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  #1  
Old 02-22-2016, 01:08 PM
Superplastik Superplastik is offline
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Default Issues with electrics

Hello all!

We're having some weird issues with our electronics in our 1960 Tbird. Can't find a lot about it on the internet, unfortunately.

We're having the following issues:
- Only one (each side) of the brake lights light up when braking. Is this correct? I thought I read somewhere that both the lights should light up.
Did some measurements and found that only 1 wire gets 12V when braking.
- The turn signals don't work, they light up but don't blink (but we think this is caused by the relay, still need to investigate). This is both front and back.
- When we put on our headlights when braking and/or having our turn signals on, all lights at the rear do not work anymore.
Our reverse light also doesn't work (license plate light does).

Anyone has some ideas on what we should take a look at?
I have no clue on what I should be looking at now.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 02-22-2016, 03:07 PM
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sidewalkman sidewalkman is offline
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I've got a 60 and will have to check but pretty sure of the 3 on each side 2 are brakes. Check the bulbs first, if there is one filament then it only has one function.

Signals not blinking is a faulty flasher. that one is easy, and the light gremlins sounds like your switch might be pooched but that is an easy and inexpensive fix. Also there are 2 fuses on the top of your light switch under the dash, check those and there are a couple of inlines under there too (no fuse boxes on Squarebirds)
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  #3  
Old 02-22-2016, 03:33 PM
Tbird1044 Tbird1044 is offline
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Both of the outside lights should work for the brake lights. Only the outer light is used for the turn signal. The backup lights may not be installed in your car. It was an option from the factory so if it was not ordered the lenses were still put in place, but the switch is not there. If you do have the backup light switch, it is part of the safety neutral switch located on the steering column and there should 4 wires installed instead of 2. The switch may just need adjustment if things are in place.
Nyles
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Old 02-22-2016, 04:27 PM
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simplyconnected simplyconnected is offline
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I will refer you to the wiring diagram for the 1960 Thunderbird in our Technical Resource library. It is free for you to download and print, CLICK HERE

The problems you have are very common for all classic cars. We depend on fifty year-old chassis spot welds to carry current back to the battery but it no longer works very well. Part of this is, your car body does not have a connection to the battery.

Modern cars use a short #10AWG green wire coming from the battery (-) to the radiator support or some heavy steel part that is close. They also have the main heavy cable for the engine's starter motor. I suggest you do the same for your Squarebird.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superplastik View Post
...- Only one (each side) of the brake lights light up when braking. Is this correct? I thought I read somewhere that both the lights should light up.
Did some measurements and found that only 1 wire gets 12V when braking.
Yes and no. I like to start at the steering column because the turn signals interrupt brake lights. Only one wire feeds each side (Orange/Blue for the right and Green/Orange for the left). So, there are total of three bulbs that the flasher feeds, Front signal, Rear signal and Dash bulbs. Since the flasher is a current device, it depends on each bulb to work or it won't flash. Again, the return side of all your bulbs is the chassis ground.

Your Stop Light Switch feeds both 'inside' stop lights directly through one wire (Green). So both inner lights are wired together with one green wire. This current does NOT go through the flasher unit.

When you depress the brake pedal WITH a turn signal on, three stop lights should shine and the other one blinks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superplastik View Post
  1. - The turn signals don't work, they light up but don't blink (but we think this is caused by the relay, still need to investigate). This is both front and back.
  2. - When we put on our headlights when braking and/or having our turn signals on, all lights at the rear do not work anymore.
  3. - Our reverse light also doesn't work (license plate light does).
1. Turn signals do not go through a relay. Turn signal power comes directly from the flasher unit that feeds your steering column switch. If they turn on but don't blink you either have a bad ground, the bulbs are not 1157 or you have the wrong flasher unit. You need a flasher unit for TWO lights, not three.
2. This is a classic grounding problem.
3. Another grounding problem. With your engine off but the key on, put your car in reverse and check voltage on the Black/Red wire that feeds both backup lights.

In my classic cars, I run a separate ground wire from the battery all the way back to the tail lights. I tap off for things along the way like the dash, power windows, power seats, convertible top motor, trunk light, fuel tank and finally the light housings. This wire can be bare but unbroken. It needs to be at least #10AWG stranded copper, screwed down to the floor along the way. - Dave
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Old 02-22-2016, 04:49 PM
Superplastik Superplastik is offline
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That was fast! That's a lot of information I can already start with, thank you very much
I did express myself a bit wrong though.
About the rear lights dropping out: when we are breaking and/or using our turn lights and we put on our headlights, the rear lights drop out. I expressed myself a bit wrong before, was in a hurry!
Again, thanks for the fast answers.
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  #6  
Old 02-22-2016, 04:54 PM
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You expressed your problem correctly and that is how I understood it. - Dave
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  #7  
Old 02-22-2016, 05:20 PM
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Your turn signal issue could be a couple of things. First it could be as simple as the flasher behind the instrument panel. It's not easy to get to. It's on the passenger side of the steering column. It could also be corrosion in the front parking light housings. This is a common problem.

John
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  #8  
Old 02-22-2016, 08:38 PM
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Also on the '60 when you pull the light switch to the first notch the front parking lamps come on. These lamps have dual filaments that act as parking and turn signal lamps. When you pull the switch to the second position to turn the headlamps on the front parking lamps go out.

Wonder if someone got those wires for front and rear crossed somewhere? Hopefully the wiring diagram will help you track down the problem.

Here's a picture of the neutral safety and reverse light switch under the steering column. It's tedious to get the starting portion and reverse light portion working together correctly. (that rubber ring is the firewall grommet I had pulled back for some other work)



Eric
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Old 02-23-2016, 11:50 AM
Harry LePargneux Harry LePargneux is offline
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The headlight switch must be turned 'on' in order for the back-up lights to work. This switch must either be in the 'park lights on' position or 'headlights on' position. As Dave has suggested, you probably have a grounding problem as well. Good luck.
Harry
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  #10  
Old 02-23-2016, 05:58 PM
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Harry, you got me scratching my head. I don't remember the headlight switch being on for backup lights.

However... I do recall a trunk light kit that tied into the tail lights. I guess they figured nobody cares if the light is on or not when the trunk is closed and you only need it when it's dark.

Backup lights are fed from the fused 'A' terminal on the Headlight Sw. That post also feeds the glovebox light and the neutral switch. On '58 & '59 Squarebirds, it also feeds the Stop Light (pressure) Switch. - Dave
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