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Old 07-31-2021, 04:19 PM   #1
verger1
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Default Light Switch no longer working as designed

Dear Friends,
I am new to Model A trouble shooting and repair and hope you might be able to offer some insight.



First, I started with all lights and horn working as designed. Park, Dim, Bright lights worked fine. Cowl lights are the parking lights.


To be brief, I now only have horn, left cowl light (set as parking light) and the dim setting on the left headlight. I have no right lights at all, nor do I have bright light on left.


For more details . . .


Wishing to add turn signals and more tail/brake lights to the car (late ’31) I purchased a light set and followed the instructions. The taillights require a signal to actuate. This is obtained from pulling from the taillight switch to taillight inside the rotary switch on the end of the steering column. The instructions indicated I would put the new wire on an empty tab on the rotary switch.


I will admit to a bad gut feeling about tampering with a working component, but I followed the instructions. The rotary switch (light switch connection block) had no extra tab to connect the wire to.



As an alternative, the instructions said to connect it to a headlight power switch but that didn’t make sense to me as I wanted the extra features regardless of which headlight I was using. So, I called manufacturer who was gracious and helpful.



To be brief, I was told connect it to the switch marked “tail” on the Ford wiring diagram. OK, I can do that, I just have to solder it on (all the connections were soldered onto the rotary switch).


Then it dawned on me, I could just splice into the black wire running back to the taillight switch – the same one that was connected to the rotary switch…. I didn’t have to fool with the rotary switch at all. I wish I had known that before hand . . . .


Sooo . . . I buttoned the light switch assembly back up, replaced the battery cable and


Now only have horn, left cowl light (set as parking light) and the dim setting on the left headlight. I have no right lights at all, nor do I have bright light on left.


I thought, did I somehow reverse the little brass wheel inside the top cap? I reversed that and the parking lights got me the left headlight and the headlights on me a cowl light . . . no, I had it right the first time.


It is a replacement wiring harness, rotary switch appears to be factory made to the new made wiring harness and appears to be a replacement shell – it is very difficult to slide the rotary switch in and out and the shell halves are problematic to reassemble.


It should be pointed out that the new turn signals and such have not yet been connected so I don't think they are part of this issue.



I would appreciate what constructive insight the group might be able to offer.


Thank you


John+
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Old 07-31-2021, 05:41 PM   #2
Bob C
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

Could you tell us what light kit you bought. All the signal kits I know of
tap into the brake light switch unless you have separate lights for turn signals.
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Old 07-31-2021, 07:53 PM   #3
Chuck Sea/Tac
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

Sounds like a bad ground or dirty connections
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Old 07-31-2021, 08:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

It is the Logolites Brake and Run unit. It gives you two brake lights on the rear bumper rails and they also function as running lights. Accordingly, it needs one wire to the tail light power circuit to indicate they should be on AND a second wire which goes to the brake switch to do the same for stopping. These would correspond with the black and green wires, respectively, on the lines running back to tail/brake light.



Neither of these "Logolites" lines are yet wired into the car anywhere.


All preexisting lights were working normally until the light shell was opened. Now, only the left (driver) side works. none of the right (passenger) side work.


Thank you for taking a look at this issue.


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Old 07-31-2021, 08:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

Yes, the turn signals operate through a different Logolite control unit with independent wiring.
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Old 08-01-2021, 11:06 AM   #6
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

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Makes no sense you could lose only one headlight and not the other - they're connected together at the switch. Perhaps losing ground on one side between bucket and fender - coincidentally (?).

Replacement switch covers and connector bodies usually need some mods to fit properly. There are different covers for different years, which can be a problem.

To use cowl lights as signals you'll have to disconnect them from the main harness and run separate wires to the control box. They'll no longer function as parking lamps unless Logo incorporates some magic I don't know about. I also recommend replacing the bulbs with LEDs (brighter).
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Old 08-01-2021, 05:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

I would start at the switch and just jumper to the lights to see if there is a problem going from the switch to the lights. If the lights turn on then there is a problem in the switch. If the lights do not turn on then there is a problem in the connector at the light buckets or the ground inside the bucket or at the connector.

This may seem stupid but check the bulbs to see if they are burned out.

The other method is to trace the electricity. Use a sewing needle to penetrate wires to see if there is voltage in that wire. The insulation will close up after you withdraw the needle. You may have to use a pair of pliers to push the needle into the wire and be careful that you don't also penetrate your fingers.

After you fix the wiring/switch issue then hook up the turn indicators with a wire lead from the ignition switch so that they turn off when you switch the engine off. (If you have a modern switch.) If you have an accessory position on your ignition switch all the better because then you can use the emergency flashers with the engine off. Run the power to the turn indicators through a fuse. I use a fuse block that is mounted to the engine side of the firewall with magnets. If you don't have a modern ignition switch you can run a wire from the battery side of the junction box on the firewall through a switch so that you can turn it off if need be. I have a switch to turn on my fog lamps that is mounted to the underside of the gas tank with a magnet. I epoxied the magnet to the switch.

Usually the stop light signal is run through the turn indicators so that the when you are indicating a turn and have the brakes on, one light is flashing while the other is steady. It is best to draw out a wiring diagram first and then follow that. Have someone who knows wiring check the wiring diagram. Or look online to see what others have done.
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Last edited by nkaminar; 08-01-2021 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 08-01-2021, 09:20 PM   #8
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

Sometimes things are not what is apparent. There is nothing wrong with the light switch - as least a voltage tester proved that the suspect connections were in fact good. So why did the right light not work?

