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1939 tail light socket


39BuickEight
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Hello everyone.  While many parts on the ‘39’s are one year only, surely tail light sockets are not...are they?  Can anyone point me in a direction for new ones?  Mine are corroded and the wires are rough at best.  It seems to make sense to replace them with new ones.  

 

Thanks!

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1941 Pontiac uses the same type bulb socket, bulb twists in the inner end, and the electrical part twists in the outer end. With mine, wires had deteriorated also, the little springs were good, using a soldering iron I melted the old contact, removed the old wire(the furrel/sleeve and springs don`t come out) slipped the new wire in place protruding past the end of the furrel/sleeve about an eight of an inch, flared the protruding end of the wire and re-solder. Are your springs good, not rusted and broken? If so, you can re-wire yours, it is rather simple.  Attached is a picture.

DSCN5418.JPG

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43 minutes ago, 39BuickEight said:

Thanks.  I need to soak them in something to get it apart.  

On mine I found it easier to remove the bulb from its socket first, then I`ve always used a sacrificial small screw driver that I grind to a thin point to where I can get it wedged in between the electrical socket and the holder to slightly spread the slot where the little nubbies slip into, and it will twist and come right out. Also the electrical piece is made to fit in the holder one way only, so the brake and tail light elements don`t get cross wired. Good Luck..

Edited by pont35cpe (see edit history)
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Billy: If you can't save your tail light sockets  I should have a couple of extra used ones in decent shape. Soak the whole assembly in Evaporust, the stuff performs miracles. FYI, and it's probably too late , but I have a new RI Wire rear harness for your car - $250 + shipping. Keep plugging, at my last estimate there are only about a million details to deal with while restoring one of these regal old queens. Bob H

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Thanks, I have the wiring harness all installed and laying in the trunk ready to connect to all of the lights.  

 

 

The biggest thing for me, is when I have a question like this, that seems relatively simple, is that the person who always knew what to do, my dad, is not here.  Every time I start to turn a screw, clean a part, or attach a clip, I expect him to be sitting behind me telling me how to do it his way (which was right 99.99% of the time).  These little bumps remind me of him.  Man I miss him.  I can hear him telling me to have patience and just move slowly and let things explain themselves.  

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  • 2 years later...

Billy, what did you end up doing about the light sockets?  My springs are shot and the socket is rusted in the larger socket.  About to try evapo rust on the socket, but I'm not optimistic I'll get it apart and not sure how I'll fix the springs, don't seem to be replacements. 

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I'm not Billy, but IIRC when I did this I soaked the springs in evaporust, and then home-plated them in zinc to keep them from re-rusting right away. I recall one spring was too far gone, and I salvaged one out of another socket. If you are in the USA, Ace Hardware has a rather large spring collection, and you might find something there. If not, possibly buy a new metal 2-pin socket from the auto parts store and scrap it for the springs.

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10 hours ago, C-Lamb said:

Billy, what did you end up doing about the light sockets?  My springs are shot and the socket is rusted in the larger socket.  About to try evapo rust on the socket, but I'm not optimistic I'll get it apart and not sure how I'll fix the springs, don't seem to be replacements. 

I ended up just getting new ones at my local auto parts store.

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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7 hours ago, C-Lamb said:

Thanks Bloo, I may try this, especially if I can get the two pieces apart after soaking in ATF+acetone. 

How did you plate them at home?

 

There are several "recipes" online, and several tutorials that involve only fairly safe chemicals that might be in your kitchen or bathroom already. You will also need a chunk of zinc. I used an old trim tab from a boat. If I remember correctly I used this recipe: https://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showthread.php?14392-DIY-Zinc-Plating-for-Donor-Nuts-and-Bolts . Read the whole thing as there may be mistakes that got corrected later in the thread. I'm not sure I would bother to set this up just for a couple of springs, but I keep it around for small derusted parts that would likely re-rust. The results typically are not for show, but great for slowing down rust. Nice appearance is possible if you babysit it a lot during the process, but it's still no substitute for a plating shop full of chemicals you don't want to be around. You need some sort of power supply. I already have an adjustable one that is nearly ideal. I think some folks have got away with using wall warts, batteries, etc.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Thanks Bloo and Billy.  I've got the assembly soaking in evaporust and will try to take it apart this week, or drill it out if I have to.  Then off to the autoparts store for parts. 

