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No tail lights

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by chopped, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. chopped
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 2,010

    chopped
    Member

    It's over 100 out there and my minds fried. Wiring with a Ford column and a EZ clone. I have blinkers and stop lights, have headlights but no tail lights. Have power to switch, I must be missing something easy, please save me.
     
  2. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,484

    325w
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Check the wires going back to the rear for power. Thentail lights run off the head light switch. Bet your missing something simple. If you have brake lights your rear light grounds are good. see where you have power and go from there. You've had a heck of a time with this wire job. don't let it kick your butt hang in there.
     
  3. butterboy
    Joined: Feb 27, 2006
    Posts: 88

    butterboy
    Member

    Double check your ground...
     
  4. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    Just as 325w said, you are losing current from the switch to the lights somewhere. Start at the switch and find the lead that is supposed to be going to the tail lights. If you have a kit the wiring should be marked as such. If you have juice there (if you don't have a volt ohm meter get a $5 test light) go to the back of the car and check that same wire. You should have 12 volts when the light switch is on.

    A bad bulb or a bad ground can cause goofy problems too. I had a bulb go in my 27 recently and some lights would work and some wouldn't, and it affected brake and turn signals on both sides.

    Don
     

  5. chopped
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 2,010

    chopped
    Member

    Have tail power at switch. even with tail wire tied to headlight post no tail light. Could bulbs be good with blinkers but not tail light? If my blinkers and brake lights work don't the grounds have to be good? It grounds thru the housing.
     
  6. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,774

    Petejoe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Zoar, Ohio

    Check your tail light wire to the tail housing. Yes your ground should be good if your brakes and turn work. Just try a temporary wire to each terminal first.
     
  7. Your correct that if the brake and tail lights work the ground is good.Your are loosing power going back the the lights.Its only one wire so it should be easy to trace.It is possible that one filament on both bulbs is burned but not likely.
     
  8. damagedduck
    Joined: Jun 16, 2011
    Posts: 2,342

    damagedduck
    Member
    from Greeley Co


    yep had that happen before,total blows your mind when it all said & done,all that chasing your tail & it's a stupid bulb,did you pull & check em?
     
  9. jazzbum
    Joined: Apr 5, 2005
    Posts: 598

    jazzbum
    Member

    you're saying that you have blinkers but no brake/running lights? are you running good old 1157 incandescent bulbs? those are double-filament, remember, and the blinker lights through a different filament than the running lights/brake lights. maybe you blew that constant-load filament without knowing it. check those bulbs.
     
  10. chopped
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 2,010

    chopped
    Member

    All the lights work except the running lights. The bulbs were in it, maybe since 1964. I know the bulbs at least light up cause of the brake lights working. Maybe the origional wiring was somehow different. I'll head out later and get new bulbs just in case. It's two wires to the socket, they wouldn't work at all if there was a wire problem, right?
     
  11. The break light work on one circuit and the running lights work on the other wire.It's possible that you have a wiring problem on only the running light circuit or as stated before both bulbs have the running light filament burned out. You should be able to see that if you look at the bulb.You should be able to see that both filament are intact.
     
  12. RayJarvis
    Joined: Oct 11, 2010
    Posts: 209

    RayJarvis
    Member

    if you have a brake activation switch on your master cyliunder check wire and switch
     
  13. chopped
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 2,010

    chopped
    Member

    Nope, just an on-off switch and it will turn em on and off.
     
  14. jazzbum
    Joined: Apr 5, 2005
    Posts: 598

    jazzbum
    Member

    brake lights have their own circuit wired through a switch, in my experience. in your car it would be the pressure-activated type, plumbed into or near your master cylinder, i would think.

    BUT the brake and running lights go through one filament in bulb and blinkers go through the other (which is why your taillights don't flash completely on and completely off when you have your foot on the brakes, for example). i'm just saying that would be the first thing i'd check, before digging back into the wiring, especially if the bulbs have been there since '64.
     
  15. chopped
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 2,010

    chopped
    Member

    They look good but I'll change them by tomarrow. I suppoe I should pull the fuse box and check for a problem with the outgoing wire connection.
     
  16. chopped
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 2,010

    chopped
    Member

    I'll get back to this tomarrow after I change the bulbs. From here I have to pack a lunch to get to a parts store. Thanks
     
  17. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,417

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    IF you have a Chevy headlight switch (most of these wiring kits use GM) you will have to check:
    There are 2 power sources that feed the Chevy headlamp switch!
    Check your schematic, I just helped a STREET RODDER with his Painless kit in a '56 F100.
    For some inane reason, it is equipped with Chevy switches, steering column, etc.
     
