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1937 Buick Model 48: RESTORATION HAS BEGUN! (Photo)


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Guide Multibeam lights shine crossways. Yes, really. The passenger side lights the drivers side of the road and vice versa. The lenses (and probably the reflectors) have a right and a left.  (Edit: Nope, just the lenses, Thanks, Dave!)

 

On the switch:

 

1) Off

2) Parking lights only

3) City Beam (low both sides)

4) Country beam and Passing beam.

 

In position four, the dimmer switch works. With the red light on (Country beam), both high beam filaments are on. When you click the dimmer switch, the red light goes OUT, and the PASSENGER SIDE headlight beams down (to low beam, not off). Remember it is shining on the LEFT side of the road. This is called "Passing beam"

 

I don't believe they meant this for passing cars the way a modern driver would think. I think by "passing" they meant "meeting oncoming cars"

 

With the drivers side headlight on high, shining on the right side of the road (!) and the passenger side headlight on low (shining over into the oncoming lane), you get an asymetrical pattern that is not terribly unlike low beam on a much later sealed beam system.

 

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Gary :

I did the same re-work on the switch including complete disassembly and cleaning all contacts and building up the burned micarda insulation material.DSCF1978.thumb.JPG.66149e8412ad70c0098539561a06f078.JPG My lights do the same as yours so I believe that Matt may be correct about the dimmer switch.

Larry

DSCF1979.JPG

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Easiest first--substitute another headlight bulb.  Then, be sure that you have the correct dimmer switch for non-sealed beam headlights, not a generic one.  Re-check for correct connections on the dimmer switch.  Frustrating, for sure....

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It has to be miswired. I'm not sure where or how, but the dimmer (floor) switch only affects the passenger side headlight and the red indicator. It is not even connected to the driver's side.

 

In position 4, Voltage is supplied from terminal 11 of the light switch to the dimmer switch. From the dimmer switch it proceeds to the passenger side light. The wires are marked "16b" and 16gc". The dimmer switch selects which wire gets the voltage. Not that it matters, but we know that "16gc" is the high filament, because it is also connected to the indicator in the dash.

 

In position 3, switch terminal 7 supplies voltage directly to the passenger side low filament.

 

For the moment, I have no idea why terminal  4 is connected to the passenger side high filament circuit. I think I would leave that disconnected for now, and see what doesn't work. The wire is gonna be hot on Country beam position, so insulate it. EDIT: I think I know what it does. It lights up the parking lights on Country beam.

 

That about wraps it up for the passenger side.

 

On the drivers side,  pin 2 and pin 9 energize the headlamp through wires 16b2gp and 16gp respectively. Low should be always on in position 3, and high should always be on in position 4. No floor switch. Im not sure which is which, but pin 2 or 16b2gp is most likely low because it is further back on the switch. I wouldn't worry about that yet. Sort out the passenger side, and then hook this up whichever way gets you the high filament on position four.

 

You can also swap wires out at the headlight buckets to keep the color code correct if it comes up wrong.

 

5a120f5497b19_Series40WiringDiagram.thum

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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That's a great manual.  Lot of info.  

I got the car with sealed beams. I restored the headlamps back to original Guide Multibeams.  I re-used the foot switch that I got with the car.  Should I look for another foot switch for the original set-up?

My foot switch only affects the drivers headlight in BOTH position 3 and 4, so maybe I have to reverse the wiring at the foot switch or find a switch for the Guide Multibeams.

 

I've double and triple checked all my wiring.....  everything is to the book as far as color codes and  origin - to - insertion points.  And the way the harness is made you can't get left and right headlamps mis-wired.  the wiring won't reach or fit at all.   

 

I'll start with installing new light bulbs.  Then move on to  that floor switch.  See what happens.

 

...  At least it's not sparking anymore!

 

Have a great day out there

G

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I don't think the floor switch is different. It is just a two position switch. Power in, power out (on one of two wires). Your wiring harness is new and stock, correct? Something really has to be miswired to get any power from that footswitch to the left side of the car.

