Jump to content

1942 BUICK TURN SIGNAL ISSUE


Recommended Posts

Hi All,  Onto the next issue.......  no turn signals.   When I try the signals either left or right the dash indicator lights work, but the front and rear lights do not even go on.  I have a good ground and power to the lights.  If I put power and ground to the front light junction block the turn signal lights go on front and rear. They do not blink but they do light up.  The front are a double contact with the parking lights.  The rear are a signal contact.  All the other lights work.  I replaced the flasher unit with no change.  I tested the flasher by putting power to it and connecting a bulb and the bulb blinks  and  the flasher makes the clicking sound.  But it only does it on P side of the flasher. When I do it on the L side, no blinking and no flasher noise.  Wait  it could be the other way around,  I do not remember at the moment.  What else can I check.    Thanks   Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They worked when I got the car.  I had to rewire parts of the car due to wires just falling apart.  The turn signals were one of the areas that need attention.  I also did the steering column wires, but was very careful with the rewiring making sure I did not remove more than one wire at a time. But maybe I was not as careful as I thought.

Thanks   Jim

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How many indicators are there on your dash, one or two?

 

I gather (since I can't remember for sure) that a 42 still has the "arrow" indicators near the center in the back, and that is why you have single filaments in the back.

 

If that is true, your system is simpler than most.

 

Both left indicator filaments (front and rear) are connected together, and also to the left dash indicator (if there are two dash indicators). Similarly, both right indicator filaments are connected together and also to the right dash indicator.

 

The "P" terminal is not used on a system with 2 dash indicators. It exists to power a single dash indicator that blinks for either side. If you do have only a single dash indicator, then you must power it with the "P" terminal, and ground the shell of the socket.

 

The signal wiring goes like this: +6v source >> flasher 6v input terminal >> (through the flasher) >> flasher output terminal >> signal switch. Then.... right contact on signal switch >> all right indicators, and.... left contact on signal switch >> all left indicators. All bulbs have the shell grounded.

 

One possible exception exists. It has turned up repeatedly on 1953-54 Chevrolets and Pontiacs. I doubt you have anything like this, but read on just in case. They connected the two dash indicators to the signals as normal, but instead of grounding the shells, they connected the bulb shells to the "P" terminal. If rewiring, do not do this. It does not work properly with any currently available new flasher. This does not sound like your problem, but I am including it here just in case. Wiring as outlined in the paragraphs above this one will work.

 

And finally, it kind of sounds like your flasher might be bad. If you have 6v connected to the 6v terminal, and a bulb connected to the load terminal (not "P"), and the bulb shell grounded, the bulb should at least come on. The flasher may need all the bulbs in order to flash, or in order to flash at the correct speed, but the bulb should at least come on.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bloo,  I learnt more about flashers and directional signals in your post than i have in the 40 somethings years I have been having fun with cars.   Thanks

 

The dash has 2 indicator arrows.  The rear turn signals are below the running and brake lights, not on the trunk.  I will try to get out to the garage later today, some house and outdoor projects took up my time the past few days.   Thanks   Jim

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jim:

 

I'm no expert, but I did replace the forward wiring harness on my '41 about a year ago so I learned a bit about how the turn signals are wired up.  I don't know whether this will confuse you or help, but here's what I can offer.

 

It's unclear to me from what you posted whether you actually got into the wiring inside the steering column.  I did not.  In any event, as I'm sure you know, there are six wires that come out of the steering column in two different groups inside separate looms.  This photo shows the two groups where they exit the steering column:

 

turn_signal2.jpg.d0828edcb383e97d01b750932d3f30fc.jpg

 

The three wires from one group go to the three-pin multi-connector, which only goes together one way.  Unless you changed any of these wires, it's unlikely that your problem is there.  The three wires in the other group are connected as follows: one with a male bullet connector plugs into a bakelite female connector which leads to the left hand turn indicator bulb; the second wire goes to the "P" terminal on the flasher, and the third goes to the "L" terminal on the flasher.  I wasn't able to get a good photo showing all of this, but if you look closely at this pic you can see how all six wires from the steering column are connected.  (The flasher connectors are unfortunately obscured by the large fuse housing on the wire that goes to the "X" connector on the flasher):

