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Hey haven't posted in a while, mainly because we haven't had any problems with our 'Star (thank goodness), however this was brought to my attention, and fixed by me, today.
My dad has been using our 95 xlt rwd 4.0l for commuting to and from Seattle at night (he's been working up there, minor construction) to beat the traffic, and today told me his running lights had stopped working, although his head lights still were, but he had been smelling a melting plastic smell, and recently he said he had to wiggle the switch around to get the lights to work at all.
So I pull it apart thinking eh 145k miles the switch is probably worn out. nooooooooooo not the case at all. the whole plug had a melt down, the wiring at the plug was super brittle and corroded, and the contacts were burnt to high heaven on the switch...
I honestly think part of the problem is that i installed some higher than stock wattage bulbs a while back, however i don't know if they've been changed back out (80/100 watt bulbs) but they're as bright as my HID's on my civic.
Luckily I went to the junk yard and happened to come a cross a super nice AWD (RIP) that had a brand new switch in it (after wards found out they're just over 11 bux at my local Knecht's store) so I snagged that, then stopped by Car Quest and picked up a new head light switch plug with wiring, two relays, 16 feet for 14g wiring, two 20 amp inline fuses, and some misc terminals and connectors, and made a relay harness for the head lights on our 'star. I re used the stock connectors because they were minty, not melted, wiring was perfect.
Here's the final product of that:
I did the same thing in my old 3.0l (RIP) and it worked out great for about half the cost as the two plug and play harness's that i bought off the internet, which the plastic around the metal terminals melted on both of them.
So long story short, if you haven't already, save yourself a possible major hazard and install a set of relays in between your stock harness and the head lights bulbs.
If any one here is interested I can make a step by step write up of how to make the said harness
88 civic hatch - rebuilding from the ground up, too many mods.
97 vw passat glx vr6 wagon - daily grinder
95 4.0l 2wd xlt extended - old reliable turn key family savior
97 awd xlt extended - "new" work horse
yes, I'd like to know more about this mod, though I've always used stock bulbs and never had a melted headlights switch, the nightime visibility of the Aerostar is poor at best, not to mention my deteriorating eyesight, for which there is no relay fix !!
1997 Ford Aerostar 4.0L RWD (purchased May 2012)
1992 Ford Aerostar 3.0L RWD (sold March 2012)
1986 Ford Aerostar 3.0L RWD (traded in '99 for the '92)
1984 Jaguar XJ-6 4.2L RWD (owned since 1990)
1965 Jaguar S type 3.8L RWD (owned since 2004)
I have seen that melted headlight harness more than once.
You do not need over wattage bulbs to melt that harness. The stock bulbs can melt it just fine.
A premade relay harness is a good way to go, though the prices of them have come up in recent years. Still a good investment.
The headlight lenses need to be perfectly clear to work correctly. If the damage is not too bad, the Sylvania headlight restoration kit works very well, its not just good, if the headlights are still salvageable, you can restore them to a like new condition. And because the Sylvania kit replaced the damaged clearcoat with a new one with UV blockers, the restoration lasts a long time, unlike the cheap polishes often touted as a restoration, which has temporary results, but fades quickly, often allowing new damage to go deeper, ruining the lens permanently.
Sometimes the stock reflector can oxidize, if that happens the whole housing needs to be replaced. Most aftermarket lenses use cheap coatings, so it wouldn't hurt to use a Sylvania headlight restoration on a new headlight. Since the new light will already have a finish on it, you just need to quick wipe it with denatured alcohol to remove any oils from the surface, then apply the Sylvania Sealant over the lens. This will prevent it from degrading from day 1.
The relay harness mostl reduces the resistance which causes voltage drop, which makes the headlights not produce full output. Voltage drops cause an exponential decrease in light output, and most headlight bulbs are rated at 13.8 volts.
If you do the job cleanly, you can now build you own harness for less than the pre made ones. By cleanly, I mean that no splicing in the stock wiring is needed, it can be made with plug in connectors. You can get the headlight sockets, both male and female, some ring terminals that can fit on a battery connection or starter relate post (gold plated is best so they don't corrode), a good ground, some relays that are rated for automotive use that have the proper amp ratings to handle the load. There are nice relays that come with a harness connector, so they can be unplugged and replaced.
Might want to think twice about putting fuses in headlight circuits. There's a reason all manufacturers use auto- reseting circuit breakers instead of fuses.
__________________ TRITON V10 - THE BEST KEPT SECRET - (But word is getting out). '08 F350 Scab SRW V10 w/ 4:10
07 Gulfstream Prarie Schooner
' Passed the exam today! I am now a licensed instigator!
I absolutely agree that this is an upgrade for everyone. I bought and installed a harness from Putco for under 50 bucks in March. Piece of cake job in my '95 Aero. Also realigned the headlights and installed Sylvania xtravision bulbs. Big improvement. So far so good with the bargain brand harness.
The instructions that come with the harness are a must read. I wish I saved them for the shop. Outstanding humor in the English translation. I you read them apart from the package, I swear you would never guess what was being described.
Last year I purchased this headlight harness for my old british sportscar (Victoria British - Catalog T6 - Page 97 at the bottom of the page). When it arrived I decided to try it on my Aerostar and it worked great. At $30, it was cheaper than alternatives I found.
This is as "plug and play" as it gets. Disconnect existing wiring, insert new connectors, fish the new wiring, install relays, hot connection and grounds. Instant improvement. Wish I did this years ago.
That's right; the 6054 uses the standard sealed beam connectors with the fully exposed electrical connectors, while the 9007 uses the somewhat sealed connectors with different pin sizes and layouts. This is the other reason I make my own; I use heat shrink tubing to protect as much of the connector pins as I can with the sealed beam connectors. I recently found some hooded connectors on a Nissan 240 that seals the entire back end of the sealed beam socket, and I will be adapting them to my harness. Wish I had found them 10 years ago.
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