Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 06, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

Hello,
Here's what I have...
Before I installed a Flaming River steering column a couple years ago, the only lamp issue I was having was my driver side brake light and rear turn signal was dim, and the passenger side was bright (almost as bright with brakes off as it is with the brakes on)...neither rear signal would brighten very much when the brakes were on or turn signals were flashing. Front signals worked reasonably well.

I still have those old problems...When I first noticed my new problems, I wasn't sure if it was something with the new steering column (still not certain), because I had all my stuff pulled out of the dash. It's been that way ever since. Now that I have the car back on the road, I'm trying to figure this issue out. In addition to the Flaming River steering column, I've installed all new M&H wiring harnesses throughout, new head lamp switch, a Covans dash panel with all Autometer gauges in the dash. The car runs well and the gauges function normal...but the lamps are acting crazy (dash lights, turn signals, brake lamps and parking lamps).

Ignition off:
- Step on brakes and the gauge lamps, brake lights and front parking lamps all light. The dash lamps and front parking lamps are dim when they light, but they light. Release the brake and they all shut off.
- Turn on head lamps or parking lamps only and all lamps will light as normal. Then turn on turn signal, the odometer lamp will flash, but the dash turn signal lamps and exterior turn signal lamps don't flash.
- With ign on or off, the Hazard signal switch will cause all exterior parking, tailights and marker lamps to blink, and will also cause dash turn signal lamps to blink and the gauge lamps to blink....until the headlamps are turned on...then the blinkers won't blink, but the front parking lamps both stay bright and the rear brake lamps don't brighten very much at all but rear righty is still brighter than lefty at all times.

Ignition On:
- Headlights off and either turn signal on will cause all exterior turn signals to blink, and the one that is supposed to blink is the brightest, but not by much.
-Headlights on and the front turn signal will light but not flash. Rear signals get only slightly brighter, and do not flash. Dash turn signal lamp will light but not blink. Odometer does not blink like it does with the ignition off and the headlamps and tursn signals on.

Dimmer switch functions normally.
Head lamps and High beams function normally.

That sums it up....I don't have a clue . Let me know what you think.
Tim

Meanchicken
68 SS
ZZ502; TKO-600; 3:73 Moser 12-bolt w/Detroit TruTrak; SSBC Force 10 4 wheel power disks;QA1 Coil Overs; Global West Tubulars;GNX Quick Ratio 12:1 PS; Hotchkis Front Sway Bar
87 Buick Grand National (does 10's)
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old Nov 23rd, 06, 03:09 AM
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Re: Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

Heck...
I am guessing here however it sounds like the brake light wire is connected to the instrument light wire connection on the light switch and then the instrument light wire is connected to the brake light. Well...I could be wrong however its a start. You also want to insure the grounds are good. The bright part of the brake light system and blinkers require a stronger ground.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old Nov 23rd, 06, 06:16 AM
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Re: Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

The first place I'd look on a 68 is the tail light grounds. Pick up some quarter inch star washers at a hardware store and put them under some of the nuts that secure the tail light housings to the body.





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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old Nov 23rd, 06, 10:16 AM
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Re: Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

Major ground issue. Make certain ALL the ground straps are there and clean, especially the straps from the body to front subframe and sub to engine, engine to battery. You are getting a backfeed as a result of the circuit being unable to get back to the battery. The power will backfeed thru another circuit to get to a ground thru anything it can. This really isn't as complicated as it seems. Since you already have new wire harnesses, I recommend checking/replacing all the ground straps I mentioned.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 06, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

Thanks!
All ground straps are in place and new also.
I looked for pretty much every ground wire I could find and cleaned up the contact area down to bare metal. I'll go hunt for more and will also get me a box of star washers to place under the contacts. I also should probably follow some previous advice and move my engine to fire wall straps from the valve cover bolts and down to the iron block (I have alum heads). I also still need to re-lo my neg batt cable from the head down to the motor mount.

More than any of the above, I think my steering column might be in sore need of a good ground strap. This is the only common point for all of the above issues I described in my initial post.

Tim

Meanchicken
68 SS
ZZ502; TKO-600; 3:73 Moser 12-bolt w/Detroit TruTrak; SSBC Force 10 4 wheel power disks;QA1 Coil Overs; Global West Tubulars;GNX Quick Ratio 12:1 PS; Hotchkis Front Sway Bar
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 06, 04:03 PM
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Re: Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

Wow, you've covered the ground bases vey well, and I wouldn't worry about the grounds to the valve cover right now....aluminum conducts electricity as well, if not better than, cast iron. It does sound like there is a problem in the column. Have you called Flaming River about this ?? It almost sounds like some wires have gotten crossed during assembly or were scraped to bare wire and are touching something else. As far as the column being grounded the only thing I can think of that would need that is the horn. All other circuits just pass thru...