 

Postions 3 and 4?!! I wonder if you have a 1938 headlight switch?

 

I read in another thread that on 38s, you can dim on position 3, and both lights dim. It seems to me if that is true, the switch would have to be completely different. Can any 38 owners confirm or deny that?

 

If it is true, the switch as well as the wiring would differ.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, Gary W said:

 

I've double and triple checked all my wiring.....  everything is to the book as far as color codes and  origin - to - insertion points.  And the way the harness is made you can't get left and right headlamps mis-wired.  the wiring won't reach or fit at all.   

 

It may be time to start checking those wire runs with an ohmmeter. I wonder if the harness could be mis-made? or maybe just mis-color-coded? The diagram you posted is pretty clear, or as clear as it can be. It agrees with the 37 Buick shop manual and also those Pontiac instructions on how the system should work.

 

That switch makes my head hurt LOL. I don't understand how the dimmer switch can be affecting the drivers side when the wires do not go there.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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I think what I would do next is....

 

Disconnect all wires from the headlight switch except the 1) power in to the circuit breaker, and 2) terminal #11

 

Turn on the light switch all the way (position 4).

 

Check for power on the input terminal of the dimmer switch, at the other end of the wire that hooks to terminal 11. 

You should have power also on one of the output wires. These 2 output wires should be 16b and 16gc. Check that they really are. When you click the switch, verify that it switches power to the other output wire. They should never both be live. The indicator in the dash should also work. Do whatever is necessary to get this much working.

 

Find the other end of the 2 output wires (16b and 16gc if they match the diagram). They should appear at the passenger headlight. Make sure one is live and that they switch at that end, too. One headlight should work, and beam up and down.

 

If they appear at the driver's headlight, I think they have mis-made your harness.

 

 

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On 11/20/2017 at 9:27 PM, dibarlaw said:

 

Gary :

I did the same re-work on the switch including complete disassembly and cleaning all contacts and building up the burned micarda insulation material.

 

 

dibarlaw: What year is that switch?

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Wednesday November 22, 2017:  Update at the paint shop, restoration of the dash light / map light switch:

 

Quick review of the week so far at the paint shop:

 

 

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Bob hammer - and - dollied the wheel openings to get rid of any blemishes and dings around there.

The rear fenders are completely covered with a "bondo" - type filler material.  Every inch is covered.

This is the stuff that cracked ("alligatored") and came right up through the paint.

 

 

 

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He ground off all the plastic and bought the fender down to bare metal because he found a little rust under some of the plastic. So to be safe it all came off.

 

 

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Bob told me he sees this a lot.  Perfectly good metal fenders covered with plastic where it really isn't needed.

 

 

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The metal is in really good shape, and required a little filler in a few selected spots to get rid of some small surface imperfections.

 

 

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Sprayed in yellow self-etching primer.  You can see here how little filler was used, and it is quite thin in spots.

Then actual metal is in really good shape so there is no need for all that excess filler.

 

 

 

 

Dash Lamp / Map Reader switch:

 

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This is what came out of the car.  This wouldn't sit in the switch housing because the base material swelled up and dry-rotted and cracked.

It was useless.  (Although I did re-purpose the lugs as headlamp grounds)

 

 

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I purchased another one from Dave.  It is in much better shape.

 

 

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I opened it up to expose it's guts.

Then took all the metal parts to the wire wheel and used a fine paper to clean the contacts.

 

 

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Here it is all cleaned up and ready to be re-assembled.

 

 

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Toggle, spring, brass contact go in first.

 

 

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Then seat the base into the grooves / pins and turn them down nice and tight.

 

 

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Insert screws and its ready to be wired and installed.

 

 

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The clock also gets wired here as well so there are actually eight wires to this little switch.

The one hanging loose grounds the clock by sliding it between the switch base and the dash before tightening up the mounting screws.

