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Low Beam Bulb Failure: Could Be Ballast

  #1  
Old 12-12-2011, 12:45 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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Default Low Beam Bulb Failure: Could Be Ballast

Just wanted to post this out there to any other Volvo owners experiencing the low beam bulb failure. I have a 2004 XC90 that had this problem. The light would flicker intermittently, and I'd get the warning message. After checking fuses, swapping out bulbs and ignitors, a service shop determined it was a bad ballast.

It was going to cost me about $400 parts and labor for a used one, but I found a used ballast on eBay for $95. I was able to install it in about 15 minutes and good to go. It's a pretty simple fix:

The ballast is mounted on the bottom of the headlamp assembly. To get to it, raise the hood and pull out the 2 aluminum L-brackets holding the headlamp in place. Gently pull the headlamp forward from the frame. There is a wiring harness connector with a clip that has to be pulled up to disengage, and then you should be able to remove the headlamp. Then you can take it to your workbench or kitchen table.

Set the headlamp upside down on a flat surface. The ballast is the square box on the bottom, about 5 x 7 in size give or take, held in place by six torx screws (I think #11, but can't remember). Simply remove the screws and gently pry out the ballast with a flat head screwdriver or other pry tool being careful not to crack the housing. Also make sure you remove the rubber seal.

Unplug the two connectors going to the ballast, and install the new ballast. Be sure to use the rubber seal supplied with the part, or reuse the old one, to help seal out water and moisture. Install the headlamp assembly back onto the car and you should be good to go.

Also, while you have the headlamp removed, might be a good time to buff and polish the plastic to get that haze off them .

Hope this helps somebody out there and saves a few bucks. Saved me $300! That's beer money!
 
  #2  
Old 01-09-2012, 04:44 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 17
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Thanks for your post! I ran into this thread while searching for "bulb failure" posts.

I'm getting intermittent false "Bulb Failure Low Beam" messages. I say "false" because both low beam lights appear to be fine. The messages would go away then come back.

Do you think it's possible the ballast could be my issue? When you got your "Bulb failure" messages, was the bulb burned out also?

Thanks!
 
  #3  
Old 01-10-2012, 12:10 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 219
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Joelq, the first post is probably referring to optional xenon headlights. if you have the standard lights they don't use ballast or ignitor.
 
  #4  
Old 01-10-2012, 12:46 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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Default RE: Low Beam Bulb Failure

I did have a bulb that had failed, on the passenger side, and I had replaced the bulbs on both sides several months before the ballast had failed, so I knew the bulbs were fine.

Does your car have the daytime running lights (DRL)? A bad ballast can still enable the low beam headlights to work but not the daytime running lamp. And it sounds like an intermittent failure, as was mine. In fact, now I think the passenger side bulb is failing, so I may need to replace that ballast as well.

If your car is equipped with the DRLs, check to see if those are both working. Our car has the DRL position on the switch and the normal ON position.

Other bulbs you may want to check are the red safety lamps in the rear bumper. I think those will through a low beam bulb failure too.

Hope this helps.
 
  #5  
Old 01-19-2012, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by schannell View Post
I did have a bulb that had failed, on the passenger side, and I had replaced the bulbs on both sides several months before the ballast had failed, so I knew the bulbs were fine.

Does your car have the daytime running lights (DRL)? A bad ballast can still enable the low beam headlights to work but not the daytime running lamp. And it sounds like an intermittent failure, as was mine. In fact, now I think the passenger side bulb is failing, so I may need to replace that ballast as well.

If your car is equipped with the DRLs, check to see if those are both working. Our car has the DRL position on the switch and the normal ON position.

Other bulbs you may want to check are the red safety lamps in the rear bumper. I think those will through a low beam bulb failure too.

Hope this helps.

Hi -

Yes, I do have DRLs in this car. Normally, the light switch is on the DRL position, but when I switch it to Low Beam, the message goes away. Could that be indicative of something to check?

Thanks!
 
  #6  
Old 01-20-2012, 09:02 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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Default RE: Low Beam Bulb Failure: Could Be Ballast

It could be. Check to see if there is a separate bulb just for the low beam DRL. I never looked at mine really close, but there might be another bulb in there. Try swapping with the other side. If that fixes it, then you know you have a bad bulb. If it doesn't fix it, then it may be the ballast.

My wife is still having trouble with her passenger side lamp. It fails intermittently. I think I may have to replace that ballast as well, but for right now we're just living with it. Ah, gotta love the quirky electrical issues!

Hope that helps. Good luck!


Originally Posted by joelq View Post
Hi -

Yes, I do have DRLs in this car. Normally, the light switch is on the DRL position, but when I switch it to Low Beam, the message goes away. Could that be indicative of something to check?

Thanks!
 
  #7  
Old 03-15-2012, 10:14 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 26
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Thanks for your post! I ran into this thread while searching for "bulb failure" posts.

I'm getting intermittent false "Bulb Failure Low Beam" messages. I say "false" because both low beam lights appear to be fine. The messages would go away then come back.
 