Taking the bulb out and using some probes, I found that current was going to the contacts inside the light socket housing. The bulb looked good. The filaments were in place. On the steering wheel, I turned the switch back off and put a bulb in. Turn switch on . . . no light.

Then I touched the bulb. Flash of light (not spark). Took tissue and rocked bulb up and down. On, off, on, off. The bulb is loose in the socket. Turn switch off, push on contacts - no spring action - nothing applying force to the base of the bulb.

I have driven only in the day time. I know that both lights *were* working when I bought the car. Since then, I cannot say the last time I looked at the right head light. When I was looking at lights, it was from the drivers door pushing the brake pedal to see if the new tail light bulb and taillight switch was working. Other than looking to the front to see a light reflection on the wall indicating the headlight was on I really don't know if the right headlight was lit anymore.

Lesson, do a through check of the car even on systems I don't habitually use as I never know when I might.

Now, the errant light socket - please look at the video I have linked to.

Faulty Headlight

Here is what I found "behind the scenes."



As far as I can see, there is no means of focusing this arrangement. What was the previous owner thinking?? Is this the remains of a sealed beam conversion?? I am debating trying to fix this or simply replacing the entire unit.

I have gone from one previous owner "fix" to another... I suppose for a ninety year old car, you just come to expect this.

Your thoughts on the headlights would be welcome. Thank you

For those commenting on the first, apparent issue, thank you for your guidance on that, too.

Best Regards,

John+
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Old 08-02-2021, 01:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

As far as I can see, there is no means of focusing this arrangement. What was the previous owner thinking?? Is this the remains of a sealed beam conversion?? I am debating trying to fix this or simply replacing the entire unit.
I think you have a pretty common problem. That looks stock to me, the lights were not "sealed beams" as in one headlight lamp. You just remove the bulb and pull the reflector forward and see what you have behind it. You seem to catch on pretty fast to stuff, it's self evident. May just have to squeeze the socket or the spring slipped out...you'll see it. You "focus" the lights by loosing the mounting bolts and move up and down. The link below is just one product and locally most auto stores sell socket stuff. I don't believe you have to be careful handling the bulbs with tissue as they are not halogen...

https://www.snydersantiqueauto.com/P...hts/head-light
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Old 08-02-2021, 03:42 AM   #10
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

That is not a stock headlight. The little screw at the back of the headlight bucket normally can move the socket for the headlight in and out against a spring.

When I have had loose socket problems like that I have just squeezed together the socket to make it tighter. Not sure if you can do that with this arrangement.

Depending on whether you have an alternator or not you may want to look at quartz bulbs. They are bright but take a lot of current.
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Old 08-02-2021, 09:25 AM   #11
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

If you have reflectors like the video they're not sealed beam. Halogen and quartz mods replace the sockets, that may be your problem. To install the assemblies linked above you have to drill the rivets at the bottom of the bucket and replace them with rivet head screws sold by the vendors (small carriage bolts work too). If the bucket end sockets are in good shape (probably not) it's easier to clip the wires and splice.
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:04 AM   #12
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

This is what should be in the headlight.
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File Type: jpg A13075A-600x800.jpg (11.5 KB, 25 views)
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Old 08-02-2021, 07:49 PM   #13
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

Thank you for the comments and illustrations. Looking at what I have and what needs to be done to it, I might start looking for reasonably complete units . . .


I don't mind fixing 90 year old parts when they wear out. Fixing someone's "good idea" to work around an issue instead of really putting it right is getting a bit tiring. . . I should try and look at this positively - the previous owners of this car are providing me with authentic reasons to delve into how Henry's engineers designed the Model A and how the plant workers actually carried out those designs. If nothing else, I am really really learning how everything works.


Thank you for your collective insight and assistance.


Best Regards,


John+
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Old 08-03-2021, 11:58 AM   #14
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

Adding even more problems is the fact that a lot of reproduction stuff is no where near the quality of the original Ford OEM parts. Some are better than others so it pays to get opinions from those that have current experience with vendors.

Add on aftermarket equipment can also be problematic. Learning to recognize original stuff from add on stuff can take a while but it will become apparent with persistence and information from other good sources. Photos can be uploaded to this site pretty easy so that folks on here can see what you might be up against.
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Old 08-06-2021, 07:52 PM   #15
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

Any recommendations for someone selling correct, as in not needing to be rebuilt before I can use it, light sockets and related parts?
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Old 08-07-2021, 09:06 AM   #16
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

Sounds like you'll have to rebuild the headlights themselves.

If the bucket socket has been gutted and wires spliced (common occurance), Bratton's has the flat ended main harness wire ends for the headlights. You will need the plugs - wire guides - that go into the bucket (outer) socket. You'll also need to drill out the rivets in the base plate to install the socket harnesses, as it holds the outer socket. I got my socket harnesses from Snyder's; good quality.
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Old 08-07-2021, 09:35 AM   #17
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

The headlamp interconnect parts are among the most difficult to find good reproductions. Where Ford used quality metal, bakelite, and forming techniques, the modern repro stuff is very difficult to get it to interconnect as the originals did.

This is a good thread on the subject.
https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showt...1478&showall=1
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Old 08-10-2021, 11:19 PM   #18
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Default Re: Light Switch no longer working as designed

Thank you for all your helpful advice!


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