 

 

 

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Opening the glovebox door.  Not fully opened yet, the lamp is not illuminated.

 

 

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When its fully opened, the glovebox lamp lights up just as it should.  I just love this 1937 engineering!  Great stuff!

 

 

Have a great night out there

 

Gary

 

 

 

 

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Gary,

 

I think that the problem with position 4 on your headlights is probably an internal issue in your headlight switch. If I were you, I would ignore it for now. I would send the "Rebuilt" headlight switch back to have the rebuilder correct whatever error makes the off position not work properly. When it comes back, I would test it with a volt ohm meter. After confirming proper operation, I would remove the original switch and reinstall the rebuilt one. I think that will fix your Country light mode issue. 

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7 minutes ago, MCHinson said:

Gary,

 

I think that the problem with position 4 on your headlights is probably an internal issue in your headlight switch.

 

Matt, Bloo, Dave......  I agree!  

I traced all the wiring, all the color codes are correct and run to the passengers side.  Why that driver's headlight goes out MUST be an internal issue with the switch.

I'll leave it for now, but it will eventually have to be right......  it'll bug me until it's correct.

Thanks again!

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I am happy with my R.I Harness.  It fit perfectly and looks authentic.  All the wires are properly color-coded to the Buick book.  You just have to build a couple of sockets and that three-pronged unit that connects front harness to trunk harness.  BUT, in fairness, I didn't know enough to send them my 3-prong socket, so maybe they would have built it with the original parts.  (The only problem is that it won't fit through the firewall grommet holes, unless you enlarge them as well.)  

Overall, a quality product.

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Instrument cluster lights and Clock face when you slide it to the left.  (4 light bulbs... 3 in the cluster, one in the clock)

Map light when slid to the right.

Center off

 

The middle post is power that comes in live from the #10 post of the headlight switch.  The clock motor connects there also.

(the #10 post is live always, being directly connected via an internal "bar" to the thermo circuit unit)

 

Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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I have a RI harness too ans it was great.

 

What bugs me is that U have 2 '38's and neither car has the guts for the glovebox light so they dnt work. I'd love to have them working.

 

A change I made was to connect the dash / maplight feed to the taillight circuit. That way those lights will only come on with the headlights and taillights. The way it is wired  originally, they can easily be left on since they have to be turned on and off separately from other lights.

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1 hour ago, DonMicheletti said:

I have a RI harness too ans it was great.

 

What bugs me is that U have 2 '38's and neither car has the guts for the glovebox light so they dnt work. I'd love to have them working.

 

A change I made was to connect the dash / maplight feed to the taillight circuit. That way those lights will only come on with the headlights and taillights. The way it is wired  originally, they can easily be left on since they have to be turned on and off separately from other lights.

The light is on the clock and filled with tiny ball bearings, when the glovebox door opens the bearings roll back in the bulb housing and complete the circuit and the light comes on. Do you have a clock? Do you have the bulb and socket? I don't know how it works if there is no clock.

 

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Dave :

 The RI harness was very nice. I had a local shop install it while they were doing some work to get my 37 into driver condition.

 On my to do list for them was a wiring harness and they suggested RI. Also on the list was to remove the added 1950s turn signal lights and get the harness with the extra wires to provide for turn signals incorporated into the parking lights and brake/tail lights.

