Problems with Gauges Lighting up
Yes I just recently bought a 1960 thunderbird that is going to be my primary means of transportation in about a month but tonight when I was driving none of my gauge lights were working? Does this car have a fuse box or how do I go about troubleshooting the gauge lights or fuse to see why none of them work?
Any help is greatly appreciated. Diagrams help also if possible or pictures.
RE: Problems with Gauges Lighting up
I had the same problem last summer. I assume ALL of your lights are not working and therefore it's pretty safe to say that it's not the bulbs being burned out.
Assuming you have a multimeter, you need to consider the Headlight switch as the culprit. They had a variable resistor which allowed one to lower the level of the instrument lights. It is a thin wire coiled around a non conductor. It gets brittle with age and heat and breaks - at that point no instrument lights!! The multimeter will allow you to verify that there is voltage AT the headlight switch, a necessary requirement. If you get the wiring diagram, you can identify the lead to the instrument lights and put a temporary jumper to them, allowing you to determine that they are indeed capable of working.
DISCONNECT the battery FIRST!! There are hot leads in the area and you can easily ground one of them out!
You can get the switch loose and have a look at it by unscrewing the lock nut on it from the front and then pushing a little spring loaded button on the switch from the engine side of the dashboard to allow the shaft to be pulled out (standard setup on these types of switches). You then either work the switch (which still has
numerous wires attached) down below the dash OR remove the fuel/temp gauge and go in through that opening ( the latter is pretty easy - it is held in by 3 small screws and the wires for it slide off of posts (4 wires, two light bulbs on that gauge) ).
You will need a wiring diagram. Alexander may already have one scanned in and could provide it or I can scan one in for you. Pages 8-6 and 8-8 of the 1958 Manual provide both the diagram of the wiring in this area and a nice picture of the headlight switch itself.
Once you have had a look and decided if the coil (readily visible) is broken, you then have two options:
1) replace the Headlight switch (approx $45 )
OR 2) wire around the variable resistor. ($0)
The latter would result in the instrument lights only being 100%
on when the headlights were on; you could not vary them anymore.
(Personally I never thought this was much of a feature...). They do shut off when the headlights are off.
Wiring around the coil meant building a little "Y" connector
with connectors compatible with Ford connectors; not hard if you
But all this depends on getting a wiring diagram so you know what's what. We will wait to hear from you on that...
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