Anyway you could have the brake switch in the wrong harness socket ?? Is the harness compatible with the Flaming River column ?? and turn signal switch ??

I would leave the main neg cable on the block, as it is needed for the starter circuit. If you want to insure a block to frame ground, add another strap from the block to the frame via the mounting bolts on each (bypasses the main motor mount bolt being a conductor).

Sorry this isn't as easy as a ground problem....it seems you have them covered.

...38 Chev coupe, street rod
...54 Chev 210 coupe
...62 Impala SS, driver/project
...67 Camaro, ss/rs LA built driver/project
...66 Chevelle SS, Atlanta built 138 driver/project
...69 C10, cab and clip may end up on the '89 rollback
...70 Chevelle SS, Canadian documented Z25 project
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old Dec 12th, 06, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

Here's where I'm at currently.
I swapped my headlamp switch with an old one I had...no change.

I took my old steering column and plugged it in (didn't reinstall it...just hooked up the electricals)....no change.

I left the steering column electricals disconnected. This of course disabled the turn signal function, but I still got dash gauge lights that light up when stepping on the brakes.

I disconnected the dash gauge panel harness...all exterior signal and marker lamps still behave the same.

I added ground wires from the tail light housings to the sheet metal housing in the trunk that protects the gas filler tube (same spot that has a ground wire from the harness attached). It made my tail lights brighter, but otherwise...no change.

Next steps.
Attempt to further isolate by disconnecting one harness at a time. Then further isolate by unplugging the brake lamp switch and signal lamps one at a time.

Questions:
Could a faulty flasher be this evil to me?

I noticed in the assy manual that the turn signal flasher actually has a mounting clamp that attaches to the dash. Mine is just dangling back there by it's connector. Does it need to be mounted (grounded) to the dash by it's housing?

Should the marker lamps on the fenders have ground wires? Mine don't. They only connect via the plug from the harness.

Do you suggest running a dedicated ground wire from the battery to the tail light ground?

Any other advice?
Tim

Meanchicken
68 SS
ZZ502; TKO-600; 3:73 Moser 12-bolt w/Detroit TruTrak; SSBC Force 10 4 wheel power disks;QA1 Coil Overs; Global West Tubulars;GNX Quick Ratio 12:1 PS; Hotchkis Front Sway Bar
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old Dec 12th, 06, 11:01 AM
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Re: Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

Good Grief, Tim !!!!! This going to drive us both nuts.....I USED to think I was pretty good at chasing electrical issues.

Fender markers should ground thru the harness (there are 2 wires on each, right). At this point, don't rule anything out....make certain they do actually go to ground with a connectivity tester or ohm meter.

Flasher.....mounting....no need to ground...there are many plastic flashers around. Causing the issue ......I have seen flashers do a lot of crazy sh!t on a car, from only letting one side flash to different flash rates side-to-side.....if it's still a common link thru all of this...YES...get a good replacement and try it !

I hope you're keeping a journal of all this.....you may be able to write a DIY book when you're done and retire on the sales.

...38 Chev coupe, street rod
...54 Chev 210 coupe
...62 Impala SS, driver/project
...67 Camaro, ss/rs LA built driver/project
...66 Chevelle SS, Atlanta built 138 driver/project
...69 C10, cab and clip may end up on the '89 rollback
...70 Chevelle SS, Canadian documented Z25 project
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old Dec 12th, 06, 11:21 AM
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Re: Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

Went back and reread everything.....the Covan dash jumped out at me, mostly cause I wasn't familiar with it. I looked it up and find it is plastic. Could the dash lights not have a ground because of this ??? I would think the harness provides a ground wire to be mounted to the metal dash panel, but again, are you certain it is doing it's intended job ?? Might be something to check....

...38 Chev coupe, street rod
...54 Chev 210 coupe
...62 Impala SS, driver/project
...67 Camaro, ss/rs LA built driver/project
...66 Chevelle SS, Atlanta built 138 driver/project
...69 C10, cab and clip may end up on the '89 rollback
...70 Chevelle SS, Canadian documented Z25 project
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old Dec 12th, 06, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

Thanks, Mitch.
Ya....when I have issues, they usually require a lot of medication to fix....or a really big hammer...read the post a did a few months back on interference issues I had after installing my 502 and TKO.

I'll try some new flashers out just for sanity check sake.

How do I run my ohmeter across the marker lamps? Yes. Each has two wires.

