HELP! 2001 Impala Headlights

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Ok, what am I doing wrong? Went to the drive-in the other night, it was hot, had to leave the car running for air conditioning. Had to leave very embarassed, could NOT turn off the headlights!!
During the day, when the DRL are on, shifting into park kills the DRL's. But at night, when all the lamps are on, shifting into park the headlights stay on if the car is running. I tried applying the parking brake, turning the engine off and on, damm lights keep comming on. Any suggestions other than take a hammer to the headlights?
Thanks in advance, BB
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I don't know about base model Impalas, but my 2000 LS has the capability to turn off the auto headlight feature through the radio panel. Personally, I don't see the problem. If the headlights MUST be off with the engine running, turn on the park lights manually, that should turn the headlights off. Roy

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I wish my Malibu LS had that disable feature. I've explained why before, so I will spare the regulars of this NG that rant again. ;-)
I don't think your suggestion will help this person though. Even if he does as you suggest (turn the switch to the "parking light" position), drive in theaters I've known require ALL lights be extinguished which can't be done on many of the GMs in the situation that the original post describes. And, if he was able to disable the auto light control through the radio panel as you think he may be able to, turning the lights off completely would only cause the DRLs to come on then (which may work if setting the parking brake turns off the DRL on this model) The Impala's DRLs are based on the high-beam lamp, the light beam (albeit reduced intensity) would likely have a even greater apparent brightness level than the regular headlamps due to the fact that the DRL beam is shining upward into people's eyes if he can't get them to go off. He's may be basically stuck! Wouldn't is just be easier if the lights just worked like every other car company design out there...the light switch that has a position that says all lights "OFF"?
Gm really needs to give the control of the basic functions of the car back to the operator using simple _industry standard_ controls (for those that want that control, at least). They are the only car manufacturer out there that has so bastardized the lighting systems to the point that they don't even work the same or look the same across their own product lines. The parking brake will turn lights off on this model and not that one. Putting the car in Park may do it on this one, but not that one. On the trucks and large SUVs you can press the dome light button 4 times to turn them off. On the Impala you do it through the radio panel (apparently). Good lord...put the damn "lights off" function on the damn light switch where it belongs for Pete sake! But, I know, I'm the oddball...the heck with having any sort of normalcy or standard or intuitiveness to a control design. Let the driver fumble with different standards while trying to operate the car, always a good idea to do what ever you can to keep the driver as confused as possible! (oops sorry, said I wouldn't rant, didn't I!) ;-)
| > | Ok, what am I doing wrong? Went to the drive-in the other night, it | > | was hot, had to leave the car running for air conditioning. Had to | > | leave very embarassed, could NOT turn off the headlights!! | > | During the day, when the DRL are on, shifting into park kills the | > | DRL's. But at night, when all the lamps are on, shifting into park | > | the headlights stay on if the car is running. I tried applying the | > | parking brake, turning the engine off and on, damm lights keep comming | > | on. Any suggestions other than take a hammer to the headlights? | > | | > | Thanks in advance, | > | BB | > | > | |
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wrote:

