Brake light not working when lights are on

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Hey everyone, I finally got the Integra running and driving properly, but I've had another issue that I've been meaning to get fixed. When my headlights or parking lights are on, the passenger side brake light does not work. It works when the headlights are off. The tail light (also the same bulb) does work when the lights are on, but goes off when the brakes are pressed instead of getting brighter like it's supposed to. Any ideas? I've already changed the bulb with a brand new bulb and it did the same thing. I also checked to make sure all of the other bulbs worked and all other bulbs on the vehicle are working properly. Would a faulty fuse cause just one brake light to stop working? I didn't see any corrosion in the connector for the bulb, either. The wires looked fine on the harness from what I could see. Any help would be greatly appreciated, but from the looks of things I'm most likely going to have to take it in for something that I thought should've been very simple...
 
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Originally Posted By: ThirdeYe
I didn't see any corrosion in the connector for the bulb
Are you certain? Check the black ground wire. You need to push the metal part out of the plastic part to see the extent of any corrosion on the black wire, since that wire is on the outside of the metal portion of the socket. Any corrosion will cause the weirdest effects.
 
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The short answer, above, is yeah you need the ground. The long answer is you need the wiring diagrams, because "sometimes" they ground the front parking/ turn lights through the side marker lights in an effort to get them to blink "off" when the turn signal is on. As I can myself barely understand it (with diagram in front of me), you'd do well to go through ALL your marker, stop, and turn lights, up front too, removing bulbs and looking for trouble. If you have a trailer harness (doubtful) check it out too. And finally, bulbs can blow, shorting from parking light to stop with what's left of the filament inside.
 
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When was the accident? (After which the body shop ran a sheet metal screw through the harness)
 
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ThirdeYe

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The vehicle has never been in an accident, aside from when I hit a raccoon out of state a few years back. Just cracked the front bumper and caused the inner fender to scrape against the tire until I removed it. I'll take another look at the ground wire. It may be bad where I'm unable to see it...
 
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Probably a bad socket. You may be able to fix it tho. Look into the socket and you'll see 3 contact points. The one that is seperate from the other 2 is your ground. Gently pry up on it until it's even with the other 2. Install bulb.
 

ThirdeYe

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Thanks everyone for the valuable input. I'll try to mess with it more after work. Warstud - I only saw two contact points for the bulb and in the socket. Both appeared to be making contact. I also did make sure it was the correct bulb not only by looking it up beforehand but it is also identical.
 
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Originally Posted By: ThirdeYe
I only saw two contact points for the bulb and in the socket. Both appeared to be making contact.
Did you see my post? Push the metal part of the socket out of the plastic part. This will enable you to see inside the plastic part in order to determine the condition of the black ground-wire. When weird bulb or electrical behavior is experienced, that ground often has corrosion build-up on it.
 

ThirdeYe

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Tegger - sorry, I must have missed your post. I tried doing what you suggested but I wasn't sure I was doing it right and I definitely didn't want to break it/force it.
 
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Originally Posted By: ThirdeYe
Tegger - sorry, I must have missed your post. I tried doing what you suggested but I wasn't sure I was doing it right and I definitely didn't want to break it/force it.
Take a really good look at the socket assembly. It should be obvious how it goes together. The plastic exterior socket is a cover for the conductive steel interior of the socket. The assembly is just a friction-fit. The live wires go through the BOTTOM of the plastic, while the black ground-wire is on the SIDE. The black ground-wire simply folds over and bears against the steel part as the plastic part is pushed over the steel part. The live wires are attached to the steel part, so they will pass through the hole in the plastic part as the plastic part is slipped off the steel part. As I remember (it's been a few months), you just use your fingernails or a flat screwdriver to pull/lever on the flange of the steel part until the plastic part slips off the steel part. Or you use something skinny to push through the bottom hole of the plastic part. Can't quite remember now, but it's easy. A lot of ground-wire corrosion is simply not visible (or removable) until you pull the socket apart. It's tempting to use the bulb for grip when pulling the socket apart, but that's not advisable: You may break the bulb.
 

ThirdeYe

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Yep, turns out it's pretty badly corroded in the socket, where I couldn't see it initially. I have another socket on order, should be in Friday. Thanks for the tip!
 

ThirdeYe

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Originally Posted By: ThirdeYe
Yep, turns out it's pretty badly corroded in the socket, where I couldn't see it initially. I have another socket on order, should be in Friday. Thanks for the tip!
Soldered in the new socket and it now works fine. thumbsup
 
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