Technical Headlamp pods (again)

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Technical Headlamp pods (again)


Apr 12, 2017
Hello all
Advice and assistance relating to headlight/headlamp pod motor operation desperately needed!
I have made forum searches but even assuming what I see on a search and what anyone else might see on a search is the same, the results are enlightening me very much….
This is for a late 1500cc car. I set out the background first before getting to the questions so please do bear with me. Diodes are addressed later.
All was working well regarding pod operation, then the following evening, when setting off down the road, I noticed that my brake lights and the heater fan were not working; after dealing successfully with that (“just” a blown fuse, although the underlying cause is yet to be established – the fan failure function is there to enable one person alone to test the brake light – clever!), I tested other electrics for operation and that is when I discovered the headlamp pods refused to go down. I repeat, they worked quickly and well the night before the brake light matter was discovered.
I switched the engine off and then tried to start it again just in case I had left the slider switch or main beam stalk in the wrong position: this time there was no electrical power at all on the ignition switch. After wiggling the key a little after checking main battery terminals, that power problem rectified itself, and has not returned, but I still have no operation of the pods.
The fuses check out ok and the relays E2 (parking lamps and headlamp raising control), E3 (headlamp motor r/h) and E5 (headlamp motor r/h) also test ok on a dedicated relay tester. I have cleaned the earths under the dash and in the two areas behind the pods.
Upon removing the slider light switch, I saw that the green wire terminal and block had some heat damage (I know that the switch was not deigned to carry the current that it does, there not being a relay on dipped beam). I disassembled the switch fully and saw that the copper track (connected to green wire’s terminal) within the switch had come loose due to melted plastic. I managed to re-set the track, clean and reconnect everything but still the pods will not move. I have 12v permanent on the white wire and 12v on the black and the brown wires when operating the ignition key
I have all lights too, however my memory is playing tricks: I thought that prior to this problem, when moving the slider to the first right hand position, only the side/marker lights and rear lights worked and that I had to move the slider to the second right hand position to have headlights on dipped, and then use the column stalk to get main beam.
Now, however when moving the slider to the first right hand position, I get the side/marker lights and rear lights (as usual) AND slightly dim headlamps. Then moving to the second position I get brighter dipped headlamps, with the main beam as usual using the stalk.
What should the first slider position give me? Side/marker/parking lights only, or also some light from the headlamp?
Even when on the first slider position, I can feel a little heat on the terminals: how much is usual I do not know and I intend to fit the PANDA switch modification (more below). Before I do fit that modification though, I want to get the pods’ operation sorted out so I am not chasing two sets of problems. Because of other practicalities where I have left the car I do not want to disassemble motors etc unless I really have to. I’d like to start simple and work up from there.
To that end, please can anyone comment on:
1 to see if the pods want to work, what wire do I apply 12v to: the blue/white or the blue red?
1a can I inject 12v at the ppod motors to see if they operate? If so, where?
2 where are the pod motor earths: directly behind in the hatch areas behind the pods on the “castles” or do they earth directly through the motor bodies?
3 if I manually retract the pods to see if they raise electrically, which (let’s suppose) then fail to raise; do they later need returning manually to the up position so that when proper service is resumed they are in the correct indexed position? Or doesn’t it matter, they will re-index themselves?
4 I know that everyone immediately says “diodes” when pod operation is queried but removing the motors and testing the diodes is not practical where I have left the car and I cannot put it totally out of commission when the motors will be out (for the inevitable couple of weeks between rain and other things) to do the tests. So, can the potential diode malfunction be diagnosed with certainty when still on the car eg by eliminating other causes first? If so, what to do? Given the pods worked very well one day and not at all the next, I am loath to condemn the diodes immediately.
Thanks in advance!

Hello Luigi

Yes switch works fine after repair although I will replace it with Panda switch and 4 relays after the pod malfunction is remedied.

