Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Electrical System -> Turn Signals
How Sequential Flashers Work- by Chris
Basically, the sequential turn signals on any car that had them worked on the timing principle of 4/4 music. Imagine one cycle of the sequential rear lights as: 1-2-3-off (with each segment being an equal amount of time, say half a second). The front signal and indicator would cycle along as: on-off-on-off (so you'd get two cycles of the these lights for every one sequence at the rear).
Question from Chris (mechanical turn signals):
I have another classic car that has mechanical turn signal switches. When I slow down to turn the corner, the rate of click get slower and slower to the point of ceasing altogether. I was told that this switch was mechanical (vintage 1962) and that it was just tired. I suspect older Imperials have similar types. Has anyone ever rebuilt something like this, Imperial or not? Can I open it up and refurb it, or must it just be replace, OR is that just the way it is?
Reply from Dick:
This is not a switch problem, it is a poor voltage regulation problem. Your charging system is not maintaining system voltage at the rated level, so when your engine slows, the turn signal flasher is starved for enough current to keep the heater up to the correct temperature. Put a voltmeter on your B feed to the flasher, you'll see what I mean. Rev the engine, the voltage goes up, the flasher clicks faster. Idle the engine, the voltage drops, the flasher slows down and stops.
Replacing the flasher might help - it is possible that yours is getting tired.
For those who are not aware, the flasher works by heating an internal bi-metallic strip, bending it away from a contact thus interrupting the current. Then the strip cools and makes contact again, repeating the process.
Question from John:
My turn signals have not worked on my car since I purchased it 6 months ago. The symptoms are that when I brake, the front turn signals light up at the same time. I got a turn signal repair kit that NAPA sells and was wondering if this would possibly cure the problem. The 4 way flashers are inoperative, and the turn signal will not engage when trying to activate it for a right hand turn. I would appreciate any input into this problem before I try to disassemble the steering column.
My first guess is that someone has been hacking at the wiring! The front turn signals obviously should NOT light up when you hit the brakes. Anyway, it sounds like there's a couple of different things going on here. For the four way flashers, I'd first check the flasher itself -- it's a little round guy, located beneath the dash. In fact, there should be two of them -- one for the turn signals, and one for the four way flashers. Find it, pull it out, and let the guys at Napa sell you another. The next problem is getting your turn signal to engage for a right hand turn. This one probably is the signal mechanism in the column, so you're probably on the right track with the Napa repair kit. Then there's the issue of the front signals coming on when you brake. I'd suggest you get hold of a '67 shop manual, check out the wiring diagrams, and then start tracing wires.
I had the same problem and I found out that one of my bulbs had blown. This is how it works: bulb blows and shorts to ground, providing an auxiliary ground path that lights the other bulbs through the harness.
This is nearly always the four way flasher signal that is defective. It's the only connection between the stop lights (that are wired through the 4-way circuit) and the front turn signal circuit (also wired through the 4-ways.) It's backing up through the stop light switch.
Question from Dave:
Can I retrofit a sequential turn signal on a car that did not come with one as standard equipment?
As for retrofitting them from original parts, or devising a modern logic circuit... good luck! You'd need a '67 Imperial ('68s do not use dual filament bulbs for the innermost of the tail lamps, so you only have two signal bulbs on each side), and you'd need to modify a number of components to separate the front signals from the rear, the rear signals from the non-sequencing brake lamps, the signals from the non-sequential 4-way flashers, and the override of the 4-way flashers by the brake lamps. I've decided to leave my '67 stock and admire the single flashing of half the rear-end of the car. It's impressive enough!
I have done this retrofit. I have designed one solid state control box for the sequence. The sequence is different from original: ON: 1,2,3, front -> OFF: 1,2,3,front ( I like that more than shutting everyone down at the same time.) The principle of the circuit is quite simple: timer NE 555 as clock, adjustable 1Hz -10Hz 2* 4bit sift register (4015, serial in (1), parallel out (4), connected as ring counter) makes the sequence and drives each side of lamps, 3 for rear and one for front. (front signals are connected to original box too (-69), so you can find wires in your trunk) sift register drives open collector output transistor array (ULN 4002)( also an inverter, NOT) for output "amplifiers" there are four BD650 PnP darlingtons (2*4 of each) turn signals (continuous) are connected to enable pins of sift regs, so they starts the sequence for each side. Or-gate looks output of an array and keeps the sequence running till all bulbs are shut down ( if the turn signal is on, the sequence keeps on going) Brake signal is connected to drive darligtons trough logic ( made with diodes) that shuts brake signal from flashing side. I designed it ~85 so components are "old", I'm not sure are they still available, but similar are. There are 5 microchips, 8 transistors, 24 resistor, one trimmer, 16 diodes, 3 capacitors in that circuit (board ~ 2½" x 3½") I have lost the circuit diagram years ago ( I have empty circuit boards ~20, so I don't need the diagram).
I am sure that the design of the hardware would not be a big problem for a skilled power systems engineer. (I am more of a signal circuits engineer, but I suppose I could probably learn about the big load devices pretty easily.) I think the timing was that the inner bulb flashed at about the rate of a normal car's turn signal, so it would flash just like the front bulb and the indicator. The outer two bulbs just progressively filled in the time slot so that when the inner bulb goes off, they all go off. You can figure out the times from that, I think. I remember that we came upon the fact that the "truth table" for the logic which drives the power devices is perhaps a little more sophisticated than might first meet the eye, because the whole side has to light up simultaneously when the brakes or hazard warnings are turned on (but not on the side toward a planned turn). I think this requires that the turn signal switch be connected all the way through to the logic device, instead of feeding through the brake light signal the way that it is done with a conventional car. Of course if your car still has the original wiring harness, and the turn signal switch is unaltered and working right, this will not be a problem for you, but anyone else planning to convert, say, a 67 or 68, will have to deal with this fact.
