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torpedo
06-10-2016, 05:05 PM
As I am slowly restoring my 64 Thunderbird, I now have issues with the park light(amber) drivers side not coming on. And when I engage the flashers, the passenger side is very bright whereas the driver side slowly flashes but very dim. I thoroughly cleaned the contacts but no success. If anyone can help that would be appreciated. Thank you to all and to this forum.

Yadkin
06-10-2016, 05:56 PM
My '64 didn't have the emergency flasher option.

Is it both the front and rear driver's side, or front only? If just the front, clean the contact with aerosol contact cleaner, also clean and tighten the ground circuit, which is through the metal housing itself.

If it's front and rear, check the flasher unit connections.

torpedo
06-10-2016, 08:00 PM
Thanks for the reply Yadkin, flashers are both front and rear. Only one giving me the problem is the front drivers side. I did clean the contacts. I am hoping the mice didn't chew any wires. As I stated the park light does not work on the driver side, when flasher engaged its very dim and slow. I will have to look into this a little closer with my trusty electrical book. Thanks again

simplyconnected
06-10-2016, 08:55 PM
Fred, your problem sounds like a classic 'grounding' problem. As these old cars age we depend on spot welds that are compromised by rust.

You are cleaning contacts which is ok but don't forget that every circuit relies on two wires to complete the path. Grounding is equally important as positive battery voltage.

Try this... connect a long copper wire to your battery NEG side and turn on your dim flasher. Now scrape the outside metal of the lamp socket and dig the ground wire into it. See if the lamp shines brighter and the flash rate improves.

Modern cars include a ground wire in every lamp holder because most housings are plastic. The ground wires continue in the wire harnesses all the way to the battery. Also, modern cars have a short wire connected to the body right at the battery. You should do this with your classic as well. The steel body makes a sub-standard conductor but car companies used them for decades to save money. Not any more.

I encourage you to make your own 12-volt test light using a dash light bulb (like #57) with two skinny but long stranded copper wires soldered to it. Tape the metal portion with electrical tape. You can get fancy and include a couple alligator clips on the ends.

This test light will help you troubleshoot both sides of any car circuit. If you suspect a bad ground, connect one test lead to the battery + side and use the other lead to check for a good strong ground. If your test light shines dimly, fix the ground.

If you have more questions, please post them. - Dave

torpedo
06-11-2016, 12:23 AM
Fred, your problem sounds like a classic 'grounding' problem. As these old cars age we depend on spot welds that are compromised by rust.

You are cleaning contacts which is ok but don't forget that every circuit relies on two wires to complete the path. Grounding is equally important as positive battery voltage.

Try this... connect a long copper wire to your battery NEG side and turn on your dim flasher. Now scrape the outside metal of the lamp socket and dig the ground wire into it. See if the lamp shines brighter and the flash rate improves.

Modern cars include a ground wire in every lamp holder because most housings are plastic. The ground wires continue in the wire harnesses all the way to the battery. Also, modern cars have a short wire connected to the body right at the battery. You should do this with your classic as well. The steel body makes a sub-standard conductor but car companies used them for decades to save money. Not any more.

I encourage you to make your own 12-volt test light using a dash light bulb (like #57) with two skinny but long stranded copper wires soldered to it. Tape the metal portion with electrical tape. You can get fancy and include a couple alligator clips on the ends.

This test light will help you troubleshoot both sides of any car circuit. If you suspect a bad ground, connect one test lead to the battery + side and use the other lead to check for a good strong ground. If your test light shines dimly, fix the ground.

If you have more questions, please post them. - Dave

Thanks Dave I will work on this on my days off. I will also let you as well others of the results.

torpedo
06-21-2016, 07:14 AM
I would like to Thank All for your input and direction. It turns out that the contacts/ground needed cleaning. First step was to remove the complete assembly, then clean (wire brush). Not only did it solve the problem, the assembly looks new.

