I love the Sentinel Headlamp feature. It allows my Jeep to provide me with safe lighting after exiting it at night. We live in a rural area with no street lights. Here how it works.
I researched an old wiring diagram and found that all that was needed to have this feature was plugging in a relay!! And, the plug is already in our Jeeps.
The relay is part number 56000636 or 56009324 and sells for about $50.
Since I part out XJs and MJs, I went through my stash and found I had saved a few without knowing what they were. Think “junkyard” here.
I simply plugged the relay/timer in and instantly had sentinel Headlamps.
23 thoughts on “Adding the Sentinel headlamp feature”
Great site, Pete! I really like the Sentinel feature as well. Came from the factory on my ’92. Not sure if you ever encountered this, but those that are running HIDs may want to know – if you’re having a problem with your headlamps NOT wanting to shut off after the intended time delay expires, the upgraded wiring harness will fix this issue. I installed a set of HIDs and for whatever reason, the Sentinel would NOT allow them to shut off with the ignition key in the off position. I upgraded to the relays and heavier gauge wiring harness made by PUTCO and the problem was solved.
Thanks for all your effort!
Well, that’s a new one. Thanks!!!!!
The Sentinel feature sucks! It would be better if it turned off the headlights if they were left on when the ignition switch was off. This would also be very helpful if, by accident, a driver left the headlights on.
Try starting your day at 3:30am and arriving at work at 5:30am in summer. That means the headlights are on when I park at dawn. The buzzer thing-a-ma-jig does not work because I took it out and bludgeoned it to death with a 20 ounce ball-peen hammer! Whoever thought the buzzer was a good headlight/seatbelt/key/door reminder must have been half-deaf and brain dead! I now have dual batteries, useful in case I forget to turn off the lights.
I see. So, you beat the crap out of the part that protected you from your own neglect and inattention and now it’s the fault of another feature? I’m wondering who’s brain dead. It isn’t the guy who invented the feature….. You are most likely voting for Hillary.
Please don’t bother posting on MY website anymore. You are a distraction, a time waster, and full of negativity. Please go back and join your other buddies in the “Mommy come wipe me” culture.
Wow…… way to sound like a whiney bitch.
So, I’m not the only one that sees it that way…
Thanks for your contribution.
“Mommy come wipe me culture…” LMAOO I hope you don’t mind but I have to steal that from you 😉
Steal away and please share. The masses need to be enlightened.
Well that explains it… I thought I had some sort of sticky contactor/relay, when I turn off my ignition, before pushing in the headlight knob. I’ve seen it happen on various aircraft contactors from time to time. Now I know it’s a feature not a quirk. Nice. Thanks for the info!
Another mystery solved. LOL.
There’s a lot to be said for owner’s manuals. that’s how I found out about it years ago.
this fellow “hawkeye” buys an additional battery to save him from the part that was designed to alert him that his lights was left on…also as he stated, keys, doors and seat belt. now that he removed the buzzer to remind him that the door was left Ajared , he will now have two dead batteries to bludgeoned at his own peril.. moron !!![ definition]… fool, ass, blockhead, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, imbecile, cretin, dullard, simpleton, clod…
I have a 1989 Pioneer 4.0 that came with this option.
Does the sentinel feature keep only the headlight bulbs on?
Suddenly today the headlights and front turn signal running lights stopped working. Turn signals work. side markers works. Instrument lights work.
If I hold the tun signal stalk back the same way as to change from high to low beams I can get high beams.
I had to drive home that way tonight.
I think this relay may have failed ?
Only the headlights are kept on.
You need to do Tip 3. Note the connector featured in that Tip. All the front lighting stuff runs through it.
Thanks, will do and I just ordered the headlight harness, I had to replace the switch some time ago because of the amount of current it draws it was a bit toasted.
If the Sentinel relay is the problem I can just disconnect it and drive until I get a replacement?
Karl’s comment above got me thinking. I am new to Jeeps but not to cars of this vintage (I’m a VW guy). Lots of these cars feed power to headlights directly through the headlight switch, which usually ends up in fried switches eventually. A common mod in the VW world is to rewire the lighting harness to power the headlights directly with a relay, and the headlight switch only actuates this new relay. Since Jeeps often have enough lights on them for a small airport, I’d imagine this is a common mod? If not, it probably should be. 🙂
You are 1000% correct.
Here’s my write-up on it:
Hello Cruiser, I have a 1986 AMC Renix Cherokee (2.5L) with a 5 speed 202,000 ORIGINAL miles on it! I have read just about EVERY inch of your page. And I have used a handful of your tips over the years. Two winters ago, my jeep ran like crap. I did a complete tune up and refreshed the grounds for good measure, and it runs like a dream now!! I just have to say you are a Godsend to all Jeep XJ owners out there!!!
Thanks for the kind words. Enjoy that Jeep!!
On a related note. We want to install after market fog lights. I see a couple of female wire harnesses that appear to come stock and off of the relay switch near the front of the vehicle. How do I find the male side of the harness to the new fog lights?
Just a heads up for people who are planning to run HIDs using relays controlled by the factory headlamp plugs:
The Sentinel Headlamps feature will make it so that if your headlights are on with the engine running, they will not shut off with the switch with the engine still running, but they will shut off once you kill the engine. Just a minor annoyance.
On my 1990 Wagoneer the highbeams are on the lower lamps while the lowbeams are on the higher lamps. Is that normal?