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Wiring 101: troubleshooting lights.

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  • Electrical: Wiring 101: troubleshooting lights.

    1953 2R6 truck is converted to 12 V neg. ground. Conversion done by PO. Without too many details, the PO rewired the old cloth colored wires with newer, plastic wires. Among a few of his departures from stock, he: a) wired the headlight switch through the ignition switch b) added breakers along the way for lights & stop/brake switches also. History: I have only driven this truck, maybe 10 times at night. On 2 occasions, while driving, the headlights went out suddenly and I had to drive with parking lights only (58' Scotsman type). I also had the aftermarket dimmer switch wires hang up and ground out under the clutch pedal shaft (to floor). I fixed that dimmer issue a while back. I am now reconnecting all light wires after needing to cut the aftermarket wires to the rear lights, and re connecting uncut front lights due to a repaint. I'm sure the connections are returned to pre-disconnect places.

    Just to mention it.... there is an after market button-type horn system. So in this jumble of wires, some of them connected previously with nut & bolt connectors (only thing in the garage?), I have run into problems. I tackled out back first: I have parking, brake and directionals all working including trailer hitch (4 terminal type). These each work isolated. When I have either directional positively blinking front & back, then turn on the parking or headlights.... the directionals stop working. The parking lights don't light, period, at any time (only with directionals). If I turn on the headlights, the passenger side is fine, and with Hi beam, but the driver's side barely lights.

    So, firstly... is everything out back OK ? Or is there a possible communication issue out back maybe ??

  • #2
    You might be wise to order a wiring loom from Speedway. They have several with different numbers of circuits and each wire is marked along the length as to where it goes. Prices are fair compared to repo wire looms, $150 to $200.
    That way you have a new loom with everything done right.
    If you can repair what you have and get it operational that would be the most inexpensive, but if you have to pay for it to get done, labor might be more to repair the old then getting a new loom installed.
    The new looms have extra circuits if you ever wanted to install A/C or sound system too.
    sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
    1950 Champion Convertible
    1950 Champion 4Dr
    1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
    1957 Thunderbird

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    • #3
      I sounds like the only way to untangle this mess is to disconnect the wires one at a time and test to find out from WHERE and When they have power, obviously the Turn and Tail/Parking Light wires are cross connected somewhere they should not be.

      Isn't there a Terminal block near the Radiator where all the main harness Parking, Head, High & Low, Turn Light wires connect to each unit's lead wire?
      StudeRich
      Second Generation Stude Driver,
      Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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      • #4
        the block is long gone with the re-wiring ago. If I hear you (read) correctly Rich, are you suggesting that even though the rear lighting works good alone, there still may be a problem back there that renders new problems up front ? The front directionals do light correctly with the rears.

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        • #5
          Jackb;
          The first thing I would do is remove all the bulbs; including the head light. Disconnect the battery negative terminal. With a ohm meter check each light socket to the disconnected negative battery cable. Each socket should read as close to zero ohms as possible.
          After you have good grounds at each socket; without bulbs present; reconnect the battery and check for power at each light socket with the appropriate function turned. You also need to check the other sockets for voltage that should not be there.
          Once you have done all the above and made the necessary corrections your lights should work.
          As for your lights going out. Without seeing the wiring I have no idea.
          Ron

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          • #6
            Originally posted by thunderations View Post
            You might be wise to order a wiring loom from Speedway. They have several with different numbers of circuits and each wire is marked along the length as to where it goes. Prices are fair compared to repo wire looms, $150 to $200.
            That way you have a new loom with everything done right.
            If you can repair what you have and get it operational that would be the most inexpensive, but if you have to pay for it to get done, labor might be more to repair the old then getting a new loom installed.
            The new looms have extra circuits if you ever wanted to install A/C or sound system too.
            I agree here. Chasing wiring issues with a combo of old and older only amounts to a high level of frustration. I've used several of the Speedway harnesses and they're an excellent buy and quality. So much easier to just clean out the old harness, locate the fusebox in a convenient location and run the wires neat and clean.

            Bob
            , ,

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            • #7
              I am rewiring my 52 2R right now. Some of the wiring I have removed is sad. The old original wires with bare spots are bad enough, but some of the later modifications are strange. Just be patient and take it one system at a time and it will work out.
              sigpic

              "In the heart of Arkansas."
              Searcy, Arkansas
              1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
              1952 2R pickup

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              • #8
                Repeat post: My truck came with 1 tail lamp. If I were to order a harness, or want to check all wiring, is it OK to compare a later truck's wiring diagram for comparison and fixes ?

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                • #9
                  There are some differences. I have run into this with my truck being older than the ones my brother has. Sometimes what he says does not apply because my components are different. Mainly it is caused by the later trucks being wired for more accessories. However, if you get a harness for another year and follow that diagram you should be fine although it might require lengthening or shortening some wires because of components being in a different location. No big deal.
                  If you just want to add a right side tail light, it is just a matter of splicing into the left side wires and running them to the right hand light. Adding turn signals complicates things a bit. I did the very thing to a 51 Dodge pickup years ago.
                  sigpic

                  "In the heart of Arkansas."
                  Searcy, Arkansas
                  1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
                  1952 2R pickup

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