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Old 01-09-2020, 10:50 PM #1
stf5060 stf5060 is offline
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Weird Headlight/Electrical issue

I have a 2001 SR5 4WD with 225K miles. About a month ago, the car was parked while I was at work on a very rainy and wet day. When I went to get in the car and start it, it was having symptoms similar to a dead battery. The power locks wouldn't work as I approached the car. Nothing too strange, as I have previously had an issue with the rear window defroster running while the car was sitting and would drain my battery. I just pulled the defroster relay, and it prevented it from draining the battery. I went to try and start it, to confirm it was dead, and it would start, but instantly die. I tried a few more times, and tried giving it a little bit of gas, but it was making a weird noise like the starter wasn't disengaging. So i pulled the key out and waited a few minutes and tried again. It started up fine, and I started my drive home, but noticed that it was very dark. My headlights weren't working. I was pretty confident it was due to a bad DRL relay module, under the dash on the driver's side, but I was extremely busy at work and didn't have time to mess with it, so I took it to a mechanic and asked him to take a look. He said it definitely was a bad DRL module, and offered to wire up a bypass switch to ground so that my low beams would work to get me through a week while I ordered a used DRL relay module online. Everything was fine for a few days, until it rained again. Keep in mind I was driving 80 miles to work on the highway in almost sideways rain, so it was really wet. After I came out to my car from work my rear windshield wiper was running, I could hear a relay repeatedly going off under the hood and I couldn't unlock the driver side door, even with the key. The only way to get in was through the unlocking the passenger door with the key. Once I unlocked the driver's side door from inside the car, and opened it, it immediately gave a door ding noise as if the keys were in the ignition, but they weren't they were in my hand. I now have the replacement DRL module installed, and everything works fine when the car is bone dry (it hasn't been driven when its wet for 2-3 days) but once it gets wet I have mysterious electrical issues for a few days until it completely dries out. Now my power door locks will randomly go off while I am driving. It will lock all the doors, sometimes repeatedly, but at random. I've had the gauges on the cluster going haywire, the speedometer flickering all across the map, while its sitting parked and turned off. The heat will run, when the key isn't in it etc. I know these are a lot of random issues, but I'm hoping someone can help point me in the right direction. It all seems to be solved when I pull the headlight relay. When it's wet out after I drive, I can hear the relay whining, and when I pull it from the fuse box it stops, and prevents all the rest of these issues from happening. So it seems to be pointing to some sort of bad ground, or shorting out somewhere in the headlight wiring, but it's nothing obvious that I can see. I've looked at the headlight wires/connections and the wires going into the fuse box, but nothing is obviously stripped or corroded. Has anyone heard of any similar experiences or any ideas of things I should look for. I'm hoping to get this fixed so I can keep my baby running for another couple years. She has been in the family since new.

Thanks for your help in advance if you still have enough of an attention span to read my entire novel of a post!!
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Old 01-09-2020, 11:01 PM #2
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Sounding to me like you have some wires broken in your door jam. This would explain the locks freaking out etc. The drivers side door boot needs checked for cracked insulation on the wires and possibly frayed and broken.

The 2nd boot to check is your tailgate as you have constant hot wires in that location that can do the same thing and cause parasitic drains that kill the battery charge.

You can check the other doors. However, I always suspect the tailgate and the driver doors for these damaged wires..

May not be the cause in your issue. However, I would start there to at least inspect it as you are definitely experiencing shorts and the rain is kinda proving it's a electrical issue.

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