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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys. I have a 1997 Dakota. The tail lights on the truck are not functioning properly. The brake lights work fine, as do the hazards and turn signals, however; when I turn on the headlights, the tail lights do not come on. Any ideas on what could be causing it? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Cory.
 

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So your running lights aren't working. you can check your grounds, also check to make sure your bulbs are installed in the sockets properly. i know it sounds weird but your taillights are dual filament bulbs which means there are two nubs on the bottom one for each filament and the out shell is the ground for both. if they aren't tuching there conections in the socket just right that could be causeing your problem.
but hey thats just IMO
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The front running lights DO work. I am pretty sure they are the right bulbs. They were working until recently. My sister was driving the truck and got pulled over for having no taillights OR brake lights, but the hazards and blinkers worked fine. I took off the housing and it looked like the bulb wires had been cut for some reason. Don't know why...just like that when I got it. There's a green, a black and a black with yellow stripe wire coming from both bulbs. On both of them, the green (power) and black (ground) wires were cut and held together with butt connectors, but the black and yellow (signal wire?) was intact(this is on the amber bulb, the clear reverse one is fine and works properly). On one side the butt connectors had come undone, so I took them off and soldered the connection back together and then soldered the other side, just to get rid of the connectors. At that point I was able to get the brake lights to come on, but still no running lights.

The bulbs are dual filament, so I guess that would mean that either there's a separate ground or power for the running light filament (black and yellow wire maybe?) or else there is a separate fuse.

Thanks for all the help guys! Never would have thought it could have seperate grounds or fuses.
 

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CDOM April 2009
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check the bulbs themselves.

with the running lights not working, the one filament could've blown out, but keepin the other intact..
 

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the green wire is the brake/turn signal wire, the black wire is the ground wire and the black with yellow stripe is the taillight wire. if the taillight wire ain't connected, you aren't going to have any taillights.
 

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CDOM April 2009
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this problem actually sounds familiar... when i got the red truck, the passenger turn signal wouldn't work... it would kick on the hazards. right turn signal worked just fine...

i swapped the taillights to the LED ones i have and it seemed to fix the problem... altho, i get a hyperflash turning left and regular blink turning right
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yeah I looked at one bulb just a minute ago and it looked like one of the filaments might have burnt out. The other one looked ok, but I'll replace it too. As far as fuses go, I think I have a four figure number of fuses to replace, so I'll get on that also. Thanks again to everyone for the help. I'll let ya'll know if that works.
 

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I have a simular problem on my 97 dakota which i just got a ticket for, when my lights are off everything works fine, but when i turn my lights on, my running lights are on, but i press on the break and the left break light turns off, and my reverse light turns on. When i put my left blinker on both the blinker and my RIGHT reverse light blink, and at a faster rate then the right blinker. From what ive been reading its a ground but theres no ground anywhere near the tailights, anyone have any idea how i can begin checking the grounds? the bulbs are new and correct. Thanks for any help.
 

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several things with the 97. first for some dum readont the hooked the brake line and power lines together at the same place on the frame running to the drivers wheel well. there known to contact the frame and rum threw the wires just above the spare tire but not quite to the back of the gas take, 2) trailer lights can cause this water get in and shit goes crazy with these trucks. (THEY HATE WATER ALMOST MORE THEN A CAT) 3) theres a plug and ground in the drivers wheel well that collects road grime and nastiness. theres also a ground connection to the frame there that breaks id be checking that for sure. check driness in both white and black connector in here. also the tails and brakes and turn all use the same bulb with this happening you will lose either a tail or you will loos brake and turn. the tail is the low power aspect of the bulb the other are on the high aspect. the power simply gets controlled but the relays. i would say if you have lost both on both sides your looking for broken power somewhere. the ground on this circuit is also the ground circuit for the down stream O2 and the fuel pump. assuming your truck still runs that eliminates ground as an issue.

btw i just rewired this on my personal 97 ext 4x4 dak so if i can fine the schamitic ill post it.
 
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