 They had promised to have the car ready to drive to the 2012 Buick Nationals in NC. After the first few monthly visits to their shop we saw that nothing was getting done and the owner said that they would not be able to get the car ready for the Nationals. He then said that it was a good Idea to get a new wiring harness. I reminded him that this was on my original list. The statement was that no way could they get the car done on time since RI would need at least a months lead time to make up the harness. I called RI and they said that they had the harness in stock. 2 months after the NC meet (that I was supposed to be able to drive to) they were still about 1/2 done.  They had the harness installed, BUT, they put the wrong one in without the extra wiring for the turn signals. (they did take care of it by installing extra outside wiring and loom at an extra $300+). So, after a lot of runaround, things not done on the list, double cost estimates etc. I had to get the car back and end this relationship. When we got the car back I drove it a total of 2 miles when it quit at the busiest intersection at rush hour. I had to push it to the side of the road and tow it home. What I found was that even though they had installed a new harness they did not clean any connections and there were several incorrectly made connections. I redid all the connections and I have had no electrical issues since.  By the way .. After they said that they could not meet their deadline the owner told me it was foolish of me to expect to drive my car to the Buick Meet 350 miles away. After I had repaired their work we have since driven the car to the 2013 South Bend meet 1,750 mile round trip. To Nashville TN. close to 1,900 miles and lastly to Brookfield WI at 1,915 miles including touring.

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Gary,

 

I think I know how they made the mistake on your rebuilt headlight switch. I think they simply switched the middle and the left sliding contact in the switch. The middle one is wider and that looks like it would cause the headlights to be on in the off position. I disassembled, cleaned, reassembled, and analysed my 1938 headlight switch today. I am attaching before and after photos of the internal contacts.

 

From comparing the 1937 and 1938 service manuals I am convinced that the 1937 and 1938 headlight switch operate the same. I have not confirmed this since I don't have a spare 1937 switch available to easily check.

 

There is one wire that is on the 1937 wiring diagram that is missing on the 1938 diagram. I am fairly certain that they realized there was a redundant source of power that made that wire unecessary. The attached pdf is the result of some analysis of my 1938 headlight switch today. There are a lot of different internal connections happening at the same time in those switches. The redundancy probably make the switch less likely to fail but the redundant switching operations on multiple contacts make it very difficult to understand all of the switching taking place and thus makes fault diagnosis very difficult. I still have not mapped out quite everthing because I have not yet incorporated the dimmer switch into the analysis. Hopefully this might help you when you are trying to figure out your headlight problem, if the second rebuild of the other headlight switch does not solve it.  

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1938 Buick Headlight Switch.pdf

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Matt:

Great job!  I will get under there and open it up.  That would be nice to find an easy fix.  It HAS to be in the switch.  All the wiring is to the Buick blueprint.  

 

I notice your Century switch is longer than my Special.  The whole section where the pull knob connects is longer.  The business end looks exactly the same.

 

Thanks Matt!  Hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving

 

Gary

 

 

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Edited by Gary W
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Maybe the length is the difference between the 1937 and 1938 switch, since they appear to be basically identical on the wiring diagram but do have different part numbers. Maybe I will find some time to crawl under the dash of my 1937 Century and compare the two in the near future.

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11 hours ago, dibarlaw said:

Dave :

 The RI harness was very nice. I had a local shop install it while they were doing some work to get my 37 into driver condition.

 On my to do list for them was a wiring harness and they suggested RI. Also on the list was to remove the added 1950s turn signal lights and get the harness with the extra wires to provide for turn signals incorporated into the parking lights and brake/tail lights.

 They had promised to have the car ready to drive to the 2012 Buick Nationals in NC. After the first few monthly visits to their shop we saw that nothing was getting done and the owner said that they would not be able to get the car ready for the Nationals. He then said that it was a good Idea to get a new wiring harness. I reminded him that this was on my original list. The statement was that no way could they get the car done on time since RI would need at least a months lead time to make up the harness. I called RI and they said that they had the harness in stock. 2 months after the NC meet (that I was supposed to be able to drive to) they were still about 1/2 done.  They had the harness installed, BUT, they put the wrong one in without the extra wiring for the turn signals. (they did take care of it by installing extra outside wiring and loom at an extra $300+). So, after a lot of runaround, things not done on the list, double cost estimates etc. I had to get the car back and end this relationship. When we got the car back I drove it a total of 2 miles when it quit at the busiest intersection at rush hour. I had to push it to the side of the road and tow it home. What I found was that even though they had installed a new harness they did not clean any connections and there were several incorrectly made connections. I redid all the connections and I have had no electrical issues since.  By the way .. After they said that they could not meet their deadline the owner told me it was foolish of me to expect to drive my car to the Buick Meet 350 miles away. After I had repaired their work we have since driven the car to the 2013 South Bend meet 1,750 mile round trip. To Nashville TN. close to 1,900 miles and lastly to Brookfield WI at 1,915 miles including touring.

