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Turn signal and brake light gremlins.

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  • Turn signal and brake light gremlins.

    I have an electrical "gremlin" in the '55, my left rear turn signal does not work and if I put th brakes on the front left stops blinking and the brake lights do not light. If I apply the brakres and then put on the left turn signal the brake lights go out. I tried 3 different bulbs, I have replaced the leads to the socket and the connectors to the main harness because the innsulation was cracked. I have juice all the way to the socket and I have a good ground so now I suspect something up front.

    I've seen flashers cause weird problems in my old Chevies before and the 12V flasher they put in when they did the conversion looks like it came out of a junk car. So I will be replacing that. I noticed the Stude has a terminal block under the dash for the light circuits so I suppose that is my next stop. Before I go ripping into it has anyone run into this before?

    Thanks.

    Analog man in a digital world.

  • #2
    I would be suspect of the turn signal switch. There could be a short or it may simply not be centering. Have someone watch your lights while you play with the signal switch.
    "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

    Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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    • #3
      I'd suspect the ground connections. New cars have ground wires all over the place, our cars have one or maybe two. Run a temporary wire right from the battery back to the taillight and see if the problem persists.

      Tim K.
      '64 R2 GT Hawk
      Tim K.
      \'64 R2 GT Hawk

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      • #4
        quote:Originally posted by rockne10

        I would be suspect of the turn signal switch. There could be a short or it may simply not be centering. Have someone watch your lights while you play with the signal switch.
        I was kind of suspicious of the turn signal switch because once in awhile I can jack with the lever and it will work for a few seconds but never when you really need it to.

        Analog man in a digital world.

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        • #5
          The turn signal switch in the '55 is all metal and is probably OK--hard to wear them out--unlike the later plastic ones.

          BUT!

          The turn signal switch wires in your car are cloth-covered and may have become brittle and broken. I once had a similar problem and when I took apart the column to take a look at the switch, I saw that the nearly all of the insulation had cracked away from the wires--- you can imagine what sort of gremlins this caused.

          I took the switch and wires out and stripped off all of the dry, broken, falling apart cloth covering and used some heat-shrink tubing to re-insulate the wires and then put everything back together--NOT a quick and easy job to be SURE.

          Problem solved. This did take the better part of a day to fix, but once you're into it and you find that the NOS part you need has LONG been NLA, you do what you can do.

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          • #6
            I think you may be on the right track Alan.

            Analog man in a digital world.

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            • #7
              Since the brake light and turn signal are the same wire and bulb, if the brake light works correctly but the turn signal doesn't(if other t.s. work)it's likely the t.s. switch

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              • #8
                quote:Originally posted by leyrret

                Since the brake light and turn signal are the same wire and bulb, if the brake light works correctly but the turn signal doesn't(if other t.s. work)it's likely the t.s. switch
                Ah but the front and rear work off the same wire in the column and the front works as long as you don't activate the brake lights. Had the wheel off and switch pulled out far enough to check the wires and everything looked surprisingly good inside the cloumn. I tried running a seperate ground from the left rear socket, no change. I even replaced the flasher.

                I'm stumped but not ready to admit defeat just yet.

                Analog man in a digital world.

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                • #9
                  In order for the brake and turn to use the same bulb the front and rear have to be on separate wires. If they were on the same wire your front lights will come on with the brake light switch. The wires are as follows: turn feed from flasher, feed from brake light switch, rt frt wire, left front wire, rt rear and left rear. Indicator(dash light) feed on mine comes off the front wires. The brake light circuit will connect through the switch when switch is neutral position. When you turn on (left or right) it interrupts the brake circuit to that side and connects it to flasher feed and connects the front via separate contacts and wires. If both brakes light function normally in neutral position and signal fails to work to the rear can't see how it can be anything but the switch.

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                  • #10
                    quote:Originally posted by leyrret

                    In order for the brake and turn to use the same bulb the front and rear have to be on separate wires. If they were on the same wire your front lights will come on with the brake light switch. The wires are as follows: turn feed from flasher, feed from brake light switch, rt frt wire, left front wire, rt rear and left rear. Indicator(dash light) feed on mine comes off the front wires. The brake light circuit will connect through the switch when switch is neutral position. When you turn on (left or right) it interrupts the brake circuit to that side and connects it to flasher feed and connects the front via separate contacts and wires. If both brakes light function normally in neutral position and signal fails to work to the rear can't see how it can be anything but the switch.
                    Ahhh, I "stand under it" now! Thanks, it makes sense once you spelled it out for me, I had it in my head the turn signals seperated outside the column but I see where I was getting mixed up now. Thanks for clearing it up for me![8D] But it CANNOT be the switch because where the heck am I ever going to find one?

                    I'll go back and start tracing wires at the column again in hopes that I missed something there, the color is pretty much gone on them so identifying what's what is going to be fun. Guess I'll have to make some longer leads for my test light. You're probably right about the switch though.............

                    How "backyard engineered" would it look if I removed the turn signal lever and put one of those add on switches on it that clamps around the column if I can't find the correct switch?

                    Analog man in a digital world.

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                    • #11
                      Studebaker International has the switch and harness, looks like I'll be making a phne call in the AM. [8D]

                      Analog man in a digital world.

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                      • #12
                        quote:Originally posted by Hippie

                        Studebaker International has the switch and harness, looks like I'll be making a phne call in the AM. [8D]

                        Analog man in a digital world.
                        Really? These early all-metal units have been NLA for years! If you are really getting an NOS one, LET ME KNOW when it arrives and I'll order a spare! Dennis or Ed must have stumbled on a box of them or something, I suppose . . .

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                        • #13
                          I 've seen this type A switch NOS at swap meets in abundance,( I have about three myself) The early part number is 533519 which seems to usually be cloth.(I have a used one here that is plastic wire) The later 1549450 is a better choice as all I've seen are plastic instead of cloth. Wire placement on switch and wire marking are a little different but will work. I have this one in my 56J. These also appear on ebay from time to time. They are available from venders as well.

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                          • #14
                            quote:Originally posted by leyrret

                            I 've seen this type A switch NOS at swap meets in abundance,( I have about three myself) The early part number is 533519 which seems to usually be cloth.(I have a used one here that is plastic wire) The later 1549450 is a better choice as all I've seen are plastic instead of cloth. Wire placement on switch and wire marking are a little different but will work. I have this one in my 56J. These also appear on ebay from time to time. They are available from venders as well.

                            That's good news. I wonder why when I looked for one from every vendor several years ago there were none available anywhere? I did find the truck version--this was back in the days of Newman Altman.

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