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  #1  
Old 10-09-2016, 10:13 AM
skybluethunderbird1960 skybluethunderbird1960 is offline
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Default 1960 Tbird hardtop Brake light issues

Ever since I've owned my 1960 Tbird Hardtop whenever I hit the brakes it always has three brake lights come on. The two red lights on the right side and the middle light on the left side. I can't seem to find on the internet how many brake lights should be coming on when I hit the brake pedal. I've tried to install a new body harness which didn't even have the brake light wire so I had to reuse the old green wire from my body harness to get the three brake lights working again. Is there suppose to be four brake lights? Or do I need to have all six lights (including the lights with the white covers) come on when I brake? Also strangely my turn signals on my dashboard and my left parking light in the front of the car also come on when I hit the brake pedal. Can anybody help clear up this mess? Lol
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  #2  
Old 10-09-2016, 11:17 AM
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jopizz jopizz is offline
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You should have four lights come on when you hit the brakes. Your red/white lens (backup light) should not come on. My first suggestion is to check the front parking lights and sockets. Corrosion in those sockets often causes problems with the rear lights and turn signals. Poor grounds can also cause these type of problems. I would also check the turn signal wires coming out of the steering column to verify they are connected to the correct color wires in the harness. Here's the link to the wiring diagram.

http://www.squarebirds.org/Diagrams-...ingDiagram.jpg

John
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  #3  
Old 10-09-2016, 01:27 PM
Tbird1044 Tbird1044 is offline
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John pointed out several good things to check. I would strongly agree that it sounds like a ground problem on the tail light assy. A quick easy way to check is connect a jumper cable to the studs that hold in the tail light assy, to a good body ground and see what happens. If the assy is not grounded, the ground can feed back through other systems causing the bulbs to light.
Nyles
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Old 10-09-2016, 02:35 PM
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I want to give a little theory of operation:

Turn signal flasher units come in two main flavors depending on how many lights are in your system. Historically, cars had one bulb in front, another in the rear and the dash light. This two-bulb flasher unit is the most common.

When Ford added two additional rear lights, only the outer bulbs flashed, keeping the new system the same. The additional stop lights were fed with the same green wire because they don't flash.

Your turn signal switch must interrupt the brake light for the side that is flashing and leave the other side alone. We run into problems with the turn signal switch in the steering column when trailer lights are added improperly. Too much current will burn the switch.

Ford saved a ton of money by using the chassis for the return-to-neg wire. Now, most lamp housings are plastic so the ground wire MUST be in the socket. Since 1157 bulbs use a common ground, IF a socket lost its ground, brake light current will feed back through the common tail light filament to the closest bulb with a good ground. That's why on old cars, you see the rear lights 'dance' back and forth at a stop light.
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Old 10-09-2016, 04:30 PM
Deanj Deanj is offline
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Great advice, and oh by the way your back-up lights were optional. Having the white lens doesn't always mean your car had that option. Your back-up lights only work when the parking lights or headlamps are on. Ford was saving a couple amps back then.
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Old 10-09-2016, 05:40 PM
Joe Johnston Joe Johnston is offline
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Quote:
back-up lights only work when the parking lights or headlamps are on.
Same as Little Birds. Any one know when this changed??? Common for Little Bird owners to swap the power feed wire from the light switch to the ACC terminal of the Ignition switch and have back up lights whenever shifted into reverse.
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Old 10-09-2016, 07:29 PM
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It sounds like you have problems in the turn signal mechanism in the steering column.

If you continue to go in that direction, you have choices:

* get into the unit. It is a somewhat delicate assembly with small copper contacts and springs. Put an old white sheet on the floor under the steering area to make finding things easier. With a little caution you can simulate the operation and see if you can get the lights to work correctly. One corroded contact can be sufficient to wreack havoc

* replace the unit. Originals are available. Downside is that you have to get further into the steering column to get at the connections. This spurred me on to get the original unit back into functional shape..

Just remember what Dave said: the turn signalling capability and the brake lighting capability are mixed together.

Either way, you need a steering wheel puller (very cheap).

John
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Old 10-09-2016, 09:11 PM
Deanj Deanj is offline
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The turn signal switch is a delicate device with tiny springs. I needed one and tried taking it apart unsuccessfully. I bought a new unit and threaded the 5 wires down the column to the connections under the dash. It is not easy and you might want to splice it in.
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:54 PM
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Nooooooooooo, don't splice those wires! Tie a cord to the old harness as you pull it out. Then use the cord to pull the new harness in.

At the factory, they used a long stiff wire to get the job done fast. Since the original harness is there, use it.

Here is the switch and wire harness from Larry's:



B8SZ 13341-A sells for a hundred bucks and I cannot see cutting any of the wires on such a specialty harness when it's not necessary. - Dave
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Old 10-10-2016, 11:24 AM
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You're right, I used a speedometer cable to get the wires through. Tell me why we're concerned with the integrity of those wires? If I could have used connectors, I wouldn't have taken the switch apart (as someone suggested) in the first place. It has to come out if you're replacing the shifter bowl.
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