 

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Friday November 24, 2017:  Tail Light / Brake Light  and Trunk Light / License Plate Light Restoration:

 

 

If only I ate a little less yesterday, I could  have gotten a LOT more done today!

Both rear fenders are in yellow, and I should be taking delivery Wednesday next week so today I finished the rear-facing lamps.

These pictures will overlap as I did the both concurrently.

 

 

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Guts of the tail light / brake light assembly.  Everything was rusted... Even the rubber seal was rusty!  You can see the condition of the wires.

 

 

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There was an extra ground wire attached in there.

 

 

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License plate lamp / License plate holder assembly as removed from the car.

 

 

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Here you can see the paint cracking off the piece.

 

 

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The underside with the bulb base unit removed.  Just a long thumb screw holds the lamp base in position.

 

 

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Remove those two screws to free the license plate attachment from the unit.

 

 

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Remove the spring loaded screws that keep pressure on the glass lenses.  These parts are left and right as there is a definite top and bottom  groove to accept the glass edge.

 

 

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Then I carefully pried the ends of the stainless strips to remove them.

 

 

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I laid the stainless strips out on paper as I removed them and labeled them for future reference.

 

 

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The housings went into Bob's shop already sandblasted.  He fine sanded them, shot them with self etch primer, build prime then the base/clear.

 

 

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Ready to have it's guts re-installed!

 

 

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I opened up my bags and tags and laid everything out this morning.  

This is the innards for the tail lamps.  Those paper gaskets are shot.  

The lights have the SAME body part # BUT different LENS part #'s.

 

 

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Here are the trunk light / license plate light internal parts.

 

 

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Tail lamp socket obviously needs rewiring.

 

 

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Socket housing ready to get the wire wheel cleanup.

 

 

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All the guts were rusted.

 

 

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After wire wheeling off all the crud.  Tail lamps.

 

 

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License plate holder internal guts after the wire wheel.

 

 

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All mounting related parts got a prime and gloss black paint.  All the "electrical" screws just remained unpainted metal.

 

 

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Step one was to build the sockets.  Again, start by un-soldering the "bullets" off the old wire ends and solder them into the new socket wires.

I ended up using 14-gauge stranded wire as it fit nicely through the socket insulator holes easily.

 

 

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Solder the bulb contacts first.  Then you have to slide on the upper insulator,  springs,  lower insulator plate then shrink wrap before making the lower solder connection to the base.

 

 

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Then, using gasket paper, I traced and cut out four new glass gaskets, two for each side.

 

 

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A sharp blade made the inside cuts.

 

 

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socket wired and ready to be assembled into the housing.

 

 

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And here you see the lens set in the housing with two gaskets in place and the lower tabs bent over to secure everything in position.

 

 

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Install the socket into the housing.

 

 

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Install the lens cover

 

 

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The view of the completed set up.

 

 

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Test OK!

 

 

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Trunk lamp assembly.  I first used a thin bead of black gasket adhesive on the edges of the glass to try to alleviate any rattling.

Then I installed the arrow-head keepers into position to hold the glass steady.  These do have grooves to mate with the glass edges and go in one way.

 

 

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This is the arrowhead shaped "plunger".  Notice the groove is noticeably larger in the upper part of the arrow head.

 

 

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I installed the socket base into the license plate holder, then attached the entire assembly to the housing.  

The license plate parts were sanded, primed and painted "Trim Black" in a previous post.

 

 

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Every piece of stainless was polished to a high shine, and immediately installed so I didn't mess the order up.

I peeled it off my sheet, polished it, and installed it before tearing another off my cheat-sheet.

