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Brake and Directional s not working intermittently
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JimBrennan
Posted 2019-03-31 9:28 AM (#580169)
Subject: Brake and Directional s not working intermittently


Member

Posts: 23

I have a problem that I haven’t experienced before. We have a 1956 Plymouth Belvedere convertible with a 277 V8. When I took it for a ride I realized I had no brake lights and no directional lights, or at least that’s what I thought. What I discovered was that if I rev the engine the right directional will flash until the RPMs drop. That does not appear to happen with either the brakes or left directional which would appear to rule out a fuse problem.

Any suggestions on what I should be looking for?

Thanks for the resource

Jim B
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56D500boy
Posted 2019-03-31 10:53 AM (#580173 - in reply to #580169)
Subject: RE: Brake and Directional s not working intermittently



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Location: Lower Mainland BC
The function of the rear running, signal and brake lights (three things, only two filaments in the rear bulbs) is controlled by the turn signal switch. If the signal switch is in neutral (no left, no right turn), the running light filament can be on (controlled by the headlight switch) and the brake lights will function when the brake pedal is pressed (assuming that the brake switch on the master cylinder is working). HOWEVER, when you pull down (left turn) or push up (right turn) on the signal stalk, the priority for the second filament in the rear bulb is mechanically set by the signal switch to be that signal (as modified by the blinker). That side brake light no longer functions until the turn is completed and the signal is cancelled.

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Powerflite
Posted 2019-03-31 11:08 AM (#580175 - in reply to #580169)
Subject: Re: Brake and Directional s not working intermittently



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You have more resistance in the right side than the left which is likely caused by corroded connections. Check them, clean them, and use dielectric grease on them. The corrosion causes your flasher to require more voltage to operate properly. It could be that your system voltage is starting to die. Check the voltage of the battery when the car is running. If it is at least 13.5 volts, then the generator is fine. I recommend that you replace the flasher with an electronic one you can purchase from any parts store. They are better able to operate with less than ideal conditions.
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JimBrennan
Posted 2019-04-06 9:30 PM (#580469 - in reply to #580169)
Subject: Re: Brake and Directional s not working intermittently


Member

Posts: 23

Thanks for the suggestions Replaced the flasher unit with no success. The voltage exceeds 13.5 and I've removed and cleaned the battery cables. As for the brake light switch I replaced that with a mechanical one years ago because I have silicone brake fluid and that's seemed to short out the switch on the master cylinder. There is no longer any directionals or brake lights. Guess I'll have to start tracing out the wiring
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JimBrennan
Posted 2019-05-05 11:30 AM (#581804 - in reply to #580169)
Subject: Re: Brake and Directional s not working intermittently


Member

Posts: 23

Bit the bullet and purchased a NOS brake light switch for the Master cylinder and that has resolved my brake light problem. However, the directionals still do not work, even with a new flasher unit. When I have the brakes on and move the directional lever out of the neutral position the brake lights go off. I replaced the Tung-Sol 550 Flasher with a NAPA Electronic 33616 Flasher and am questioning whether that was a good recommendation from the counter person.

Thoughts?
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ronbo97
Posted 2019-05-05 10:30 PM (#581844 - in reply to #581804)
Subject: Re: Brake and Directional s not working intermittently


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JimBrennan - 2019-05-05 11:30 AM Bit the bullet and purchased a NOS brake light switch for the Master cylinder and that has resolved my brake light problem. However, the directionals still do not work, even with a new flasher unit. When I have the brakes on and move the directional lever out of the neutral position the brake lights go off. I replaced the Tung-Sol 550 Flasher with a NAPA Electronic 33616 Flasher and am questioning whether that was a good recommendation from the counter person. Thoughts?

Jim - You don't need a modern electronic flasher. Just go with an original type and it will work fine. However, one problem is likely old wiring, which is likely corroded and results in a lot of resistance. Pre-1957 wiring is cloth wiring and frayed after a number of years, exposing bare copper wire, which corrodes easily. I recommend rewiring all pre-57 cars. Otherwise, in addition to the corrosion problem, you are setting yourself up for a potential fire if exposed wire touches a ground. I worked on a 56 Belvedere for a friend. He had significant exposed wire under the dash, which was down right scary.

If your directional signals don't work properly, you will need to go inside the steering column. Chances are the canceling mechanism is damaged or broken. Start by removing the steering wheel. Also the harness that runs down the steering column may have issues. Both of these parts are interchangeable with other years/models.

Where do you live ?

Ron

 

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JimBrennan
Posted 2019-05-07 8:18 PM (#581914 - in reply to #580169)
Subject: Re: Brake and Directional s not working intermittently


Member

Posts: 23

Thanks Ron. As I mentioned earlier in the thread I have a new wiring harness for the car but was hoping to postpone that project until the Fall.
I'm in the Albany NY area.
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JimBrennan
Posted 2019-05-18 7:38 PM (#582269 - in reply to #580169)
Subject: Re: Brake and Directional s not working intermittently


Member

Posts: 23

Issue resolved

Original Flasher unit did turn out to be defective. On the new one I purchased from NAPA the "X" and "L" pins were reversed when compared to the original flasher. Mechanic said the one from NAPA is the standard he's used to, doesn't remember running into a flasher with the PINS in the configuration of my Plymouth. He made three short jumper cables to swap the PIN connections and away we went. Brake light failure was probably a function of the bad flasher and I had already put in a new switch. Thanks to all for the advice. The good news is I found a local service station with an owner who has been around for a while and doesn't mind working on vintage cars.
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