Turn signals not working - Impala Tech
Electrical & Wiring Troubleshooting electrical problems

 
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-11-2017, 04:47 AM Thread Starter
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Turn signals not working

I had a problem with my turn signals not cancelling. When I checked the turn signal switch it had broken allowing the cancel springs to move when the lobe on the hub turned. I tried epoxy gluing the springs in and took the car for a test drive. The turn signals wouldn't work at all and it turned out neither did the brake lights. Both fuses had blown.

I had some trouble getting the steering hub back on and it looks like I pinched a couple of wires against the housing getting it back on. I decided to replace the whole switch because the gluing thing didn't work. Once I got the new switch in and tested it the turn signals still didn't work. I'd replaced the fuses but the turn signal fuse had blown again. I noticed when I moved the turn signal lever there was a flash and a short circuit. The side of the switch was touching the housing. I added tape to the inside of the housing and replaced the fuse. Still won't work.

When I stand on the brakes the brake lights both work, but if I put the left turn signal on the left brake light goes out (doesn't flash). Same on other side. So I know the bulbs work. I replaced the flasher but still no turn signals. I tried the hazard switch too but nothing.

So I don't know what's wrong really. I unplugged the new switch and reconnected the old one and they still don't work. So I'm pretty sure it's not the switch. What am I missing?

Is the turn switch supposed to be earthed? Because the metal tabs are very close to the housing (or would be touching without the tape) are they in fact supposed to touch? I'm thinking no but now I don't know. This switch seems a slightly different shape to the previous one and is a slightly tighter fit.

So all the light bulbs work, the fuses are good, the flasher is new, and the switch seems to be doing something because when you select a left or right turn it makes the brake light go out on that side.

Also, the new switch included a hazard knob, which I didn't have before. How does the hazard switch work on a 67? I can see that it's spring loaded so you press it in to turn them on but how do you turn them off? Once it's pressed in you can't press it again. Does it turn off if you turn the wheel or something?

So any help appreciated. My turn signals used to work before, and I replaced the original switch about 6 months ago without any issues. This is doing my head in now. Why won't they work?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-11-2017, 08:55 AM
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What are you working on ???? Get a test light and do some more tracking make sure you got power to them these fuse blocks corrode up with rust between firewall connection.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-11-2017, 10:59 AM
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You are going to need a replacement turn signal. You can not glue nylon plastic it has to be welded. Second issue is you may need to replace the wires in the steering column with some out of another car if you can not repair the damage of the pinched wires. There isn't a lot of room in there for crimp connectors, so it will have to be soldered together and wrapped in shrink wrap if you attempt to fix the short.

Big Dave
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-11-2017, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I actually got a replacement switch for the one that had the faulty springs and the pinched wires. So it's the new switch that isn't working. But the old switch doesn't work either.

I'm not super clear on how the wiring works to the switch. I believe that power goes through the flasher, then the fuse and then up to the turn signal switch? So does the switch just complete an earth? In which case the switch itself must be earthed somehow. But it's plastic and doesn't have any metal earth connection. When you put on the turn signal I'm not clear on what's happening electrically. It's completing a circuit through the flasher, when normally the light would be powered directly by the light switch?

Or is it entirely possible that both the original turn signal switch and the new one I just fitted are both toast? Hope not because these things are expensive here.

I'm working on a 67 which has the good ole combined brake/flasher set up. It all worked before I removed the old switch. I'll recheck the fuse connectors. Maybe the fuse is still dead effectively even though the glass fuse is still ok. Maybe something got fried in the back of the fuse block?
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-12-2017, 01:31 PM
 
 
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Do you have a wiring diagram? I don’t know about your car but turn signals are sometimes tricky. So it could very well ground to operate the switch.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-12-2017, 02:18 PM
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Turn signal, brake lights and tail lights all ground at the lamp.

All of the circuit should be hot with the ignition turned on (at least to the switch).

You can find wiring diagrams (small 8x10 size) on line for free. To get a bigger one in color usually costs about $7 bucks.

Big Dave
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-12-2017, 05:57 PM
 
 
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Are the wiring harnesses from 65 to 67 pretty much the same?

This is from 1965.




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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-12-2017, 06:04 PM
 
 
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image002 by swooshdave, on Flickr

Click on image to get even bigger file.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-12-2017, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the diagrams. I think the wiring is pretty much the same for the 67. I had a colour diagram to work off but the wiring in the car has been cut up in the past so not all colours are correct.

As best I can figure out the wiring for the stop lights passes through the switch and when the switch is off it goes back down to the lights. When the switch is set (L or R) it interrupts the feed to the stop light for that side and sends it through the flasher.

I've figured out from a hotrod forum which wires are sending power to the switch and which ones are sending it back from the switch. I just need to test those when I get back in the garage. Because the switch is turning off the stop light on the side selected I bet it's not sending anything back to the flasher. Which means both the old switch and the new switch are toast. Potentially whatever shorted the old switch has also shorted the new one and because the old one doesn't work either I'm assuming the new switch is good and the problem is elsewhere, when in fact it probably isn't.

