View Full Version : '60 Convertible Headlight Switch

11-06-2014, 11:27 PM
I have read through several threads where the question of whether the headlight switch for the convertible was different than the standard switch (which is available from the vendors)...but I have not seen any definitive answers to that question.

My headlight switch housing is cracked and one of the posts is broken off, so I would like to replace, but I have a convertible.

Based on comparing my switch with a picture from MAC's, it appears the only difference is mine has an extra post opposite the A post. Is that the only difference or are the guts different in some way?

Also, the following is stamped on the metal base "Ford" RBM 3087.


11-07-2014, 03:58 AM
Todd, there is no difference between hardtops and convertibles, as far as lighting is concerned. Therefore, there is no difference in headlight switches.

There is however, a difference in your neutral switch because Ford didn't want the top operated while the car was moving.

Let me draw your attention to this Technical Resource Library site: CLICK HERE (http://squarebirds.org/images_headlight_switch/)
It shows the headlight switch with all the wires attached and it shows a broken one that is taken apart.

If you need the extra stab, you can unscrew the old switch tab and put it on the new switch. As you can see from the pictures, that connection comes completely off with the slotted screw.

There is one threaded post with a nut. That is where power comes in from the battery. It is UNFUSED, so disconnect a battery lead every time you work under the dash.

BTW, refer to picture #6: I urge you to jumper R to P, so your parking lights stay on with your headlights. This is a safety issue. - Dave

11-07-2014, 08:59 AM
Thanks Dave! This is what I was hoping to confirm. Seeing the "Except 1960 convertible" in the catalogs made me wonder if there were more differences.

11-07-2014, 02:40 PM
1960 Squarebirds have a 'hidden' in-line fuse holder along side the headlight and key switch. This fuse is nearly impossible to locate when looking for a blown fuse.

Since you are under the dash and have things apart, I suggest you lengthen the wires on this fuse (and all fuses that are too short). You're stuck with the fuse holders on the end of the headlight switch but you can locate the others in a more central location, for easy access. This 'fix' isn't as good as a fuse block but it's a close second.

The headlight switch has a screw post with two nuts. This is the most important connection under your dash. It also feeds your key switch (for your ignition), and that's why it has fool-proof nuts. Make sure the nuts are tight. Give the wires a good shake, just to be sure.

These cars were built before anyone thought of fuse blocks. When I got my '55, nothing electrical worked. The PO said, "I couldn't find a mechanic to fix old cars."

I looked under the dash and saw a bunch of loose wire ends just dangling. Then it dawned on me, there used to be plastic, in the shape of inline fuse holders, tying them together. The polymers bake out of plastic over sixty years, especially in hot environments, then the plastic simply falls on the floor.

As I spliced new fuse holders in, all my functions came back, one by one. The radio surprised me the most. I could see sunlight through the cone because it was dried out and separated, but it still played!

The only difference I've seen in headlight switches is, some have two fuse holders on the back (like the illustrations) and some have only one. Again, it's an easy fix if you need a circuit that's on all the time. Simply use a ring terminal on an inline fuse holder and connect it to the threaded post. - Dave

11-07-2014, 10:51 PM
I looked under the dash and saw a bunch of loose wire ends just dangling.

Sounds familiar, but my situation isn't that bad, or at least I don't think so at this point. My adventure began when I started trying to figure out why the brake lights weren't working. Tail lights and turn signals worked fine.

Started with the easiest thing and replaced the brake light switch, then started tracing the wiring. Started digging around under the dash and sure enough, light green wire hanging loose with no connector, along with another loose wire and more than 20 "Scotchlok" splices, just behind the dash. A lot of crusty, cracked insulation, too. After reading a few stories about fires behind the dash, I took the plunge and ordered a new dash harness.

While I have all that taken apart, I am cleaning up the firewall, patching rust-through at the top of the cowl drains, replacing insulation and firewall pad, painted the instrument panel and glove box door, etc.

Your information and advice will be invaluable when I start putting it all back together...hopefully I get to that soon.

And I know who to call when I start troubleshooting that darn convertible top!


