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View Full Version : Interior: 1950 Champion Dash electrical & instruments wiring problems



bbbacres
05-26-2018, 06:59 PM
I had a home visit from a mechanic who removed my instrument gauge. I sent it off and had the speedometer rebuilt and the other gauges checked out. Bad news, the mechanic totally disappeared on me and my friend and I are struggling to get the electricity and lighting back on track. My main problem now is the instrument lighting. This is NOT the common problem of the bulbs looking dim when they really don't because of old paint, etc. The bulbs are out of their sockets and hanging down. We can not get them to illuminate. A couple of them are gauge lights. Another is the bright/dim light for the headlights. Here is where I am now.

There are two side by side pull knobs. One is LIGHTS, and the one next to it is INSTRUMENT LIGHTS. The wires from that group of light bulbs all come together and are connected to one male plug end. So they are meant to be fed power from one source point. There is a female empty jack waiting on the side of the INSTRUMENT LIGHTS control. But when we plug them in they are still not live. I thought it might be the breaker, but there is power going into one side and power coming out of the other. The light bulbs are good, we've lit them up touching them to other power sources.

There is a kind of jumper wire that goes from the INSTRUMENT LIGHTS switch to the next door LIGHT switch. They must talk to each other, because when the LIGHT switch is pulled halfway out it is supposed to light up the instrument lights as well as the parking lights. The parking lights do work, but again, we get nothing out of the bulbs.

I have wiring diagrams from 3 sources. But they are not helping. Can anyone double check to see if that joint plug that wires the bulbs together is supposed to wire into the INSTRUMENT LIGHTS control? Perhaps we are somehow hooking that group of light bulbs to the wrong place.

We are doing this on our backs, with trouble lights. Tough going. Very tight access. Once our light bulbs light up, we will be able to distinguish them apart, especially since the bright/dim switch is wired into the brights pedal switch on the floor. Oh, and the main map light or courtresy light, just above the speedometer, is working fine.

Any additional tips would be appreciated.

r1lark
05-26-2018, 07:28 PM
bbbacres, this is a pretty basic question, and I don't mean any insult by it. You say that "The bulbs are out of their sockets and hanging down. We can not get them to illuminate. A couple of them are gauge lights. Another is the bright/dim light for the headlights." Do you mean that the sockets with the bulbs in them are not snapped into the instrument clusters? The ground is provided by having the socket snapped into the instrument cluster, so if they are just hanging down there is no ground thus the bulbs won't light up. You would need to provide a ground -- a length of wire with small alligator clips on each end, clip one end to the socket and the other end to a metal ground under the dash.

TWChamp
05-26-2018, 07:57 PM
Having a ground was my first thought also. When I was checking my 50 Champion bulbs I just touched the sockets to the metal on the instruments. This way I could see them light up before I plugged then into the gauge hole. The instrument light switch can be pulled out one click and remain there, but it won't get power until the headlight switch is pulled to parking lights or headlamps. I would first find the bulb that lights up when the headlamps are on bright, and plug that into the center hole with the red lens. I would then turn on the right and left turn signals and find the correct bulb for each side, and plug those two bulbs into the correct green arrow hole. Now you should only have 3 remaining bulbs, if I remember correctly, and they should pretty much fall into place in the remaining holes.

Those small free LED flashlights from Harbor Freight would be much easier to use under the dash, than a bulky trouble light.

r1lark
05-26-2018, 08:39 PM
Those small free LED flashlights from Harbor Freight would be much easier to use under the dash, than a bulky trouble light.

For sure, I've got those all over the house and in the shop and in each car! And if you need both your hands for connecting stuff up under the dash, you can hold the flashlight in your mouth or duct tape it to your head. :D

bbbacres
06-06-2018, 09:48 AM
you make a very valid point. We have now remounted the bulbs and their sockets in the dash. They still do not illuminate. Can you take a shot at my main question in light of this? I'm thinking it is the source of power for the lights, but not certain. You may have a tip, or know a testing work around, or something else.

bbbacres
06-06-2018, 09:55 AM
Bulbs are now grounded, still not illuminating. Seems like it is related to the switch. Can you take another look at my main question and advise? I appreciate it.

TWChamp
06-06-2018, 11:24 AM
When did the dash lights last work?
If it's been some time, then slide the instrument lights knob in and out several times to clean the contacts. Remember, the headlamp switch needs to be pulled to parking lights or headlamps in order for the dash lights switch to get power. outside of this all I can say is follow the schematic and follow the power with a test light. Harbor Freight sells a nice test light for only a few dollars.

Jerry Forrester
06-06-2018, 04:08 PM
hold the flashlight in your mouth or duct tape it to your head. :D

You mean you don't have any of those free headlights? I have 4 of those. It's only 4 or 5 miles to Hazard Fraught Tools for me and I'm there at least once a week.