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Helpful Reply996 intermittent headlight cut out - probably the multi pin connector?

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Pete Ansbro
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Pete Ansbro PCGB Member
2019/01/25 17:41:22 (permalink)

996 intermittent headlight cut out - probably the multi pin connector?

I read in the club mag which arrived today that technical issues aren't being raised to the same extent well, here's one.
 
I have an intermittent issue with the N/S dipped headlight which works fine then occasionally drops out of illumination (not "drops out of the wing" by the way).
It's only the nearside and given the handed nature of the headlight unit it's impossible to verify the fault by taking the headlight to the O/S of the car.  Swapping bulbs over doesn't transfer the problem.
When it happens the NS turn indicators go at double-speed.
I have established through trial and error that the fault lies in the multiplug between the headlight unit and the corresponding part inside the front wing. Sometimes placing both hands on the headlight and giving a firm push cures the fault as does doing the whole removing the headlight from the car and re-installing it. I've tried cleaning the male pins with a tissue soaked in lighter fluid and sometimes this works for a while. 
I can go months without the problem manifesting itself, I wouldn't say there's a link to damp atmosphere but as I drive my 996 365 days/year it is a nuisance issue. Realistically had it been the O/S headlight I'd have sought a fix long ago but I've got the MOT next month so maybe now is the time to get it fixed. I don't know which part of the multiplug is letting me down....

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andywill
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Re: 996 intermittent headlight cut out - probably the multi pin connector? 2019/01/25 18:44:44 (permalink)
HI Peter
If as you say pushing on the headlight cures the issue it can only be the connections not mating correctly or the headlight not secured correctly. AS far as I’m aware there should be very little movement if the headlight is secured correctly, if you look at Richards post number 15 on the following thread  https://www.porscheclubgb.com/forum/tm.aspx?m=1013972  that may help you.
A faulty connection will also make the indicators flash rapidly as the electrics think the bulb is blown.
Good luck
Andy

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Pete Ansbro
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Re: 996 intermittent headlight cut out - probably the multi pin connector? 2019/01/25 18:53:39 (permalink)
Andy, thanks, the "headlight slap" doesn't push it very far at all, it's nothing like the travel when the securing bar locks into place. The unfortunate "right now" is that the slap isn't closing the circuit. If it doesn't rain tomorrow I'll have another go at taking the headlight out and re-seating it. 
 
andywill
HI Peter
If as you say pushing on the headlight cures the issue it can only be the connections not mating correctly or the headlight not secured correctly. AS far as I’m aware there should be very little movement if the headlight is secured correctly, if you look at Richards post number 15 on the following thread  https://www.porscheclubgb.com/forum/tm.aspx?m=1013972  that may help you.
A faulty connection will also make the indicators flash rapidly as the electrics think the bulb is blown.
Good luck
Andy





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Richard_Hamilton
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Re: 996 intermittent headlight cut out - probably the multi pin connector? 2019/01/26 15:36:07 (permalink)
The connector in the headlight tray can get a bit floppy in the frame, and I recall there being a plastic clip which holds it in place, which can break.  Maybe check that out too.  If you have some contact cleaner spray, give it a good squirt, which might help the connector slide into the headlight better.

Richard
1989 3.2 Carrera Sport in Guards Red/Linen & Audi RSQ3
Previous:
2012 Cayman 2.9 PDK, 2006 Cayman S, 2000 996 Turbo, 1998 996 C2, 1994 993 C2
Pete Ansbro
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Re: 996 intermittent headlight cut out - probably the multi pin connector? 2019/01/26 17:04:09 (permalink)
Richard, the "car" part of the multiplug is located but has some movement which I assumed was there to accomodate the slight shift of alignment when the headlamp is pushed home and locked by the bar. Had the unit out today, cleaned it, put it back, hey presto! We'll see......  

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Eldavo
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Re: 996 intermittent headlight cut out - probably the multi pin connector? 2019/02/08 13:41:12 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Pete Ansbro 2019/02/08 14:00:44
I have had this a couple of times, once was the headlight clicked in place but not adequately pushed in and the other time was the headlight plug. 
 
Accepted wisdom is to replace it but I managed to open it up, clean it with contact cleaner, bend the location springs out a tad and after several goes - get it all back together and it’s working perfectly (he says) now. 

Current:
2002 996 3.6 C2
1988 944 Turbo S (not exactly standard)
Past:
2006 987 Boxster 2.7
1988 944 2.7
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Pete Ansbro
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Re: 996 intermittent headlight cut out - probably the multi pin connector? 2019/02/08 14:13:04 (permalink)
Here's a pre-MOT update.
  1. I had a go at cleaning the male contacts on the multiplug and ever-so-gently put a teensy bend on them (pause whilst someone throws up their hands in horror!!). Following this I still had the intermittent headlight failure but the turn indicator no longer blinked at 2x speed so I think I've eliminated an earth fault.
  2. I hadn't let on to you guys that I've been running a HID kit for two years or so. The kit has been faultless on the o/s headlight and other than this recent intermittent fault has been fine on the n/s also. I have replaced every part of the HID kit with new parts and still have no n/s headlight.  
  3. I took out the HID kit wiring and put an ordinary halogen bulb back in and it performs correctly first time every time. I don't believe this points the finger at the HID kit being defective but it leads me to wonder if the HID kit is in some way more sensitive to voltage or current than ordinary halogens?
  4. I bought a cree kit to try but the cree lamp was bigger in diameter than the hole through the centre of the black plastic bulb retaining clip. I wasn't prepared to butcher the plastic clip so the cree kit has been sent back. 
  5. The plan then is to send the car to my indie for MOT on Tuesday with a request to replace (or clean?) both parts of the multiplug and we'll either put him through the MOT with two halogens fitted or with both HIDs operating correctly. I'll keep you posted.

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StillWorking
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Re: 996 intermittent headlight cut out - probably the multi pin connector? 2019/02/25 12:57:39 (permalink)
I had the same and swapped components between sides one at a time then found the issue.
garywaite
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Re: 996 intermittent headlight cut out - probably the multi pin connector? 2019/03/08 20:32:03 (permalink)
Pete,
I've just fitted HID's and they definitely seem to be more voltage / current sensitive. LH side was fine but the RH side keeps blowing (15A) fuses particularly during the "warm up" phase. Swapping the parts side to side makes the problem follow it, so I surmised it was the HID bulb itself.  On the bench it pulls about 10A versus the 6A stated on the box, but it suggests that given the 18 year old wiring and earth points, maybe there is a compounding of the issue with corroded / dirty earths!
As an aside, did you manage to achieve a legal beam pattern for dipped beams?  I've got H7R bulbs but despite that the beam cut off is still a bit woolly, so although I've got lots of light, they are aligned low to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic.
 
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