Really appreciate this site. :)

simplyconnected
06-21-2016, 07:26 AM
Glad to help, Fred.
We don't live far from each other.
BTW, did you make a test light? - Dave

torpedo
06-30-2016, 08:59 AM
Glad to help, Fred.
We don't live far from each other.
BTW, did you make a test light? - Dave
Sorry Dave haven't had the chance. Hopefully on my next days off I will. I am always open to experienced people with ideas.

torpedo
06-30-2016, 09:07 AM
Sorry Dave haven't had the chance. Hopefully on my next days off I will. I am always open to experienced people with ideas.
Dave is there any chance I could get an image as to how to make this test light and how it looks. It seems easy. This will give me the insentive to make one quicker.

simplyconnected
06-30-2016, 02:29 PM
I'm famous for using things I already have in my 'junk' stash because I'm also incredibly cheap.

Simply take two lengths of small wire (like #18 or #20awg) and solder them to a 12-volt bulb. A tail light (1157), backup light (1156), or a small dash light (#57) all work.

Strip just a little off the wire ends and solder both wires to the bulb. One goes on the bulb end which is easy because it is already soldered.

Solder the other wire to the shell of the bulb. Most bulbs have a tiny dot of solder up by the glass you can solder to. If the bulb has a brass base you can solder anywhere around it.

If you absolutely do not want to solder, buy a bulb socket (I'm choking because the idea of buying stuff rubs me wrong). Put a 12-volt light bulb in it and use crimp connectors to extend the wires.

You can get fancy and mount alligator clips to the ends of the wires or you can simply 'tin' the ends so they don't fray.

I normally leave one wire long enough to connect to the battery, even if I'm working in the trunk. There are a lot of important things wired to the trunk, like the fuel tank, backup, tail lights, trunk lid light and possibly trailer connections.

I've found many trailer plugs that simply did not work using my test light. My son had a faulty adapter (from round to flat cable) that did not work on his Chrysler-to-boat trailer. Most recently, my neighbor installed LEDs on his trailer but couldn't get them to shine. I identified a poor ground as the culprit. He got mad (with himself) in disbelief but it's hard to argue with the test light. For his return (neg) the neighbor depended on twenty feet (seven meters) of steel car body and another fifteen feet (five meters) of steel trailer chassis.

The idea of a test light is that it draws a load so it must be made with an incandescent bulb. A neon or LED will give false readings.

When you get good at using a test light you will realize it can be used to track down a shorted circuit (one that blows fuses). If you remove the fuse and replace it with the test light, as long as the short exists, the light shines. When you unplug the 'bad circuit' the light will extinguish. That sets you on the right path; usually a corroded plug or lamp socket that is exposed to the road, like your license plate lamp holder.

Questions, Fred? Anyone? - Dave

scumdog
06-30-2016, 04:24 PM
If you're as lucky as I was you can buy a professional test-light for $1 from a second-hand shop (You still have them in the States?)

It had 3' of wire with an alligator clip on the end of it and a thin point on the handle piece, well worth one dollar!!

simplyconnected
06-30-2016, 06:29 PM
Yep, that deal is hard to beat, Tom.

Kids learning electricity would have a ball using a test light or a continuity light. 'Playing with it' is how most of us learn how to use test lights and meters.

I have a cousin who owns two Amphicars and a '57 Chevy. He has tool box drawers FULL of test lights of every kind but hasn't a clue as how to use any of them.

He usually calls me for help but when I ask for a tool (oh, he has every tool) the standard answer is, "I don't know where it is." All his tool boxes are organized neatly but he has so many he forgets. One section is 'power tools', another is 'heavy and large tools', etc. I wish I had that problem. I have few tools but I know where they all are. - Dave

torpedo
07-01-2016, 04:12 PM
I'm famous for using things I already have in my 'junk' stash because I'm also incredibly cheap.

Simply take two lengths of small wire (like #18 or #20awg) and solder them to a 12-volt bulb. A tail light (1157), backup light (1156), or a small dash light (#57) all work.

Strip just a little off the wire ends and solder both wires to the bulb. One goes on the bulb end which is easy because it is already soldered.

Solder the other wire to the shell of the bulb. Most bulbs have a tiny dot of solder up by the glass you can solder to. If the bulb has a brass base you can solder anywhere around it.

