9-3 SS Bad Taillight Ground FAQ
Maintained by Thor Carlson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This FAQ applies to at least 9-3 Sport Sedans, four door models.
- SID reports brake light failure, but no bulbs are blown
- Fast blinker from left or right directional, or from four way flasher, but bulbs check out OK
- Dead rear bulb cluster, left or right side
- Burned or melted ground wire at bulb cluster
These are indicative of a bad ground in the rear bulb cluster. Bulb clusters are accessed from inside the trunk. Find the left (driver's) side by pulling open the hinged door. Find the right (passenger) side by pushing in the plastic retaining pin with a nail, then pull open the hinged door.
Each bulb cluster has a wiring harness plug with four wires, one for each of the 3 bulbs and one black wire for the common ground. You may find that the ground wire looks burned or melted. You may find as you wiggle the black wire that your taillight cluster will work again for a short time. The image shows the four pin connector with a badly damaged ground pin.
To repair the bad ground permanently, run an auxiliary ground wire from the ground tang on the printed circuit to the black ground wire on the wiring harness. One way is to drill through the top, through the tang, then pass a wire through and screw it in place. Splice the other end of the auxiliary ground wire to the black wire that leads to the bulb cluster.
This closeup shows the ground pin at the harness plug was almost completely gone, so none of the bulbs in the cluster worked at all. The fix described above resolved the problem and was accomplished at no cost using a spare piece of wire and a small sheet metal screw.
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