let me know if the fuses are good and the bulbs are good. Thanks .
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

checked fuses under hood all good(used test light) bulbs good also (replaced to make sure it was not bulbs)now what

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

checked fuses under hood all good(used test light) bulbs good also (replaced to make sure it was not bulbs)now what? could it be the lamp outage control mod. under console? how do I know for sure

Alright, You want to also check the fuses in the interior fuse panel Deb, There are a couple in that fuse panel as well. Also, I've seen the switch (on the steering column HI/LOW or multifunction switch) connector and wiring fail. Try this, park in front of something so you can see if the headlights come on. Leave the lights on, and rock the tilt wheel back and forth a few times, sometimes that connection at the multi-function switch doesn't make good contact. See if the come on after rocking the tilt wheel around some.

If you take the shroud off the steering column (screws in the bottom) the RED/YELLOW wire at the multifunction switch should have power to it with the light switch on. Check that and let me know.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

rocked the tilt wheel -nothing also have already checked interior fuse panel -fuses fine.

Alright Deb. Let me post a wiring diagram. We need to make sure that multifunction switch is getting power in and out with the headlamp switch on first.
Do you see the diagram Deb? Notice the Power comes into the multi function switch (turn signal switch) from fuse 11 on the RED/YELLOW wire, we need to pull the plastic shroud off the column, and with a test light make sure that wire is hot, with headlamp switch on, also check 4 and 8 on interior fuse panel.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

fuse 11 is fine also checked 4 and 8 fine how do I test wire?

You have a test light? Tell me if when you turn the headlamps on, fuse 4 and 8 get powered up, touch both sides of the little metal blades that stick out of the fuse.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

no power to either fuse test light did not light on those two

Ok, we need to pull the screws out of the bottom of the plastic shroud around the steering column, and take off the top cover to check for power in and out of multi function switch.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

shroud already off how do I check multi function switch

Do you see a RED/YELLOW wire going to the switch? Turn lights on check that wire for power with test light.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

no power to red/yellow wire

Check fuse number 11 and 7 in interior fuse panel with your test light with key ON tell me if it's got power.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

yes both have power ( 11 + 7)

OK, I'm going off the wiring diagram, fuse 11 powers up the headlamp switch on the BLUE/ORANGE wire. Get to the connector at the back of the headlamp switch, and check power on the BLUE/ORANGE wire, then cut the switch ON and check power to the RED/YELLOW wire, That will check power in and out of the headlamp switch.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

any way to do that without taking the whole dash apart?

Yes, you have to take off the trim panel then there are some screws that hold the switch.

If you have power to fuse 11, then BLUE/ORANGE should have power at the headlamp switch connector , If it doesn't have power on that wire, repair the short from fuse 11 to the Headlamp switch.

If BLUE/ORANGE DOES have power, then check RED/YELLOW out of the switch with headlamp switch ON. If RED/YELLOW doesn't have power with the swtich on, then replace the headlamp switch. If RED/YELLOW DOES have power then switch is OK. And you have an open circuit between the Headlamp switch and Multi-function switch.



HeadlampSwitch, Ranger, Explorer

Removal and Installation

  1. Remove instrument cluster finish panel. If necessary refer to Section 01-12 forprocedure.

  1. Remove attaching screws andswitchfrom cluster finish panel.

For installation, follow removal procedure in reverse order.

HeadlampSwitch, Ranger and Explorer


Edward and 3 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
Here is another diagram that is a little easier to read Deb,

Notice Fuse 11 through the headlamp switch to power up the multi-function switch. That is where the problem from the fuse to the multi-function switch is, if you don't have power to RED/YELLOW at the multifunction switch with headlamp switch on.