Yes, the Covan panel harness connects all the gauge grounds together and also grounds the signal lamp lights. One thing that is shakey about the indicator lamps on the panel is they are LED lamps with these very narrow gauge wires. Those wires are crimped into crimps that are made for 16-18 gauge wire per the assy instructions and kit that came with the panel, however if this was the problem, I don't think the lamps would work at all.
The grounds for all gauges and lamps from the panel go to a single wire that attaches to my fire wall.

Thanks! Tim

Meanchicken
68 SS
ZZ502; TKO-600; 3:73 Moser 12-bolt w/Detroit TruTrak; SSBC Force 10 4 wheel power disks;QA1 Coil Overs; Global West Tubulars;GNX Quick Ratio 12:1 PS; Hotchkis Front Sway Bar
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old Dec 12th, 06, 05:10 PM
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Re: Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

My ohm meter has a sound setting and will beep if there is continuity. I put 1 probe in the lamp socket for ground and touch the other 1 to any ground. It should beep. There are measurements of resistance to see how good the conection is, but for now, if it beeps, it should OK.

At this point.....I would be tempted to separate the ground wires on the dash panel. Gauges on 1 wire and lamps on another with 2 separate wires attaching to the firewall on 2 different screws. With everything on 1 wire, it would be hard to know if something was shorting across or backfeeding. I use the small pink butt connectors to crimp on the tiny LED wires. The size you mentioned need to be darn near crimped in half to hold them tight. Just a thought...hard to be a second pair of eyes from across the country...and you've exhausted most everything I would have done. Short of a screw-up in the new harness, I'm grabbing straws as to where to look next. If you've double and triple checked all the harness locations and connections and know them to be right, it may be the harness itself..

...38 Chev coupe, street rod
...54 Chev 210 coupe
...62 Impala SS, driver/project
...67 Camaro, ss/rs LA built driver/project
...66 Chevelle SS, Atlanta built 138 driver/project
...69 C10, cab and clip may end up on the '89 rollback
...70 Chevelle SS, Canadian documented Z25 project
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old Dec 12th, 06, 06:43 PM
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Re: Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

I had almost the same problems. It ended up being the turn signal harness in the column. If your old one wasnt replaced sense 69 it might be bad too along with the Flaming River one. There cheap at Napa and you can return it (maybe). Once I got a new one everything work like new. It took me weeks of afterwork testing, ground clips blah blah... Just thought Id share that.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old Dec 12th, 06, 07:02 PM
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Re: Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

I had the same problem on my 68. after checking / cleaning all grounds/connections.It turned out to be a rear turn/brake bulb .Took almost two months and half a head of hair. Good luck
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old Dec 13th, 06, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

Well kiddies....there is a saying I live by.
"Stupid is as Simple does"
...And I could write a book...
On the way home last night, I picked up a new flasher. The $3.50 was worth knowing if it was the problem....it wasn't.

So I commenced to pulling bulbs outa their sockets one by one starting with the rear passenger marker lamp.
Marker lamp wasn't it...
Moved on to the rear passenger brake lamp. It's the one that is always as bright as it can be under all conditions. When I grounded it, I noticed both filiments were lit up when it should have just been one. So I pulled it. While removing it, I noticed I really had to muscle it to get it to twist and come out. Turns out it was kinda forced in there incorrectly against the key ways, so this was some how causing it to short in the socket. I didn't recall it being so hard to install when I put in the new harnesses, but apparently...I'm and idiot.
I reinstalled it correctly, and also checked the other brake lamp and reinstalled that one correctly too.

Problem solved.
Everything now works as it should.
...At least I know all my system gounds are good now cuz I've grounded the bejesus out of that car.

Then I log on this AM and find this, "I had the same problem..." post from Martins68...
Dude...couldn't you have replied sooner?
LOL
Fortunately when I started this trouble shooting adventure, I already was completely out of hair, but you could have saved me some claw marks on my head from scratching it so hard.

Thanks for chasing this with me, guys. I'll gladly autograph my book for you.

Tim

Meanchicken
68 SS
ZZ502; TKO-600; 3:73 Moser 12-bolt w/Detroit TruTrak; SSBC Force 10 4 wheel power disks;QA1 Coil Overs; Global West Tubulars;GNX Quick Ratio 12:1 PS; Hotchkis Front Sway Bar
87 Buick Grand National (does 10's)
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old Dec 13th, 06, 09:42 AM
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Re: Crazy Dash Lights and Turn Signals

When all the difficult, technical solutions don't fix it....look for simple, stupid things...glad you got this fixed !!!

...38 Chev coupe, street rod
...54 Chev 210 coupe
...62 Impala SS, driver/project
...67 Camaro, ss/rs LA built driver/project
...66 Chevelle SS, Atlanta built 138 driver/project
...69 C10, cab and clip may end up on the '89 rollback
...70 Chevelle SS, Canadian documented Z25 project
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