Tail Light Acting Up - Impala Tech
Electrical & Wiring Troubleshooting electrical problems

 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-30-2019, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Tail Light Acting Up

Hello all,
The driver side outer tail light is acting up. It does not work unless I remove the lense and wiggle the bulb and then it works only temporarily. Would dielectric grease work or do I need a new tail light fixture? Thanks for any replies.

1968 Impala SS
496 Stroker
T56 Conversion
3.73 Posi-Trac
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-30-2019, 06:57 PM
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Fixture stays as it is part of your car. You can replace the light bulb socket in the fixture with a pig tail:

https://www.ebay.com/p/9024639634?ii...UaAhlXEALw_wcB

Before you do that though check your grounding of the socket. Any play in the assembly will cause intermittent connections. On my 1959 Corvette nothing worked until I replaced the ground wiring with a grounded bus on the firewall routing ground wires aft to the lights.

Big Dave
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-31-2019, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Checked all grounds, everything looks fine. Cleaned all corrosion out of the problem socket and reinstalled the bulb. Presto! Except now, it's too bright! Upon closer inspection, the wrong/brighter filament is illuminated with the lights on. I'm guessing this is the brake light? Don't understand how all other taillights are fine but this one is acting wonky. It is the closest light to the rear harness. Not sure if that matters. Ugh. Back to the drawing board.

1968 Impala SS
496 Stroker
T56 Conversion
3.73 Posi-Trac
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-31-2019, 07:44 PM
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The 1157 bulb can be reversed (put in the wrong way) as the brass socket will bend if you force the bulb in against the grooves.

Big Dave
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-01-2019, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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OK. Bulb is not reversed - it's installed and oriented same as the others. Has gone back to only working when I wiggle it around. I switched fixtures with the inboard tail light and the problem followed the fixture, so it is isolated now.

Dumb question time. When should the reverse lights be illuminated? Key on, transmission in neutral, correct? Irregardless of the lights being on? Should they be getting 12V? Thanks.

1968 Impala SS
496 Stroker
T56 Conversion
3.73 Posi-Trac
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-01-2019, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
When should the reverse lights be illuminated? Key on, transmission in neutral, correct?
Nope! It lights up as soon as you shift into reverse (the switch is located at the base of the steering column secured by two screws). The switch holes are slotted so you loosen the screws and move the switch to adjust it.

To test for a bad ground run a 25 foot spool of wire (can be as light as 14 gauge for most tests) from the battery. Touch the wire to the out side of the fixture's bulb shell. If it lights up then you have a bad ground. If it doesn't the pig tail is bad (not conducting current. You can tesy the pig tail by touching the lead bead inside the brass shell that holds the bulb (unlike with the board game "Operation", if you touch the shell you will blow the fuse instead of setting off the buzzer). With lights on one will be hot. Turn on turn signal and the other will become hot.

Now if the pig tail is reversed it can be GENTLY pushed out and rotated 180 degrees then pushed back in. Most likely if you examine your wiring you will find the wires were cut and spliced (accidentally reversed) to pull a trailer temporarily. this is very common.

Big Dave
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-02-2019, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Dave, the issue with the reverse lights (they don't work at all) is due to switching from a column shifted auto to a floor shifted manual. I changed steering columns during the swap and no longer have the two connectors that plug into the switch on the column that you mentioned. So now the car doesn't "know" I'm shifting into reverse. I have to figure out how to get the reverse lights to work now. I'm thinking I'll need another relay.

1968 Impala SS
496 Stroker
T56 Conversion
3.73 Posi-Trac
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-02-2019, 11:41 PM
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You just need a reverse light switch that attaches to your shifter (which I assume is now floor mounted. Hurst manual shifters used a switch sold as an option (that few ever bought) to attach to there four speed shifter. Factory had a switch in the linkage attached to the floor pan at the edge of the shifter hole. Any micro switch will work with a relay to switch the lights in (a micro switch can not handle the current of two 1156 bulbs or 60 Watts). The relay would power the lights powered off of the ignition switch so the battery doesn't go dead if you turned it off in reverse for some reason (or the switch wasn't adjusted as reverse is next to park in the shifting pattern).

Big Dave
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