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1949 Dodge Truck Dim Blinkers (Aftermarket)


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Hi everyone! I am new to all of this, so please bear with me if my questions sound silly or if I don't understand something. My 49' Dodge truck did not come with blinkers, but my grandfather installed a set when he first rescued it from the boneyard, to make it street legal. The blinkers do work but are very dim. So much so that it has caused problems on the road, and in the daytime are very difficult to notice. We have tried replacing the bulbs, and even led bulbs, but that didn't help. We also replaced the flasher with a heavy duty one, and still no luck. I think I should probably mention that the truck runs on a 6v electrical system, but all the hardware we have for the blinker are meant to work with that. I can take photos to include if you need, but I don't have any on hand. Please help if you have any idea what is wrong! Thank you!

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Well, you need 6 volt bulbs for sure, and you need the brighter ones. Are these separate add-on light housings for the blinkers? That is how it was usually done when retrofitting old trucks but not always.


If that is how it is, the bulbs should be like the ones for brake lights on a 6V car from the mid 30s or earlier. In other words, it should have a large globe the same size an 1157 12 volt tail/stop light bulb has, but have only one contact tip at the bottom and only one filament inside. This is a 6 volt bulb of course. Sorry, I cant remember what number those bulbs are.


Try a bulb on 6 volts and see what it looks like!


You should run dedicated ground wires out to the signal light housings. Run them from the frame or body, (whichever is grounded better to the engine and battery). The frame is usually a good choice.


Photos of what you have and how you have it hooked up would probably help.


If these are not separate signal light housings, and the signals are instead integrated with the old tail, stop and parking lights on the truck, that is a whole other matter. We can still sort it out, but we need to know.


I hear painting the inside of light housings white can help. This would be in situations where there is no reflector or the reflector is really bad. White reflects more than gray or black. I'm probably getting way ahead of myself with that. It sounds like you have an electrical problem.


Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Simple check is to remove each globe and check they are 6V and test them at the battery. That is how bright they should be. If still dim the globes are not flasher globes or are 12V. (Should be either 18W or 21w)


Then check and clean the grounding for the lamps. You can temporarily hook up an extra ground wire to see if that improves things. Clean up any corrosion in the globe holders and make sure the connections are clean and bright. Clean up those on the globes as well.

If the bulbs and grounds are OK the lights should be bright.


One last check is to ensure the flasher can is grounded correctly and is marked for 6V.


Most electrical issues are dirty connections or poor grounding. Amazing what happens when they get cleaned up!

Rodney 😀😀😀😀😀😀

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Posted (edited)

Wow. Thanks for the quick response guys! I'm sorry I didn't get to this sooner, but I really appreciate the suggestions. You are all very helpful, and this sure is a lot of information. I'm looking at these pictures now and I realize that they are TERRIBLE. I'm embarrassed. Hopefully the blinker ones give you some idea of what's going on. I'll give him a wash soon and take a picture of him shining in the sun.

They are separate add on housings, I'll include pictures here. I think you also want pictures of how the wiring works, but I didn't get those last night. Next time I get a chance I'll try to take some photos.


The bulbs we are using are labeled "GE 1129 J7", which seem to be 6v when I look online. Looks exactly like the one you mentioned.


I do think that it is an electrical problem since now that I've been experimenting with them more, I've noticed that they are also very erratic, sometimes with longer flashes and sometimes shorter. I think the longer ones get brighter, almost like the circuit is not active long enough for the bulb to get to full brightness before it cuts off again, I wonder if that has something to do with it. Does this make sense? Have you ever heard of anything like that? Painting the inside of the housings sounds like it would help, that's a great idea. I'll keep that in mind if we can't figure this out.


Also. Could you please explain how to run a ground wire? What kind of wire do I need? Should I just make sure it's making contact on either end or do I need something that grabs on like a jumper cable head? I'm sure it's obvious that I have no idea what I'm doing, and if you could point me to some online resource instead of explaining that would work as well. Thanks again.



The connections all look pretty clean, I'm not really seeing any corrosion. When I get a chance I'll figure out how it all connects and pull things apart to clean them.


How do you test a bulb on the battery? I tried pressing the bottom against the battery when the truck was running, but nothing happened. I'm not really sure how else to realistically use the battery to test a bulb like you're saying, could you please explain that to me? Thanks.


The flasher is definitely correct and seems to be working. We replaced it a while ago with a heavy-duty flasher to see if it would fix the problem, and no luck. I still have both and they work the same. 


Here are some pictures! Like I said above, I will work on cleaning the connections next time.




20220803_194005 (1).jpg


Edited by Jasper1
I wanted to add that I was embarrassed about the photos I shared of my truck. (see edit history)
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I looked up the 1129 bulb, and that looks like a good choice.


How many wires come out of one of those signal light housings on top of the fenders? I'm guessing one wire.


Next thing, if there's only one wire: Are the housings metal? With a metal nut on metal threads holding it in the hole in the fender? If so, it is safe to assume all of this metal is connected to the base of the bulb. If there's plastic I might have different advice. The goal is to get the base of the bulb connected to a good ground.


I would get some huge ring terminals that will fit over those threads that hold the light to the fender and crimp a wire (better yet solder, if you solder) to the terminal and put it around there under the nut. Only problem with that way is you might have to disconnect the main wire and pull it out temporarily to get the ring on. Alternatively, if the bottoms of the lights (the threaded part) are open where the wire goes through, you might be able to snake a wire through there somehow and connect the ground wire inside the light.


Tie the wire up so it can't fall down maybe to the other wire, and hook the other end of your new ground to something that is grounded good. Probably the frame. Repeat for all four lights.


I think you might have another problem that isn't this one, mainly because all of them are behaving the same. For long term reliability and good brightness, they need to be grounded, so you need to do it anyway (unless it has already been done when they were installed).


When you get a chance, post a pic of your signal switch, and one of your flasher, and post the number from the flasher if it doesn't show in the picture. Also post how many pins the flasher has. It's nearly always 3 pins on a 6 volt car, but it would be good to know.



Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Is the flasher a 6V part?


VW Flasher Relay, 6V 2 Prong, (Turn Signal Relay), 111-953-185C -  Aircooled.Net VW Parts


A 12V flasher will blink very fast, as the current flowing through 6V bulbs will be twice the amount a 12V expects, causing it to open quickly.  That will make the bulb appear dim...

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