tail light problems on a 69 - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 10, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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tail light problems on a 69

Just want to preface this by saying that I have really, really tried to find an answer to my problem in previous posts... I checked that I have the double filament outer stop/turn/park sockets and the single filament inner back up and park sockets along with matching bulbs. I think the tail end of my harness is good to go. Turns signals and hazards work fine. Here's the problem:

I have no parking/running tail lights! Basically, the light green and brown lines are dead. I tried a test light: dark green and yellow good; light green and brown bad. So, my problem is farther toward the front of the car, right?

Problem is, I don't know where to look past the point where the harness runs behind the back seat. I can see that it runs between the backseat driver's side paneling, but have no idea where it goes beyond that. I started to take the panel off, but was afraid I was going to tear it up and not be able to get it back together. I looked at the AIM, and see that there's a connection (bottom left side of page 180), but I don't know where that connection is, or how it connects to the front end of the car. Following the lines to page 179, it looks like they just disappear into the door jam and key warning switch... But I can't find those either!

Also, if it's any kind of clue, I removed the autometer gauge cluster that previous owner installed, so there's no dash cluster right now. HOWEVER, I do have functioning headlights (and signals). Maybe I accidentally cut something leading to the tail lights when I removed the old cluster? I don't know if tail lights worked before I removed it, b/c I had never driven it at night up until last weekend.

Thanks for everyone's time, in advance
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 10, 07:43 PM
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Re: tail light problems on a 69

First thing - make sure your trunk harness is grounded. Should be a black wire/small screw somewhere at the trunk latch support. If it's there, remove it, clean to bare metal, reinstall and report back.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 10, 07:43 PM
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Re: tail light problems on a 69

Fiddle with the turn signal lever, lift up on it or simular action. Tail light power goes through the t/sig switch and before the t/sig switch, headlamp switch for power. Check fuse?

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 10, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: tail light problems on a 69

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Originally Posted by BPOS View Post
First thing - make sure your trunk harness is grounded. Should be a black wire/small screw somewhere at the trunk latch support. If it's there, remove it, clean to bare metal, reinstall and report back.
Ground is solid, for certain. Ran the test light in front of the sockets and got nada.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 10, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: tail light problems on a 69

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Originally Posted by Everett#2390 View Post
Fiddle with the turn signal lever, lift up on it or simular action. Tail light power goes through the t/sig switch and before the t/sig switch, headlamp switch for power. Check fuse?
What all would fiddling include? I did some wiggling, and what not, but not sure what else to do... Incidentally, the signal cancel doesn't work. Could that have anything to do with it?

Fuse is good to go. Tried three different ones.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 10, 08:41 PM
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Re: tail light problems on a 69

Sorry Everett, tail lights / parking lights do not go through the turn signal switch.

Tail light wire is brown. It powers all the tail lights, and the rear marker lights and the license plate light. It also powers the front parking lights and marker lights.

This circuit is completely separate from the turn signals. It even has a separate fuse.

If your front marker and parking lights work, then the fuse and headlight switch are good.

If not, start with the fuse.

The tail light fuse is the middle one on the left row.
CLK-CTY-LTR
TAIL <-----------------------Check or replace this fuse
STOP-HAZ

From there, an orange 16 guage wire goes to the headlight switch pin 4 (be careful not to confuse this wire with the clk-cty-ltr circuit, which is also 16 orange)

It comes out of the headlight switch on the brown wire on pin 5.

The only junction is behind the top of the drivers kick panel. Hard to see behind the ebrake, but it's there, and the wires are long enough to fish the connector out and check it.





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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 10, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: tail light problems on a 69

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It comes out of the headlight switch on the brown wire on pin 5.
Jim, you are some kind of smart, man. I'm SO embarrassed, but I wasn't getting good connection on the 5 pin. I smashed the connector onto the switch the best I could, flipped on the headlight switch, went to the trunk, run the test light and BAM! I got spark.

Upside to all of this, I learned what pin is what on the headlight switch; I rebuild and replaced some needy parts on my tail light harness. Downside, I feel ridiculous for not have a good connection on my switch!

Thanks a ton, Jim!
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old Sep 3rd, 10, 04:48 AM
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Re: tail light problems on a 69

No problem Zac, glad I could help out.
And no, I'm not that smart, just have a good memory, and some kickass wiring diagrams.
Thanks for joining up at the new site.