  #8  
Old 05-11-2014, 12:04 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
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Yesterday, I started my 2002 S80 car and first thing came up was Low BEAM BULB FAILURE sign. I bought and installed a new bulb (those who have done it for the first time know, its headache) still not working. I checked the bulb by switching it to the other side headlight, and found nothing wrong with the bulb. Checked wires and all fuses that relate to headlights, nothing wrong there either. I thought car computer may not registering the change, did reset the computer as well. NO POSITIVE RESULT. I’ve owned cars for the past 50 years, and have never taken a car to dealer or mechanics, yet this dumb VOLVO is forcing me to either put fire on it or drop it at a VOLVO dealer for good. I had BMW, Mercedes, Mini Copper, Ford, Chevy, Cougar and never been as pissed as I’m with this peace of Zhit.
 
  #9  
Old 05-11-2014, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by dn32844 View Post
Yesterday, I started my 2002 S80 car and first thing came up was Low BEAM BULB FAILURE sign. I bought and installed a new bulb (those who have done it for the first time know, its headache) still not working. I checked the bulb by switching it to the other side headlight, and found nothing wrong with the bulb. Checked wires and all fuses that relate to headlights, nothing wrong there either. I thought car computer may not registering the change, did reset the computer as well. NO POSITIVE RESULT. I’ve owned cars for the past 50 years, and have never taken a car to dealer or mechanics, yet this dumb VOLVO is forcing me to either put fire on it or drop it at a VOLVO dealer for good. I had BMW, Mercedes, Mini Copper, Ford, Chevy, Cougar and never been as pissed as I’m with this peace of Zhit.

Were the headlight/s actually burned out when you got the error message? The problem in my case was that the bulbs were actually working but I was still getting the message. I still have this problem to this day, and have just assumed it is funkiness with the computer that is causing it.
 
  #10  
Old 05-12-2014, 10:52 AM
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Posts: 8
Default Low Beam light failure

OK. Firstly, I need to apologize for calling VOLVO piece of "Zhit". However, they could leave some room to make access to headlights easier. When I saw "Low Beam Failure" like rest of you guys, I thought changing a bulb would be peanut, which is if you have done it before or have owner manual, I don't. I changed the bulb and checked all fuses on driver side, nothing happened. I even reset computer still no change until I found another fuse box under the hood and started checking all fuses until I found a 10 AMP burned out fuse. That is where my headache was right in front of my eyes. Another problem in this area is the "RETAINER", which unlike many other cars that you lift and easily push it up to hook, here you need to lift it up and push it to the right and then left to stay hooked on its anchor. And if you think your “relay” might be bad, just take out and shake it close to your ear, if sound like something is loose inside, you need to go to AUTOZONE or ADVANCE AUTO PART and buy a new one. DO YOUR BEST TO STAY AWAY FROM DEALERS AND MECHANICS, UNLESS YOU'R still covered under WARRANTEE. GOOD LUCK
 
  #11  
Old 05-12-2014, 10:57 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 17
Default

Cool - so did replacing the 10A fuse make the message go away then?

Originally Posted by dn32844 View Post
OK. Firstly, I need to apologize for calling VOLVO piece of "Zhit". However, they could leave some room to make access to headlights easier. When I saw "Low Beam Failure" like rest of you guys, I thought changing a bulb would be peanut, which is if you have done it before or have owner manual, I don't. I changed the bulb and checked all fuses on driver side, nothing happened. I even reset computer still no change until I found another fuse box under the hood and started checking all fuses until I found a 10 AMP burned out fuse. That is where my headache was right in front of my eyes. Another problem in this area is the "RETAINER", which unlike many other cars that you lift and easily push it up to hook, here you need to lift it up and push it to the right and then left to stay hooked on its anchor. And if you think your “relay” might be bad, just take out and shake it close to your ear, if sound like something is loose inside, you need to go to AUTOZONE or ADVANCE AUTO PART and buy a new one. DO YOUR BEST TO STAY AWAY FROM DEALERS AND MECHANICS, UNLESS YOU'R still covered under WARRANTEE. GOOD LUCK
 
  #12  
Old 05-12-2014, 03:51 PM
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Join Date: May 2014
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I'm having a similar issue. I start the car and get an error message that I am having a low bulb beam failure. My bulb is not burned out. Usually a good smack and the light comes right back on.

I feel that this is similar but is more likely a loose connection? Where would you recommend I start?
 
  #13  
Old 06-09-2014, 08:37 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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Anyone have a clue why when I received the same failure message, both my headlights were out? I haven't checked the fuses yet, but seems weird that both bulbs or both ballast would fail at the same time. On top of all that, I only had my fog/driving lamps to drive home with in the dark. Volvo didn't quite put much thought into that one.....
 