  18. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,484

    325w
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You can check the old bulbs to see if their good. I had rather have a good old bulb than a china new one. If you have power back at the tail lite wire you have a buld are ground problem. The turn signal and brake use the same wire and filament the running light use sits own wire and filament. Are the cards that hold the buld bases in the tail light housing good. I've built them up with some solder before. Be sure you tail light buld is a 1157. Maybe switch the park light and tail light bulbs around ????? Can't hurt nothing.....v
     
  19. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,358

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    First did you check the tail light fuse? Usually the tail, park and dash lights will be on the same circuit.
    Make sure there is power in and out of the fuse.


    Have you got a test light?
    With the test light make sure you have power to the headlight switch on the circuit that feeds the taillights. With the switch on make sure you have power coming out of the switch.

    Once you confirm you have power coming out of the switch check the pin on the tail light socket for power to the tail light side. If you don't get power there work your way back down the line checking any connections in the wire.
     
  20. Gromit
    Joined: Oct 13, 2011
    Posts: 726

    Gromit
    Member

    Simplicity first.


    Are they dual filament bulbs?
    Is it a proper dual filament socket?
    Is it wired right?

    If one wire goes to sigal, the other to ground it will light up.

    Start with basics. It sounds like you are trusting someone else's wires along with your own. Also make sure the signals are going to the brighter filament and the tails to the dimmer.. been there on that one.
     
  21. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,146

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    Check the dash lights, if they work then, in many cases, the fuse is good for the dash and tail lights. However, your vehicle may have a separate fuse for those functions.
     
  22. chopped
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 2,010

    chopped
    Member

    Went at it this am, nothing changed, I'm letting it go for a day or so, I'm sure I'm not doing something simple.
     
  23. Now IIRC that's backwards - turn signal and brake are the same (bright) filament, running lights are the dimmer filament.

    Grounds can work okay for one circuit but not two, I had a truck that when the ground got dirty you'd hit the brakes and everything would just go dark; to jury rig it I jammed a wire into the side of the socket and ran it to a clean bolt somewhere else, but either way I would physically check how those lights are grounded, and take the bolts/screws out, clean everything, and use some dieelectric grease or the like to protect them afterwards.


    Fwiw, you can test your bulbs with about 12" of extra wire and a battery. Then take your same length of extra wire and try doubling up the ground and see if that makes anything light up. etc. -
     
  24. 29moonshine
    Joined: Dec 30, 2006
    Posts: 1,307

    29moonshine
    Member

    are you using a stock gm light switch. if so you have to power the tail light side of the switch with a splice from power wire[ look at the ez wire switch diagram]
     
  25. jazzbum
    Joined: Apr 5, 2005
    Posts: 598

    jazzbum
    Member

    right you are.
     
  26. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    Ok, Chopped, time to get this one done ! :) Of all the circuits, the tail light circuit is the most simple, so you are just missing something. Here is what you need to do:

    1) Go back to the switch and confirm you have 12 volts coming out of the wire for the tail lights when the switch is in both the PARKING LIGHT and HEAD LIGHT position. Some people like a volt ohm meter, but I just prefer a simple test light that looks like an ice pick with a lead and alligator clip on the end. They cost about $5 up and are much more simple to use because it either lights or doesn't.

    2) Once you know you have true voltage there in those two positions it will tell you that up to that point you are ok. Now, go back to the rear of the car and find that same wire (If you have a kit it should be marked every so often). Disconnect that wire so it is totally loose from the tail lights. Test for 12 volts at the end of that wire.

    Make sure you get a GOOD ground for the test light because the rear of a car sometimes has dirty steel and you will not get a good ground. I sometimes run a long wire right from the battery negative post to where I am working on the car because then when I connect to that wire with my alligator clip I KNOW I have a good ground.

    If you have 12 volts there that will tell you the wire from the switch to that point is good. Once you do these checks report back what you found and we will give you the next steps.

    Don
     
  27. chopped
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 2,010

    chopped
    Member

    Don, Cause you guys didn't quit I had to go back out, 102 now! I started your checklist and it became clear I needed the jumper wire, (speedway switch and I never related it to Chevy. 325w gave it to me on the first post and I missed it, Atwater Mike hit it too. But ,when you came on and I decided fo follow you it clicked. Thanks to everyone, it takes a large hammer to beat me into thinking.
     
  28. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy ! :D

    Don
     
  29. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,484

    325w
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Glad you got fixed. Sometimes it's the most simple thing that gets us. Me friend in the auto electric business says start with the simple first.
     

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