 

turn_signal1.jpg.aa889629e35b456b59f4b99390fe0f6f.jpg

 

Lastly, I will post a pic of the wiring diagram that I have -- it's multi-colored and a bit clearer than the black and white one from the shop manual, so it's a little easier to follow.  You can see all the connections that I discussed earlier:

 

turn_signal3.jpg.37a3c465642235da2c126b35dfcbb7f4.jpg

 

So, as I said, I don't know if this is helpful or just a repetition of what you already know from what you did on your car.  If you actually went inside the steering column and replaced wires at the signal switch, I suppose a lot of things might have gone wrong.  But if you left the wires leading to the male side of the 3-pin multi-connector in place, and left the other wires in the other group in place, the only mistake I think you could have made is to have switched the "P" and the "L" wires when you connected the flasher.  I'm not sophisticated enough to know whether that would account for your symptoms, but maybe this will assist Bloo in helping you figure it out.  Good luck!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting that.

 

I can see now that they are using the "P" terminal, and how they did it. They are using a second set of contacts in the switch to switch the "P" terminal to each dash indicator.

 

So, when you turn on a signal, for instance left, it connects the left signal bulbs to the "L" (I assume "load") terminal, and at the same time the other set of contacts connects the left dash indicator to the "P" terminal.

 

I have no idea why they did it that way, but it will work fine, even with a new production flasher.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bloo, I'm glad that was helpful.  In the meantime, I know you don't need to see this because you understand exactly what's going on, but my bad photo was bugging me so I went down to the garage and pushed some wires out of the way and took a better one.

 

turn_signal4.jpg.e78f5c14c8a0c455d5592ab05444b122.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bloo,  I was going to let you know that the dash indicator lights were not connected to the outside lights, but Neil beat me to it.  My turn signal diagram is exactly as the one that Neil posted.  

I rechecked everything today.  Goods grounds at the outside bulbs ,  power to the bulbs   etc  etc.  and still nothing.    I am going to repeat exactly what the issue is.

When I use the turn signal handle the dash indicators light up but do not blink  and  the outside lights do not go on.   I did rewire the steering column  but was very careful.  Bloo,  can the problem be in the switch wiring.  The dash indicators work properly but there are 4 other wires i could have screwed up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Assuming the wiring is correct, it could be the switch or the flasher.

 

Yes, after seeing the diagram, the "P" terminal has it's own set of contacts so they can use it with a separate right and left, so that all works.

 

It is probably normal for the flasher not to flash if it does not have the load of the big bulbs on it. The way I see it it has to be the flasher or the switch.

 

What I would do, is take a test light, or better yet a big bulb like a signal light if it is practical, and connect it between the flasher's "L" terminal and ground. It should at least turn on, and if it is a big bulb it will probably flash, but probably at the wrong speed. If the bulb won't come on at all the flasher is bad.

 

If the bulb comes on, the trouble has to be the switch, unless there's a wiring error.

 

The switch is just a DPDT switch, neil morse's diagram doesn't actually show the internals but this is what's going on inside. Of course it also has a center "OFF" position not shown in this graphic:

 

DPDT-on-on.png

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have concluded I wired something wrong.   I have good grounds and power to the lights.  Have a good flasher, tested as Bloo suggested.  Only conclusion......  I screwed up something at the switch.   will keep everyone posted.   Thanks   Jim

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, ILIKECARS53 said:

I have concluded I wired something wrong.   I have good grounds and power to the lights.  Have a good flasher, tested as Bloo suggested.  Only conclusion......  I screwed up something at the switch.   will keep everyone posted.   Thanks   Jim

 

