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JamesR

1954 Ford Mainline signal flasher location?

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I'll soon be rewiring my 1954 Ranch wagon, pretty much completely, except for the borg warner overdrive, which seems to be in good working order with somewhat later looking wiring already on it. It'll be the first full rewire this car (which has about 66k miles) has ever had.

 

I'm using the Ron Francis 6 Volt Retro kit, which looks like it's going to be fairly straight forward....there are very few electrical options on the Mainline. I figured to change out most other electrical components, such as the horn relay, voltage regulator and starter relay, while I'm at it. I just compare the existing components visually to the 6 volt replacements online just to make sure I'm getting the right item.

 

So I thought I'd change the turn signal flasher, as well...but I can't seem to find it anywhere on the vehicle. I have the shop manual, but I've found no reference to a flasher in the manual thus far. Yes, my turn signals do flash, though they've always been slow and variable in speed. If I follow the turn signal wiring from the column, the only thing I can really find is sort of a small bakelite plastic looking thing that looks more like a connection than a flasher, but I guess It could be the flasher. Kind of small, though. Because of damaged wiring near the switch which shorted out and nearly caused a fire (the reason I'm rewiring the car) I can't turn the signals on and track down where the sound of the "click" of the turn signals is coming from.

 

Probably not a big deal. I ordered a 6 volt flasher from Mac's for seven or eight bucks because the Ron Francis kit says any 6 volt flasher will work. It's a conventional looking cylindrical looking flasher. I'd like to put it in the proper location. I'll have to make some sort of bracket to mount it on. There's probably a flasher somewhere and it's staring me in the face, but I'm still missing it. It's surprisingly sparse under the '54's dash, though (no radio, no electric wipers, no original ammeter or oil pressure gauge.) Any ideas where or what I should be looking for?

Edited by JamesR (see edit history)

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The way I remember it being is a round tube like metal flasher located between where the wires exit the steering column and where they enter the firewall. I think there was a bracket that secured the flasher to a solid object. I believe the ones I have seen were silver or unpainted. Been a while so no gurantee how accurate my memory is. Good luck with your car. They are good ones and as you said very simple in design.

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Thanks Fleek. The wires on my car go from the column over to side before they go through the wall, so I'll check up closer to the wall....might be hidden.

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Okay, I'm pretty sure I have it figured out now...or more accurately, found someone online who figured it out (which is better, as recreating the wheel is no fun.) It's a recurring online theme on early 50's 6 volt Fords...nobody can seem to find a flasher when they have turn signal problems.  For example, I found a youtube video with a guy who couldn't find the flasher on his '55 wagon. So he hooked up a 6 volt flasher from a VW bug and got the turn signals to work.

 

This thread from the jalopy journal explains the dilemma and what's actually going on.

https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/signal-flasher-53-ford.969161/

 

So these old cars DO have flashers...they're just very small, square shaped, and mounted very inconveniently in a clip up in the instrument cluster. I looked up there and found mine. I'm guessing that Fleek had replaced one that had already been replaced by a better unit.

 

It's configuration probably explains why nobody makes exact reproductions of this poorly designed unit. Trying to change it out could potentially risk the tangle of old brittle wires by the instrument cluster as your hand fumbles around blindly trying to find the clip. I could only see the clip from one narrow angle while lying on the floor - and I have my front seat pulled out to facilitate my rewire job. You could unscrew the instrument panel I guess and pull the cluster out from the front, but what a hassle to replace a flasher.  The pic shows the location of the clip with a red circle, but this unit is a 53, not a 54.

https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/media/1953-ford-gauge-panel-flasher-clip.528186/

 

So mystery solved. Mostly just out of curiousity that I pursued it, but I also want to make sure I understand the original system before I replace it.

 

 

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