65 taillights, brakelights and reverse lights - Impala Tech
Electrical & Wiring Troubleshooting electrical problems

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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2017, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 24
65 taillights, brakelights and reverse lights

Good morning all!

I'm reading in the forums about taillights and which should be doing what function. And I see the wiring diagram for a 66 (see attached) that shows all three lights supposed to be brake and taillights ... but mine's a 65.

So, for a 65 with reverse light built into the center one on each side, should the middle one also shine red on tail and/or brake light application? or just the ones on either side of the reverse light?

and while we're talking about it... my reverse light is not lighting up when I put it in reverse. Where does it get it's signal? the shifter lever? or on the transmission? (mine is an SS with the automatic lever in the floor console, if that makes a difference)

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according to the body tag: (if I'm reading this correctly)
Build Date: Third week of November, 1965
Impala SS 2-door coupe (V8)
Arlington TX plant.
Original Paint: Evening Orchid (currently Crocus Yellow)
Original Interior: white/black (currently Black)
Factory Air Conditioning

not on the tag:
396 TurboJet (non-matching number)
3-speed, Automatic Transmission (TH400?)

12 bolt,
locking rear differential (
3.30? gear ratio)
Tri-Volume Horn (GM Accessory)
Houston is offline  
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2017, 11:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,690
Yes it makes a difference what type shifter you have. n the column the reverse light switch is at the base of the steering column inside the cabin by the toe boards. On a floor shifter it is under the car as part of the shifter mechanism.

Big Dave
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2017, 12:30 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: SoCal
Posts: 183
Both outboard and inboard lights will be both taillight and brake-light.
Reverse lights --> these are grounded at the taillight housing. If they lose ground, they won't work. Jiggle the socket in the housing to see if will ground and light up. Make sure the the socket contacts are clean where it is pushed into taillight housing. Use a test light to see if power is going to the socket.

1967 Chevrolet Impala SS convertible - Ermine White C1
1967 Chevrolet Impala SS 396 - Marina Blue FF
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2017, 09:01 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 335
On an SS automatic it is on the right side of the shifter, right underneath where your PRNDSL indicator is. I don't know if you have to remove the whole console to see it, or if the insert in the console comes out and you can see it that way.
Darth is offline  
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 05:23 PM
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 3
I'm having same issue in 65 SS with console automatic. No break lights or taillights in center light. No reverse light in center light either. If i'm reading these suggestions correctly I'll need to check connectivity under shifter for reverse lights. however, how do i get center light to work as tail and break lights?
dheckman64 is offline  
post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 05:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,690
Chevy never had a center light (six lamps) the middle is a dumby like the fourth smoke stack on the Titanic. They are there only because the stylist thought they looked good. The bean counters vetoed making it functional to save money for their annual Christmas party. The middle lamp is your back up light normally, though it might vary from model to model (Biscayne, BelAir, Impala, Caprice). I just can not remember.

If you desire to make it functional it would be a piece of cake to wire up a LED bulb to use power from it's neighbor to make all six light up.

Big Dave
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