 

 

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Line them up in the grooves and by using just digital pressure you can easily move the tabs into position on the inside of the housing.

 

 

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One by one until they all are into position.  

I will paint the groove black and do my wipe technique later on.  Too much handling to do it early.

I also have to touch up the "BUICK" in the glass with a little chrome paint.

 

 

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But its all wired and ready to go on the car!

 

 

Have a great night!

Gary

 

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11 hours ago, MCHinson said:

Maybe the length is the difference between the 1937 and 1938 switch, since they appear to be basically identical on the wiring diagram but do have different part numbers. Maybe I will find some time to crawl under the dash of my 1937 Century and compare the two in the near future.

 

Matt I've been wondering if the part number difference could just be do to Delco changing their numbering system?

 

Carl

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Gary:

 I know that in an old "Torque Tube " newsletter there was an article on modifying the trunk light to operate as an extra brake light. Changing the socket to a double filament and pig tailing off of a tail light. I never got around to it but I still want to do it.

 As an addendum to my wiring harness account to Dave. I chose the RI harness as to how it would look and function as original. The extra loom and wires they added for me to have turn signals cancelled that out.

Larry

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Hi Larry!

 

When I dismantled the trunk lid, the previous owner actually ran a separate light bulb from the right rear brake light, draped the wires across the trunk and simply taped the bulb to the lens so it would shine when the brakes were applied.

I do like the idea, as drivers today are pretty much trained to look for the third brake light, and maybe I'll put that on my "to-do" list soon.  First I want to get all the wiring sorted out as it should be.  I think that conversion should be pretty easy.

 

Here's how I got the car:

 

DSC_0327.thumb.jpg.398e9ea555544e26889621229fe94b3f.jpg
 

Those two black wires draped across the trunk lit the "third brake light"

 

 

5a1985e5c248c_DSC_03332.thumb.JPG.c39ecfb38c1dc6574acc90eac6aa3408.JPG

It was simply wired to the right brake light, and electrical taped to the existing wires.

 

 

DSC_0740.thumb.jpg.a093e7742d5f6a2b4d6074315dd692bc.jpg

And taped to the license plate holder up top, just under the lens.

So it was a free standing bulb, not wired into the original socket.

 

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, 1937-44 said:

 

Matt I've been wondering if the part number difference could just be do to Delco changing their numbering system?

 

Carl

 

 

I don't know where to look for a part number, but I think these are the two different switches?  

 

My "restored" Special switch is the shorter one.  I'm going to crack it open now to check on the internal connectors.

 

DSC_3286.thumb.jpg.abb0f0a5fb0216eddbcf7efac34d9304.jpg

 

 

 

DSC_3299.thumb.jpg.95bb1dbc7847b3f335e5e75ec0fcf89a.jpg

Internally, the difference I see is the center "triangle".  It is larger in the switch marked "C", while all the "triangles" up top are the same, smaller size.

Also, the brass connections in the base....  they are all the same size near the thermo circuit  area whereas there are some larger ones in the lower switch.

 

So, I don't know why my lights were on when the switch was in the "off" position, but maybe someone will figure it out.

 

G

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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Gary, problems you`re having is the reason I`m updating to a later model headlight switch which will also control my dome light and the variable resistor for dash lights, but that`s just me, which some people don`t like..  Tom

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Some comments:

 

1) Glad to see you are using Simichrome to polish the six stainless steel aerodynamic trim pieces. That is great stuff, and the least abrasive polish I've found.

 

2) The completed assembly shown in your last two pictures looks like the Martian's space ship in the 1950s sci-fi movie "The War of the Worlds."

 

3) I notice in one of your pictures that there are two filaments in the bulb. Could the extra filament be meant for additional light when you back-up? Or is it to provide additional illumination for the red lens when you apply the brake? If so, then that could solve your desire to have something akin a third brake light for additional safety. Would hate to see you rear-ended one day by someone who is distracted because they are texting while driving!

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