1999 VW Jetta Headlight Problem

Accually my son-in-law has the jetta and is in N. Carolina. He says his jetta has had couple of wierd problems with the head light before
but always were momentary and went away. Now when he releases the hand brake which normally made the head light go on, they don't. The tail lights and parking lights are on, and the headlight will only work when you use the momentary high beam function leveron the steering column. I'm a diesel mechanic and live about 2,500 miles from them. He has a Haynes manual, but because of the way the lighting system is broke down in different schematics, he can't figure it out. I assume there is a relay for the headlights (location unknown), and the momentary high beam function by-passes it, thats probably the culpret. I need to know the location of the headlight relay, and or if there my be other problems.
Thanks DVM
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It seems from your post that the car has daytime running lights. Perhaps there is a problem with the DRL control unit?
DVM wrote:

but always were momentary and went away. Now when he releases the hand brake which normally made the head light go on, they don't. The tail lights and parking lights are on, and the headlight will only work when you use the momentary high beam function leveron the steering column. I'm a diesel mechanic and live about 2,500 miles from them. He has a Haynes manual, but because of the way the lighting system is broke down in different schematics, he can't figure it out. I assume there is a relay for the headlights (location unknown), and the momentary high beam function by-passes it, thats probably the culpret. I need to know the location of the headlight relay, and or if there my be other problems.

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Sounds like the switch on the handbrake is screwed up as well. That would be a good first thing to check.

before but always were momentary and went away. Now when he releases the hand brake which normally made the head light go on, they don't. The tail lights and parking lights are on, and the headlight will only work when you use the momentary high beam function leveron the steering column. I'm a diesel mechanic and live about 2,500 miles from them. He has a Haynes manual, but because of the way the lighting system is broke down in different schematics, he can't figure it out. I assume there is a relay for the headlights (location unknown), and the momentary high beam function by-passes it, thats probably the culpret. I need to know the location of the headlight relay, and or if there my be other problems.

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If you turn the headlamp switch on does the lights come on? If not I would first check to make sure BOTH bulbs are good.

before but always were momentary and went away. Now when he releases the hand brake which normally made the head light go on, they don't. The tail lights and parking lights are on, and the headlight will only work when you use the momentary high beam function leveron the steering column. I'm a diesel mechanic and live about 2,500 miles from them. He has a Haynes manual, but because of the way the lighting system is broke down in different schematics, he can't figure it out. I assume there is a relay for the headlights (location unknown), and the momentary high beam function by-passes it, thats probably the culpret. I need to know the location of the headlight relay, and or if there my be other problems.

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before but always were momentary and went away. Now when he releases the hand brake which normally made the head light go on, they don't. The tail lights and parking lights are on, and the headlight will only work when you use the momentary high beam function leveron the steering column. I'm a diesel mechanic and live about 2,500 miles from them. He has a Haynes manual, but because of the way the lighting system is broke down in different schematics, he can't figure it out. I assume there is a relay for the headlights (location unknown), and the momentary high beam function by-passes it, thats probably the culpret. I need to know the location of the headlight relay, and or if there my be other problems.
When the handbrake is released and the headlamp switch is in the off position, this is the DRLs which are low beams with very slightly reduced intensity. Lowering the handbrake should trigger the DRL relay. I'm not sure exactly where it's located, but in a very quiet setting and engine off (but ignition in the ON position), you should hear a very faint click when the relay is triggered. It's hard to hear but it's there...listen carefully for it. If you don't hear the click, your DRL relay is probably faulty.
When the ignition is on (or car running), you also should be able to turn on the headlamp switch and get lowbeams and then flicking the turn signal stalk should give you highbeams. If you don't get lowbeams at all, your headlamp switch is faulty and needs replacement. Actually, if it does turn out to be faulty, I recommend bypassing the dealer and instead purchasing a European specification switch from many of the aftermarket suppliers. The price is probably about the same as a US-spec switch from the dealer. The advantage to this other switch is that it has a traditional parking lamp setting (which the US-spec switch does not have) and the versions sold in the aftermarket usually are the ones that also have front and rear fog settings as well. This way you can at a later time add front or both front and rear fogs and trigger them with the OEM VW switch for a very nice and clean install.
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Where the bulbs checked to make sure that they were still good? ;-) Always check the simple easy stuff first, bulbs, fuses, connections! happy new year! later, dave Reminder........ Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them, and you have their shoes. Frieda Norris
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I wanted to thank you for your advice. I am going to look into it. I also wanted to thank my father-in-law for the initial post.
So, here is the problem in a nut shell. the Jetta is a 98 with DRL. When I drop the hand brake, the DRL do not illuminate, also, the fan doesn't work, or any of the accesories in the center of the dash(rear def light, etc.) These all seem to be remedied by pulling the high beam flash on the turn signal indicator. If I pull and click it in to high beam, it all goes off again.
It is very perplexing. Anything you can add would be greatly appreciated.
Rob
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I am having this same problem with my 1998 Jetta. The problem was intermitten, but now headlights and fog lights wont come on unless you hold the passing light lever on the steering column. Did u ever fix the problem on your car. I repaced the headlight switch and problem is still there. I am thinking headlight drivinglight relay, or parking break sensor, or ignition switch. any help would be appriciated
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replying to dmcleod, Im Lonzo Biznitchez wrote: You probably have a stereo installed that is not original I am guessing? This is always a very handy thing to add in when talking about wireing behind the dash with lights that are usually always on with the key.... Just like how one wants the constant on an aftermarket sound system...this could also be causing trouble?? If so it was likely cut and spliced. When you pull the high beam switch it back feeds the wire from another circut.... What was the final conclusion on this?? Lol 14 yrs later!
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