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  1. #1
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    Firebird Headlights pop up when car is turned on

    Hey guys, I'm a newbie to the forum. Hope to enjoy a number of good conversations with you all!

    I just bought a 97 Firebird (3.8 V6), and everything seems to be in good shape. However, I noticed that the headlights pop up whenever the car is turned on, even if the headlight switch is in the "Off" position. The lights go back down when the car is turned off. Any ideas as to why this might be happening?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    They Hardwired it to activate when the ignition key in in the ON position. Your best bet it to look around under the hood and see if there are any randon wires hanging around. Chances are the tapped onto somewhere by the Fuse panel under the hood. Look for that and the Headlight relay. Its hard to say where exactly they made the mod.

    P.s. Welcome
    Last edited by ConElite; 06-12-2009 at 01:12 PM.
    Eddie
    2000 M6 Trans Am
    Tune+exhaust=344WHP

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Could also be the ambient light sensor.
    You know, the one that senses when it's getting dark and turns on the headlights automatically.
    Not sure about the FB but on my Camaro it's in the center of the upper dash panel by the defrost vent.
    If that's not working, then then computer always thinks it's dark outside and automatically turns on the headlights.
    My DD
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sneitzel
    Could also be the ambient light sensor.
    You know, the one that senses when it's getting dark and turns on the headlights automatically.
    Not sure about the FB but on my Camaro it's in the center of the upper dash panel by the defrost vent.
    If that's not working, then then computer always thinks it's dark outside and automatically turns on the headlights.
    Never heard of any 4th gen with Automatic headlights.

    All I have EVER seen is, "Off, Parking, and on."

    That little bulb this the security light unless you have something different.
    Eddie
    2000 M6 Trans Am
    Tune+exhaust=344WHP

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    my 95 formula has automatic headlights activated by a light sensor
    93 t/a A4 3.23s
    95 Formula A4 2.73s >>>>93 t/a 3.23 , !AIR, !cat, !A/C, hotchkis lowering springs, kyb adj shocks, DD
    99 Camaro z28 a4, 2.73, !AIR, !A/C
    99 Alfa Romeo 166 3.0 v6, red
    97 3.8 v6 A4 camaro, hardtop
    93 Camaro Z28 M6, hotcam kit, 150 shot, twin plate clutch, eibach pro kit and bilstein shocks, swaybars etc
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trans Am
    my 95 formula has automatic headlights activated by a light sensor
    Wow never see that. Is it a European model type thing. BC I have been all around F-bodies and I have never seen that.

    Very curious.
    Eddie
    2000 M6 Trans Am
    Tune+exhaust=344WHP

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConElite
    Wow never see that. Is it a European model type thing. BC I have been all around F-bodies and I have never seen that.

    Very curious.
    its a canadian market version , i think automatic headlights was required by law there
    also has the speedometer in km/h and mph too
    93 t/a A4 3.23s
    95 Formula A4 2.73s >>>>93 t/a 3.23 , !AIR, !cat, !A/C, hotchkis lowering springs, kyb adj shocks, DD
    99 Camaro z28 a4, 2.73, !AIR, !A/C
    99 Alfa Romeo 166 3.0 v6, red
    97 3.8 v6 A4 camaro, hardtop
    93 Camaro Z28 M6, hotcam kit, 150 shot, twin plate clutch, eibach pro kit and bilstein shocks, swaybars etc
    00 audi a6 4.2 40 valve v8

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Nope, my headlights come on automatically. There is a sensor on the upper dash panel next to the little red blinky for the factory alarm.

    I only have OFF, parking and ON as well on the switch. You cannot over-ride the lights when they are ON. In fact, I once got semi yelled at when I was dropping off a buddy on base because I did not dim my headlights when pulling up to the guard shack.