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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old Sep 3rd, 10, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: tail light problems on a 69

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old Sep 4th, 10, 04:50 AM
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Re: tail light problems on a 69

Just a quick comment if I may --- while I enjoy the back and forth banter on some of the Off-Topic threads, the posts in this thread are a great example of one of the core competencies of this site -- the ability to post a question and get answers from an experienced and helpful group of folks

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old Sep 4th, 10, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Re: tail light problems on a 69

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Just a quick comment if I may --- while I enjoy the back and forth banter on some of the Off-Topic threads, the posts in this thread are a great example of one of the core competencies of this site -- the ability to post a question and get answers from an experienced and helpful group of folks
I couldn't agree more. Really appreciate everyone's input... And on that note: My tail light gremlin is back.

After Jim's advice to check the number 4 pin on the light switch, I squeezed the swith on to the connector tight than I had been, and everything was working -- last night. Today: nada.

I used a test light on the the brown and orange wires, respectively, in front of and behind the light switch; got no juice. So, the only thing I could think of that could change literally over night is the fuse. But, I tried swapping it out, and still not getting anything...

I'm going to try to find that connector behind the driver's kick panel that Jim mentioned. I'll let you know how it goes.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old Sep 29th, 10, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: tail light problems on a 69

Just an update for TCers who have this problem in the future...

Note that the reason it's taken me so long to get back to this is because I got side tracked with my tail light problem by pulling my entire dash and headlight harnesses. They were a MESS. I got everything cleaned up, organized and was checking to make sure everything worked before I install my new ("restored" OEM) dash and gauges.

First, I had no brake, head or tail lights. Had left turn, but right turn just stayed on, but very dim. Realized I forgot the fuses -- oops! A few new 20A fuses a ground that a missed and I had everything but tail lights.

W/ headlights on I was getting major heat and even smoke from the brown tail light wire at the headlight switch. Disconnected the intermediate harness from the dash harness. At that point, the heat stopped coming off the headlight switch, but I still had spark where it connects to the intermediate harness... So, the problem was either in the intermediate harness or tail. Moved to the trunk and the connection between the intermediate harness and tail harness and, wouldn't you know it, had very weak spark on the test light when I put it on the brown wire on the intermediate harness connection. I wire brushed the connectors on the male and female ends and BAM, good as new. (Cleaned up all the others while I was at it.)

I realize no one asked me about this, but I just wanted to share this small victory with my fellow TCers. I never would have known how to do all this w/o searching old posts. Thanks, all, for your contributions!

Last edited by ZaCamaro69; Sep 29th, 10 at 10:19 PM. Reason: fixing typos... because I'm neurotic
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 10, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Re: tail light problems on a 69

After all my celebrating, I've found that my all my tail lights are working, but they're very finicky. Specifically, if I just tap the bulb with my finger, it may go from working great, to not being on at all. I'm using the double contact sockets and the corresponding 1157 bulbs. The bulbs feel like they're "clicked" into place correctly, but they just don't seem to be working like they should. Is the problem that they're crappy after market replacements, or have I somehow mismatched bulbs and sockets?

Thanks.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 10, 10:32 PM
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Re: tail light problems on a 69

Some (most?) of the aftermarket sockets are pretty bad quality. The ones on my brand new harness from AAW as so loose, the bulb will actually rattle around in the socket! You may have to "tweek" the contacts, metal socket sleeve/bulb mount, etc. to get a good fit and consistant results. The ground contacts are another issue...


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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 10, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: tail light problems on a 69

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Originally Posted by flyingskibiker View Post
Some (most?) of the aftermarket sockets are pretty bad quality. The ones on my brand new harness from AAW as so loose, the bulb will actually rattle around in the socket! You may have to "tweek" the contacts, metal socket sleeve/bulb mount, etc. to get a good fit and consistant results. The ground contacts are another issue...
Yeesh! I actually salvaged/rebuilt my oem harness. Despite it being a pain in the arse, I'm glad go know that the replacement sockets aren't any better than the ones on the complete harness!

So, what kind of tweaking are you thinking of? Maybe prying the contact points inward a little bit, so that they squeeze the bulb tighter? I bought a couple of extras so I guess theres no harm in expirenting!
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