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Discussion Starter #1
I'll keep it brief. So I have an '82 280ZX and I have the drivers side light dim while the passenger side fine. I've done all the normal fixes such as changing the headlights, cleaning the harness and connectors around the area, cleaning the connectors for the headlight, new fuses for both lights, and checking the fuse-able links but nothing changes. Interestingly enough, if you cycle the headlights on and off, 90% of the time nothing changes but every once in awhile both headlights will shine as they should (AKA no dimming). So I'm assuming the combo switch for the headlights is all messed up. But since it at least works SOME of the time, I'm thinking I might be able to do a repair rather than a replace. Any ideas on what might be causing this? A ground in the combo switch?
 

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No - the headlight harness is grounded to the motor on top real close to the air regulator valve, and to the body underneath the coil. Check those grounds to see if they are loose or disconnected. If they are there, remove the connectors and clean them and the connection point on the body/motor to make sure it is clean.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
No - the headlight harness is grounded to the motor on top real close to the air regulator valve, and to the body underneath the coil. Check those grounds to see if they are loose or disconnected. If they are there, remove the connectors and clean them and the connection point on the body/motor to make sure it is clean.
Will do. I will update on Wednesday.

EDIT: Is the "air regulator valve" an interchangable name for the idle air control valve?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So I'm looking at a few grounding points and what appears to be a mount without grounding at all near the IAC. Here's the very first point that I believe is a mount and not anything to do with grounding:
106495

Here's some grounds which might be left headlight and right headlight as you were mentioning??
106496

I also noticed that there was a bullet connector that was unplugged by the coil. Plugging them into each other did nothing to solve the headlight issue so I just left them unplugged. Was I looking at the right grounds?
106497
 

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Why not use a multimeter and do a resistance test from the unplugged headlight connectors and to a clean ground on the engine or body. It should be a low reading and similar on both. Start with 20 ohm range and kick it down to 2 scale if reading is really low. Also check reading between the two headlight connectors themselves.
 

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Hi there. I had the same issue with my headlights (I have an 82 280zx) and tried just about every solution I could find, including resistance checks, cleaning up earths and rebuilding the combination switch. Nothing worked for me, so a couple of years ago I installed a cheap headlight relay harness and disabled the headlamp check. I think I paid around $20 for the harness and haven't had any issues since. I thought I had one working headlight but turned out that the working one was pretty dim too. Nice and bright now! Search eBay for H4 relay harness kit. Instructions on how to disable the headlight detection circuit are at https://www.zdriver.com/forums/280zx-s130-forums-77/hid-headlight-mod-you-280zx-30644/
 

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I'll keep it brief. So I have an '82 280ZX and I have the drivers side light dim while the passenger side fine. I've done all the normal fixes such as changing the headlights, cleaning the harness and connectors around the area, cleaning the connectors for the headlight, new fuses for both lights, and checking the fuse-able links but nothing changes. Interestingly enough, if you cycle the headlights on and off, 90% of the time nothing changes but every once in awhile both headlights will shine as they should (AKA no dimming). So I'm assuming the combo switch for the headlights is all messed up. But since it at least works SOME of the time, I'm thinking I might be able to do a repair rather than a replace. Any ideas on what might be causing this? A ground in the combo switch?
 

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I am new on this site. After viewing your post I realized that I had the same problem on my 82 ZXTurbo. The plastic housing in the steering column is your answer. Spray an electrical contact cleaner and brush contacts or turn on and off. This fixed mine and that was two years ago with no problems since. Good luck!
 

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On the 280zx the headlight switch is part of the ground circuit.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ok so unfortunately (or I guess fortunately) the grounds were just fine so that didn't solve my problem, BUT I DID SOLVE IT WITH ANOTHER FIX!!! Turns out it was the headlight switch. Pretty easy fix and I don't know why I didn't start out with this. So first, drop the steering wheel cover. Should be a bunch of screws under the steering wheel. Get them all out and look on the left hand side (if you are sitting in the drivers seat). You should see a connector that goes into the back of the headlight knob. Unclip it. The connector pins have two rows of 4 pins. Now, you'll see that the plastic housing is attached the the backing by two small screws. Take that off along with the black cover that clips on top of it. Now you should see some copper strips with small pads (the contacts) on each one. Scrape off any varnish (the problem in my case). I would also suggest using an electronic contact cleaning solution. Last but not least, I bent each strip on the removable connector side SLIGHTLY forward to help with making good contact. Then put it all back together!

I know, long read, but these are the types of instructions I would appreciate if I needed help. Thanks for trying guys, means a lot.
 

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The combination switch (headlights, turn signals, and wipers) is clamped on the steering column by one screw on the right side. It's much easier, IMO, to just loosen that screw and slide the switch off of the column so you can work on it on the bench. Pro tip - before you remove it, use a scratch awl to mark how far down on the column to slide it when you put it back in, otherwise it's trial and error to make it fit the plastic housing that goes around the column (ask me how I know).
 
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