Sounds like you can not use the original factory device, but you can probably make something that will work satisfactorily. To simplify the project, I suggest the following: Rewire the rear turn signals to the front turn signals, and run an extra wire from the brake light switch to the rear. What we now have is 3 inputs and 6 outputs. The inputs are the left and right turn signals plus the new line from the break light switch and the six outputs are the three + three bulbs. What we need then is: Two sets of three 555 style timers (I lost my TTL component book in my last move, so I can't give exact part numbers and pin connections.) The timers are cascaded and the output from each stage triggers the next stage and lights a bulb. Two XOR gates that light the bulbs for brakes or lights the turn signals sequentially. If BOTH signals are present, the brake light lights on the side without the turn signal power and the bulbs blink sequentially on the side with turn signal power. A heavy-duty turn signal flasher is required. Another AND gate is required if you DO NOT want the hazard flashers to work sequentially. The total time period of the sequential lighting MUST be equal to or less than one cycle of the turn signals. (IE: the total on and off time of one "blink".) If this time period is too short, a tunable 555 oscillator circuit driving a relay can be substituted for the turn signal flasher. If this time period is now too long, we need to get some more timers and make a simple clock multiplier for the front turn signals. That's about it. If I can find a component guide, this is an easy circuit. Not exactly factory original, but then neither is sequential lighting in a '67.
I found a vendor, Cougar, who makes an electronic replacement unit for the sequential turn signals used on these cars.
Question from Greg:
I have a dead turn signal. Is there a flasher that plugs in somewhere as in newer cars?
The flasher is on the fuse block under the dash just below the ash tray. Is it all turn signals or just one? If its just one, either the bulb is bad or the bulb socket doesn't have a good ground.
I had a dead turn signal a few years ago. I ended up taking the clear lens off of the turn signal up front and found the bulb socket had a little too much play in it and was not grounding properly. I put a shim in it as a temporary fix but it has been fine now for over two years. I would check the fit of all the sockets as well as cleaning all the bulb and ground connections.
Question from Neal:
When were emergency flashers available as an option on Imperials? There's nothing in my 1959 literature, but a mechanic friend thinks Chrysler offered them in 1960, perhaps as a dealer add-on. I found no reference to them in my 1964 Imperial and Chrysler sales brochures, but did in a 1968 Chrysler brochure. I want to add them to my '59 as a measure of safety, operated by a discrete switch or knob at the base of the dash. I was told that any set up that doesn't work as a steering column pull-out knob would probably be okay. I can't tell from the '68 brochure where the switch was located. Any suggestions from the group?
I've seen kits for '60 on Ebay a couple of times. They went pretty high both times.
Try your local NAPA store. They may be able to get an add-on kit to add emergency flashers. Or try a J. C. Whitney catalogue. You may be able to order from them. If you can't find one and you have the time, you might try looking around an auto salvage yard that has cars from about 1960. You may find one that someone installed on their car and you can remove it. They are pretty simple.
Not sure about 1959, but I do know they were offered as an option in 1960.
The steering column mounted switch did not appear until 1970. Up to and including 1969 the switch was on the dash, and usually a toggle switch..
On the 67s and 68s, the flasher switch is inside the glove box door, right next to the remote trunk release.
Emergency flashers became mandatory in 1966, if I recall correctly, at least in the USA. I have added them to most of my older cars, kits are available from any of the aftermarket accessory vendors, for both 6 volt and 12 volt cars.
Question from Dan (1952):
I have a '52 Crown Imperial and I'm having a problem with the right front turn signal. The light will not come on. I've tried new bulbs, as in 5 of them and none work. The left side works great. Could it be the turn signal relay? That's probably the easiest fix. The other thing that I checked was the relay has power when the left turn is on but no power when the right side is on.
It would probably be the turn signal switch below the steering wheel. I'd check for a good ground on the right side light assembly first...if necessary running a separate ground wire to someplace on the body that is clear of rust or paint. If it were the relay, the left one would not work.
Does the right side come on when you use the parking lights? If yes, I would suspect a wire from the turn signal switch has a problem. If the parking light doesn't work at all, there is likely a wiring problem from the light to the relay. If the parking is on but very dim, there is a ground problem. Use the procedure suggested in another post for this.
Question from Tim (1956):
Just did a re-wire on the '56. The turn signal flasher socket has 3 prongs. My diagram shows only 2 wire going into it. One blue to ignition switch and one red to turn signal switch. What about the one slot left in the middle. Does it have anything plug into it??
Reply from Michael:
No, it doesn't. The third slot in the connector is for the "pilot" spade of a 3-prong flasher. The Imperial doesn't use a pilot circuit, and can use a 2 prong flasher. (the pilot circuit is generally used on cars that have only one dash indicator for turn signals rather than a light for each side like the Imperial) They just used the same phenolic flasher connector for all models. But check your wires - the unused spot in the connector won't be the one in the middle if you are using a 2-prong flasher like a #552.
Question from Bob (1959):
There is a lever to the left of the steering wheel on the dashboard for the signals. When you turn right it has to be manually turned off after the turn is completed. When you turn left you have to hold the lever in the left position while you are completing the turn. Can someone please advise?
Your turn signal canceling cam needs to be replaced, I believe. It is in the steering column.