I checked the back of the fuse block and there's power there and across the fuse, so that's all good.

So I'll test the wires tonight and probably will end up having to remove the switch (again) and see if I can replace it (again). sigh.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-12-2017, 08:08 PM
 
 
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You tested the switch off the car?

Quote:
I noticed when I moved the turn signal lever there was a flash and a short circuit.
This is rarely good.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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I tested it out of the steering assembly but not fully removed. I also re-connected the old switch out of the steering column and that didn't work either. But I'm also wondering since they both shorted at some point maybe they're both stuffed and me testing one and then the other isn't actually proving anything. I've assumed that since they both fail to engage the flasher then the problem might be elsewhere in the circuit, but in actual fact they both don't work.


It will be a real pain to remove the wheel and hub and signal switch, pull the wires through the column and source another switch and reverse the whole process, so I'm hoping that the problem isn't the switch but something else. I'm picking though the chafed wire on the first switch definitely caused a short that blew the fuse and possibly damaged the switch, and then the new switch touching the housing caused another short that blew the fuse and possibly damaged that switch too.


It might be the only way to know for sure is to get a new switch. I haven't hard a chance to test the wires on the switch at the moment but I'm pretty sure I know what the result will be. Power in and no power out.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-14-2017, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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OK, tested the wires on both sides of the plug and everything works the way it should. The problem is the new switch. There's power into the switch but nothing coming back out when a turn is selected. Now I have to remove the switch and send it back to get a new one.


My mistake was assuming that the original switch was still good after shorting, and therefore because neither switch was working the problem must be elsewhere, when in fact both switches were faulty. At least I have lots of sets of cancel springs if the new ones ever break....


And I understand way more about turn signal circuit wiring than I ever thought I'd need to know. Thanks for the input guys - the wiring diagrams definitely help when trying to work out what should be happening.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 11:14 AM
 
 
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It would be unusual for someone to exchange an electrical component for these very reasons. Did you confirm they would exchange it?

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swooshdave View Post
It would be unusual for someone to exchange an electrical component for these very reasons. Did you confirm they would exchange it?
Although it shorted when I tested it, I assumed it was because the turn signal contacts were touching the edge of the housing. It looked like they were and they're pretty close but it could equally be a fault with the switch itself. The original switch (which was also aftermarket but from the US) has extra plastic ridges to keep the contacts away. The new one kind of does but they almost look worn off, or like they haven't been moulded properly.


Only way to know really is to get a replacement and see if there's any difference, but at the same time being aware of the possibility of a short circuit because the switch design may not be quite right. Fingers crossed.


I'm debating whether I even need turn signals because no-one else in New Zealand appears to use theirs.....
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2017, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
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Bit of an update. I got a replacement switch. The supplier was kind enough to provide a new one as I wasn't sure why it wasn't working. Installed the new switch (third one) and it didn't work either. I tested all the wires and it looked like there was power where there should be - everything worked, the hazard lights worked, the turn signal switch interrupted the brake lights as it should, but the lights just wouldn't flash.

Bit the bullet, sucked up my pride and took it to a guy. I hate that - admitting defeat in a way. After he removed the switch to check everything he discovered the flasher unit was toast. I told him that I'd replaced the flasher and he asked if I meant the one on the fuse block or the one under the dash. The what now? Despite what the wiring diagram shows there's in fact 2 flashers. One that's switched to a hot circuit so the flashers can work anytime, and one switched to the ignition for the turn signals. Makes sense I suppose.

This frustrated me no end. I could have fixed it easily myself if I'd known there were 2 flashers, without removing all the upper bearing etc. Unfortunately the tech re-installed the bearing capsule assembly incorrectly and pinched the wires, damaging the switch - basically what I did the first time. So just have to wait for the switch to be fixed and I'm back in business. Finally.

Thanks for the help and suggestions though.
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2017, 01:16 PM
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First thing is the two flashers control different circuits. The one under the dash is a different number than the one in the fuse box (unless you have a trailer). It is for your four way safety flasher. The reason you use a heavy duty flasher with a trailer is you are flashing more lights. The standard duty flasher used in the fuse box is the flasher for your turn signals.

Your non flashing lights are probably not working because of wiring issues in the steering column or from the steering column to the tail lights if your brake lights light up. By the way, the flasher doesn't interrupt power from the brake light circuit, it shares the wiring but the power source is different.

Big Dave
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2017, 09:25 PM
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quite the thread. I have a bad history with these aftermarket switches and am actually about to get my 3rd or more likely buy an IDIDIT column.

but hey, I feel your pain both in troubleshooting and having to pay someone else to look at it. nobody likes the feeling of humilation and defeat! Arrrghh!
fwiw - I don't even have flashers!
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