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Hazdaz

color 1964 Riv wiring diagram + frustration with taillights

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Attached is a color version of the wiring diagram for the '64 that I made.  I have never been a huge fan of doing electrical work so I made this to help me out because I think its much more clear than the black and white one.  Hopefully it can help others as well.

 

Along with that, I am getting close to losing my mind  on my taillights.  They are not lighting up the way they are supposed to and I can't quite figure out why.  First off my turn signal indicator inside the car is not flashing any more.  I replaced the flasher with a brand new one and still nothing.  On top of that (or related to that) the taillights are not coming on when the brakes are touched. 

 

Here are some of the conditions that I am getting at various positions of the light switch:

 

On the grey wiring going to the drivers side taillight (and touching off on the frame), I am getting 0V when the light switch is off, 12V when the parking lights are turned on, 12V when the low beams and lastly 0 when the lights are off but I hit the brakes.  That seems normal.

 

On the green/white wire on the drivers side taillight, I am getting 0V in all switch positions, as well as when I hit the brakes.  This is clearly not right, but I am not sure how to proceed from here.

 

I already checked the fuses, and the one that was blown was for the blower which should not be related to this taillight problem.  I replaced it anyways and I also replaced the flasher as I mentioned before.

 

If anyone has suggestions on what to check out next, please let me know.  If not, maybe the color wiring diagram will help you out anyways.

 

Cheers.

wiring-diagram-for-1964-buick-riviera - color.jpg

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Start at the light switch and follow the harness that runs down the drivers side kick panel under the step sill under the rear carpet under the back seat and into the trunk and to the tail lights. The Green/White wire is broken somewhere in that harness (very possibility chewed through by a mouse) GM light sockets in those years had a ground connection that ran up the inside of the plastic lightsocket and grounded out the side of the bulb. Moisture would get into the connection and cause corrosion in the brass connector to the wire and most often would rot off the connection. This can be repaired but it would be better to replace the socket assemblies, you can get them from AutoZone or O'Reilly's in their help section.  Hope this helps let us know.  One other thought came to mind...You could also have a problem with the stop lights because of a faulty turn signal switch.  

Edited by retiredmechanic74 (see edit history)

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Check where the rear harness plugs into the flat wire.  That connection will sometimes come loose. 

 

Also, if your car has the original sockets,  they are metal.  Two wires go into the socket. One for the tail lights/parking lights and one for the brake/turn signal.  The ground comes through the socket to the tail light housing to the body.  No ground wire.  Over time, that ground becomes weak.  The best solution that I've found is to replace the OE lamp sockets with ones that have a dedicated ground wire.  Ground that wire directly to the body. The gray wire tail/parking is common to both sides, the green-white goes to the left brake/turn, the lignt green-black goes to the right brake/turn.  

 

 

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)

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It doesn’t sound like a simple broken taillight connection or bad ground at the socket. Those are the equivalent of a burned out bulb, and the dash indicator would still work in that case.  What do you see from the right rear and front signals?

 

You might stick your hand up behind the dash and make sure the panel and turn signal connectors are both seated securely.

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RETIREDMECHANIC - I don't think it is the light switch because my front parking lights/headlights come on like they are supposed to.

Totally agree on the socket.  The ones they use are awful.  I had already bought a newer style plastic socket which fits fine after you cut off one corner of it.  It had its own separate ground wire which I will fasten to the body when I sort everything out.

 

I might have a problem with the turn signal switch.  I was messing around with the tilt steering and I actually got the turn signal indicator to start clicking (but only in the turn left position, not turn right), but then if I moved the steering wheel tilt again, it would stop.  I might be having a short on there somewhere.  I took the trim on the underside of the steering column off (the ribbed aluminum trim) and found a green and grey wire (which I assume can only be for either the horn or turn signals), but I need to figure out how to take the rest of the trim off so see where the turn signal mechanism is. 

 

RIVNUT - I'll take a look at that harness connector, but I think I am getting some signal back there because the light for the license plate lights up.  Also as I mentioned above, I actually got the left rear turn signal to work for a bit before I fiddled with the tilt steering wheel so I might be getting a short there.  I am still not getting the brake lights working through.  I have to find where the brake switch is and test that out.  as RETIREDMECHANIC also mentioned, those old sockets are not particularly good and I already swapped in a newer style plastic one with a ground wire of its own. 

 

KONGAMAN - Yeah, I think its a little more involved as you say.  The front signals were not working yesterday, but I got the turn signal indicator to start clicking inside the car, and the turn signals in the front and rear worked, but then when I jiggled the steering wheel they stopped.  That makes me think there is a short or corrosion at the turn signal switch which is what I need to try getting to tomorrow.  I hope the disassembly procedure for that is in the manual.  Concerning the connectors behind the dash - I really don't think I can fit underneath there, so I probably rather just take that lower plastic trim off and go from there.  I've already checked the fuses as I originally mentioned and they look fine. 

 

ONERIVIERA - that don't look pretty. 

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20 hours ago, oneriviera64 said:

I was missing brake lights and reverse lights. And look what porn I found under the carpet. The flat wire was repaired with worst quality. 

20180610_183037.jpg

If 63 and 64 flat wires are the same, I may have one.  Let me know what you find out, and if you're interested, I'll see if I can find it.  I can't tell from the picture but are both flat wires bungled up or just the one and I'm assuming that its the one that goes to the brake and tail lights, not the power windows

 

Ed

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)

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If the operation of the turn signals depends on the tilt of the wheel, the actuating cable may be broken.  There are several threads that discuss this.

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Cleaning and adjusting the turn signal switch can cure some of this too.  I chased the same problem and none of it was in the back of the car, it was the cable and dirty switch.  Fixed that and all is well.  

 

 

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OK guys, thanks for the comments above.  I got the brake and parking lights to work (rear) and I got the left turn signal going again, but I think the switch itself is messed up so the right doesn't work.   Gotta look into that cable you guys are talking about.

 

One thing that I knew was going to be an issue, and you guys mentioned as well, was the bulb sockets.  Wow, are they crap.  I even had purchased one which has a separate ground wire and while they feel pretty good quality, you put a bulb in them and its so loose that it constantly loses electrical contact.  I tried multiple bulbs and the socket bore was just too big for all of them.  I had to wrap a little tin foil around the bulb to maintain electrical contact and keep the bulb from being too loose. 

 

So that leads me to my question: Do you have a brand/model of taillight socket you recommend?  Not the original ones from the car because I want a separate grounding wire.  Looking at pictures online really can't tell you how well something will work which is why word-of-mouth is so important sometimes.  I'm willing to solder on a separate grounding wire if need be.

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