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Autolamp leaving headlights on in sunshine?


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12 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   mtta

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 09:40 PM

Has anyone experienced this problem? My headlights are set to automatic, but about half the time they are on when it is daytime. Specifically, the lights will be on when it is very bright and sunny outside. In overcast conditions I've had normal operations.

 

I have tried cleaning the windshield and sensor - but I'm wondering if the reflections on the windshield are causing a shadow over the light sensor. The Ford dealer just asked if I left a hat on the dash - there's never anything on my dashboard. 

 

When headlights are on, the controls and NAV screen are dark for night mode, so this means I need to turn the lights off manually.

 

Wondering what the fix would be. Replace the sensor on the dash close to the defrost? More complicated? Or would I continue to have problems with a new sensor, in bright sunlight?









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#2 OFFLINE   dicko

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 12:14 AM

The owner's manual points out that in automatic mode the headlamps are on.  They become daytime running lights.

Don't worry about it, it's OK.

     -Dick-

 



#3 ONLINE   Plus 3 Golfer

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 06:40 AM

The owner's manual points out that in automatic mode the headlamps are on.  They become daytime running lights.

Don't worry about it, it's OK.

     -Dick-

That's not how MY 2013 auto headlamps work.  

 

When in auto mode and in normal daytime light (especially in sunshine) the headlamps are off.  If when in auto mode and the headlamps come on like when in a dimly lit tunnel in daytime, the headlamps will not stay on after exiting the tunnel (short time delay after exiting).  The headlamps do not become running lights.

 

mtta, was your car a commercially leased vehicle as IIRC they can be programmed for day time running lights? or maybe someone modified your vehicle for daytime running lights?  The sunlight sensor is on the top of the dash in the center.  Did the dealer scan your car for diagnostic trouble codes as there are many DTCs for the sunlight sensor?



#4 OFFLINE   livesmith

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 07:44 AM

That's not how MY 2013 auto headlamps work.  

 

When in auto mode and in normal daytime light (especially in sunshine) the headlamps are off.  If when in auto mode and the headlamps come on like when in a dimly lit tunnel in daytime, the headlamps will not stay on after exiting the tunnel (short time delay after exiting).  The headlamps do not become running lights.

 

mtta, was your car a commercially leased vehicle as IIRC they can be programmed for day time running lights? or maybe someone modified your vehicle for daytime running lights?  The sunlight sensor is on the top of the dash in the center.  Did the dealer scan your car for diagnostic trouble codes as there are many DTCs for the sunlight sensor?

My 2013 Energi has DRL's and autolamps.  But there's still a difference.  The headlights are always on, but at reduced brightness and the headlight indicator on the dash is NOT on when in DRL mode.  When the autolamps switches on, the headlights go full brightness, the rest of the marker lights turn on and the indicator light on the dash turns on.



#5 OFFLINE   mtta

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 10:47 AM

That's not how MY 2013 auto headlamps work.  

 

When in auto mode and in normal daytime light (especially in sunshine) the headlamps are off.  If when in auto mode and the headlamps come on like when in a dimly lit tunnel in daytime, the headlamps will not stay on after exiting the tunnel (short time delay after exiting).  The headlamps do not become running lights.

 

mtta, was your car a commercially leased vehicle as IIRC they can be programmed for day time running lights? or maybe someone modified your vehicle for daytime running lights?  The sunlight sensor is on the top of the dash in the center.  Did the dealer scan your car for diagnostic trouble codes as there are many DTCs for the sunlight sensor?

 

Nope, it was not a commercial vehicle or programmed for DRL. The key here is that the headlights aren't on every day - the problem only happens when it is very sunny. Yesterday they were on all day unless I switched to manual off. Today the setting is still on auto but the lights were (correctly) not on. 

 

This would be easy to ignore if not for the GPS NAV going to black "night mode" when the headlights are improperly on during sunny conditions. It's hard to read anything then and obviously a problem.

 

The dealer was a real pain. I took a picture of the problem, printed it and brought it in while I was getting something else fixed. My question to them was "Is there anything you could check?" and the only result of this inquiry was them asking if I had left a hat on the dashboard.

 

Thanks for the info about the DTCs. Looks like just taking it to a more competent dealer would be better, and I suspect the sensor needs to be replaced. 



#6 OFFLINE   stevedebi

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 10:48 AM

That's not how MY 2013 auto headlamps work.  

 

When in auto mode and in normal daytime light (especially in sunshine) the headlamps are off.  If when in auto mode and the headlamps come on like when in a dimly lit tunnel in daytime, the headlamps will not stay on after exiting the tunnel (short time delay after exiting).  The headlamps do not become running lights.