11-07-2014, 11:43 PM
That pink wire is different from all the rest. It is a 'resistance' wire that goes from your key switch to your ignition coil. If it was replaced with a standard copper wire, you're going to have problems.

Either use another resistance wire or mount a ballast resistor in the engine bay.

I really hate those splice connectors. Splices should be done properly with crimp connectors and a good pair of crimping pliers. Mine are THOMAS & BETTS WT111M. I see a couple on eBay for ten bucks. Buy one ASAP because stores get fifty bucks for a pair. BTW, they carry an unconditional lifetime warranty from the factory.

All my electrical supplies are name-brand, quality components. Not cheap crap that comes from Harbor Freight. (I do buy some tools from HF, but never electrical supplies.)

Sometimes, I cut the ring off let's say a yellow terminal (good for #10 wire), then I stick three or four #18 wires in the barrel and crimp it solid. I would do that with ground wires under the dash (because there are never enough). Then, a wrap of electrical tape will cover any exposed metal.

When you get to the convertible top, let us know. - Dave

03-05-2015, 05:01 PM
Have a problem I hope someone can help. I replaced the dash pad and checked all the wiring prior to putting the dash back in the car. All worked fine until it did not. The courtesy light now refuses to go on and the left turn signal light is on when the parking light is on. The courtesy light worked initially so I am thinking that there is a fuse blown somewhere. I checked the fuses on back of the light switch and they look fine. I checked the other two in-line fuses that are located to the right of the light switch and they are okay. I am not aware of any other fuse that would affect the courtesy light.

The turn signals worked ok when I installed the dash and before installing the tail light bulbs. Now both dash lights work as they should when the indicator is moved to left or right. The tail and parking lights work as they should. The left goes on when parking lights are on and goes off when the headlights are pulled to full on or when the indicator is moved to the right. It stays on however when the parking lights are on. Any suggestions on what is happening here?

I really do not want to pull the dash again.

03-05-2015, 05:47 PM
Did you take the wires off of the headlight switch when you had the dash apart. It sounds like the dome light wire/wires aren't connected. There are two different color wires that control the dome light; green-yellow and black-blue. I would check and make sure they are connected. The turn signal issue could also be a headlight switch issue. I would double check that all the wires are on the correct positions on the switch.


03-05-2015, 09:28 PM
Let's talk about the basic operation of your Headlight Switch...

Originally, your car came with a generator that put out 30 amps when the engine was up to speed (not at idle). So, Ford needed to conserve power for the guys up North during cold winter mornings, when the battery was low, the heater was on, headlights are on and sometimes the radio. (This guy was on his way to work.)

The Headlight Switch turns the front Parking Lights on when pulled out half way.
When pulled out ALL THE WAY, the front Parking Lights go OUT and the Headlights come ON. That is the normal operation.

If you upgrade your generator with something that puts out more power at idle speed, like an alternator, I suggest you look at the wires on your Headlight Switch and connect P with R. This keeps your front Parking Lights on WITH your Rear Tail Lights.

So when you say one Parking Light comes on, that's good because they are both connected together in the front of your car. You probably have a burned out 1157 bulb or a bad ground on the one that is not working.

Your Courtesy Light...
Is this the one in your dash, or are you talking about a Dome Light?

Signal and Brake lights...
Brake and Signal lights have nothing to do with Parking Lights or Tail Lights. Parking and Tail Lights get their power comes from the Headlight Switch.
Brake and Signal lights get their power from the Steering Column because the Flashers interrupt the Brake Lights.

If you have problems with Turn Signals, double check your bullet connections at the base of your Steering Column. If you disconnected bullet connections in your trunk, double check those connections as well.

Flasher units depend on current. If a bulb burns out, the good ones will stay on and not flash.
Now let's tie your troubles together. Your description isn't clear but I surmise your front Parking Light AND Signal Light are both out. That is typical of a bad ground at the Lamp Socket.
Check your grounds at the light sockets!!!

03-05-2015, 09:41 PM
I think he's saying that the left turn signal indicator on the dash stays on when the parking lights are on but goes off when he puts the headlights on. He has a convertible so he's probably talking about the courtesy light under the radio.