Cheers RDS
My god RDS you are really having funny problems with your car! You poor soul.
Its late / early now but I will try to have a look at my circuit diagrams on Monday and see if I can figure any links between all of this.
One thought - the Panda certainly doesn't have motorised lights so are you sure the switch is a suitable swap!?? My Exxy headlights motor up at sidelights position, I just haven't needed to think about it - like how does it do that? but guess it may be the headlamp relay that commands the motors, need to understand that one before I could be sure.
That isn't anything directly to do with my 4 headlamp relays but if the switch was damaged by overheat then its possible an other contact could have suffered?
More soon.....
Hello Luigi and Scotty

yes thanks for the commiserations Scotty: I think that is why the car is so low mileage....!! Anyway, please do have a look and post what you find/think.

The Panda switch swap is a bit convoluted I think because it introduces 4 relays to give back the pod raise/lower function. Finding a place for the assembly and threading the wires through will be a task....

Now the update: it late and I am just back from a midnight ride using mainly the sidelights and dim headlamp switch setting ie position 1 of the slider. Again, pods stayed up even with ignition switch off. Then, continuing the drive and 10 mins into it, I had to use dipped on position 2 for about 5 minutes and main beam for a minute.

This extra load must have overheated the switch a little because the pods decided to close and I lost the headlights. I immediately moved the slider back to position 1 and thereby reduced the load on the switch from the full power dipped beam headlamps; this allowed the pods to raise again. Dashboard lights were on throughout this, no interruption.

5 mins later, I pulled in to get some petrol and moved the slider back to OFF......the pods lowered and then when I started back up again, they raised. Arrived home just now and same result: pods lowered nicely. So that means either the spirited drive re-established a loose connection (feed or earth) or more likely, as Luigi suggested, the damage-repaired switch is still behaving oddly.

In any event, I cannot leave it like this so, again Scotty, please do post with your findings. It will be useful for everyone with this issue.


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Aagghh! These car "wiring diagrams" are awful and as you say very difficult to read, looks like they were drawn by a draftsman with access to a limited number of electrical symbols and absolutely no knowledge of electronic / electrical diagrams.

Anyway reading, tracing and guessing (mainly about the function of the switches) leads me to suspect that headlight switch. It directly feeds to dipped headlights as well as sidelights and the raise lower motors on the pods. If the headlight slider switch is dodgy then it could lead to interesting pod behaviour as well as dim lights!
My best suggestion would be to source a good second hand switch and carry out the relays / good +12v fused feed mods. Looks like an alternative 3 position switch could work as it doesn't appear to have any special contacts for the headlamp motors.

I need a wee malt now!
Yes they are very poor; especially where they straddle two pages and the wire lines do not match up.

I made a trip again late last night; pods work well BUT there was more than perceptible heat at the switch terminals so it is due for replacement. However I do not have a good 6-terminal version to hand so will have to go the Panda 4-terminal route.

As an aside, the coil of wire which is to be found in front of the windscreen in the scuttle area of the front boot, is said to be part of the "dim" headlamp (with sidelights on) feature. I had assumed it was part of the fan motor speed control circuit. It is not in the Haynes diagrams: can you confirm which circuit it belongs to?


No idea!
There was a daft idea going around in the 80's called Dim Dip. where the halogen headlights were run at something like 1/2 power during the day so you can be seen better by dozy drivers. It was only fitted for a few model years but I don't recall when. The predecessor to LED daylight running lights. The halogen filaments of course needed to run at full power so they lasted longer (sorry don't know the science on that).
Anyhoo, what some manufacturers did was run the dipped lights through a resistor to drop the voltage - and I thought Fiat just used a crappy harness and switches instead!
So if this coil of wire is a dim dip resistor it wasn't drawn in many circuit diagrams I don't think. For this to work, the headlights would of course need to be up during daylight driving and the wiring would of course be different to most X1/9s. Do your headlights sort of illuminate on just sidelight switched on? and does that resistor get hot?
Heater blower fan off of course.
Gotta say that is a new one on me, anyone got a Bertone dim-dip circuit?

I fitted some nice Osram LED DRLs just under my bumpers - the Exxy is a fairly small car and benefits from some extra illumination on todays DLR roads.
That's the point: I don't see the coil drawn in the Haynes or Fiat workshop manual either. did you have another wee dram to fortify yourself before looking at the mess that the diagrams are?

yes, my headlamps have a dimmer than usual light when on 1st position, ie sidelight or "park" as it is known in one of the manuals and the pods are up. As you say the excess voltage has to be bled off in that case but i didn't think to check the heat last night and I cannot get to the car now.

