Headlight stays on for 1 minute max — if it’s not the bulb and not the ballast what could it be?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by purgatorrie, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. purgatorrie

    purgatorrie New Member

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    I tried posting this question earlier but no one responded and I’m desperate enough to try again.

    Since a little over a week ago, I’ve replaced both HID bulbs in my 2008 TWICE. I replaced the driver’s side bulb and it wouldn’t come back on at all. Took it to my mechanic and he put in a new ballast, but afterwards the driver’s side light would only stay on for exactly one minute before turning off.

    I thought maybe the first time it was a fluke or a bad bulb. Bought another pair of Phillips brand D4Rs and had my mechanic install them to mitigate any possibility of my headlight replacement inexperience being the problem. Same issue remains.

    New ballast. New bulbs. Cannot get them to stay on for over a minute. What else could possibly be the problem? No one seems to have any clue and I’ve certainly stumped my mechanic.
     
  2. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

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    And you have stumped us here as well. Personally I would buy 2 new headlights from a junkyard and try those before going to the dealer.
     
  3. purgatorrie

    purgatorrie New Member

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    I don’t think I explained this part that well but I’ve now tried two completely new sets of HID bulbs so I feel like the chance of it still being a bulb issue is pretty slim :( To complicate things I just tried to turn it on and the odometer screen is black. This has happened several times in the past and it’s always appeared again after a “cheat code” of pressing start without brakes, opening the door, and pressing start again with the brakes depressed. However this time it didn’t work. I went through the self diagnostic on the touchscreen to see if it was an issue with the 12V battery but it’s outputting voltage completely within the normal range.
     
  4. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    A bad ballast can damage a good bulb.

    So if you put good headlight into a bad ballast. Bam. New bulb is now no good.

    So then after installing a new ballast you end up also buying new bulbs again. Very frustrating.

    So you are saying you put new bulbs in after putting in the new ballasts?

    Odometer screen going black is a completely different problem. And once it starts happening it is a warning to you to get it fixed. Because eventually it is going to remain off permanently.
    You will either need to replacing it with a different unit, or send it out to get fixed.
     
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  5. purgatorrie

    purgatorrie New Member

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    So the first set of new bulbs was installed before the ballast was replaced, but the second pair was afterwards when the “quirk” of turning off after a minute immediately showed up.

    Re: the odometer, what unit do you mean needs replacement? I heard some bandying about on YouTube of the term combination meter?
     
  6. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    Yes the combination meter (which includes the odometer).
    There are services that will sell you repaired combination meters. You need to send them yours as a core.

    If you used Toyota ballasts and are still having a problem, then I suppose next thing to do is to check the wiring going to the ballasts.
     
  7. MBold

    MBold New Member

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    I am having the same issue, though I haven’t replaced the ballasts. Apparently there are issues with our model headlights. It was pretty close to recall.
    This leads me to believe it’s not an easy fix. My car runs great, but I’m thinking of trading it in because the dealership won’t give me a price on fixing the headlight. All of a sudden they have no idea what’s wrong and cannot even give an estimate, it may be thousands to fix...
     
  8. hyt

    hyt Junior Member

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    I went through the same process but the issue in my case was that the replacement (OEM Denso) ballast was also defective. As a result I have three spare and perfectly good D2R bulbs sitting in my cabinet; I went through that many because what are the chances of a replacement ballast from a reputable vendor having the exact same problem? But, out of any other option and facing a 4-digit repair bill from the dealer, I sourced another ballast from a different vendor and that fixed the issue. That was in early 2017 on a daily driver 2005 with HIDs always on as daytime running lights, and they still work perfectly today.
     
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  9. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

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    It amazes me how many people refuse to believe it’s anything but the bulbs. Junkyard headlights cost practaly nothing.
     
  10. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    Around here junkyard headlights are still pretty spendy. And they may not come with the bulbs.
     
  11. Henry1234567890

    Henry1234567890 New Member

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    So what’s the fix?
    I having the same
    Issue. I got a replacement and it says it’s not working
     
  12. Henry1234567890

    Henry1234567890 New Member

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    It turns off after a little, oem bulb from a junkyard my lightbulbs are definitely not toasted. It’s something else
     
  13. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Headlights are not magic.
    Make a list of the components in a headlight circuit. Eliminate them one by one instead of the same one over and over again.
    Experience has shown the HID bulbs turning off, but then turning on again if you cycle the light switch, is typically caused by the bulb being at the end of it's life. Cleanliness of the bulb during install also affects life. If you're using the cheapest HID bulbs you can find, or Chinese knockoffs, anything is possible. We purchased a set of 4300 HIDs ~14 months ago for my sons 2005, from onyxlights.com They were $38 for a pair of D2R bulbs. D4Rs for later models are probably similar. What model bulb are you using? I had my doubts, but they've been flawless so far. The Philips D4Rs I purchased through Home Depot for my 2007 have been flawless for 2.5 years so far.

    D2R Bulb - Factory HID Xenon Series | Onyx Performance Lights

    Thinks to look at for HID systems...
    Bulb
    Ballast
    Wiring
    Switch
    Relay
     
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  14. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Has anyone checked the leveling system?

    HID burner systems are required to extinguish individual lamps if the self-leveling system does not pass self-test or stops responding to leveling commands.

    Typically there is a level sensor on the rear suspension, and the body computer reads this data and sends leveling instructions to the headlight buckets. The buckets have adjustment servos to compensate the beam angle.

    I would expect a failure in this system to show up in Techstream, but it may not show up anywhere else.
     
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  15. Stephanie Esser

    Stephanie Esser New Member

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    It could be your relay?
     
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