1966 Impala Gauge Package & Dummy Lights Wiring - Impala Tech
Electrical & Wiring Troubleshooting electrical problems

 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Location: Brandon, Fl.
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1966 Impala Gauge Package & Dummy Lights Wiring

My gauges work but my dummy lights don't (correctly), should they? I have the 66 Chassis Service Manual but the wiring diagram (fig. 94 on 12-53) seems to be for a gauge-less car. It shows two wires coming from the temperature gauge and ultimately ending up at the instrument cluster. My car only has one wire from it. When I got the car, I was told that the engine had been rebuilt a few years ago. The sending unit that is on it only has one connector. There is a green wire up by the firewall that had been cut (I assume when the engine was removed). A black wire was spliced into it and ran to the sending unit. The cold engine light never comes on. The hot engine light comes on, and stays on, after the engine has been running a few minutes. The temp gauge works fine & that's what I go by. I would like to get the lights working, if they did from the factory. The only lights that work on my dash (besides the blinkers) are the hot light (constantly, as stated) and the bright light (when the brights are pushed). None of the lights come on when the ignition is turned on, either, not even the hot light (I don't believe the bright light should come on, correct?). I know nothing about electrical systems, so any help would be appreciated. Also, is there a wiring diagram somewhere that covers a 66 with a gauge package?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 07:32 PM
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Generally you got one or the other (gauges or idiot lights, not both). The two wire temperature sending unit has a blue cold light and a red hot light. All idiot lights are supposed to light up when the key is in the start position Where the motor is turning over) to let you know that the bulbs are still good.

I say you don't normally get both gauges and idiot lights because the gauge package uses a separate wiring harness to power the gauges. In 1966 you got an Amp gauge a Temp Gauge and an Oil pressure guage along with your gas gauge. The Tach (if you have one) was only included as an option in addition to the the required gauge package.

I don't know if your gauges are an add on from the aftermarket, an attempt to add the factory gauges or you have a different dash with idiot lights that replaced the original gauge panel.

Truth to tell I have never even sat in a 1966 Impala so I have no idea what came from the factory (my mom had a 1968 Caprice with full gauges), so hopefully some one with first hand information can chime in to assist you.

Big Dave
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
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I know they are factory gauges. I have the sales receipt from the dealership & both build sheets. I know that the hot light gets some kind of signal, because it comes on a few minutes after the car starts and stays on. Now, whether those lights are SUPPOSED to come on, I have no idea. Hopefully someone here with a car like mine can confirm, one way or another, if those lights are supposed to be working or not. Also, hopefully someone can provide me with a wiring diagram for a gauge package 1966 car. The guy that ordered this car ordered it with a tach. So I have a temp gauge, an amp gauge, an oil pressure gauge and a clock. The clock is presently not working. I need to find a place to send it that fixes car clocks.




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Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
Generally you got one or the other (gauges or idiot lights, not both). The two wire temperature sending unit has a blue cold light and a red hot light. All idiot lights are supposed to light up when the key is in the start position Where the motor is turning over) to let you know that the bulbs are still good.

I say you don't normally get both gauges and idiot lights because the gauge package uses a separate wiring harness to power the gauges. In 1966 you got an Amp gauge a Temp Gauge and an Oil pressure guage along with your gas gauge. The Tach (if you have one) was only included as an option in addition to the the required gauge package.

I don't know if your gauges are an add on from the aftermarket, an attempt to add the factory gauges or you have a different dash with idiot lights that replaced the original gauge panel.

Truth to tell I have never even sat in a 1966 Impala so I have no idea what came from the factory (my mom had a 1968 Caprice with full gauges), so hopefully some one with first hand information can chime in to assist you.

Big Dave
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 11:07 PM
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All gauges and idiot lights work the same way. The sending unit has to have a good ground (no paint on the threads) because there is 12 volts coming out of the car cabin going to the sending unit. The idiot light works like a thermostat in your car's cooling system it is closed No current to ground) until the bulb in the water gets hot enough to pop open allowing current to flow to ground that lights the Hot light (the reaction is the opposite for a cold light that comes on when the car starts and goes off when it gets hot enough to flip the contact inside the sender).

A sending unit for a gauge differs in that it isn't just on or off, but instead has a semi conductor that has a resistance value that changes with temperature. So the gauge on the dash isn't measuring the cars temp it is measuring the voltage to ground at the sending unit. The gauge has a face that reads degrees instead of volts, but it is still a volt meter.

The oil pressure gauge (if electric) works the same way where a pressure transducer limits voltage to ground in relation to the oil pressure. If mechanical it has a brass bellow that expands with pressure that moves the gauge needle. Your Amp meter is also a volt meter reading the current value dropped across a shunt (a resister wired in parallel to the charging circuit). Only the Tach isn't a DC volt meter. It counts magnetic voltage pulses in a voice coil buried behind the face of the gauge where the needle pulls against a spring. It is closer to an AC motor in it's operation.

You can find wiring diagrams on line by Googling "1966 Full size wiring diagram". When I do that I get about 2,790,000 results in just 1.10 seconds.

Your clock is going to need a clock maker to repair it (most are dead and buried and the rest are retired). The clock is a delicate mechanical device with rubies for bearings to hold the gears and wheels in a friction free state, the only new part of the clock was an electric motor to wind the main spring. This car was built before transistors entered the public market (being as how transistors were a top secret military advantage we had over the Russians back in 1963 when first developed. But someone copied a radio out of a F-105 Star fighter based in Japan so: so much for our top secret radios, and our advantage). Your car's AM radio had vacuum tubes powering it.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 09:21 AM
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Gauges vs. idiot lights

When you got the D59 gauge package in an SS or the A51 Buacket seat and gauge package in the Caprice, your idiot lights should not be operational. The only idiot lights you should have working are the brights and the emerg brake.
If the U16 Tash was factory with the gauge package the clock replaced the vacuum gauge within the cluster, no gauge you got the universal clock installed on top of the dash.
I'd love to see a copy of you build sheet if you don't mind sending one.
My e-mail is:

[email protected]

Thanks,
Paul

Paul

1966 Impala SS

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