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57 New Yorker...dash lights
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Posted 2019-10-21 12:07 PM (#589072)
Subject: 57 New Yorker...dash lights

Extreme Veteran

Posts: 352
Location: upstate new york
Trying to get my interior back in this winter, but while i have the car gutted, thought it might be a good time to address some interior lighting issues. Pretty sure i had dash lights when i drove this car from Galveston Texas, to Upstate New York in 1977. Been crawling around under the dash and between what i can actually see and the manual, it appears i have 6 little light bulbs illuminating the dash. Looks like single orange wire going to each light, so i guess the ground is the socket against metal??? I'm not much of an electrical wiz by any stretch but is this like the old Christmas lights, when 1 goes, the whole string goes? What is the proper way to check juice at the socket? Also what have my fellow forward lookers used to check the bulbs them selves? Thanks in advance for any help.
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Posted 2019-10-21 12:31 PM (#589073 - in reply to #589072)
Subject: RE: 57 New Yorker...dash lights

Expert 5K+

Posts: 6600
Location: Lower Mainland BC
Well the good news is your dash lights are *mostly* not like old style Christmas tree lights that were wired in series such that when one light went out they all went out. Your dash lights are mostly wired in parallel, i.e. one bulb out doesn't impact the other bulbs. That said, there might be a point of system vulnerability that when a feed wire breaks, there is no power to anything downstream. You will need some form of digital (or analog) multimeter to suss the problem out).

By the way, the bulbs ground through their socket and through the instrument housing to ground.

This 58 Chrysler diagram might help you:

Edited by 56D500boy 2019-10-21 12:34 PM


Attachments 58ChryslerLightingAndTurnSignalsWiringDiagram.jpg (171KB - 99 downloads)
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Posted 2019-10-21 4:49 PM (#589081 - in reply to #589073)
Subject: RE: 57 New Yorker...dash lights


Posts: 284
Location: Western Colorado
The rheostat in the headlight switch controls the intensity of the bulbs or turns them off completely. Make sure the rheostat is not turned to shut them off. Next check the power at the headlight switch. If you have 12 volts to the headlight switch, and your headlights work, proceed to test the feed to the interior lights. The switch is marked INT for interior lighting. It is either a red or orange wire. You can use a standard test light or a multimeter. If you have power at the headlight switch INT terminal, turn the rheostat and see if your test light dims or your multimeter voltage drops. If all test good, progressively work your way to the individual lights. There are several connectors that branch off the orange B+ to different lights. Make sure these are all making good connections.
All the lights ground thru the sockets. Pull the bulb and test from the center contact to a good ground. Always make sure your ground is good by first testing to a KNOWN good power feed, like the ignition feed.
You can also test a bulb in one of two ways. The BEST way is to power the light. Take a jumper wire and hold it to the outside of the base of the bulb and to the ground on a good 12 volt battery. Then hold the center contact of the bulb to the positive terminal of your battery. If the bulb lights, and stays lite, it is good. Another way is to test the continuity of the bulb. Using your multimeter, set it to continuity mode. If you have continuity from the base of the bulb to the center contact, the bulb is PROBABLY good. The reason I say PROBABLY is that sometimes the filament will make contact and show continuity, but will not pass/allow current to light the bulb. This happens because all filament type bulbs will create heat. If the filament is broken, but the ends still touching, you can have continuity but won't pass current since current will produce heat and will move the filament ends away from each other, opening the "circuit" and causing the bulb to NOT light.
Hope this makes sense and hope this helps.

Edited by rebel 2019-10-21 5:13 PM
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LD3 Greg
Posted 2019-10-21 6:34 PM (#589089 - in reply to #589072)
Subject: RE: 57 New Yorker...dash lights


Posts: 1869
Location: Ontario, Canada
Billy. The orange wire at the headlight switch on a 57 Chrysler is easy to access. Simply unplug it and put power to it and see what lights. The problem is usually the rheostat that dims the lights.

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