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Directional signals – a short to ground was messing me up.

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  • Electrical: Directional signals – a short to ground was messing me up.

    I have replaced about 98% of the original wiring in the ’55 President State Sedan. Things have gone pretty well so far up until yesterday. I could not get the stop lights to come on. I suspected the stop light switch so I disconnected the red and red & white wires from it and started to jumper across the two when a pretty hefty spark occurred. The jumper wire got hot in a hurry. A check of the red & white wire indicated a continuity to ground.

    Today I unscrewed the directional switch and found that I had inadvertently soldered a wire too far over the end of the switch. It was making contact with one of the posts it was screwed in to. I also found that the wiring on the other side of the switch was just barely missing making contact with the other post. I cut off a little of the wiring and filed it back far enough to clear the post and it got rid of the ground.

    The jumper wire was hooked up and I had brake lights. Unfortunately when the wires were put back on the brake light switch and the pedal depressed the lights did not come on. I know there has been some discussion on the forum concerning dot 5 and the brake light switches so I will do some research in that area. I think a new switch is going to get me back in business as far as brake lights.

    Charlie D.
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  • #2
    Originally posted by Charlie D View Post
    I have replaced about 98% of the original wiring in the ’55 President State Sedan. Things have gone pretty well so far up until yesterday. I could not get the stop lights to come on. I suspected the stop light switch so I disconnected the red and red & white wires from it and started to jumper across the two when a pretty hefty spark occurred. The jumper wire got hot in a hurry. A check of the red & white wire indicated a continuity to ground.

    Today I unscrewed the directional switch and found that I had inadvertently soldered a wire too far over the end of the switch. It was making contact with one of the posts it was screwed in to. I also found that the wiring on the other side of the switch was just barely missing making contact with the other post. I cut off a little of the wiring and filed it back far enough to clear the post and it got rid of the ground.

    The jumper wire was hooked up and I had brake lights. Unfortunately when the wires were put back on the brake light switch and the pedal depressed the lights did not come on. I know there has been some discussion on the forum concerning dot 5 and the brake light switches so I will do some research in that area. I think a new switch is going to get me back in business as far as brake lights.

    Charlie D.
    Still using the old hydraulic switch, simple touching of the two lead's connectors will verify. If you are going to stick with the hydraulic always buy 3 or more to have a replacement on hand. Some swear filling the switch with dot 5 (if that's what you use), first makes them last longer. Theory is, dot 5 won't absorb moisture, so any trapped in the switch corrodes it and isn't siphoned off and into the fluid. I gave up, put a mechanical switch in and never had a problem since.

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    • #3
      I had to replace my switch when I bought my 50 Champion 3 years ago, then I had to replace it again 2 years later.
      If it goes bad again, I'll also go with a mechanical switch.

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      • #4
        Thank you for the comments. I ordered the Echlin SL-128 at a local NAPA store this morning. It will be in tomorrow and cost $17.29 plus tax. I found a u-tube of an individual named Tony installing the switch on a '57 Hawk. Bob Johnstone also has a nice article on his website.

        Charlie D.

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        • #5
          Around 20 years ago when I changed my Avanti over to a dual master cylinder I also switched to Dot 5 at the same time. I don't remember if or how I flushed the brake system. I had a gallon of Dot 5 and might have just used that. I also switched to Dot 5 at the same time. I don't remember if or how I flushed the brake system. I had a gallon of Dot 5 and might have just used that. I do remember that I reused the original hydraulic brake light switch. I am still using the same switch and as of the last time I drove the car last fall the brake lights still worked.
          Ron

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          • #6
            Correction: Before installing the new switch..... place several drops of Dot 3 fluid in the new switch for your Dot 5 system. Lucky stories come and go. Most people who do not replace "all" rubber and flush all steel lines usually run into trouble...GL

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            • #7
              I had read several threads on this forum before deciding to switch over. New lines, wheel cylinders, master cylinder and flex lines. Looking back, the only thing not replaced was the pressure switch.
              Charlie D.

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              • #8
                The nice thing about having an ammeter is it makes testing the brake switch very easy. Before starting the car, just press the brake pedal and see how much pressure it takes to make the ammeter needle move to discharge when the brake lights come on. When I installed a new switch it only took very light pressure, but after two years you'd almost have to lock up the brakes to make the needle move.

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