 

mtta, was your car a commercially leased vehicle as IIRC they can be programmed for day time running lights? or maybe someone modified your vehicle for daytime running lights?  The sunlight sensor is on the top of the dash in the center.  Did the dealer scan your car for diagnostic trouble codes as there are many DTCs for the sunlight sensor?

All fleet sales have had DRL for every model year. The 2013 had DRL that could be enabled by the dealer. The 2014 cannot have DRL unless it was factory. The 2015 and later have an operator selection for DRL.

 

The 2013 should not have the headlights coming on during daytime. I'd say the sensor is going bad. It is in the middle of the dash near the windshield.



#7 OFFLINE   mtta

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 01:53 PM

Just made an appointment with a different dealer - hopefully the problem will be going on at the time I arrive to drop off the car. If not, I will once again be handing them a picture of it.

 

Another point about the last dealer service was they noticed the problem and switched the lights to manual off, just deciding not to say anything and hoping I wouldn't notice they did that and return for the repair. I guess their plan worked because I would never trust them with my car again, but will probably hit them up with a bad review somewhere when I get a chance - the experience was as if I unwittingly entered a group of bad actors performing a comedy sketch about auto repair. It was Performance Ford of Charlotte and I will not go back.



#8 OFFLINE   mtta

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 01:31 PM

Well, I arrived for my scheduled appointment with dealer #2 and upon arrival was told they would not be able to perform any repairs today. I was told I could drop off the car but that nobody was there today that could handle a repair. This was Capitol Ford and I won't be going back.

 

Does anyone know where I can get a replacement sensor and is this a repair I could handle myself? Are we correct to assume the headlight sensor is the little dome on the center of the dashboard?



#9 ONLINE   Plus 3 Golfer

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 02:04 PM

Well, I arrived for my scheduled appointment with dealer #2 and upon arrival was told they would not be able to perform any repairs today. I was told I could drop off the car but that nobody was there today that could handle a repair. This was Capitol Ford and I won't be going back.

 

Does anyone know where I can get a replacement sensor and is this a repair I could handle myself? Are we correct to assume the headlight sensor is the little dome on the center of the dashboard?

The SUN LOAD (not headlight :)) sensor is in the center front of the dash.  If it doesn't pull right out you may need to pry up a little or push a tab in as it may have spring type clips on the side to hold it in place.   It looks to be around $35 from a Ford dealer.  Try some on line stores and Ebay.



#10 ONLINE   Plus 3 Golfer

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 02:20 PM

mtta, the issue may be something other than the Sun Load sensor.  You might want to consider getting an ELM327 OBDII interface module and the ForScan App for a smartphone especially if you like to "tinker" and learn more about your C-Max.  In that way, you can check to see if there are any DTCs.  Also, there may be a voltage data point that can be monitored to see if the voltage changes when one covers the sensor (I'll check to see what's available in ForScan when I have time).



#11 OFFLINE   mtta

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 06:05 PM

Plus 3 Golfer, thanks for mentioning the proper name - it is indeed a "Sun Load" sensor that I may need. I couldn't find it anywhere searching with the wrong names.

 

I was able to lift the gray plastic cover up with a plastic knife, and then push the tabs on each side with a flat screwdriver to pull the sensor up. Then, I disconnected it by pushing a blue tab on the windshield side. Visually inspecting my sun load sensor didn't reveal anything exciting - it looked fine.

 

I am now sure I could handle the replacement myself. Not sure if that is the problem though. Would there be DTC's without the check engine light illuminated?



#12 ONLINE   Plus 3 Golfer

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 06:39 PM

Yes, there could be DTCs without a CEL especially for the issue you have as the CEL is illuminated for issues that may affect emissions.  .

 

Here are two codes that could indicate a bad sensor:  B1A63:00 and B1A64:00  There appears to be several simple voltage / resistance tests to determine if the sensor may be bad. 

 



#13 OFFLINE   mtta

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Posted 24 April 2016 - 02:09 PM

To close the loop on this, replacement of the sensor was completed and the lights are now working normally. I ultimately returned to the dealer and they replaced the sensor. I was worried it might be a bad wire or something more tricky. It wound up being my 5th visit, so I could not be pleased with my service but am pleased that the headlights no longer shine in the midday sun. According to them the computer threw the trouble code when I brought it back on a sunny day (and the problem was actively occurring), but didn't show a code on a cloudy day when I first went.








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