    Looking a at the manual for the 97 Camaro (p. 2-52) on Shoebox's website, it appears to be part of the Daytime Running Lamps system:

    "Daytime Running Lamps
    Daytime Running Lamps (DRL) can make it easier for
    others to see the front of your vehicle during the day.
    DRL can be helpful in many different driving
    conditions, but they can be especially helpful in the
    short periods after dawn and before sunset.
    A light sensor on top of the instrument panel automatically
    turns the headlamps on, so be sure it isnít covered.

    If itís bright enough outside, the DRL system will make
    your front turn signal lamps come on when:
    0 The ignition is on,
    0 The headlamp switch is off and
    0 The parking brake is released.
    When the DRL are on, only your front turn signal lamps
    will be on. The taillamps, sidemarker and other lamps
    wonít be on. Your instrument panel wonít be lit up either.
    When you use your turn signals, the front turn signal and
    the taillamp of the desired side will flash.
    When itís dark enough outside, your front turn signal
    lamps will go out and your headlamps will come on.
    The other lamps that come on with your headlamps will
    also come on.

    When itís bright enough outside, the regular lamps will
    go off, and your front turn signal lamps will come on.
    As with any vehicle, you should turn on the regular
    headlamp system when you need it."

    Looking at the manual for the Firebird (I looked at 97 and 2000) it mentions "For Canadian vehicles, a light sensor on top of the instrument panel..." and "For Canadian vehicles, when itís dark enough outside..."

    Hmmm...
    Looks like it was a standard feature on Camaros in the US but not on Firebirds.

    I learned something today!!!!
    My DD
    2004 Grand Prix GTP Comp G

    My toy

  9. #9
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    Hmm. My brothers 96 Z does not have that. Maybe it was not manufactored in Canada.
    Eddie
    2000 M6 Trans Am
    Tune+exhaust=344WHP

  10. #10
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    I think it has to do with where the car was intended to be SOLD.
    My DD
    2004 Grand Prix GTP Comp G

    My toy

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    4
    Thanks for the ideas guys. There is a cover over the dash pad that may be blocking the sensor, so I'll take a look at that. I was under the impression that the parking lights would be the only ones on for the daytime running lights, but I'll start there... simple enough. After that, we'll start poking around with the wires. I get nervous when I start poking around with electrical stuff, but what's the worst that could happen?

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trans Am
    Its a Canadian market version , i think automatic headlights was required by law there
    also has the speedometer in km/h and mph too
    Yep mine is a Canadian market TA and it has the headlights pop up when it gets dark. Every morning in the garage they pop up. It's a sensor and once I pull out and there's enough daylight, they go down.
    97 Trans Am A4 more or less stock (Mods: WS6 Ram Air with Fernco & K&N, 12 disc CD changer, power antenna, SLP Fan Switch, LS1 Aluminum DS, Borla Cat back, McCord power plate, Spohn tower brace, Sirius, HID fog lights)


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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by huskrthill
    I get nervous when I start poking around with electrical stuff, but what's the worst that could happen?

    That's the spirit! Oh, and in answer to your question, I suppose you could fry something in the PCM or arc-weld a screwdriver to the engine block.....

    Not sure those are the "worst" that could happen, but they probably qualify as bad enough.
    '94 Firebird Formula, Lt1, 6 speed, all stock

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by formula_gramps
    That's the spirit! Oh, and in answer to your question, I suppose you could fry something in the PCM or arc-weld a screwdriver to the engine block.....

    Not sure those are the "worst" that could happen, but they probably qualify as bad enough.
    not to hi-jack, but i have welding with a battery and jumper cables
    2009 Honda Civic EX- the daily beater

    old toys - 1983 trans am, 1988 trans am, 1986 IROC-Z, 2002 Ram Off-Road, 1984 K10, 1988 Mustang GT, 2006 Silverado 2500HD

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    I haven't had a chance to look into it any further, but here's something else that is strange... when I start the car at night (when it's dark) the headlights DO NOT pop up. Is it possible that the Daytime Running Light sensor is confused?

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