Under the instrument cluster there is a plate of metal that covers the steering column, it is about 2 feet wide. Take it off and the blinker cam is under there...it has 3 wires and 2 screws. Usually the plastic ear that sticks up in the column brakes off. Take off the unit, turn on the blinker and you should be able to cancel it by moving the lever one way or the other.
If this works the way the 60 does, there is a secondary switch down low on the steering column. When I got my 60, one of the wires on that secondary switch was barely attached & sometimes the the lever would stay & sometimes not. I replaced the switch & all is well now. I believe there is a magnet of some sort in the switch & when the steering wheel is making its return to center, the secondary switch interrupts the magnet & shuts the signal off. At all other times, there would by power at the lever & the magnet should keep the signal activated.
Question from Bill (1959):
I have finally been able to get a new bulb put in my '59 left front turn signal, and the rear licensee plate light, and after feeling much accomplishment of getting my huge fingers to do this job, and see the lights working again, I got out of the car tonight to check them only to find they are both out again. I put another bulb in the front turn light, and was happy it was working again, but when I checked later it was out again also. When I removed the bulb, everything looked fine, I could see no broken filaments. Could this be a short, and why are they working when I put them in, and not later?
Reply from Dick:
It's not a "short", that would cause a blown fuse.
What is happening is that most likely, there is a poor connection. There are three common places for crud to interfere with lights. In order of likelihood, they are:
1. A poor fit for the bulbs outer brass base to the socket, or else the socket is cruddy inside. The cure for this is to go to your friendly local NAPA store and buy a "light socket cleaning brush". This a miniature bottle brush type thingy with stiff stainless wire "bristles" that is exactly the right size to clean the accumulate crud off the inside of the socket, and also to burnish up the electrical button that contacts the base of the bulb.
2. The spring that pushes the electrical contact button against the base contacts on the bulb is weak or broken, you'll need to push the fiberboard circular bottom of the socket out of the socket to the outside world where you can see it (push on the wires behind the socket and wiggle the little board out of the socket), and then inspect the spring that rides behind it, replace or clean as necessary, or
3. The socket itself is making poor contact to the metal housing it is mounted in. This is hard to fix, sometimes the only way is to solder an additional wire onto the metal bulb socket and connect said wire to ground somewhere. Sometimes you can tighten up the crimp in the metal flange to make it make better contact, but this problem often returns. Depending on what part of the country the car spent its life in, this may be very likely to be your problem, it usually happens to cars from the damp climates.
If none of the above seems to cure your problem, you can replace the whole socket, wires and all. Y and Z's wiring supplies in San Bernardino CA stocks these for just about every car ever made. There are probably other vendors also, but these folks are nice to deal with and they will know exactly what you need.
Question from Chris (1960):
Is there a linkage or something linked to the steering column to cancel out the blinker switch? Mine doesn't cancel out, and it doesn't seem possible that Imperial would overlook that. Any ideas?
There is a cam on the steering rod that the steering wheel turns inside the steering column. I took mine apart on the way to my steering box and did not reassemble in the proper order. There are some washers and shims in the assembly. If you take your steering wheel off, lay your pieces out in the order that they come off or take notes or something.
It was so much work, that I just skipped doing a second dis-assembly and did manual cancellation after that till I sold the car. The FSM pictures are not as detailed as possible if memory serves. All I know is that I got myself confused (easy to do in my case) and was unable to easily figure out what I had mis-inserted.
More likely problem would be the canceling switch itself going bad. If you can see the linkage moving the switch on the lower column, most likely the switch is bad. I changed the one on one of my 60's. These seem to come up for sale on Ebay frequently.
Question from John (1961):
On my '61 Crown, the right turn signal works just dandy. The left, though, flashes a little slower when it first comes on, and slows down as time goes by (while its still 'on' and I'm waiting to turn). Eventually (crowded intersection), it just stops. Someone told me "There must be corrosion in the socket, making a semi-resistor that heats up and gets worse until the current flow is insufficient to heat the bimetal in the flasher can. The same thing happens (without the slowing down first) when a lamp goes out! We'll fix that easily." So when we got home we looked at the lamps and noted that after the flashing stops, the taillight is 'on', but the front signal lamp is NEARLY off. Must be the front lamp that has the corrosion. We remove the cover and find that the lamp and socket are just fine. Turn on the signal again, now that we can see the bulb, and note that as the flashing slows down, the front lamp isn't really switching 'on' and 'off', but rather from a bright (but dimming) light on one of two filaments to a dim (but slightly brightening) light in the other filament (parking light). Now I'm really confused! Any ideas?
You are on the right track, but just looking at the bulbs and sockets usually won't tell you much about grounding. Both the front and rear bulbs must be well grounded for a complete circuit. And the brass case of the bulb must be part of that ground circuit, through the sides of the socket. Also check all the connections of your "hot" wires, assuming they join to longer wires just a few inches from the socket. Replace the bulbs, just because it's easy. And check the grounding of the flasher - this caused a malfunction on my turn signals once (but if only one side is "bad", this is less likely the cause).
I had a similar problem on my 70 LeBaron with the right turn signal and I think you were on the right track. Both wires to the bulb supply power: one is for the parking lamps while the other is for turn signal. Both filaments are, however, case grounded and I think that is where your problem lies. On my LeBaron, the bulb socket (which is kind of crimped to the reflector/housing assembly) was a little loose. Not so loose that you noticed it, but after months of looking for the problem I finally noticed that I could actually turn the socket in the housing. Bending the crimp ears upward, removing the socket, cleaning poth parts with a wire brush and reassembling solved the problem.
