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Attention 1934 Packard Owners - Headlight problem driving me %#$

Tom Laferriere

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Hi all,

Let me preface this post by saying my 1934 1104 has never been apart or restored and the headlights (and everything else) have worked fine for the past 50 years. Now they don’t. The only thing that changed was a comfy ride in an enclosed trailer for 1000 miles and a new owner.

When I got home with the car, I showed the family the car and how everything worked. I was showing how even the running board and rear seat lights worked when either rear door was open.

There are 4 positions on the headlight switch. Off, parking, two driving modes, and the last being single light mode. All of this was fine when I got it home. After I left the lights on for about 10 minutes, they didn’t work anymore, but only the two driving lights mode. The parking and single light mode still work. It all cases, the taillights no longer work, but the brake lights do.

Seemed simple to me, a fuse must of blown. So, checking only two fuses I can see, they are fine. I know the switch is fine in those positions because the rear courtesy lights work when the rear doors are open ONLY if the headlight switch is in one of the 3 on positions. I am thinking there must a another fuse somewhere, but I cannot find it. Because I dont have manuals at this time, I am posting this, as I KNOW this must be simple!

Thank for reading and I hope it made sense.

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Headlights use a thermal breaker, not a fuse. It's located within the fuse block housing. Fuses are for brake and body lights as I recall, though it's been years since I thought about it. You can get the wiring diagram from PAC's website and probably from PackardInfo.com as well.

Also I'm not sure what you mean by "single light mode", my 34 has three headlamp positions but none of them are "single light", they are low, tilt and bright (hi) beams. I think this agrees with what the owner's manual says, but I'll check it later and if I recall incorrectly, I'll post a PS here.

EDIT- I added some more info to your identical post over on Packardinfo, please check there and save me from retyping.

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Guest Trunk Rack

Ken is correct - my recollection is that the headlight/tail-light/parking light switch at the base of the steering column is the same part number thru-out the early-to-mid 1930's Packards that used the steering-wheel headlight control.

And that's probably where you are going to find your problem. Get a dental mirror, and after you slip the spring clamp off the "can", look up at the contacts. Dollars for donuts that is where your problem is.

BE CAREFUL ! My recollection is the switch itself consists of VERY a fragile brass "finger wheel". Dont get carried away trying to clean it !

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Seems like the 34 would be different as it has 5 positions vs 4 on the 32 but the design basics ar ethe same. I do have an extra 32 switch, but keeping it for a spare as it is rare as hen's teeth.

I was looking at the wiring diagram and couldn't figure a scenario where the single light would work, but not the other nodes but looking at the light switch is a place I would start.

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4 positions of the lighting switch ???

Off, 2 cowl lights and tail light , headlights low,

headlights high, single light?????

It does sound like the switch is the problem, the steering box oil has probably leaked into it and hardened

causing an open circuit to the lights, also possibly

corroded wire connections on the switch.

Good luck, lets us know what was wrong.


1922 Buick Sport Touring

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  • 2 weeks later...

When you say "all bulbs" burned out at the same time, I presume you mean all bulbs which were "on"? That can result from the battery cable coming loose (or a battery cut-off switch being turned off) while the engine is running at enough speed for the generator to have output. Basically you have a huge voltage surge which cooks the filaments.

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