I too fitted auxiliary lights (v thin rectangles under the bumper) with LEDs, there is a connector in each hatch ready for them but they run off the mainbeam circuit. As the load is very small, i don't think they are the problem here though.

what circuit did you wire your DRL's into? did you use any extra relays?
Ok, second attempt with this website... Looks like you have a fairly unique X1/9 there.
DRLs and the wiring... I bought a pair of expensive Osram DRLs think they cost £68, they are very well made and heatsinked, very bright and I am pleased with them.
They came with a wee connection block that allowed easy wiring from ignition 12v, lights etc but I wired them via a switch on the dash.

I attach (I hope) a picture of one as well as my extra fusebox I mentioned earlier.

You have done better than me to attach not one but two photos....

Your fusebox certainly looks professional and confidence inspiring with neat cables etc.

Your DRLs look like mine as to size shape but mine just had pig tails. I notice you have driving lights too, underneath?

Did you employ the unused switches on the centre console?

Thanks but I really need to tidy that harness up a bit.
I need to re-do the wiring around the 2 main midi fuses as they are bolted to the "cabinet" around my subwoofer (located where the washer bottle was located. The old subwoofer rubber surround went the same way as the old tyres, hoses, seals etc and I needed to replace it. Just need to revisit all that wiring when I finish the wiper relay mod.
The driving lights I bought 42years ago for my new Capri way back in 1980 when I should have bought a new X1/9, just always kept them. They are wired to that spare driving lights connector so they can be used to flash without raising the pods.

By the way on the DRLs, no relays were harmed to make them work as the Osram wiring box took care of all that stuff.

Switches: none needed for the driving lights. for the DLRs, I used a really neat wee square illuminated latching push switch mounted in one of the spare blanks. No picture on my phone - yet.
It's a never ending task then.

I nearly bought a new x1/9 in 1987 (I think it was) they were being sold off the carpark of general "wholesaler" Makro, maybe they had a job lot.

You have reminded me: the reason I wanted to fit my extra lights in the first place, was so I could flash-to-pass without raising the pods; however I have not worked out where and how to do that yet and they just come on with main beam, pods up. The standard wiring is already too complex and not reflected properly in the Haynes that I gave up.
In 1980 the 2l capri was £5,200 and the dealer wanted £5,750 for an X1/9 so I chose the Ford, it was a bit of a lemon as the Fiat would have been too I guess.

Driving lights... I fitted mine 35yrs ago but I don't recall doing anything other than plugging them into the 2 pin sockets near the dreaded pod areas. I will just squint at the Haynes circuit...
Ok, Haynes pages 192 & 3... the "Driving Lights" are shown wired basically in parallel with the high beams. So on my car and also according to Haynes circuit, flash the stalk and these two driving light flash, so handy for signalling other drivers. In fact if I can recall correctly, that was why I fitted them in the first place.

You will need to uprate the fuses 5 and 6, I put in 15amp (blue ones) to cope with the extra 5amps and the total draw per side / per fuse will be 10 - 11amps I guess.
The 2 pin connector has a green wire on drivers side and green/black on nearside.
As this is fed from the mainbeam relay it should be ok as it doesn't feed its current via the light switch and even better if the headlamps relays are installed - sunglasses optional!!
Sacrilege it may be on here but I'd like the Capri now.

Yes, that is now I fitted up my thin rectangular lights like your DRLs, however as they are LEDs I did not change the fuse because, calculating the extra load, it was not not necessary.

Although they do flash on pulling the stalk back, it would have been nice if the pods did not have to raise eg in daylight. I suppose we cannot have it all though.
I don't think my pods raise when 'flashing'
The only way to raise the headlight pods is sliding the lighting switch on with the ignition on.

LEDs - In my humble, the technology is coming along but really good versions are still expensive and I rarely drive my car a night or in the rain. As I said, DLRs fitted were small and discrete as possible 'cause they shouldn't be there but I felt other drivers would become used to seeing every car with these sort of lights and may not register unlit cars.
I think the standard situation is that the pods do raise (and very quickly) when I flash in the daylight (!), otherwise the headlamps would flash within the lowered pod to no purpose. I will check this though when I drive this weekend. Don't forget, my pods started to work again after flashing and driving on headlamps for a while.