Question from Zan (1962):
My turn signal has to be manually turned off in my '62. Is this a problem, or just the way it works that year? When did they develop the ones that would turn themselves off when you turned the wheels?
Every MoPar I've ever owned, from '50 on up, had self-canceling turn signals. If your '62s won't self-cancel, it is broken.
The reason that the signal stays on well after the turn is because there is too much play in the steering wheel; even as much as an 1/8th of an inch off will be enough to make the signal continue to blink after the turn. To test this theory, in a large, large parking lot, make a regular turn with your signal light. Then make a U-turn. It will go off on the U-turn which is an indication the alignment is slightly off or the power steering unit needs some adjustment.
Another reason is probably that the plastic "cam" has broken a leg. When the steering wheel whips around from the direction you told it you were going to turn in, it bumps these legs and turns off the signal. That's why it won't turn off after you turn right after signaling left.
Question from Brian (1964):
Worked this week-end trying to get my '64 Imperial convertible road worthy. After replacing both parking/turn-signal sockets on the front bumper I have the flashing on the passenger's side but the drivers side will not flash. I have tested the circuit at the plugs for both the front and the back and therefore am ruling out the bulbs/sockets. I am also ruling out the wiring to the flasher since the passenger side is working. What have I missed?
Had the same problem with my 64. Turned out to be bad grounds on the sockets. I scratched around inside the cases with a screwdriver so the bulb could get a ground and things worked. Also, I found the flasher last week. I could hear it in the center of the dash but could not reach it. When I pulled the ashtray out, it was right behind it. Mine was flaky and flashed VERY fast. I replaced it with one of the new electronic LOUD flashers. Seems to work great, I can hear it and the lights blink normal speed.
This same thing happened to me. Check the plug going into firewall near steering column.
Question from Greg (1964):
I am trying to get my car ('64 Crown) ready for a big car show, swap meet here in Jefferson, WI. I noticed today that the right turn signal is not blinking though. The left one operates fine, the dash indicator flashes green etc. But, when the right signal is applied, no green indicator, no clicking, no outside front or rear indicators light. Is there just one bulb out in a series situation?
I know I had that problem (lights would come on, not blink). Was a bad ground. I know some crazy engineers did some crazy things with fuses on some cars- I've seen a car with a fuse for each side of blinks (left and then right)....
I have never seen (2) turn signal flashers ever used on any Chrysler Product I have owned. Hazard Warning Flasher lights I BELIEVE became a requirement on 1966 and later vehicles, by law. And often they would be side by side. As for possible causes for non blinking light, check also for bad bulb or rusty or oxidized sockets. Also check main cables running along drivers side to the trunk. Some of the wires from that main group of wires feed the power seat(s), and sometimes what can happen over the decades is the back and forth motion of the seat can move the cables back and forth along the body especially in the lower door pillar area, causing chafing and exposing the wire or wires to short out.
Make sure that the turn signal switch is being fully operated when you signal for a right turn. These are adjustable, and it is possible that the linkage has worn such that you are not getting it all the way over to the right turn position. If you examine the way it is mounted, you will see that there are screws you can loosen to adjust the operation of the actuating lever.
Try replacing the flasher first, each blinker has its own flasher. The bulbs are not in a series, so if your dash bulb was out, the blinker would still work up front as well as the flasher. If these remedies don't work, you'll have to trace the wire down with a tester.
You'll find only one relay on the '64. The trouble is most likely, either the bulb is bad, the blinker bulbs have two filaments, or a bad ground. With the turn signal lever on, look at the front & rear lights. One or the other may be on but not flashing. Change the bulb in the one that's not lit. If that doesn't do the trick or the bulb is on but very dim, try touching the ends of a piece of wire to the side of the bulb socket & the other to unpainted metal.
Question from Bob (1966):
My turn signals stopped working (all of them) in the "always on" position when selected, which indicates to me a bad flasher. I only could find one flasher, on the back of the hazard switch. Replacing it didn't fix the problem. My wiring diagram doesn't show a hazard switch, so I'm wondering if there is a separate flasher for the turn signals, which I obviously can't find. Is there another one and where should it be?
There is definitely a separate flasher for the Hazard warning system. The reason it is not in your manual is that it was a new requirement for 66, and the manuals were probably printed up before the government came out with the requirement. Your turn signal flasher socket is probably hanging (taped in place) in the harness from the steering column, it should have a black wire and a red wire going to it. It is a two terminal Flasher. If both the front and rear lights stay on solid when you select a turn, your problem is definitely the flasher. If only one of the lights is lighting, fix the burned out bulb first. The light duty flashers will not flash at the right rate (or perhaps at all) unless the battery voltage is proper and the load current is at the design point. A heavy duty flasher will work regardless of load. (This is not necessarily an advantage, since you do not get the warning symptom if a bulb burns out.)
My '65s turn signal flasher is in the rat's nest of wires behind the center of the dash. I can reach it pretty easily from underneath. It's somewhere below the radio, I think. A new flasher is about $2 from any parts store. It's a cylinder-shaped thing with two prongs.
I also had the same problem with my turn signals soon after I purchased my '66, but it was only on one side. The problem was that when the turn signal bulb burnt out, the remaining bulb on that circuit would just stay "on" when activated. The burnt bulb caused some really erratic flashing behavior when the emergency flashers were activated. Replacing the bulb fixed the problem. Could it be that one or more of your bulbs are fried? I believe that there is a flasher mounted just behind or adjacent to the dash mounted ashtray. Remove the ashtray and look up in there just below the "cigar" lighter. There is a relay or some kind of round package there. Not sure for positive if this is the flasher you are looking for.
