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 I have no tail, running or brake lights

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59 Blue Bomber



Posts : 199
Join date : 2010-06-05
Age : 45
Location : Corbett, Oregon

PostSubject: I have no tail, running or brake lights   Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:07 pm

The tail, front running and brake lights don't work, but the headlights do work. The light blue wire that powers all the running lights seems to be okay, but their is no power at the fuse. Could it be in the column? I replaced the bulbs in the trunk, but still got nothing. I have yet to find an ignition w/ key, but still looking. Any suggestions?
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CATBIRD



Posts : 304
Join date : 2008-07-03
Age : 73
Location : Levittown, Pa

PostSubject: Re: I have no tail, running or brake lights   Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:19 am

59 Blue Bomber.....Your headlights have a circuit breaker built into the switch. All the other lamps have a glass fuse on the fuseblock. The power goes from the switch, to the fuses, to the connectors on the lower section of the steering column, then to the lamps. Section 12 page 2 of the shop manual has a complete wiring diagram that you can follow to test each wire and connector......John
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59 Blue Bomber



Posts : 199
Join date : 2010-06-05
Age : 45
Location : Corbett, Oregon

PostSubject: Re: I have no tail, running or brake lights   Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:01 am

Sorry for the double post, I forgot about this one before replying to the other one.......I'm gettin' dizzy! I don't have a shop manual for this car...yet! Is the circuit breaker the tab on the side that looks like points? Will the malfunctioning switch cause the tail lights and turn signals to work intermittently? I really don't want to start a fire and certainly don't want to spend the $150.00 for a NOS switch on ebay........yet. By the way, $150 bucks for a switch, are these that freakin' ancient? Who sets these ridiculous prices?
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CATBIRD



Posts : 304
Join date : 2008-07-03
Age : 73
Location : Levittown, Pa

PostSubject: Re: I have no tail, running or brake lights   Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:29 pm

59 Blue Bomber.....yes, the tab is the circuit breaker for the headlamps. It should be clean with no rust or corrosion. Bright and shinny would be nice, but after 60 years that's not going to happen. Try cleaning it with a wire wheel on a Dremel if you can, especially the contact surfaces. All the amperage draw from the headlamps flows through that breaker so if it's corroded it will cause resistance and unwanted heat. That may be the reason your connection was burnt. Clean the connector and spade terminals on the switch also. If your headlamps, parking lamps, and dash lamps are working then you should not have to replace the switch, or take it apart. The dash lamps are controlled by the reostat (bent springy thingy) at the front of the switch. "Springy thingy," don't you just love technical shop talk? Keep in mind that, unlike modern cars, the parking lamps go out when the headlamps go on. These switches were used on 1957-1959 cars only. I guess many need replacing, and that's why they get bid up so high on E-Bay. The brake lamps and turn signal lamps work from different circuits with separate switches. The good news is that they are not inside the steering column, but mounted on it below the dash, and at the break pedal pivot. The power to the brake lamps has to flow through the turn signal switch so it can be interupted on the side of the turn to allow the lamp filiment to blink. Hope this helps.....John
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59 Blue Bomber



Posts : 199
Join date : 2010-06-05
Age : 45
Location : Corbett, Oregon

PostSubject: Re: I have no tail, running or brake lights   Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:47 am

Catbird-Much appreciated!! I did some under-dash investigating and much to my surprise, The wiring is pretty much intact, so no funky re-wiring has been done at all! I found the turn signal switch mounted on the steering column. It was in good shape, but someone along the line tired to clean the contacts inside and had the ball bearings in the wrong places. I very carefully took it apart, cleaned the contacts, applied a little grease, and reassembled it, Voila! They work beautifully! The gremlins keep working their way around, but I will scare them away eventually. The newest Gremlin in the ignition switch, When the car is hot, the switch will not function in the 'start' mode. The 'Violet' wire from the ignition switch goes to the neutral safety switch, to the fender teminal, then to the starter. My test light will show voltage at this terminal when the key is in 'start' mode, but will do nothing to the starter. Baffling! If I use my trusty Snap-On 'bumper' button on this terminal, with the key ON it starts fine, so I don't think it is the starter. Is this 'block', which looks like a relay, just a terminal or is it actually a relay? The wiring diagram does not say. I do like the "springy thingy" fnacy terminology, by the way!
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CATBIRD



Posts : 304
Join date : 2008-07-03
Age : 73
Location : Levittown, Pa

PostSubject: Re: I have no tail, running or brake lights   Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:59 pm

59 Blue Bomber.....that little box is the horn relay. It has nothing at all to do with the ignition, except to provide a meeting place for the positive cables from the battery to the starter solenoid and the violet wire from the ignition switch to the "S" terminal of the solenoid. Starting problems are usually caused by a poor connection along either of these, a weak battery, or solenoid, or starter motor, or a defective ignition switch, in that order. Ignition switches and neutral safety switches can go bad, but if it seems to only happen when the engine is warmed up, then I would suspect the first four. One other possibility would be battery cables that are too small, but this is rare on a 12 volt system. Good luck......John
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59 Blue Bomber



Posts : 199
Join date : 2010-06-05
Age : 45
Location : Corbett, Oregon

PostSubject: Re: I have no tail, running or brake lights   Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:18 am

John- Thanks for the info! I have a couple of extra's of things: ignition, brake light , neutral safety and turn signal switches. I checked all the wiring, after some other checking with a test light and volt meter, I determined the problem to be the neutral safety switch. I by-passed the switch with a wire straight to the ignition. I went back and forth several times, sure enough it was the neutral safety! I replaced it with an NOS piece. Slowly but surely everything is working again. Not only is the car old, but was owned by someone who had absolutely NO business screwing with automobile wiring at all ( my previous post bragged about no funky wiring, I was wrong). Hopefully he was not a residential electrician either bescause I found household wiring nuts under the dash hidden behind the radio. I wonder about the wiring in his house!! These were not speaker wires, but Positive power wires for an additional head unit and amp. The factory radio is still there and functions quite nicely. I do have it tuned to a local "oldies" station, though. What fun to cruise down the road listening to "Mr. Sandman" and "Great balls of Fire"! I have managed to get all the lights working witht the exception of the dash lights. That will be another day, I need to give my back a break from squeazing in and out from under the dash! All in all, it is worth the effort to make it right! Thanks to all who have helped, but I still have a long road to go, though! I see this wonderful car as an adventure, I never know what to expect!
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