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Old 9th March 2010, 08:51   #1
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Default Switching ON headlights shuts OFF the engine

I experienced a strange problem today.
When a dipper is used, I noticed the engine shutting off as if the keys were pulled off; So I tested this once again & saw all the speedo & tacho needles coming back to 0 & the digital ODO reads disappearing. Now I'm fully convinced that the engine shuts OFF when headlights are ON and when the lights are switched OFF, the engine is ON again. This happens not only with high beam, but also with low beam; however, parking lights, horns are working good no other issues. I tested this headlights ON/OFF game several times when driving & all the time the engine SHUT OFF/ON. So now I'm fully convinced that something has to be done with head lights.

Now I park the car in the office & left it in idling & turned ON the headlights to see if the head lights are atleast working when the engine shuts OFF; I get my next surprise, the car is still idling, headlamps glowing, I revved the engine, still no issues.

Now I'm really confused as what is happening.

Car - WagonR VXi
Model - 2005, clear lamps + roof rails
ODO - 40800
Headlamps - Philips Halogen 100/130 with cut outter, works fine for last 3 years now
Horn - Bosch

Please help me guys, do I really need to worry something? I recently changed my armature, I'm sure there's no link between armature & this issue, but still worth mentioning it here as nothing beats experience.

Armature issue - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...coil-self.html (Wagon R - Self starter problem - replace coil or self?)
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Old 9th March 2010, 10:55   #2
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Please take the car to a competent electrician and check the charging and battery condition first. Then do a check of the wiring.

IMHO 100/130 is a overkill for that car's electrical, i would say stick to 90/100 with proper relay and wiring if you are particular.
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Old 9th March 2010, 11:09   #3
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Jaggu is right, but please do also check for a shorting on the wiring before the cutout as the engine would die only if the voltage to the ECU drops considerably
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Old 9th March 2010, 11:10   #4
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I'm not sure i've understood your post correctly, but correct me if i'm wrong - what you seem to be saying is :


You turn on the headlights and the engine goes off. You then turn the headlights off and the engine starts running again??

What seems to be the case is that the engine is actually running all along -- however the headlights are interfering with the instrument cluster somehow, making it only appear that the engine is being shut off?

Suggest you get it checked by an electrician - tell him the headlight switch is interfering with the instrument cluster.

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Old 9th March 2010, 11:20   #5
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also get the alternator checked. if it is not generating enough power, these issues may occur.
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Old 9th March 2010, 11:43   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
You turn on the headlights and the engine goes off. You then turn the headlights off and the engine starts running again??
Exactly, this is the point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
What seems to be the case is that the engine is actually running all along -- however the headlights are interfering with the instrument cluster somehow, making it only appear that the engine is being shut off?
Sorry my bad English; but, no, this is not the case, the engine shuts off, I can feel that in the gas pedal.

To answer Jaggu's point on 130/100 - This is a news to me that its a over kill to the car. I got this wiring fitted from one of the reputed car shop accessories in Chennai (Radioshack, though I'm aware that most reputed can also make mistakes), but I've been using them for last 3 years without any problem; I know the bulbs consumes power like mad & that's the reason I never switch on the lights without the engine being turned ON; I've done several hundred KMs night drives without any issues. But to me, now, it looks like if I can't have 100/130, then HID is the only solution; I'll keep this in mind.

@Psycho - If the voltage drops to the ECU, will that damage the ECU completely? Pls help me understand here.

@Harsha - OK, I'll get it checked, but my feeling is that, if the battery is not charged sufficiently, then I'll get to know from my ever hungry power headlights; with them turned ON, my central lock will never work; have had this experience before when my OE battery died.

Thanks to Jaggu, Psycho, Rehaan & Harsha for helping me. YES, I WILL GO this evening to check the electricals. Meanwhile, I checked this behaviour an hour back by driving for about 300 meters & everything seems to be in perfect shape; appeared as if the car is asking me back "Problem & me?" & I'm literally confused.

Last edited by aargee : 9th March 2010 at 11:45.
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Old 9th March 2010, 11:51   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Exactly, this is the point.
So you turn the lights on, and the engine goes off.

Then you turn the lights off and the engine starts once again all by itself??

That is highly unlikely.


Is it possible that when you turn the lights on the engine is still idling, but just not responding to the accelerator ?


Have i understood this correctly?!

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Old 9th March 2010, 12:02   #8
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Problem will resurface after night drive, coz thats when the battery will get discharged more with the head lights ON.
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Old 9th March 2010, 12:03   #9
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BTW what is the alternator rating for the Wagon R in terms of Amps?

And yeah ...130/100 W is too much .....its also a nuisance for on-coming drivers!!
a 100/90 would more than suffice.

Check the charging (alternator) system in the car .
If the car is stalling when the headlights are switched on,then like all experts pointed put ..it clearly indicates that either there is a short circuit somewhere .

Dont ignore this and get the wirings checked at a MASS instead of some local garage
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Old 9th March 2010, 12:16   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
So you turn the lights on, and the engine goes off.

Then you turn the lights off and the engine starts once again all by itself??

That is highly unlikely.
Yes Sir; but just remember that whatever way the headlights were turned ON; I mean, even using a dipper for a second the engine was shutting OFF for a second & then back to normal. Here's the sequence I'll try to explain as best as possible...
1. I'm going to overtake a Tata Ace & I see this biker coming in opposite direction. I want to get his attention that I'm going to overtake this ACE & decide to use dipper to blink my lights.
2. While I overtake the ACE, I pull the dipper & I feel that the acceleration is dropped
3. I'm thinking that the lack of acceleration is my illusion & by now I've overtook the ACE, I leave the dipper OFF
4. Now I notice that the vehicle is gaining acceleration & I got confirmed that the illusion is for real
5. Now I pull the dipper to reconfirm the reality & shocked to see both the speedo & tacho needles falling off; I leave OFF the dipper & everything is normal again.
6. Now I decide to test further & switch ON the parking lights & notice everything is normal again & switch OFF the parking lights
7. After sometime I switch ON the parking light & turn ON the headlights & find the engine shut OFF; Now I'm confirmed that headlights are the culprits.
8. From time to time, say for about 4-5 times, I kept checking for this erratic behaviour until I reach my office for about 15 Kms range.