Question from Carl (1967):
My '67 Crown Coupe has no brake lights; T/S & taillights are OK & only the FRONT 4-way flashers will light. (that switch is OK) After extensive testing, I've traced the problem to the T/S switch. I now have an NOS replacement switch (2, actually...will sell the other), however the tilt/scope column & the steering coulmn outer sleeve are giving me problems.
Would you believe that the original '67 shop manual does NOT address this particular repair?
I had trouble with my '67 Tilt-A -Scope wheel. The column is shown in the '68 Shop Manual starting on page 19-35.
It is covered in the service manual, but I seem to recall it is in a strange place, and I may be thinking of the 68 manual (I have both, and have replaced the switches in all 4 of my cars). The outer sleeve of the column requires a special tool to remove it, trying it without that tool will result in damage to it. I found that it is possible to change the switch without removing it, but it takes a lot of patience with the wires and to get the new switch installed without breaking it. Fortunately, if the new switch is of recent manufacture (identified by a red tint to the plastic parts) it will flex enough to get it in. I assume you have made a tool to remove the electrical contact from the multi-pin connector at the base of the column. This is a rather simple tool. I made one from a piece of spring steel - about 0.30 thick, about 5/8 inch long, and about 1/8 inch wide. You shove it in from the front (mating surface) of the connector and depress the retain tang on the individual wire ends. You can see the shape of this tang by inspecting the wire ends on the new switch. Of course you need to pull a "pull string" through the passageway when you remove the old switch so you can get the new wires to go in through the right path.
This is a very time consuming and arduous task, but you can do it! The reward is a feeling of joy every time you use the new switch.
On my '68 the manual says that you have to pull the jacket off of the column but I did not have the tool to it. So I used a screw driver and pride the old switch out and very carefully used the screw driver to put it back in. You can do it this way but becarfull that you do not break the switch and when it gets you to point that you want to throw something just walk away and then come back. It will take you a little while to get it in.
You might check with your Chrysler dealer to see if they have any employees that might still have the tool that you need and maybe they could put it in for you.
I presume getting that tubular sleeve off is what is stopping you cold. One way to get it off is to use a piece of hardwood or a nylon drift (available at gun shops, looks like a glue stick) to tap it loose from the tilt opening (the lever screws out, just twist it!) and then work a screwdriver into the gap at the base of the column. My car would have none of that, that !@#$ sleeve was TIGHT! What I wound up doing was to pry the lip up with a scgewdriver (in an attempt to loosen the sleeve, no deal!) I then attached a pair of vise-grips to two sides of the pried up lip and alternately hammered on the vise-grips to get the !@#$ off! Once off I measured up to the mangled part and carefully wrapped masking tape around the outside, cut off the mangled 3/8 inch or so and filed down to the edge of the tape. The tape protected the paint on the sleeve and if someone didn't know the sleeve had a lip, you can't tell it has ever been altered! It's all hidden by the wheel anyway. Best of all, if the switch ever needs replacing again, the sheeve won't have to be touched!
Question from Marc (1967):
What is the story on the fender mounted turn signal indicator? Mine seems to have gone out - are there replacements anywhere and what kind of bulb is it?
There are 2 possibilities, as far as I know:
1. you have a bad taillight, or 2. the bulb has gone out.
Pardon me, Dick B, if I put this wrong, but the turn signal & the taillights are on the same circuit, since the turn signal is supposed to activate when your taillights are blinking. If one of your taillights is out, it can't blink, therefore your turn signal ain't gonna work, either. Get somebody to check to see if all your rear lights are working. If they are, it's probably #2: your bulb.
They're available at the auto store, but I can't remember the # off hand. They're easy to remove and replace.
Mark's reason for the statement that the rear lights might be involved is the fact that some flashers won't sequence if one of the bulbs is burned out, but I think the '67s must use a very heavy duty flasher, because so many bulbs are flashed (the normal light duty ones wouldn't handle the load, or would flash extremely rapidly, due to the extra current.) For this reason, I doubt the front indicators are affected much by what's happening at the rear of the car. These bulbs are indeed wired in parallel, as D-squared pointed out. They are fed off the same circuit as the other front turn signal filaments, and so if the other front flasher lights are working, the fender top ones should be working also. Even though I have 4 cars with these, I have never had a failure, so I regret I cannot tell you what bulb is used, but it should be in your owner's manual or your FSM.
Usually if any bulb is out, the flashers will light, but not flash. This is true on all my Mopars.
This is usually true in older cars unless the relay (flasher unit) has been replaced with either a heavy-duty flasher (which won't notice the burned-out bulb), or a fully electronic unit (which might flash twice as fast as normal to indicate a bulb failure).
In any case, the lower-wattage bulbs used in the ancillary locations like the fenders or dash (on those models that have them) might not cause enough of a change to trigger these devices when they burn out.
Follow-up question from Dave:
Is this a difference between a Crown and my standard sedan? The only turn signal indicators I have are on my front fenders and all there is in a chrome housing is a piece amber plastic that light from the cornering light shines into and lets you see it when it gets dark enough outside.
Reply from Dick:
All '67s and all '68s are identical in this respect.
The fender top mounted indicators (amber in color) are wired to flash in time with the front bumper mounted turn signals, which are also amber.
The large white lenses contain the turn illumination bulbs, which light up brightly during the time that BOTH the turn signals and the headlights (or parking lights?) are turned on, but they do not flash.
In the case of the 68s, there are louvered chrome grilles over the large white lenses, but the function is the same.
