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56 Bel Air directional/dash lights help needed

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bman416, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. Bman416
    Joined: Nov 4, 2007
    Posts: 180

    Bman416
    Member

    Its about time I started to utilize the H.A.M.B. Couple questions about the lights on my 56 Chevy.

    1. The right front directional seems to work when it wants too. I'll get the fast blink with no noise and you know the fronts not working. Then other times it works fine. Left directional-no problems.( I have not replaced flasher yet.)

    1b. What bulbs are supposed to be in the front parking lights? It has 1157 clear, two prong(?) bulbs in it. When I first got the car, I had the headlights on, car running and no front parking lamps. I figured that they only came on when the directional was on. Then the other night I got out of the car to check something and I noticed the parking lamps were on. WTF?

    2. Last but not least, the instrument lights don't work. I pulled it out the other day and all bulbs were fine. I don't get it. The car is far from a wiring nightmare. All wiring is there and wrapped neatly. All connectors are where they should be, I believe. I think maybe the underdash wiring could have been replaced at some time in her life.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Is there any books like a Chiltons I could buy for this car? Thank you to all who reply.

    Brian
     
  2. LastMinuteMark
    Joined: Apr 11, 2008
    Posts: 349

    LastMinuteMark
    Member
    from So. Cal.

    for number 1 & 1b i would replace the light bulbs, check and clean the grounds

    for #2, you can twist the head light knob and the instrument lights will dim.....hope it helps
     
  3. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,487

    325w
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Find you a small round wire brush that will just go into the light sockets. Clean the front and rears. Try to find some good 1157;s and let us know what happens. What do the turn signals do?
     
  4. slammed
    Joined: Jun 10, 2004
    Posts: 8,151

    slammed
    Member

    Rear light's flash ok? Turn singal switch good/clean?
     

  5. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,635

    belair
    Member

    If there is a fuse box, (I have a 56 and don't know), check for a blown fuse. On old chevys, the tail lights and dash lights were on the same circut.
     
  6. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,805

    squirrel
    Member

    fuse for dash lights is on the light switch. Breakers on the light switch for head/tail lamps, they are self-resetting. Park lights are NOT on with the headlights on these cars.

    As mentioned, grounds in the park/turn light housings are flaky after all these years. Bad grounds on dual filament bulbs will do WEIRD things!

    Instrument lights use a rheostat on the light switch, which has about 4 different parts that will go bad and not make contact, usually the wirewound resistor element gets burned out.

    Repop switches are of questionable quality...NOS are hard to find....
     
  7. 1950ChevySuburban
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,188

    1950ChevySuburban
    Member Emeritus
    from Tucson AZ

    You know what? Most of us always leave the instument lights in the full-on position anyway. Hell, just wire them on full and make life easy for yourself!
    ( i.e. wire them on with the taillights).

    Bad grounds? replace with new sockets that fit. Don't forget to clean out the negative areas.
     
  8. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 6,600

    302GMC
    Member
    from Idaho

    Shop manual - 1955 Chevrolet issue with '56 supplement. Chilton, MoToR, etc are a waste of time. If you're really a '56 fan, get an assembly manual & a 1956 Fisher Body manual as well.
     
  9. jonzcustomshop
    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,927

    jonzcustomshop
    Member

    The park/running light will only be on in the first position of the light switch, when you pull to the second position, and the headlights come on the "running" lights turn off.
    since it is a primitive -inline system- if one part is not working the whole thing will not work. ex. bulb out-bad contact , the other side won't work either.
    there should be an inst fuse like belair said, and it might be hooked in with the tail.
     
  10. Bman416
    Joined: Nov 4, 2007
    Posts: 180

    Bman416
    Member

    Thank you for the insight everyone. LastMinuteMark, the dimmer switch does nothing. I have it turned counter clockwise all the way right before the interior light comes on. I checked all fuses, even the fuse on the light switch and they are all good. The one on the light switch I will check one more time. From the angle I looked at it, it looks good. I always thought the light switch could be shot, too.

    Brian
     
  11. dave lewis
    Joined: Dec 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,364

    dave lewis
    Member

    Bman , my 55 had the same problem.( no dash lights , random turn/parking lights ). After chasing bad bulbs, dirty sockets , poor grounds , fuses , etc...new light switch cured the problem.
    Dave
     
  12. Dash board needs to be grounded .. As well asthe instrament panel all these can be tested with a pointed test light and jumper wires

    the mount for the signal lights at all corners must also touch clean metal some how
    also make sure the ground battery cable and ground strap ( woven body to engine)are cleaned/tight at there respective locations ....
    Always start with the grounds first
    all wiring can be checked with good grounds and a supplemental 12 volt source (batt charger)

    hook ground clip to frame and use hot side with test probe attached to check each circuit ....process of illimination until you find the break or bad connection..use a large mirror if your working by your self to check litesfront and rear

    this stuff is pretty basic ..
    Work on the bench with these sub systems removed so you know it works before installation

    the dash dimmer rheostat breakage can be jumped .
    .THE HEADLITE SWITCH ITSELF MAY NEED TO BE GROUNDED THRU THE MOUNT .. Real ez to do ...
    NOTORIOUS FOR SCREWING UP IS THE TURN SIGNAL SWITCH CONNECTIONS REMOVE THE WHHEEL AND CLEAN/INSPECT ALL RTERMINALS THAT TOUCH..ALL THE LIGHTS GO THROUGH THIS SWITCH


    A HD #536 FLASHER WILL OVER COME THE BAD CONNECTIONS BUT IS NOT THE REAL ANSWER

    AHHH ELECTRICITY
    MAKE COMPLETED CIRCUITS AND AVOIDING HACKED UP SPLICING
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2008
  13. Bman416
    Joined: Nov 4, 2007
    Posts: 180

    Bman416
    Member

    To all who responded, the directional problem was a $3.09 552 (i believe) flasher from NAPA. The directionals blink faster now too. As for everything else, I haven't gotten to it yet. Keep you posted.

    Brian
     

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