The only thing I have programmable via the radio for lights is the amount of time the headlights stay on when exiting the car after it is turned off.
The headlight "switch" or decoration as I now call it, does NOTHING at night.
The daytime running lights (DRL High beams at lower intensity) turn off when the vehicle is shifted into park.
Anyways, MY solution after fiddling with it was fairly simple.... I went to radio shack and bought a tiny white LED lamp, a 680 ohm resistor and some small gauge wire. Ran the wires from on top of the dash to under the dash where they can't be seen, the LED sits on top of the DRL sensor covered by a black rubber bicycle tire repair patch. Hooked it all up to ignition switched power through a 1/4 amp fuse.
Now when the the car is turned on it enters DRL mode very quickly regardless of the time of day or night. When in PARK at night, the lights are off. Shift out of park, DRL's come on, then I can turn on the headlights via the headlight switch, just like a real car!!!
If it were easy to access the wiring to the DRL sensor, which is basically a light sensitive resistor, one could play with increasing or decreasing the resistance to simulate DRL mode all the time, with the headlight switch as an override... they way GM SHOULD have designed it.
BB
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Whats a drive in?
( Ok, what am I doing wrong? Went to the drive-in the other night, it was hot,)
I had a 2000 Impala and now have a 2003 Malibu and both vehicles have the capability to change the lighting controls, alarm controls, oil change intervals, and a bunch of other features that you can change right through the radio.
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| >| Ok, what am I doing wrong? Went to the drive-in the other night, it | >| was hot, had to leave the car running for air conditioning. Had to | >| leave very embarassed, could NOT turn off the headlights!! | >| During the day, when the DRL are on, shifting into park kills the | >| DRL's. But at night, when all the lamps are on, shifting into park | >| the headlights stay on if the car is running. I tried applying the | >| parking brake, turning the engine off and on, damm lights keep comming | >| on. Any suggestions other than take a hammer to the headlights? | >| | >| Thanks in advance, | >| BB | | Yes, maddening as hell, but your rant wasn't helpful in the least. | | BB
You didn't like my suggestion to buy a different manufacturers car? That is what I'm going to do! But hopefully it relayed that you aren't alone, at least. :-) Your LED solution sounds like it worked out fairly well. Too bad you had to go through the trouble to make the car work the way it should in the 1st place.
One solution I've read some have done is to actually _replace_ the ambient light sensor circuit with a fixed resistor at the proper resistance rating that tells the BCM that it's daytime all the time. That way the headlights never come on at all by sensor...basically making the lights function manually at night (well except for the DRL portion). You might want to try that one out sometime as well...once the warranty has expired, that is! :-)
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On Sat, 26 Jul 2003 20:01:16 -0400, "James C. Reeves"

Actually, at the bottom of my LED solution message, I mentioned that if I had access to the wires to the DRL sensor without ripping half the friggin car apart, I would have done that. Apparently to get to the sensor, the front dash plate must be removed. That involves too much disassembly of the all the trim starting at the middle of the car and moving forward. LED works just fine! :-)
BB
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BBB
Next time you go to the Drive In Movies and want to run the car with the air on, drape two bath towels over the front of the car, preferably black towels..
========Harryface ======== 1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE ~_~_~260,000 miles_~_~~_
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I have a 2003 Malibu with automatic headlights and DRL (Canadian spec -- ALL cars are required to have Daytime Running Lights)
The following instructions are IN THE OWNERS MANUAL......
Daytime Running Lamps (DRL)
"The DRL system will remain off any time your vehicle is in PARK (P) or the parking brake is engaged, and the vehicle speed is less than 8 mph (13 km/h), for United States vehicles only."
Automatic Headlamp System
"To idle your vehicle with the system off, set the park brake while the ignition is off. Then start the vehicle. The system will stay off until you release the park brake."
(if they don't work that way, maybe the system is actually mal-functioning and needs repair...just a thought)
Might not be the same on the Impala, but it really IS amazing what you can discover if you take the time to read (which most people don't.......)
Ok, what am I doing wrong? Went to the drive-in the other night, it was hot, had to leave the car running for air conditioning. Had to leave very embarassed, could NOT turn off the headlights!! During the day, when the DRL are on, shifting into park kills the DRL's. But at night, when all the lamps are on, shifting into park the headlights stay on if the car is running. I tried applying the parking brake, turning the engine off and on, damm lights keep comming on. Any suggestions other than take a hammer to the headlights?
Thanks in advance, BB
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| [SNIP] | | Might not be the same on the Impala, but it really IS | amazing what you can discover if you take the time | to read (which most people don't.......)
Kind of tough to read the manual when you're at a dark drive-in. :-) A novel idea, actually, is to have the light switch actually operate the lights...a industry standard approach to vehicle lighting control that everyone already knows how to do. ;-) Wouldn't that make a heck of a lot more sense?
| "To idle your vehicle with the system off, set the park | brake while the ignition is off. Then start the vehicle. | The system will stay off until you release the park brake."
I have a 03 Malibu LS, and mine does work the way described. But each GM model seems to have a different quirk to understand relative to how the lights work when you run into these unusual situations when one needs to operating them outside the parameters GM thinks they should operate. No telling if the Impala works the same way. Assuming for the sake of discussion it does, the problem possibly is that he didn't wait for the "delay off" to turn them off before he tried this procedure?
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The Impala does work the same way as described in the Malibu. To defeat the delayed turnoff, turn the manual light switch on and off after shutting off ignition. Works on my Impala. Roy