The rear turn signals use the stop light filaments (not the "tail lamps"), and if the turn signal switch is functioning correctly, the rear turn signal lamps will flash in time with the fronts on the appropriate side, while the other side of the rear lights continue to function as brake lights.
On our boxcars with the "wall to wall" rear lights, and when everything is working right, the flasher has to operate 4 - 32 CP bulbs plus 2 smaller bulbs (this is on a '67; while on a '68, there are only 3 - 32 CP plus the two smaller ones) on the circuit.
The normal load sensitive el-cheapo flasher would be overloaded, thus the car really should have a heavy duty flasher installed. The heavy duty flasher is insensitive to load, and will flash whether or not all the bulbs are working. I suppose it is possible to have a load sensitive flasher so hair triggered that it will flash with 4 32 CP bulbs plus the two smaller ones, and somehow know to stop when one of the filaments burns out, but I rather doubt it. Those who have lesser Mopars with a smaller number of large bulbs running off the turn signals probably do have light duty flashers; this will cause the flasher to stop sequencing if one burns out. Anyone who has followed a '67 around a few corners at night will know what "wall to wall" taillights means!
Question from Marc (1967):
Does anybody know what the availability of turn signal switches is for a '67 w/ the T & T column?
You can get them here: http://www.shee-mar.com
They are around. Bring money, (around $120) and be prepared for one of the more frustrating tasks in maintaining our favorite cars. But before you go to all this trouble, try bypassing the electrical terminals on the stop light switch, perhaps this will bring on the brake lights, then you know your problem isn't in the turn signal switch, which will be the best news you've heard this week!
Possibly the problem is in your turn signal switch, although I doubt it is a "short". More likely, the brake light contacts are not touching when the turn signal switch is in its neutral position.
Question from Clay (1967):
What color bulbs are correct for the turn signals on a 67?
If the lens is clear, use amber bulbs. If the lens is amber, you can use either clear or amber bulbs but amber bulbs behind amber lenses will be a bit darker.
All the front lamps on the '67 have clear lenses, but they should not all have amber bulbs. The parking lamps and cornering lamps (both are stacked within the gorgeous lenses in the fenders) should have clear bulbs, so they light up white. The turn signals down in the bumper should have amber bulbs, size 1157NA, which are dual-filament bulbs even though there are no parking lights down there. The turn signals actually use both of the filaments, too! The incoming hot wire splits into a jumper to both hot posts of the bulb socket right behind the lamp. Maybe it was to give a "spare" filament in case one burned out?
Question from Roy (1967):
My turn signal flasher went south on me today so the lights just stay on. I looked under the dash for the flasher unit to get a replacement, but couldn't see it. Then I looked in the FSM and it said it should be to the right of the steering column in a bracket next to the ashtray. Still missing it! Can anyone tell me where under the dash I should start groping for it? I assume its a small cylindrical aluminum canister?
I nearly tore my dash apart following the FSM - it is not near the ashtray, far from it, it is behind the passenger side kick panel. Let me know if you find it.
The 4 way flasher is by the passenger kick panel at the very end of the dash.
It's the metal canister thingy, Looks like all the old American flashers.. Mine however is nowhere near the ashtray (thought it was just my car). I just went and looked and it's all the way left behind the parking brake and towards the firewall, not towards the instruments.. Apparently the FSM thought a wild goose chase would be fun!
My flasher is laying on the inside of the instrument panel behind the glove box near the radio. I have had a problem where the flasher will touch something metal and ground itself out...this may be your problem, Roy, if it is, make sure that the flasher unit is not touching anything that will ground it out.
Check all four turn signal bulbs and their mounting (sockets and contacts), for burn-outs, corrosion, looseness, etc. If a bulb is burned out, has a bad connection or otherwise bad, it will cause that circuit to stay on. Your turn signal indicator will glow slightly (barely noticeable) and the remaining good bulb will too. If there is a bad connection to ground in the turn signal circuit, that will also cause similar problems. This is what I have learned first-hand from owning a '66 Imperial. I have found that most of my turn signal problems are usually the bulbs and their contacts/mounting and possibly the switch itself. Not often the relay. You are right about the description of the relay. The flasher relay is a small round silver "can" with two or three prongs sticking out of the end of it. Usually in your era of Imperial mounted to the back underside of the dash just left of the ash tray, held there by a clip mount. Once you locate it, slide it out of the mount. There should be enough slack in the electrical connections to allow it to dangle down from the dash.
Just a tip for those who've asked about the turn signal flasher on '67s. Contrary to what the FSM says, it's located behind the far right side of the dash, next to the glove box housing below the far right dash vent. Mine had merely gotten slow, so I was able to follow the clicks until I found it. Rather than slice up my fingers trying to remove and replace it, I left it there and simply plugged the harness into a new flasher... then I hid it up behind the dash not far from the original but in a more accessible location. There is more than enough play in the wiring harness to do this, and while it's not totally correct, it works just as well. And who's ever going to see it, anyway? It's amusing that the turn signal switch and its flasher are on opposite sides of the car, while the hazard flasher and its switch are also far apart, though on "opposite opposite" sides (switch in glove box, flasher relay nearer steering column). Whoever designed this must have had a brother who sold wire to Chrysler...
Follow-up from Roy:
After at least a dozen tries in the past few weeks, I finally found my turn signal flasher. The FSM is all wrong as previously discussed! While Leslie gave perfect directions to find a flasher, it was for the four ways, which was actually where the FSM said it should be! Marcus was correct with the location, just a little off with the description, it is not behind the passenger kick panel, but you have to remove the little piece of the dash that needs to be removed before removing the kick panel. The flasher is up under the far right (passenger) corner of the dash in a little spring holder. The flasher is also not the typical round canister type like the four way, but rather has a very small rectangular shape. It is a SIGNAL-STAT 148 and I hope I will be able to find an exact replacement, although the round type I bought in anticipation of replacing the same, functions fine. Zeke was also of help, describing his flasher as being behind the radio, which I imagine is where it wound up after someone tore apart the dash looking for it!