Welcome to a large club.  All of us have done this at some time or another. Just the price of tuition to learn how to do it correctly the next time or mentor/help someone fix their car later.  Good luck.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi All,  Did one more thing before I removed the steering wheel  to check the switch  and  the wiring at the switch.  Please refer to the diagram that Neil sent.  I disconnected the 3 way connector.   The left side dash indicator does light because it does not go thru the 3 way.   You will note there is a connector just before the bulb.  I exposed the connector and hooked up a jumper from that connector to a bulb and ground.  The dash indicator  and  the bulb flashed.   Then I tried connecting the outside lights  and  the dash indicator  and  the outside lights all flashed.   Then I did the other side  and  they all flashed.   I hope that is all clear,  because i am getting confused just typing it.   Basically Bloo, I hooked the flashers up they way you thought they were before you saw the diagram from Neil.  And they worked.  So my question is.....   can I do it this way.  Will I be doing any damage.  Can the wiring heat up   etc   etc.  Right now I  have the wire connected using mini jumpers  and  clips. I would have to make permanent splices etc.   Tell me what you think.   Thanks   Jim

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm having a bit of trouble following your discussion in terms of how you rigged up this "alternative" system.  I will let Bloo address the merits of what you are asking because understanding the proposed alternative system is way above my pay grade.  However, I will say that I think you are better off just pulling the steering wheel and getting back to the switch to see what went wrong.  I think it's always better to stick with what Buick built than to try to "reinvent" things.  And, as you say, it's likely that something just got hooked up wrong at the switch, and you can probably find it pretty easily once you go back in there.  Just my $0.02.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't quite follow exactly what you did.

 

The switch on neil morse's diagram is basically 2 switches, one for dash indicator, and one for signals.

 

Power comes in the middle from "P" and goes out to a dash indicator.

 

Power comes in the other middle from 'L' and goes out to the signal lights proper.

 

The two questions in my mind are 1) Is the switch bad? and 2) Are the contacts in the switch for the dash indicators as big as the ones for the signals themselves? If they are, one set of contacts could indeed do both functions, by connecting the indicators to the signals, and using the "L" terminal to power remaining half of the switch.

 

A "P" terminal exists because many old systems, especially those that were self contained hanging on the side of the steering column, only had one indicator bulb inside the car. There is no place to connect it that will work. Think about it. If you connect it to one side, the other side wont work. If you connect it to both sides, everything flashes. If you connect it ahead of the switch it will be on all the time when the signals are off. It had to have it's own contact in the flasher, and they added one. More modern setups just use 2 dash indicators, parallel with the signal lights. Most 12 volt flashers don't even have a "P" terminal.

 

Buick used the "P" terminal, and then used separate switch contacts to switch indicator bulbs on the dash. I have no idea why.

 

Assuming the remaining good contacts are the same size as the bad ones, there is no reason you couldn't come into the switch on the good center contact with a wire from "L" (formerly "P"), and go out to signals and dash indicators using the outer contacts that formerly powered only the dash indicators. The "P" terminal would not be used at all.

 

If it were me, I would just verify the wiring according to neil morse's diagram, and then try to repair or replace the switch.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't get into the anatomy of the switch, as I said previously, because I saw no reason to unnecessarily open up a can of worms.  However, if this might be helpful, I am offering an image of the exploded diagram from the shop manual for the '41 (which I assume was the same in '42).

 

Turn_signal_switch.jpg.77ce765c8eb1ed4c07814c8e4779ba71.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just got to the Buick today.  The heat subsided a little today.  Pulled the steering wheel and all the other little springs, ball bearings, bushings  etc. to get to the actual switch.  I did it again!!!!  The wires were backwards on the indicator lights  and  the outside signal lights.  But is was not that obvious to see.  there must be something inside the switch that picks up the bulb size that wire is attached to.  The indicators worked on both sides of the switch  but the outside lights only worked on one side.  Any way   all fixed.  Thanks  for everyone's  help   .  On to the next problem.   Thanks  Jim

  • Like 3
Link to comment
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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...