I agree about visibility, I get people pulling out on me all the time in the car or when I am on the motorbike (even with lights full on the latter).

Surely if you don't drive in the rain, from my happy memories of Bonnie Scotland, you'd be driving even less than me!!
Edit: I now see you are in Rugby not Scotland- my experiences of the Midlands are not much dryer, either!
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Ok, nice weather and out driving today. My Pods definitely do not raise on Flash!
Think you prob. may be that it is strange - sorry I mean special - insofar that your electrics are uncommon and not documented! (unless someone can come up with a wiring diagram).
1. Dim dip. 2. The way your Pods operate. 3. The interior lights / hazard flasher issue.

What age is your car / details ??
Where abouts are you RDS?
Yes, Scotty, I bet it was nice driving today: sadly I was working inside on other stuff! It is just not fair.

Not sure that the "dim-headlamps-on-first-slider-position" is that uncommon: seems the US cars are like that from comments on the other website. The pods I will verify when (ok I mean IF) I get to drive car over the weekend.

The other issues are intermittent: I suspect that the installation of the dealer-fit immobiliser/alarm when new has confronted to a lot of issues: the same happened when my father had a mobile auto electrician fit one into his car back in the 80s and all went haywire.

I am in sunny southeast.
Yep, grateful for the dry weather indeed.
DimDip US side, I downloaded from the Greek X1/9 site, bits of a federal workshop manual which is useful for most bits that tend to be common. Will checkout their wiring diagrams and get back to you on that.
Ha!, the ol immobiliser. OMG, I fitted one to my car a year or two ago, I knew what I was doing but had to document and draw out my circuit diagram for the installation so I could understand the whole picture. If I met a person that has also went into that level of detail, well !! Anyhoo I bet that has something to do with your hazard flasher / interior lights issue.
As to the dim dip, if that is factory and was an old version of course of todays LED and halogen (cheap version!) DRLs then its safe to assume the pods would be needed to raise for them to be seen and (to be checked) could well impact the pod raising issue.
Timing is strange as I recall fellow engineers in Jaguar Electrical deriding this new dim dip legislation due soon (that was in 1985).
Here is an extract on what Wikipedia had to say on it:- "Dim-dip lamps[edit]
UK regulations briefly required vehicles first used on or after 1 April 1987 to be equipped with a dim-dip device[41] or special running lamps, except such vehicles as comply fully with UN Regulation 48 regarding installation of lighting equipment. A dim-dip device operates the low beam headlamps (called "dipped beam" in the UK) at between 10% and 20% of normal low-beam intensity. The running lamps permitted as an alternative to dim-dip were required to emit at least 200 candela straight ahead, and no more than 800 candela in any direction. In practice, most vehicles were equipped with the dim-dip option rather than the running lamps.[41]

The dim-dip systems were not intended for daytime use as DRLs. Rather, they operated if the engine was running and the driver switched on the parking lamps (called "sidelights" in the UK). Dim-dip was intended to provide a nighttime "town beam" with intensity between that of the parking lamps commonly used at the time by British drivers in city traffic after dark, and dipped (low) beams; the former were considered insufficiently intense to provide improved conspicuity in conditions requiring it, while the latter were considered too glaring for safe use in built-up areas. The UK was the only country to require such dim-dip systems, though vehicles so equipped were sold in other Commonwealth countries with left-hand traffic.[42]

In 1988, the European Commission successfully prosecuted the UK government in the European Court of Justice, arguing that the UK requirement for dim-dip was illegal under EC directives prohibiting member states from enacting vehicle lighting requirements not contained in pan-European EC directives. As a result, the UK requirement for dim-dip was quashed.[41] Nevertheless, dim-dip systems remain permitted, and while such systems are not presently as common as they once were, dim-dip functionality was fitted on many new cars well into the 1990s.

The south east, ok just thought if you were closer I would offer to have a wee look, but my Thatcham alarm immobiliser was extremely involved to fit (took the dash apart) and would be hard to do from a distance. In fact I fitted one way back when I bought mine in 88 and when working on it recently I decided that I couldn't put my hands on the circuits from 30+ years ago so I decided just to buy a now kit and replace the one from the 80s.