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Interesting. I don't remember that in the Malibu manual, but may have forgotten it.
I wonder why GM would default to the delay cycle since most of the time it isn't really needed. (at least where I live there are more lights around at night already, the delay headlights are of little use most of the time). On my Chrysler products it's the opposite...they go off immediately when switched off unless you evoke the delay manually...so you use the delay-off feature only when the feature is actually needed (if ever).
| The Impala does work the same way as described in the Malibu. To defeat the | delayed turnoff, turn the manual light switch on and off after shutting off | ignition. Works on my Impala. | Roy
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That is so stupid, you have to have a government letterhead to prove you can alter the lights.. IF I paid for my car and I drive my car they can go kiss my ass..... Its my car I can do with it what I want... My Roadmaster has twilight sentinal, they used to work....... Now I just put the lights on when it gets dark....
Bastards.... GM
Jake
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| That is so stupid, you have to have a government letterhead to prove you can | alter the lights.. IF I paid for my car and I drive my car they can go kiss my | ass..... Its my car I can do with it what I want... My Roadmaster has twilight | sentinal, they used to work....... Now I just put the lights on when it gets | dark.... | | Bastards.... GM | | Jake
Many feel that way...more than GM's management ego (and many of the GM Lemmings in this forum) will admit. Hopefully GM will soon come back around to doing the right thing by their customers. Perhaps the additional 1% continued loss in market share over the last year will wake some people up up there in the ivory towers!
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Stupid jerks.... When those flipping daytimes running lights are on, the asshole cops can see you better far away to get a lock on your car with their Radar guns that GM and the Insurance bastards donated to them...... I HATE DRLS>>>>>>
Jake
My 95 Avalon has them but you can shut them off if you want........
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| | Stupid jerks....
No arguement from me on that one! ;-)
| When those flipping daytimes running | lights are on, the asshole cops can see you better far | away to get a lock on your car with their radar | guns that GM and the Insurance bastards donated to | them...... I HATE DRLS>>>>>>
I had also read articles from a few years ago that statistically cars with DRLs are ticketed more frequently in radar stops compared to those without. But I don't know if I actually believe that one or not. But, I suppose it's possible.
| | Jake | | My 95 Avalon has them but you can shut them off if | you want........
As is the case with all of the other car manufacturers...the option rightfully (and legally in the US) is that of the owners to make...NOT the manufacturer to force on people.
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"James C. Reeves" wrote:

Well they haven't noticed since the sixties when they had over 50% on the market!
Daytime running lamps are NOT REQUIRED in the USA. Therefore there is not legal reason they shouldn't be able to be turned off.
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| | Well they haven't noticed since the sixties when they had | over 50% on the market!
You may be right, unfortunatelly.
| | Daytime running lamps are NOT REQUIRED in the USA. Therefore | there is not legal reason they shouldn't be able to be turned off. |
True, they are not required in the USA. In fact the NHTSA rule refers to their use as "voluntary". Even more compelling is that the competitors to GM that also offer DRLs, will either allow the ability for the owner to turn them off on their own (VOLVO has a small screw hole under the light switch for example that sets the mode) or will allow the dealer to turn them off by request (BMW & Toyota will set the DRL mode the owner wants). Ask GM to exercise your legal right...they don't even respond...completely ignore emails and letters from paying customers. Sad situation indeed.
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1. Turn off car. 2. Apply parking brake. 3. Start car.
Steve

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| 1. Turn off car. | 2. Apply parking brake. | 3. Start car. |
Not quite. After your step 1 he will then either...
a) Have to wait for the delay off cycle to activate for the lights to go out. OR... b) Manually override the delay off by using the switch...(manually/momentarily turn _on_ the park light and turn back off to override the remaining time on the delay-off).
Then, and only then, will proceeding to your step 2 and 3 work.
Problem is NO ONE will figure that out without some reading of the manual. Even if they had read the manual earlier, this procedure is not likely remembered easily if not applied very often.
Easier solution? ...a OFF position on the light switch...which is the definition of a "switch", after all...NO? Everyone keeps trying to justify why a switch is not a switch and why someone should have to manipulate all of these unrelated items in the car in a confusing multi-step process is just making the design GM has implemented all the sillier. Thanks for the help!! ;-) I'm surprised we don't have to recite a incantation while doing all this stuff!
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