Cable melted next to headlight after bulb shattered

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by seren8, Jul 26, 2016.

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  1. seren8

    seren8 New Member

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    Hi all,

    About a month ago I replaced both of the main headlights in my Gen 3. I've noticed since that the light from both seemed a little skewed and thought maybe I didn't lock them back in fully. i finally checked them today and was able to get the left side light straightened out, but when I went to check the right hand (passenger) side one (which isn't working again), i realized that it must have come out.

    Essentially the light bulb is shattered/exploded and it melted part of the cable next to it, and is now stuck to that cable. Besides being partially melted, the cable also has some exposed wires. i don't know what those wires do, but I can't imagine it's a good thing to leave it exposed next to a live circuit from the headlight.

    Please see the attached picture. Does anyone know what that cable is that melted and if it's possible to replace it myself, or do I need to take it in?

    Thanks so much!
     

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  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    If all that's melted is the black, ribbed plastic protective cover (which is all your photo shows), you've dodged a bullet. Maybe wrap some tape around it. Go, and sin no more.

    I would almost worry more about that pink thing that looks like an aftermarket splice, in the headlight circuit. I think the headlight wire (the violet one anyway) is aluminum, and if that splice isn't designed for copper-to-aluminum, there could be a different problem brewing there.

    -Chap
     
  3. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    Looks like the mounting hole in the headlight is melted too. The improperly mounted bulb most likely melted the headlight mounting hole, then the bulb fell away, probably with melted plastic all over it, which then overheated the glass capsule, which then shattered. If the headlight housing is melted, you're going to have to replace the whole headlight assembly because you won't be able to properly install a new bulb.

    It's very important to check your work immediately after replacing the headlight bulbs. It's too easy to insert the bulbs in at an incorrect angle, especially on the passenger side, with limited access behind the headlight assembly.
     
    #3 xliderider, Jul 26, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
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  4. sfv41901

    sfv41901 Masta S

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    On top of that the wires that u ate concerned with go to the parking light in the reflector.

    So I looks like u need to repair some wiring & replace the headlight.


    iPhone ?
     
  5. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    The other thing is, we have had rare but a few past posts about unexplained Gen3 vehicle fires, and it seems maybe up to 2 of the reported fires could have been starting in that area.
     
  6. sfv41901

    sfv41901 Masta S

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    This is correct


    iPhone ?
     
  7. seren8

    seren8 New Member

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    Thanks all for your help and input. I hadn't noticed the headlight mounting hole but after you mentioned it I checked it again and I believe you're right - it's melted too. I can't see it too well because of the angle, but definitely melted.

    As far as the fires - yikes!, and yes I'm a little concerned too - since the live shattered headlight piece is melted too the black wire which now also has exposed wires, I was wondering if that could cause some kind of short or sparks, etc. (I live in Canada at the moment and had to have the lights modified so they are always on). Really a doozy that's happened here. I'll make an appointment with a dealer, and next time have someone with smaller hands install the right hand light to make sure it's locked tight.

    Thanks again!
     
  8. seren8

    seren8 New Member

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    I can't think of any reason it would be an aftermarket splice, unless they did something weird when I had the lights converted to daytime running lights. I'll have it checked when I have them look at everything else.

    Thanks!
     
  9. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    It would be helpful if you could give a little more detail of what you're actually seeing. The wire harness is made of very thin copper (in a few cases aluminum) shiny metal wires, and those are coated in plastic insulation of various colors, and all of that is protected by a tough black plastic ribbed flexible tube.

    From what I could see in your first photo, it looked as if you might only have melted the protective outer tube, which might be what you're talking about when you say "the black wire". That would be not a very big deal. Look in through the damaged part, or spread the tube open (there's a slit), and look carefully at the real wires that are running through it. Is their colored insulation still intact, or do you see places where that also is melted and actual shiny metal is showing?

    If the only damage is to the outer protective tube, don't sweat it. It is only there for extra physical protection. You can give the damaged spot some wraps of good electrical tape and call it a day. (If you're feeling obsessive, you can also buy that ribbed tube stuff (usually called "split loom tubing") at your friendly local electronics shoppe, but I'd be unlikely to bother.

    If the inner wires' insulation got melted and you see actual exposed metal anywhere, you'll want to treat that with care. Slip them out of the split loom, and at least cover the damaged insulation spots (each wire individually) with something that will electrically insulate and keep out moisture. Plasti-Dip works well; so does Rescue Tape (and it's faster). Either way, clear is my favorite color, so you can see the wire condition. When they're all sealed back up, slip them back into the loom tubing. (If you used Plasti-Dip, it will take longer than you think to set hard enough to not get scraped off when you work the wires back in through the slit in the loom.

    If the inner wires' insulation is visibly sort of melted and misshapen, but not enough to expose actual metal, you're in an intermediate situation where it's kind of up to you how perfectionist to be about it.

    That seems plausible. That looks like a sort of garden-variety, clamp-it-down-with-pliers, insulation-displacement splice. Trouble is, I think the violet headlight wire (which it looks like that splice might be in) is one where Toyota used aluminum instead of copper. In Toyota's manuals, whenever splicing to aluminum wire (if you absolutely have to at all), the instructions are very, veeeery specific. They have a different crimp barrel connector (different part number than for normal splices in copper), a different tool for crimping said barrel, and specifically sealant-lined heatshrink tubing to totally seal the splice. Just clamping on some IDC splice out of the junk drawer doesn't really fit the bill.

    The right hand light access is just nasty. My hands aren't all that big, and it's almost impossible for me unless I move the air intake first, which is what the manual says to do.

    -Chap
     
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  10. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    I used H11 wiring harness extenders to splice in wires for my DRL project. I didn't want to cut or splice into my factory wiring:

    [​IMG]

    In the picture, one harness is completed for the spliced in wire, the other harness shows the terminals out of the connector shell to do the splice. These harnesses are readily available through eBay.
     
    #10 xliderider, Jul 28, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
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