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  #1  
Old 06-10-2016, 04:05 PM
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Default Park Light issue

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.
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Old 06-10-2016, 04:56 PM
Yadkin Yadkin is offline
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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.
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Old 06-10-2016, 07:00 PM
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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
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Old 06-10-2016, 07:55 PM
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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
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Old 06-10-2016, 11:23 PM
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Default Park Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyconnected View Post
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.
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Old 06-21-2016, 06:14 AM
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Default Park Light issue fixed

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.
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Old 06-21-2016, 06:26 AM
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Glad to help, Fred.
We don't live far from each other.
BTW, did you make a test light? - Dave
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Old 06-30-2016, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyconnected View Post
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.
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Old 06-30-2016, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torpedo View Post
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.
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Old 06-30-2016, 01:29 PM
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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
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