Question from Bobby (1967):
The brake lights stopped working on my '67 crown convertible yesterday. They had been acting strange for a week or so, they would work only after you engage the turn signals. I checked and changed the fuse for brake lights but they re still non-op. Any ideas?
This is the classic symptom of a failing turn signal switch. If you examine that wiring diagram, you will see that the brake light signal goes through the turn signal switch. That's how the bulb knows when to flash and when to turn on solid, and is the same for any car which shares a turn signal filament with the brake light filament. There are repair kits available for these from NAPA, but they are very difficult to install and have everything come out working right again if the car has Tilt-o-scope. The worst part of the job is hooking up the cornering light wires. There are also new switches still available, and I think that's the preferred way to go. Try it on PartsVoice, and bring money. These are no joke to replace, but most of us with Saginaw Tilt and Telescope columns have had to go through it at least once Best get yourself a factory service manual too, as you'll need it to figure out how to get the steering column apart enough to work on the switch without ruining the collapsing segment of the outer jacket. Before you dive into this, get yourself a test light and probe the connection on the steering column, just to verify that this is where the "failure to communicate" lies.
It sounds to me like there is a break in the wire somewhere. Check for voltage at the bulb socket in your brake light when someone depresses the brake. Another possibility is water getting into the brake light sockets or the switch connected to the pedal. In addition to standing water in either of those it could be dirt or corrosion in the contacts. Find a wiring diagram of the brake light circuit and check each device and connection along the way.
The brake light switch contacts the brake pedal arm under the dash, within reach. It's easy to test... just unplug the two wires and connect them, then look at the lights. Keep in mind how a brake lamp works in this car when the circuit is complete: Current leaves the battery, goes through the fuse box, through the brake pedal switch, to the turn signal switch. Here, the turn signal switch position determines whether the current is sent to both the left and right brake lamps, or only to the side opposite to the one being used for a turn signal. (This is, of course, so that the turn signal can flash on and off while the opposite side can stay on steadily to indicate braking while turning.) After the turn signal switch, the current travels down one or both of two wires to the tail lamp area, through the bulbs, and to ground, completing the circuit.
Here's my troubleshooting checklist:
1. Turn on the 4-way flashers. If all six rear bulbs across the rear of the car flash (we're talking about a '67 here... '68s use only the outer two bulbs each side for this), it's NOT the bulbs, so go to
Step 2. The brake lamps, turn signals and 4-way flashers all use the bright filament of the tail lamp bulbs. If NONE of the six lamps work for either the signals or the brakes, replace all the bulbs with known good ones (or try these bulbs in a known good socket to see if they work there), and inspect the sockets for corrosion, looseness, etc. Make sure the tail lamps are grounded (if the ground wires are gone, even the tail lamps won't work). 2. Assuming the bulbs all work for the turn signals, test the brake lamp switch on the brake pedal arm, by bypassing it: Remove the two wires connected to it and jump them together (a small length of wire, stripped at each end, might serve you well as a jumper here). If the brake lamps come on, replace or adjust the switch. If they do not, go to step 3.
3. Replace the fuse for the brake lamps with one of the correct capacity. Don't just check it, actually replace it and make sure the contact springs in the fuse box are clean. Now jump the switch together again: Still no brake lamps? Go to step 4. If they do light now, reconnect the pedal switch again and see if it works properly now.
4. Reconnect everything and park the car somewhere where you can see the light emitted from the rear lamps from the driver's seat: Back up to a wall in a dark garage, in front of a store window, etc. Then, with the ignition OFF (so the signals are deactivated and thus will not confuse you) and manipulate the turn signal switch while you step on the brake. Though the turn signals will not work with the key off, the OPPOSITE brake lamp should still come on. But it might only come on intermittently depending on how you are moving the switch. If this is the case, the switch is faulty and indeed needs to be replaced (an exercise that will build character!).
5. Other than these, the only other likely cause to brake lamp failure is a break in the wiring or a bad ground, but usually this takes the turn signals or even the tail lamps with it. Once the wires leave the turn signal switch in the steering column for the back of the car, it's the same positive wire for both signal and brake on each side. So, if your signals work but brake lamps don't, it's at the turn signal switch or "earlier" in the circuit (pedal switch, wiring, fuse).
Tip from Carmine (1968):
THE PROBLEM: No brake lights or hazard flashers at the rear of the car. Normal operation of taillights and turn signals.
Because the taillights and turn signals operated as normal, we know that the bulbs & sockets are ok. This means that we must move "upstream" to find the problem. Previous experience tells me to look for any signs of the car ever having a trailer hitch, since this is often considered a good reason to butcher-up a wiring harness. However, there was no evidence of a hitch, or the associated wiring hacks, to be found.
The previous owner (who owned the car for only 3-4 months) had taken the car to an electrical repair shop, which had concluded that the turn signal switch was bad. The previous owner then obtained an NOS switch, along with the hard-to-find tool that was supposedly needed to remove the steering wheel. Since I couldn't spot any obvious problems with the brake switch, I decided to go with the repair shops diagnosis and try the new switch. I removed the tilt/tele wheel without any need for the "special" puller, but then a thought dawned on me... "Hey dummy, just connect the new switch outside of the column and see if it solves the problem." Actually, I didn't feel to bad, since the previous repair shop had tightened the telescoping assembly so hard that it couldn't be loosened without a lot of grunting. (Morons)
Wiring in the new switch did nothing, as I had suspected. After all, the switch still worked as new--the car has only 66K, the turn signals worked fine, and there were no blown fuses to indicate a short.
