nickg112

1966 Thunderbird turn signals

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Thank you for your article on the sequential turn signals. I have a question about my front turn signals.
 
  • Two of three sequential turn signals lights working
  • Front turn signals do not work
  • Front running lights work
  • Fender lights go on but do not blink
I removed front turn signal lights and found one to be bad. Not sure about second because I broke it upon removal
 
I tested the front turn signal sockets with a volt meter while the turn signal is turned on. Voltage varies from zero to less than one volt. Seems like voltage should vary from zero to 12. I am assuming that bulbs can be removed to check this.
 
I have read the articles on the rear sequential lights and am working on that. I am more concerned on how the front turn signal lights work and what to look for. Absolutely hate the schematics in the owners manual. Wires are hard to follow after plug in terminals since wire colors change at that point
 
Does anyone have any ideas on what to look for to get front turn signals working?
 
Thank you
 
Nick

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Posted (edited)

Nick, sorry I didn't see your post til now. I picked up a '65 last year, and it had similar issues, which seem to be pretty much rectified now.

 

Quote

 

  • Two of three sequential turn signals lights working
  • Front turn signals do not work
  • Front running lights work
  • Fender lights go on but do not blink

 

 

This pretty much describes my turn signal function issues when I got my car, with the exception that my front turn signals did work. I don't know for sure what will be involved in addressing that.

 

One of the forums online said that the sequence lights not working right is mostly a matter of cleaning the contacts on the sequential "flasher" unit. That unit is a surprisingly primitive electro-mechanical unit located in the forward area of the trunk, at least on the 1965 cars. The enclosure for it is also fairly crude...in my case, the sequential flasher, a brake light relay and a third unit all mounted on a thick rubber backing surface and wrapped with some insulation and some sort of early duct tape sealing it all up. As it turns out, my system had been worked on before, so I don't know if the enclosure might have been something fabricated by a previous owner to one degree or another, but other '65 owners describe a similar mounting setup for their cars.

 

Anyway, the sequential flasher is kind of primitive because it's essentially a servo turning a cam that brings electrical conductors into contact with each other. No fancy electronics here. You can hear the turn signal servo running from the interior of the car every time you use the turn signals (if the engine idles quietly enough.) So I got into the trunk, pulled the unit out, opened it up and cleaned the contact surfaces off (the sequential flasher is in the white plastic box on the rubber mounting surface, at least on '65's.)  Sure enough, the turn signals started working as they were supposed to...for fifty miles. Then they went back to doing what they had been doing.

 

Other's claim success by doing what I did, but it didn't work very well for me, so the second time out I cheated: I bought a Cougar's Unlimited electronic sequential unit, which combines all three components into one unit. No more electric motor noise when I use the turn signals, and I've driven the car for several hundred miles with no turn signal malfunctions or issues. It costs about $225, and I got mine on ebay. Not really hard to install...unless you're over 60 like me and have a hard time climbing in a trunk. (Put a towel or mat over the trunk latch so you don't accidentally get locked in.) The connectors were pretty hard to get off the wiring harness; I just used some pliers, but be careful as you don't want to destroy the connectors. For some reason I had a hard time pushing the connectors back together, so I opted for pushing them back as far as I could, then taping over the gap with good quality tape. IMPORTANT: if you have a 66, you need the unit listed for 66, not 65. The 65 has different connectors basically.

 

I had to use the 66 version on my 65, but was an anomaly - I suspect that someone used different 66 replacement components when doing work earlier. That - along with the fact that my brake relay and other relay weren't original - made me not worry so much about originality. If your car is ultra original, then you may want to try repairing the existing sequential flasher, if that is in fact the problem. I don't know if there's a source for rebuilt original units. For what it's worth, I suspect the Cougar's Unlimited all-in-one unit will get your front signals to work, too. Good luck.

Edited by JamesR (see edit history)

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