Note - Steps 5, 6, 7 & 8 were all done when I was still driving & I'd also stopped at one of the signal & even engine turned OFF, but still I could observe this behaviour. Also, during all these steps, I was unable to notice if the headlights were really working - sorry about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
Is it possible that when you turn the lights on the engine is still idling, but just not responding to the accelerator ?
No the engine was not idling at all; I'm very confident on this because I saw both the speed & tacho needles fall to 0 & the ODO read disappearing; if it were idling, like change to neutral from a high speed, atleast the speedo would show my speed right? Also there will not be a sudden fall from 3-4K RPM; it was falling like as if the engine was revved & the key being pulled out (like the old diesel Amby's we used to rev & take out the key)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Problem will resurface after night drive, coz thats when the battery will get discharged more with the head lights ON.
My brain says you're right, but my heart says I cannot be wrong either, so finding it little hard to digest that how come something working well for 3 years go kaput all of a sudden; besides the headlights are working well & batteries have been checked about 5 week back to say its good; But Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedsatya View Post
BTW what is the alternator rating for the Wagon R in terms of Amps?
Sorry Satya, today is the need, so I'll get this answered this evening

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedsatya View Post
And yeah ...130/100 W is too much .....its also a nuisance for on-coming drivers!!
a 100/90 would more than suffice.
I always drive with 100 low beam even on highways, which I'm sure will not affect anyone; the 130 is for those morons who don't respect the smaller vehicles; besides I need to take care of myself too & cannot go blind due to other vehicles headlights & bang myself somewhere right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedsatya View Post
Check the charging (alternator) system in the car.
Sure, I will do that this evening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedsatya View Post
If the car is stalling when the headlights are switched on,then like all experts pointed put ..it clearly indicates that either there is a short circuit somewhere .

Dont ignore this and get the wirings checked at a MASS instead of some local garage
Till date I don't trust any local garage & have always been giving it to a reputed MASS in Chennai; after their reputation has failed with me, I'm now giving (since my Armature change) to a small time MASS near my home; the guy who started this MASS is ex employee of Cars India.

I checked this problem even 1-2 hours back & did not find this anymore; anyway I'll give a try by 13:00 or 14:00; may be I'll warm/heat up the engine & give a try to see if this happens only when the engine is warm. This morning I noticed this problem after driving for about 9-10 Kms, so I'll give the same situation to test when I drive back home this evening.

Thanks for your continued support.

Last edited by aargee : 9th March 2010 at 12:27.
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Old 9th March 2010, 13:43   #11
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Quote:
No the engine was not idling at all; I'm very confident on this because I saw both the speed & tacho needles fall to 0 & the ODO read disappearing;
Never mind what the instruments say (although obviously the fault must be fixed) --- what does the car do?

If your engine is cutting out, the car will stop; if it does not, then your engine is still running.

My recommendation is to go ASAP to MASS: it sounds as if this may not only need an electrician, but maybe plugging in to the diagnostic machine as well.
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Old 9th March 2010, 14:23   #12
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Really weird problem, but I am still not convinced that your engine is shutting off (I dont have an explanation to prove my feeling though).

But doesn't your braking get affected when your engine is off? If yes, then testing this while you are driving is not advisable. The tacho can be checked even at idle.
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Old 9th March 2010, 14:29   #13
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Update
This time I gave a real nice rev to warm/heat up the engine & ensured that the needle stands in between; Now when I turn ON the lights the RPM drops no matter at what RPM the engine revs; I tested with little to 1K (that's my idling), 2K, 2.2K, 2.5K, 2.7K, 3K, 3.5K, 4K, 4.5K, 5K & yes at all RPM's when the headlight is switched ON, the RPM drops & it is very much visible in the meter.

Now the question comes as to what extend does it drop? For which I would say, during idling, it drops about 100-150, on 2K upto 100 & at 5K it could be less than 100 RPM. But for sure YES IT DOES DROP & there's a consistency in it.

Now what I suspect is that while fitting the armature, the MASS guys could've cleaned or messed up something that is behind this problem. Fortunately I've the OE holders hanging & the bulbs in the glove compartment; so on any worst case I should be able to revert back to OE headlamps.

Right now I'm only worried about car burning to flames

Quote:
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But doesn't your braking get affected when your engine is off? If yes, then testing this while you are driving is not advisable. The tacho can be checked even at idle.
Oh!! Boy, I don't wanna test my brakes during this phenomena, I'm more worried on the car running to flames.

Last edited by aargee : 9th March 2010 at 14:32.
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Old 9th March 2010, 14:41   #14
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Aargee, based on your explantion during the ACE overtake scenario, i feel the engine is not switching off, but the electricals are acting up, and as a result the tacho and meters show different readings. Why dont you open the bonnet, and ask someone to confirm if the engine actually stops running when you turn on the lights? I'm pretty sure it doesnt.

On my bike, when the battery had an issue, the tacho needle used to shoot up like crazy when i used the horn, or the indicators. It was however quite obvious the engine wasnt revving beyond normal although the tacho showed crazy readings.

Its definitely the electricals playing up.
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Old 9th March 2010, 14:47   #15
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RPM will drop by 50-100 at the max, this is due to the additional load exerted by the alternator, and this happens when you try it at idle reving.
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