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Thread: That sound you hear is me banging my head against the wall

  1. #1
    Registered Member scorpion1110's Avatar
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    That sound you hear is me banging my head against the wall

    Wiring the 55 Wagon; rear taillights, brake lights, back up lights.

    Tail lights first.

    Pulled my rear harness through and hooked up the tail lights. Nothing. So I checked connections and the factory diagram against the aftermarket harness and figured it was likely a ground issue. Ran a ground test wire and the passenger side lit up. I modified the taillight assembly with a separate ground wire. Ran it to the frame with a star washer and hit the light switch and the passenger side lit up.

    Duplicated everything on the driver side and nothing.

    Heres my troubleshoot:

    1) modified taillight housing with a separate ground wire to frame with star washer
    2) verified that wire feeding taillights was hot
    3) verified that current was running through pig tail and that black wire was hot.
    4) changed 1157 bulb twice
    5) removed pig tail and checked contacts and ran a test light off both feeds. It lit up for the tail light feed.

    OK, still no taillight driver side.

    The only thing I can think is that the taillight housing is not allowing bulb contacts to align with pig tail contacts.

    What am I missing?

    S
    Scorp

    Rides:

    1955 Chevy 2-door Wagon
    1967 MGB GT
    1970 Honda Trail 70
    1974 Yamaha 175 Enduro
    2004 Tacoma 4x4

    I lost my best friend on 10/3/2018. Rest in Peace Dear Lucy. I miss you everyday.

  2. #2
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    First thing, a stock 55-57 has no ground connection to the frame. It does have a ground connection to the body.

    Remove the bulbs and test the contacts in the sockets with a test light or multi-meter, first with the light or meter ground connected direct to the battery, and work from there.

  3. #3
    Registered Member scorpion1110's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick_L View Post
    First thing, a stock 55-57 has no ground connection to the frame. It does have a ground connection to the body.

    Remove the bulbs and test the contacts in the sockets with a test light or multi-meter, first with the light or meter ground connected direct to the battery, and work from there.
    Rick you're right.

    The housing grounds to the body. However the wagon has fresh paint and when I ran my first test, nothing lit up. I ran a ground to a point on the housing and the passenger light lit up. When I have wired cars in the past, I have bypassed the "touch ground" system with a supplemental ground at the tail lights as typically grounds are the first issue when you have electrical gremlins. If you look at the 55 chevy with the rubber taillight surround, the ground points are the 4 screws holding the housing to the fender. It's an opportunity for problems.

    I ran a test light on all contact points and it lit up like a Christmas tree.

    I plan on doing exactly what you suggest today. I keep a test battery on the bench. I am removing the housing and running a bench test.

    The only thing I can think is that the bulb contacts are not lining up with the pig tail which of course is a repop.

    More to come later today.
    Scorp

    Rides:

    1955 Chevy 2-door Wagon
    1967 MGB GT
    1970 Honda Trail 70
    1974 Yamaha 175 Enduro
    2004 Tacoma 4x4

    I lost my best friend on 10/3/2018. Rest in Peace Dear Lucy. I miss you everyday.

  4. #4
    Registered Member scorpion1110's Avatar
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    I just re-read youre post. About ground at body versus frame. I ground the passenger tail light with a supplemental to the frame after running a test to the cleanest surface I could find- the tail pipe. Then I went to the frame and it continued to light.

    I just assumed the driver side would act in the same way. Never assume anything.

    I will check the ground at body versus frame. I didnt check. I do know that the ground points in front are set up as recommended and I am using a Ron Francis kit from the Battery with two supplemental ground bars in the cabin and in the engine compartment.
    Scorp

    Rides:

    1955 Chevy 2-door Wagon
    1967 MGB GT
    1970 Honda Trail 70
    1974 Yamaha 175 Enduro
    2004 Tacoma 4x4

    I lost my best friend on 10/3/2018. Rest in Peace Dear Lucy. I miss you everyday.

  5. #5
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    55 and 56 cars have the negative battery cable (actually a strap) connected to the firewall. There is a ground strap from the firewall to the engine, but none to the frame. There is no strap from the body to the frame. Of course someone could add that.

  6. #6
    Registered Member scorpion1110's Avatar
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    Yep-

    Thats what I did. The RF Kit has a long 2 gauge main negative lead with a supplemental 6 gauge. I ran the heavy negative from Battery to engine, the supplemental from battery to body, and then engine to frame.

    In front I ran a 6 gauge strapped supplemental terminal with 5 tabs and inside I ran a second supplemental 5 tab terminal. I can see all of my accessory grounds in one spot engine bay and dash.

    In the back I only had two things to ground and I went to the frame.

    Its either ground or terminal connections since I have power.

    I was just curious if there was a quirk I was missing.
    Scorp

    Rides:

    1955 Chevy 2-door Wagon
    1967 MGB GT
    1970 Honda Trail 70
    1974 Yamaha 175 Enduro
    2004 Tacoma 4x4

    I lost my best friend on 10/3/2018. Rest in Peace Dear Lucy. I miss you everyday.

  7. #7
    Registered Member scorpion1110's Avatar
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    Pulled the tail light and bench tested to spare battery. Tail light wont light but back-up lights are fine.

    Pretty sure the socket is so distorted that the bulbs and pigtails arent lining up. So off to Ron Francis who makes a replacement insert and actually pictures install on a 55 chevy tail light. Pulling both bulb sockets and replacing.

    Will post when they are installed.
    Last edited by scorpion1110; 12-01-2019 at 11:36 AM. Reason: cannot spell
    Scorp

    Rides:

    1955 Chevy 2-door Wagon
    1967 MGB GT
    1970 Honda Trail 70
    1974 Yamaha 175 Enduro
    2004 Tacoma 4x4

    I lost my best friend on 10/3/2018. Rest in Peace Dear Lucy. I miss you everyday.

  8. #8
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    You are on the right track installing additional grounds. I have at least three between the frame and body with 6 wire. Also I have 1/0 cable between the battery and the engine. Along with the same 1/0 between the engine and frame. The alternator case is grounded to the engine w/6 gauge.

    The battery positive lead to starter is also 1/0.

    The use of relays can cut down the amp draw thru switches. Especially the ignition switch and light switch that are prone to burn up.

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