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Old 12-22-2001, 11:48 PM
hedpe's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 507
burnt/melted headlight socket? help?

Hey guys, my driver side headlight went out tonight, so I'm thinking ok, I just need to replace the wen't dead. So I goto pep boys, get a new bulb and go to put it in and notice that it seems like the socket melted or burned. The MB shop is closed tomorrow so I can't take it tomorrow, I'd imagine it's closed on christmas eve, and also on christmas. So, i'm stuck with one for a while. So i was wondering if any of you techies know how to fix the socket (cutting it open, scraping out the burnt plastic, electrical tape? haha) or if I can get one at a normal store, it's late so I can't quite drive around and ask, so I was hoping someone would know. I'm guessing the middle socket (the burnt) is for the regular beams, because if i switch on my highbeams on the light works fine.

Here is what my normal passenger side socket looks like:

And the burnt:

Any feedback would be awesome guys...thanks!
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Old 12-23-2001, 02:59 AM
MikeTangas's Avatar
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Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
Are you using over wattage bulbs?
Mike Tangas
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Old 12-23-2001, 07:49 AM
Michael's Avatar
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Location: CT, USA
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You'll need to replace the melted socket-they're cheap if you can find 'em. Try autozone, Pepe boys, etc.
"If everything seems under control, you're simply not going fast enough" --Mario Andretti

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Old 12-23-2001, 10:49 AM
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Location: Jax, FL
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Thumbs up Solve the problem, not the symptom!

I think Mike is up to something here...Are you using the right wattage for your headlights? If you are not, that may be causing your problem...
'86 300E
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Old 12-23-2001, 11:18 AM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suwanee, GA, USA
Posts: 4,712
We find these sockets at the NAPA store. They are the same as used on the American vehicles. The newer ones will not melt!
Donnie Drummonds
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Old 12-23-2001, 11:56 AM
hedpe's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 507
right wattage

I'm positive I'm using the right wattage. I've been using the same bulbs for years now, and then this popped up. Maybe it's old and tired? But thanks for the feedback, I'm going to run up to pep boys and see if I can get a replacement.
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Old 12-23-2001, 12:13 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Posts: 758
Excessive current draw


The socket looks like others I've seen where the bulb has slowly gone bad and has caused an excessive current draw or resistance in the filiment causing the bulb end to get excessively hot causing the melt down you show.

"Tell me and I will listen, Teach me and I will learn, Show me and I will accomplish, Involve me and I will succeed."
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Old 12-24-2001, 02:09 AM
Posts: n/a
if one of the connecting pins is loose or shorted in some way the light will draw a lot of current enought to melt the socket.
good luck
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Old 12-26-2001, 09:33 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Wyoming USA
Posts: 56
A mechanic at a shop I frequent has noted bulbs produced in Korea tend to melt sockets and others usually do not.
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Old 12-27-2001, 11:25 AM
Posts: n/a
A little ohms law related thinking is warranted here. Turbo Turbine is onto the source of the problem but is a little off in the theory explanation.

When a particular pin is loose or foreign matter is causing a poor connection, this causes resistance to current flow at that point. Any time there is resistance to current flow, the energy is dissipated as heat. Because there is resistance to current flow, there is LESS current flow, but the energy is being dissipated at the bad connection, rather than all of it being dissipated as light and heat at the bulb filament.

Replace the socket and make sure you make good splices, if not, there will be resistance at the splice, causing the same thing to happen at the splice.

Have a great day,
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Old 12-27-2001, 02:22 PM
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the legit I=E/R explanation larry B. but i do suspect the socket its self although a bulb of a higher rating than the socket would also have the same effect.
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