  #14  
Old 06-10-2014, 03:42 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 8
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Re: My car's low beam signal, solution was in front of me "FUSE". However, I think the owner manual I have is meant for cars sold in U.K. Australia and other Left hand drive traffic countries. FUSES don't belong where the book says they belong, hence, need some patience locating right fuse for your the problem.
 
  #15  
Old 06-11-2014, 07:50 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2014
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Default low beam bulb failure

Originally Posted by schannell View Post
Just wanted to post this out there to any other Volvo owners experiencing the low beam bulb failure. I have a 2004 XC90 that had this problem. The light would flicker intermittently, and I'd get the warning message. After checking fuses, swapping out bulbs and ignitors, a service shop determined it was a bad ballast.

It was going to cost me about $400 parts and labor for a used one, but I found a used ballast on eBay for $95. I was able to install it in about 15 minutes and good to go. It's a pretty simple fix:

The ballast is mounted on the bottom of the headlamp assembly. To get to it, raise the hood and pull out the 2 aluminum L-brackets holding the headlamp in place. Gently pull the headlamp forward from the frame. There is a wiring harness connector with a clip that has to be pulled up to disengage, and then you should be able to remove the headlamp. Then you can take it to your workbench or kitchen table.

Set the headlamp upside down on a flat surface. The ballast is the square box on the bottom, about 5 x 7 in size give or take, held in place by six torx screws (I think #11, but can't remember). Simply remove the screws and gently pry out the ballast with a flat head screwdriver or other pry tool being careful not to crack the housing. Also make sure you remove the rubber seal.

Unplug the two connectors going to the ballast, and install the new ballast. Be sure to use the rubber seal supplied with the part, or reuse the old one, to help seal out water and moisture. Install the headlamp assembly back onto the car and you should be good to go.

Also, while you have the headlamp removed, might be a good time to buff and polish the plastic to get that haze off them .

Hope this helps somebody out there and saves a few bucks. Saved me $300! That's beer money!
I'm going to look for a part, I changed the bulb (thank goodness for youtube how to videos! ) but that didn't fix it. Someone checked the connections for me and said those were good so I guess I will try this now...thanks for the input!
 
  #16  
Old 11-03-2014, 12:44 PM
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Location: N.C.
Posts: 10
Default

I see some people already on this issue. Infamous message "low beam failure" but the bulbs are fine, found the connectors melted, got them replaced($26 a piece), 7 months later same thing. I can just replace the connectors again but thats not the root of the problem. May be ballasts, like was mentioned here before?
2006 XC90 130K
 
  #17  
Old 12-01-2014, 11:41 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 15
Default Bulb Failure, Low Beam

Originally Posted by amanda050183 View Post
I'm going to look for a part, I changed the bulb (thank goodness for youtube how to videos! ) but that didn't fix it. Someone checked the connections for me and said those were good so I guess I will try this now...thanks for the input!

Got a 2008 Volvo XC90, AWD, 3.2 6 Cyl. The DIM indicated a Low Beam Bulb Failure. Volvo Stealership wants $250 parts and labor. WTH!!! A freaking bulb costs $250? Started my VIDA DICE 2014A and researched how to remove and replace - it looks like a very simple DIY.

Found this at Amazon for $44. On its way and should be delivered tomorrow. Im crossing fingers now that its not the ballast.

Amazon.com: Sylvania D1S High Intensity Discharge (HID) Bulb, (Pack of 1): Automotive Amazon.com: Sylvania D1S High Intensity Discharge (HID) Bulb, (Pack of 1): Automotive
 
Attached Thumbnails Low Beam Bulb Failure: Could Be Ballast-20141129_154150.jpg   Low Beam Bulb Failure: Could Be Ballast-20141129_153403.jpg   Low Beam Bulb Failure: Could Be Ballast-20141129_153446.jpg  
  #18  
Old 12-02-2014, 03:02 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 15
Default Low Beam Bulb Failure

Received the Sylvania D1S bulb today from Amazon. It worked, just glad it wasnt the ballast. However, the bulb is white not cold blue like the factory installed. Ordering another one just to match.

Amazon.com: Sylvania D1S High Intensity Discharge (HID) Bulb, (Pack of 1): Automotive Amazon.com: Sylvania D1S High Intensity Discharge (HID) Bulb, (Pack of 1): Automotive
 
  #19  
Old 09-24-2016, 01:25 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 1
Default Intermittent low beam failure. Sort of

I have an '06 xc90 and I get a low beam failure warning after several minutes of use. The driver's side headlight flickers then goes out. I replaced the ballast without help. Any ideas?
 
  #20  
Old 10-11-2016, 09:47 PM
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Location: West Metro, Minneapolis
Posts: 14
Default

Hummm, on day two of ownership I was greeted by a Low Beam Fail warning. I get out with running lights on and all is bright... 'round this young virgin. I reset and haven't seen it again, now this day three of the rest of my life.
I was also greeted day one with a Dangerously low tire pressure warning that was not proved out by inspection. 'Went away in no time flat... Might be topic for another thread or a general thread about pesky, but wrong, warnings.


Carry on.
 

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