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Projects Dashboard lights

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by LemayKid, May 20, 2021.

  1. LemayKid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2021
    Posts: 2

    from St. Louis

    I have a question that I hope someone on this forum can answer. I recently purchased a 1954 Plymouth Savoy. It has wiring problems that I am trying to work out. I cannot seem to get the dashboard lights to work. I'm not even sure if there are dashboard lights. I guess that is my question. Am I dealing with a bad bulb are were there no lights? There is a switch that reads "panel" right next to the switch that reads "headlights". Sorry if this is a stupid question. Any answers would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. Dashboard lights would definitely be there, most likely the rheostat which controls the brightness (on your headlight switch when you turn the knob) is open circuit. I don't think I have ever seen a separate switch for the panel lights, unless someone has added it to the dash. If you remove the wire which feeds your dash lights from your headlight switch (have a look at your workshop manual), and power it directly from 12 volts (I think these Plymouths may have been positive earth), and your lights work, it means that the rheostat part of the switch is no good. Or it may be that your dash lights have a bad earth.
    loudbang likes this.
  3. 4woody
    Joined: Sep 4, 2002
    Posts: 2,108


    Don't know specifically on your '54, but sometimes you twist the light switch knob to turn on/up the dash lights. I'd check for voltage at a dash bulb socket for starters.
    loudbang likes this.
  4. garyf
    Joined: Aug 11, 2006
    Posts: 243


    There is sometimes a fuse just for the dash lights,power e d by the headlight switch when on
    loudbang likes this.

  5. ol-nobull
    Joined: Oct 16, 2013
    Posts: 1,650


    Hi. There are panel lights on the instrumentation. My 50 Plymouth Deluxe also has the separate panel light switch which is on opposite side of steering column from the headlight switch. My brain is just not in gear enough this morning to tell you if headlight switch must be on to feed panel light switch or not I cannot see panel lights in the day time so I cannot check this now. You can log on to the Plymouth Owners club website and click on the forum and you can ask questions there. They are sometimes slow answering as they do not have the volume of online members as we have here at ay given time.
    There were two great parts sources I used when going thru my 50 Deluxe - and . They both have online sales and both have a paper catalog. Once you purchase they will keep you updated with new catalogs as they come out.
    I also ordered a reprint shop manual from . Sometimes he has originals of various manuals.
    If you can how about posting some photo's of your Savoy?
    loudbang likes this.
  6. ol-nobull
    Joined: Oct 16, 2013
    Posts: 1,650


    Hi. Just realized y shop manual was nearby and looked ad it shows the wire going to panel light switch is hooked to a terminal on headlight switch is strapped to the terminal for the tail lights. This would indicate headlight switch would need t be on. Jimmie
    loudbang likes this.
  7. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,180

    from Kansas

    My 54 Chrysler has the panel control and only works somewhere in the middle of rotation range. Most likely the rheostat needs cleaning. Use some electronic cleaner and old toothbrush.
    loudbang likes this.
  8. abe lugo
    Joined: Nov 8, 2002
    Posts: 2,500

    abe lugo

    as far as the rheostat, I actually have repaired one before, the whole spring was loose and the end connection broken, you can solder and use and epoxy to glue it back in, just make sure there is continuity over the section that it slides on.

    The easy check is what was stated above, bypass the dash light at the switch to battery power and see if the dash lights turn on. Also make sure to replace any bulbs with the correct battery power bulbs.
    loudbang likes this.
  9. If it is anything like the '54 Fords they have small bulbs and when I redid my instrument panel every bulb was burned out, I also replaced the pigtail wiring for the sockets which is available from NAPA. HRP

    Last edited: May 21, 2021
    loudbang and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  10. speedshifter
    Joined: Mar 3, 2008
    Posts: 278


    HOTRODPRIMER, AS you know those early sockets are getting hard to find. Old farm tractors & combines are a good source. Find an old White brand or Oliver with a cab & you will find some clean S-W gauges, also. Old Massey Fergusen combines have neat little hot water cab heaters. I have an old John Deere 3 spoke 16" steering wheel, also available in 18", in my old roadster. Take a trip to a salvage yard, you will be amazed. Greg
    egads and loudbang like this.

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