Corolla Tail Lights Not Working?

Hey Guys,
We just bought a 2001 Corolla LE and have just noticed that the tail lights do not work. Here are some of the things we tried and have
noticed:
1. Brake lights work fine 2. Signal lights work fine 3. Headlights work fine 4. Tail lights and rear side tail lights do not work when lights are switched on
Checked:
1. Replaced tail lights completely 2. Checked all fuses and none are blown
....Ok anyone got any clue on where to go or what to check from here???
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The ground of the tail light assemblies is faulty.
If the lights are on AND this causes the brake lights to work differently, then the ground is the definitely the problem. If the turn signals and the brake lights are the same light bulb, then the turn signals should work differently when the lights are on and the ground is defective. (I am not sure, but I think the turn signals on that car are actually a different bulb, so they not behave as I described.)
The light assemblies are grounded through either a wire or the mounting screw, and the ground is defective causing the lights to not come on. Take the screws out, remove the lamp assembly, locate the trace on the assembly that goes to one of the screw holes, and clean it and the portion of the body where it makes contact. If the trace is broken of corroded, then you may be able to fix it by splicing in a wire.
You need to be certain that you are installing the correct light bulbs too. The running lights/brake lights are actually the same light bulb with two filiments inside. If you are installing a bulb with a single filiment, then there is no point in checking the ground because you haven't even got the correct light bulbs.

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Thanks for your quick reply Jeff. I only have one problem with your explanation of the defective ground. Since the tailight does contain two filaments and essentially is also the brake light, how could the brake light work then if the ground to that bulb was bad? They are definitely the right bulbs too. We triple checked this. Also that same ground cable goes to the turn signals and those work fine too???
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On 19 May 2005 17:58:40 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Since you know about grounds, I assume u got a voltmeter and have made use of it?
If no voltage, I am thinking a bad relay.
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Correct Bobb, we are getting 12V to the Green/White wire that goes to the brake filament in the bulb when its depressed, but do not get any voltage to the Green only wire when the lights are turned on. This is the case with BOTH the left and right sides. Which relay do you speak of Bobb?
Thanks
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On 19 May 2005 21:22:50 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

This may seem as a silly question, but I just want to make sure that you have checked the fuse labeled "TAIL". If you only check all the fuses in the engine compartment, you probably haven't found the right fuse yet. It's most likely located behind a small drawer inside the cabin to the left of the steering wheel. We sometimes see this, normally the cause is towing a defect trailer.
Best regards,
Jean Nygaard Denmark
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The tail light can have a defective ground and the brake lights will still work BECAUSE the lighting circuit is grounded through the front lights. That's why I asked if the brake lights still work when the lights are ON. If the lights are ON andthe brake lights stop working, then this confirms that the light assemblies in the back are lacking a good ground.

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Ok, yes the brake lights DO work when either the headlights are on OR off, no matter. Is there some relay that is connected to this that could be the problem?
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Hello, I have a 1999 LE so this may NOT apply to your vehicle but.... this sounds like your DRS headlight system isn't working or has been disconnected... Check to see if your headlights come on quickly right after starting and with the parking brake handle 'off' or down... If the DRS system has been modified, then the running lights for the tail lights at night MIGHT be affected.... let us know what you find out... good luck.

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When you say "replaced tail lights completely" do you mean that you replaced the bulbs or tail light assembly? Hopefully, you replaced the bulbs and not the assembly. Check for power at the bulb sockets. If you have power, then the ground wire is loose, disconnected, or broken. You can check for power a couple of way. 1) get an inexpensive test light at an auto parts store 2) get a volt/ohm meter, more expensive but more useful.
--
Ray O
correct the return address punctuation to reply
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Ok, case closed gentlemen. Thanks alot for all the help. I basically ripped the whole bottom part of the car apart by the wiring to trace the system back. It ended up being a cut/freyed green wire that carried the 12v to the lights. Not sure how it happened but its repaired now and now I have to figure out how to get the car back together again, lol!!!
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Well that's easy. Assembly is the reverse of disassembly. Duh!
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unless you're assembling one of those &#$%^ big ass modern barbeques...then you gotta be a mastermechanic with a background in magic plus an irate wife who wants it done NOW...
--


-Gord.

"I'm trying to get as old as I can,
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replying to jdsuowner, rosieo49 wrote: try changing headlight multifunction switch on steering column
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