Jump to content

1941 Instrument Light Switch


Recommended Posts

The instrument light switch on my 1941 Packard was not working right when I bought the car - you had to pull it all the way out to have any dash lights.  A new switch was purchased on eBay, and I ended up spending 4 hours getting it fixed today.  The first challenge was removing the dash knob.  It took a mirror to figure out that the knob has a spring-loaded tab that works like the stop on a screen door closer (bottom left).  When I got the original switch out and compared it to the new one, I discovered they were very different (top left). Same center dash mount, but the new control rod is much longer and uses a setscrew. Mine was mis-wired, and also had a broken resistor spring that dims the panel lights in the second position.  I was able to fix the wire, then dropped the switch and broke it!  After many dirty words, I opened the switch and found that a sliding plastic platform had cracked in half (bottom right). I was able to superglue the base back together, and after reassembling the switch, was very relieved that it worked perfectly!  I used a grinder to reshape the new switch's control rod and remove an extra tab on the body so I can use it if I have to later (top right).  For anyone who might need a 1941 switch, these are on eBay for $20 NOS.  The dash mount works fine, and once you shorten the shaft and cut in a flat, the knob slides right on. I celebrated by taking the car out for a long errand run.

light-switch_1200.jpg

Bella_04112020_1200.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

I spoke too soon - while trying to troubleshoot the interior lights and clock light, the wiring diagram showed me that I am missing three wires at the panel light switch!  There were only three hooked up before, and there should be six.  I scanned in the drawing and did a detail with the wiring key to go by, and will start hunting for the missing leads.  The wiring harness was new and still looks great, so I am sure the wires are up there somewhere. Of course, it means taking the %^$#@ switch out again once I find the missing wires so I can hook everything up properly.

1941_packard_wiring.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well Bob, at least you have carpet to lay on while you're working on it! 🤣

 

Seriously though, glad you found the problem, but what a pain in the neck. Under dash wiring is the worst. I found a rats nest on mine, with a newish harness, to include a house style electrical outlet zip tied to the steering column! WTH?

 

How bright are your instrument lights? I recently upgraded some of my dash lights to LEDs - wow what a difference. If you're interested, I'll get you the part numbers, etc.

 

Cheers,

Ken

Link to post
Share on other sites

The A.E.A. style drawing you can download from the main packard club site is a bit easier to follow than the factory diagram.  I can't tell from the factory drawing if any of the extra wires you are looking for might be for the dash reading or speedo pointer lights or maybe for the OD indicator light dimming circuit which was used on the senior models.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

 

One of the wires (8E) is for a Speedometer pointer light - probably not on my 110, so thanks for the note! The wiring diagram came from my original owner's manual.  I will look for the A.E.A diagram online.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information!  I located the wiring diagram on the Packard site - although drawn differently, it shows the same connections, so I need to locate the missing three leads. Looks like the switch was never wired properly after the new wiring harness was installed during the restoration in 93!

Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I have seen wired incorrectly is the tail lights.  Frequently the wire to the tail lights is connected directly to the tail light terminal on the headlight switch instead of the end terminal on the instrument light switch.  Lights work as usual wired that way but rely on the high amp built in headlight switch CB or as Packard called it, the thermostatic relay for protection.  Packard modified the lighting circuit in the mid to late 30s to add a lower amp fuse for added protection to the overall lights and particularly the tail lights and wiring.  By being attached to the terminal on the instrument light switch instead of the headlight switch a problem in that circuit can blow the fuse without affecting the headlights or letting a wire burn due to the large capacity of the headlight breaker..

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/16/2020 at 10:30 AM, HH56 said:

One thing I have seen wired incorrectly is the tail lights.  Frequently the wire to the tail lights is connected directly to the tail light terminal on the headlight switch instead of the end terminal on the instrument light switch.  Lights work as usual wired that way but rely on the high amp built in headlight switch CB or as Packard called it, the thermostatic relay for protection.  Packard modified the lighting circuit in the mid to late 30s to add a lower amp fuse for added protection to the overall lights and particularly the tail lights and wiring.  By being attached to the terminal on the instrument light switch instead of the headlight switch a problem in that circuit can blow the fuse without affecting the headlights or letting a wire burn due to the large capacity of the headlight breaker..

 

 

 

On 4/17/2020 at 7:04 AM, Bob Stein said:

Something I will check for!  Thanks!

 

An added benefit, as I recall, is that, should the taillights be "Out", you become aware by noticing that your dash lights are also inoperative,

much like the dome light circuit in some 1950s-era cars

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...