 

Appreciate the help! 

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On 10/24/2021 at 9:35 AM, 39BuickEight said:

 

I ended up just getting new ones at my local auto parts store.

Billy, do you replace the whole assembly or did you find just the 'electrical part' with spring-contacts?  I haven't found a replacement for just the 'electrical part', and I think I will have to drill it out to separate it from the bulb socket.  There are some socket assemblies I think I can adapt, but feels like it might start getting messy quickly. 

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27 minutes ago, 39BuickEight said:

I don’t know if this is the exact one I bought, but this is what I replaced.  .  I replaced the sockets with ones like these and just connected the wires.

 

 

DFF25CBC-7319-4022-B77B-7392C80D2330.png

 

 

Thanks Billy, I'll give that a try. 

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On 10/29/2021 at 10:02 PM, 39BuickEight said:

I don’t know if this is the exact one I bought, but this is what I replaced.  .  I replaced the sockets with ones like these and just connected the wires.

 

 

DFF25CBC-7319-4022-B77B-7392C80D2330.png

Billy, tried that one, it's a bit too small - it fits through the  hole in the back of the assembly.  I went with a bigger plastic one which seems to work OK, but I'm not satisfied with the mounting or the brightness of the LED bulbs I got (they are supposedly 6V bulbs, but not bright enough), so I am going to try another set and see how that goes before I commit.  Also, currently using a zip tie to make sure the little retaining spring is strong enough for the plastic socket I found, so that's not great, but it's a start.  More soon I hope. 

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12 hours ago, C-Lamb said:

I'm not satisfied with the mounting or the brightness of the LED bulbs I got

 

I assume that you matched the LED color to the lens color (i.e., red LEDs for tail & brake lights).  White LEDs will appear dim as only the red light will pass through the tail light lens.

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12 hours ago, C-Lamb said:

Billy, tried that one, it's a bit too small - it fits through the  hole in the back of the assembly.  I went with a bigger plastic one which seems to work OK, but I'm not satisfied with the mounting or the brightness of the LED bulbs I got (they are supposedly 6V bulbs, but not bright enough), so I am going to try another set and see how that goes before I commit.  Also, currently using a zip tie to make sure the little retaining spring is strong enough for the plastic socket I found, so that's not great, but it's a start.  More soon I hope. 

Sorry, when I typed I replaced that part, I didn't mean with exactly that one-one like it that is the correct size.

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On 11/4/2021 at 8:33 AM, 39BuickEight said:

Sorry, when I typed I replaced that part, I didn't mean with exactly that one-one like it that is the correct size.

Thanks Billy, the one I found on the shelf at Autozone wasn't big enough, I'll keep looking.  I found a plastic one which works pretty well.  Well enough to see what's else is broken.  Gotta just keep looking and testing. 

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On 11/4/2021 at 7:55 AM, EmTee said:

 

I assume that you matched the LED color to the lens color (i.e., red LEDs for tail & brake lights).  White LEDs will appear dim as only the red light will pass through the tail light lens.

EmTee, yes, using red bulbs, suppose to be 6V but they just aren't that bright, even on the bench, not any brighter than a 12V 1157 @6V.  Got another set on the way and we'll see if they're any better! Thanks for the suggestion.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a quick update - found a larger bulb socket and made it work for now... 

And got the old assembly apart, two weeks of soaking, now looking for a good way to make a new 'insert'.

The new taillight bulbs from ledlights are brighter than the set from superbright, but not any brighter than the old incandescent bulbs. 

 

On Matt H.'s suggestion I also got brighter dash bulbs from ledlights.  The incadescents, you could only tell they were on in the absolute dark, the first batch of LED bulbs were better, but not useable.  A new brighter set per the recommendations is at least usable, but still not bright by modern standards.  Picture's attached.  As always, thanks for the help!

 

 

PXL_20211119_024916266.jpg

PXL_20211111_021754479.jpg

PXL_20211109_024745958.jpg

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