1966 brake light question - Impala Tech
Electrical & Wiring Troubleshooting electrical problems

 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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1966 brake light question

So I've wondered about this since I got my car, and now I need to figure it out.

On the driver's side, the middle socket only has one wire going to it. I cannot find any trace of a second wire in the harness or in the socket. It looks like it never had a second wire, all the other bulbs on that side have multiple wires.

It is the same on the passenger side, one wire only in the midddle. The socket is missing, but there is no trace of a second wire in the harness on that side.

The bulbs do not currently burn on either side in any socket in any position on any function (signal, running light, brake).

Before I try and trace this down, is that middle socket supposed to only have one wire? It seems odd, but it is gone on both side, /shrug.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 01:02 PM
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Yes, the middle only has one wire. It is running light only. The two outer lights are running/brake/turn signal.

I have a bit of trouble keeping my tail lights working. But I know at least where the problem is. My fuse box is a bit on the cruddy side (rust and corrosion). It needs replaced. I also had to do a lot of cleaning of the light sockets when I first got the car. But they are currently all working.

Ed
66 Impala SS
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, wasn't sure and wanted some confirmation.

I figured there was supposed to be only one wire, with it being that way on both sides. It just seemed odd. Also didn't know it was only running light.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 01:23 PM
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Three tail lights became the symbol or trade mark of the Chevy Impala/Caprice as the lower priced name plates had fewer tail lights. It became a mark of distinction for decades and customers railed when Chevy went back to a single tail light per side to yield to conformity in an effort not to stand out in a "me too" follow the leader world.

Big Dave
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2014, 08:59 PM
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I know from experience that its a full time job keeping all the taillights working on a 65-66 Impala. The sockets for the bulbs ground to the car sheet metal. There are no ground wires.
The second best upgrade I have done is to replace all of it with LED taillights. Those old bulbs, sockets, grounds, and broken wires are a pain.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-20-2014, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trickyspark View Post
So I've wondered about this since I got my car, and now I need to figure it out.

On the driver's side, the middle socket only has one wire going to it. I cannot find any trace of a second wire in the harness or in the socket. It looks like it never had a second wire, all the other bulbs on that side have multiple wires.

It is the same on the passenger side, one wire only in the midddle. The socket is missing, but there is no trace of a second wire in the harness on that side.

The bulbs do not currently burn on either side in any socket in any position on any function (signal, running light, brake).

Before I try and trace this down, is that middle socket supposed to only have one wire? It seems odd, but it is gone on both side, /shrug.
Actually, your car is a later car. The early models actually had all three lamps as dual function units. Chevy was having problems with the T/L fuse blowing due to the extra draw of 6 lamps when the brakes were applied, so they revised the Fisher Engineering drawing and the new harness design rendered the the center bulb socket as a running lamp only. These new design harnesses started filtering down to the manufacturing plants sometime in November/December (depending on the plant).

Donny
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-20-2014, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcsparts View Post
Actually, your car is a later car. The early models actually had all three lamps as dual function units. Chevy was having problems with the T/L fuse blowing due to the extra draw of 6 lamps when the brakes were applied, so they revised the Fisher Engineering drawing and the new harness design rendered the the center bulb socket as a running lamp only. These new design harnesses started filtering down to the manufacturing plants sometime in November/December (depending on the plant).

Donny
Chevys, well all of GM's cars, use wiring that is marginal to begin with (undersized for the load it is designed to carry). You can modify your car if desired to have all three lights function by installing a two pole pig tail (socket) for a 1157 lamp and connect the wire feed for the brake/turn signal into an adjacent wire. To get over the blown fuse issue replace the fuse with a self resetting circuit breaker of the same amperage rating. That way if the circuit opens due to overload it will reset automatically for further use without any intervention on your part.

GM didn't use these circuit breakers because a simple fuse is cheaper. I replaced all of the fuses in my tow vehicle's fuse box (and carried spares for the race car) as they where a great solution to my constant electrical problems with my 1961 Chevy 3100 Utility Body truck.

http://www.cooperindustries.com/cont...glasstube.html

Bussmann Type II Circuit Breakers for Glass Tube Fuse Blocks
CBF circuit breakers can be used to replace glass fuses in blocks for 1/4” x 1-1/4” fuses.

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/bs...FUUV7AodE2MAQQ

Big Dave
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-20-2014, 04:41 PM
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That's an interesting tidbit there Donny. I was reading the first post and thinking, wait a second, all 6 of mine light up when I brake or use turn signal.

Mine must be from before that harness change you mentioned.

HOW A NOVICE REBUILDS A 66 IMPALA CONVERTIBLE:
http://www.impalas.net/forums/blog.php?u=1432
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-24-2014, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dadstoy View Post
I know from experience that its a full time job keeping all the taillights working on a 65-66 Impala. The sockets for the bulbs ground to the car sheet metal. There are no ground wires.
The second best upgrade I have done is to replace all of it with LED taillights. Those old bulbs, sockets, grounds, and broken wires are a pain.
Tell me about it. I had the same problem on my '65. I even replaced all six sockets, the middle on each side is the backup light. They would even just fall out of the tail light housing. I went so far as to notching the alignment tabs on the sockets with a file to insert them and turn them so they would locked in. It helped, but wasn't a fix. I finally got sockets from the later '73 era Monte Carlo that had ground wires instead of the socket housing being the ground. Works so much better now.


BTW, since my car never had the reverse lights wiring from the SS console. It was butchered by a previous owner along with the console for a B&M shifter and an under dash AC unit. And, the car now has a 4 speed with the switch in the trans, I made my back up lights into just brake/turn signal lights. An extra pair of tail light lens found at the swap meet. They are dark until I hit the brakes much like newer car third brake light setups. The early tail light/brake light combo that only got a bit brighter when hitting the brakes made me a bit nervous.

1965 Impala SS, 383, 4 spd
1970 Caprice LS-4 454, TH400
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