If you absolutely do not want to solder, buy a bulb socket (I'm choking because the idea of buying stuff rubs me wrong). Put a 12-volt light bulb in it and use crimp connectors to extend the wires.

You can get fancy and mount alligator clips to the ends of the wires or you can simply 'tin' the ends so they don't fray.

I normally leave one wire long enough to connect to the battery, even if I'm working in the trunk. There are a lot of important things wired to the trunk, like the fuel tank, backup, tail lights, trunk lid light and possibly trailer connections.

I've found many trailer plugs that simply did not work using my test light. My son had a faulty adapter (from round to flat cable) that did not work on his Chrysler-to-boat trailer. Most recently, my neighbor installed LEDs on his trailer but couldn't get them to shine. I identified a poor ground as the culprit. He got mad (with himself) in disbelief but it's hard to argue with the test light. For his return (neg) the neighbor depended on twenty feet (seven meters) of steel car body and another fifteen feet (five meters) of steel trailer chassis.

The idea of a test light is that it draws a load so it must be made with an incandescent bulb. A neon or LED will give false readings.

When you get good at using a test light you will realize it can be used to track down a shorted circuit (one that blows fuses). If you remove the fuse and replace it with the test light, as long as the short exists, the light shines. When you unplug the 'bad circuit' the light will extinguish. That sets you on the right path; usually a corroded plug or lamp socket that is exposed to the road, like your license plate lamp holder.

Questions, Fred? Anyone? - Dave

I have no questions now Dave, Thanks

torpedo
07-09-2016, 10:01 AM
I have no questions now Dave, Thanks
Hi Dave, just to let you know that I made my test light. I used a 1956 Thunderbird park light socket. I wanted to go that route in case the bulb breaks or burns out etc.....I put it through the test and it works very nicely. Thanks for the tip.
PS. Your idea is a lot cheaper than buying a Power Probe that might be used only once.
I also have a gadget that I made to remove the bezels from 1964 Thunderbird highway package tray/console. This will be posted when I am off work. Pictures could be included if I get enough requests. Very easy to make and it works.

Your input gave me inspiration to create. Thanks

simplyconnected
07-09-2016, 03:18 PM
Fred, it tickles me when anyone creates their own tools. Your bezel tool intrigues me and I'd love to see it when you get ready to show.

Another point worth mentioning is, the test light you made works just as well as the most expensive test light on the market. I encourage everyone to make their own and to play with using it.

We know about testing live circuits with one prod on the neg terminal, but also try it with the battery prod on the positive terminal. In this mode, the presents of a good ground can be tested. Other bulbs and fuses can be tested by touching one of their contacts on chassis ground (neg) and touching the other contact with the test light. A good fuse will make the test light shine. A good bulb will make BOTH lights shine using reduced current. Your imagination is the limit regarding other tests. - Dave

torpedo
07-09-2016, 05:55 PM
Fred, it tickles me when anyone creates their own tools. Your bezel tool intrigues me and I'd love to see it when you get ready to show.

Another point worth mentioning is, the test light you made works just as well as the most expensive test light on the market. I encourage everyone to make their own and to play with using it.

We know about testing live circuits with one prod on the neg terminal, but also try it with the battery prod on the positive terminal. In this mode, the presents of a good ground can be tested. Other bulbs and fuses can be tested by touching one of their contacts on chassis ground (neg) and touching the other contact with the test light. A good fuse will make the test light shine. A good bulb will make BOTH lights shine using reduced current. Your imagination is the limit regarding other tests. - Dave

The Reason I chose the socket is so that I can change the bulb if it breaks (knowing me) or burns out, makes for a quick change. I also made the wire connections apprx 5ft in length.
I need to know how to post the pictures when I am ready. Thanks

simplyconnected
07-09-2016, 06:38 PM
Fred, we reserve 'posting pictures' for our members who donate to our site. If you send the pictures to my email address (simplyconnected@aol.com) I will post them for you. - Dave

torpedo
07-10-2016, 07:04 AM
OK, I will send them as soon as I can. Thanks Dave