Strange electrical problem - Ford Escort - Lud
Damn damn damn. Electrical problems are often strange of course but this one seems very weird to me.

Came home last night, parked car and turned lights off. Went down to see someone off and noticed that front sidelights or dipped main beam had come on by themselves (no rear lights). Got in the car and tried to turn them off, but they wouldn't go off. There was still enough battery to start the thing so I started it and ran it for a while to recharge while pulling fuses one by one until the lights went off. Two fuses, one 10amp and one 15. Now any attempt to turn the lights on elicits the warning squeal the car gives when you try to get out with the lights on, even with all the doors closed and engine running.

The car, a 1.6 16v Escort, has previously refused to start owing to the fuel pump relay unplugging itself over bumps and potholes. I suspect a relay in this case too, perhaps one that has welded itself closed or something. But why did the lights go on by themselves? I am sure I would have noticed if they failed to go off when I turned them off.

Are there any electrical gurus or Ford experts in the BR who can cast light on this?
Strange electrical problem - yorkiebar
what year is the car?

had it been raining a lot too?
Strange electrical problem - Lud
1993 I think yb, and it had been raining a lot, although I hadn't driven very far. It had been parked for 24hrs before that.
Strange electrical problem - yorkiebar
i suspect fuse box problem. Rain especially likely to have got into it, caused any number of odd circuits happenings etc.

Common problem on early 90's escorts.

Any trace of water in/near fusebox area?

Strange electrical problem - Lud
Nothing obvious. But I suppose it would be on top of the box where the relays are. It's dark now and I could hardly bear to look at the thing today except to verify that it ran and the indicators worked. But tomorrow I will drop the fuse box and see if I can see any signs of water. How could it get in there? Through a wiper spindle or something? It's never happened before and the car's been in plenty of rain. The electrics were certainly behaving very strangely last night, which tends to confirm what you say.

If it dries out and starts to behave itself, is there any simple way of stopping it happening again? Put a plastic bag over the relays I suppose...
Strange electrical problem - Stuartli
See about one-third of the way down this link for a possible reason:
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What\'s for you won\'t pass you by
Strange electrical problem - Vin {P}
For bizarre elecrtical faults on Escorts, look first to your rear lights. My wife's old Escort decided sometimes to keep running after the ignition was switched off and the key removed. Fault was traced to the wrong bulb having been fitted at the back. My Escort van used to to very weird things electrically (hazards instead of indicators, etc) until I replaced the circuit boards in the rear light cluster (They looked slightly shorted, nothing serious, but replaced them anyway and all was fixed.)

hope this helps,

Strange electrical problem - Lud
Thanks very much for inputs. I still haven't looked at it and won't today, work intruding, but will follow up when I've had a proper go at it. Weather is now fine but cold so if any actual water is involved it should slowly evaporate. Vin's post is interesting as some of the odd electrical behaviour did involve the rear lights.
Strange electrical problem - defender
escorts also have a common problem with the light switch causing various strange happenings,you can sometimes get ford original replacements on ebay as they are quite dear from the dealer
Strange electrical problem - Ford Escort - stevek
Had a 1991 escort with all sorts of similar problems. The headlights would be on-but not the dash or rear lights. When the wipers were working the lights would dim etc. The problem was the fuse box by the drivers footwell which also acted as a distribution box for the connectors. There were several dry joints and depending on the loading gave rise to different faults.
At the time Ford dealers wanted about £150 iiirc and the scrap yards had none.
I removed the box and cut open the links and re soldered them with 16? swg copper wire and a solder gun. Took a couple of hours but the car was like new afterwards i.e the electrics worked.

Strange electrical problem - Ford Escort - bell boy
i cant add to whats been said lud
lighting switch
back lights
these were all gremlins on this model +plus some--------
nice little fiesta mk4 encore cracking cars hammer repairable no real gremlins is my advice now cheap as chips and cheap road tax :-)
Strange electrical problem - Ford Escort - Fullchat
If the headlights have a relay it could be sticking. Used to happen to the Senators. Pulled it out gave it a tap and problem cured - for a while.
Strange electrical problem - Ford Escort - jc2
Yoy haven't by any chance had a windscreen changed recently;on one of our Escorts a poor job of sealing the screen allowed water to get into the wiring behind the dash and caused allsorts of odd concerns.
Strange electrical problem - Ford Escort - Lud
Left the car sitting for a week and attacked it yesterday.

One of the rearlight/brakelight bulbs had gone, whitening the glass and knocking a piece out of it. After replacing that, juggling the fuses around and putting them back, everything now seems to work normally. Lot of panic about nothing...

But how on earth can the dipped headlights have come on by themselves and refused to switch off, as the result of a rear bulb blowing?

I have always maintained that cars were complex enough to have something resembling individual personality, but minor electrical fits - small epilepsy or petit mal - seem a bit too good or bad to be true...

Thank you all for your suggestions. Mystery remains.

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