03-06-2015, 12:24 PM
Did you take the wires off of the headlight switch when you had the dash apart. It sounds like the dome light wire/wires aren't connected. There are two different color wires that control the dome light; green-yellow and black-blue. I would check and make sure they are connected. The turn signal issue could also be a headlight switch issue. I would double check that all the wires are on the correct positions on the switch.


thanks for your response it seems that my quarry was not very clear. I do have a convertible and the dome light is the light under the dash which is controlled by the door switches. This light did work after installation of the dash but now something has changed and it is not working. So my question is is there a fuse that controls this light.

The second issue concerns the left turn signal dashboard indicator light. The turn signals all worked fine that is to say taillight and parking lights work with the turn signal indicator. The dashboard indicator light comes on as expected. However, the left dashboard indicator light also comes on when the parking lights are on. When the headlights are on IE headlight switch pulled out the dashboard indicator light goes off. So I am wondering if I have a defective light switch. When the dash was installed everything was checked initially and everything worked. The problem with the turn signal indicator light developed sometime later for an unknown reason. Is it possible that the headlight switch is shorting out in some fashion?

I will dive under the dash again and check to make sure that all is as it should be and report back. Thanks again for your interest and help.

03-06-2015, 12:34 PM
There is no fuse that controls the courtesy light. It's all straight wire from the door switches to the headlight switch to the courtesy light. There should be two wires connected to the bottom of the headlight switch. That's where the courtesy light wires are.


03-06-2015, 04:01 PM
Two issues are going on:
There is a fuse for your door switches and courtesy light. It's the top fuse on the rear of your headlight sw. Power comes in B, goes to the fuse, and the opposite end of the fuse strap feeds D & A. You can see it in the following picture.

D is green/yellow
It feeds three switches; the two door plungers and the headlight twist switch. Any of them should turn on the courtesy lights.

Your Left Direction Indicator Light wire is green/white.
Follow this wire from the bulb and see where you attached it. The proper place should be to the green/white wire going to your steering column, NOT your headlight switch.

Wire colors can fade over fifty years. There isn't much difference between green&yellow and green&white. Also, know that two colors like green/white can mean, green with a white trace OR green wire with a white END. Different Ford vendors did their wire harnesses differently but kept the same convention. - Dave

03-06-2015, 04:15 PM

As usual you are correct. I had forgotten that the dome light post also connects to the top fuse.


03-06-2015, 07:57 PM
Thanks for the information. The fuse looked ok, but I will replace it. Concerning the turn signal dash lite issue, I determined that it will go on with the parking lights only if the parking light is disconnected. With the parking light connected- the dash indicator will only come on with the turn signal switch as it should. Somehow current is feeding back to the dash indicator light when the parking light is not there to use it.

03-06-2015, 08:42 PM
You have two wires that go to the left parking light, green-white is the turn signal wire and black-yellow is the parking light wire. I would check where they come through the driver side firewall and the parking light plug itself. They don't meet anywhere else unless they are shorted inside the harness.


03-07-2015, 12:02 AM
...That is typical of a bad ground at the Lamp Socket.
Check your grounds at the light sockets!!!Did you do this?
Did you use a jumper wire connected to power and WATCH both LH front filaments, individually and then together?

If you don't have a big mirror, find a helper.

Are either lights dim?

Understand that both filaments ARE tied together and that electricity takes the path of LEAST resistance. That means, If you let the lamp socket hang ungrounded, the Parking Light current will feed back into the turn signal wire and go to the dash lamp that IS grounded.

Another problem can be inside the socket where the lamp shell doesn't make good contact with the lamp holder. Look inside. Is it green and nasty?

Use sound troubleshooting practices which include ALL of your senses. Your entire lighting system can be tested with the help of two simple tools; a 12 volt test light and a jumper wire with alligator clips on both ends.

Light bulbs are wonderful loads because they show a visual indication of the current passing through. LED test lights are NOT a good troubleshooting tool because they draw no load.

Your front lamp holders are in the weather and susceptible to corrosion. Lamp holders in modern cars are made of plastic and they have their own ground wire (3-wires in each socket). They do not depend on body ground. This should tell you something about the evolution in technology. If your lamp housing is poorly grounded, run a separate copper wire to a good ground or better yet, to the battery. - Dave