At this point, I decided to check out the wiring. Something made me suspicious of the male/female turn signal switch connection... There was a white IP harness wire that plugged into a different colored wire in the T/S harness, yet the T/S harness still contained a white wire. Now it's not unusual for wiring colors to change at connections, but the same colors are not repeated in a different wiring cavity (at the same connection). This would simply lead to much confusion during assembly and repair.
This was when I asked for help, and Dick Benjamin responded with a scan of the '69 service manual (same column wiring). With this diagram in hand, I could see that two of the wires had been reversed at the female-side T/S harness connector cavity. Switching them solved my problem.
Of course, the big question is, "HOW in the HELL did this happen???" You see, the wires weren't cut/mangled/abused in the fashion that I would expect to see from some shade-tree mechanic who was just poking at stuff under the dash; they were instead carefully reversed by releasing the metal tab on the tiny pin connectors, and then re-inserted into the wrong wiring cavity.
While this is the type of manufacturing defect that I would expect to find on a brand-new car, this car is 32 years-old! It seems rather doubtful that no one would have noticed the brake-lights not working in that time frame (plus I have a copy of the original dealer inspection checklist showing any "as-delivered" flaws; brake-lights are checked "ok"). And even if no one noticed, what besides a life-sized St. Christopher medal, would have prevented the car from being rear-ended in 66,000 miles? I can only figure that this was the result of some rather evil shenanigans done by another electrical shop motivated by either profit or a desire to cause bodily harm. In any case, I now have brake lights, at a cost of 0 dollars.
Question from Paul (1968):
My '68 turn signals will flash for left or right ONLY if you hold pressure on the turn signal stalk. It will NOT lock (click) into place and keep the signal on. I have only ever driven one '68 Imperial (mine) so I'm not sure if this is correct or a problem.
It sound like the turn signaling canceling cam (in the column under the wheel) is broken or worn out. You will need a steering wheel puller to access it.
The turn signal switch on your car should have the "lane change feature" (one of the first cars so equipped), but it should also click into a "stay on" position. It is very common for the plastic tangs which provide this action to break off on these cars, particularly if you have the "Tilt-O-Scope" wheel. Most of us have had to replace our turn signal switches over the years; it is a very time consuming job, but one that the amateur can do with patience.
If your car does not have the fancy wheel setup, I don't know anything about it, but suspect the problem and solution are similar, although the part number would certainly be different. By the way, NAPA sells a rebuilding kit for these switches, but I have used it and been disappointed in the results (my cornering lights quit working).
As has been stated your canceling cam is probably broken. I did this job on my '73 Satellite (Hi Mike P)-3 times. It is a little white plastic piece with "horns" on the end. They break off and it won't keep flashing unless you keep pressure on. I assume the Imp is the same (I know that's dangerous) You need to pull the steering wheel. AutoZone will loan out a puller & may have the part. Mine was about $3.
Question from Joe (1968):
What is a "passenger side" turn signal switch?
Reply from Dick:
There is a turn signal switch on the steering column, which operates both side turn signals on a 1968 Imperial. You would push it up to signal a right turn, and down to signal a left turn, but it is the same switch regardless of the direction you plan to turn. Is this what you need? If so, you need to specify whether or not your car has a tilt/telescope wheel, because that requires a different switch.
If your switch has failed, most likely the failure is that it does not "latch" in the up or down position, rather it requires that you hold it in position to keep the turn signals blinking. If this is the case, this failure is discussed extensively in the IML archives. There are detailed directions for changing the switch, and also a description of the repair kits available from NAPA for rebuilding the switches yourself. New switches are available, you can usually find them on Ebay if you watch for them for a few weeks. Alternatively, you can often find them at Chrysler Dealers, at least for the switches for tilt/telescope steering columns. The part number is: 2925506 They retail for around $120, although I have bought them off Ebay for under $50 by being patient. A used one will likely have the same problem yours has - so hold out for a new one.
Question from Jeff (1968):
Does anyone know through experience where to get a passenger side turn signal switch for '68? My mechanic is having a tough time. Is this one of those hard to get things or is my mechanics supplier looking in the wrong place? Weren't these used for many years or were they specific for '67 or '68?
Are those for right turns? :) Since you mention passenger side I'm not sure if you are talking about the actual switch or the indicator out on the fender! The actual switch comes in two types depending on what type of steering column your particular car has. Switches for cars with plain steering columns are available from: Shee-Mar PO Box 179 Longmont, CO 80502 303-678-5334 EMAIL - firstname.lastname@example.org Unfortunately the turn signal switch for a tilt-tele column is much harder to find and also install.
Try this fellow: Funkhouser Motor Co. Napoleon, Ohio. ph.419-592-7851 Chrysler Parts specialist.
Shee-Mar probably has newly-made switches for the tilt-and-telescope steering columns too. That's where I got one for my '67 a couple of years ago, and it's still working great. They also can provide the cancel cam, which is the thingie that stops the blinker from blinking after you're finished turning. If you're replacing the switch, you might as well replace the cancel cam too, since they do wear out.
And yes, if you have the tilt-and-telescoping steering column, it's a pretty involved procedure to open it up. I highly recommend that you buy a Factory Service Manual and insist that your mechanic follow its instructions for that procedure. You can get one from an automotive literature dealer such as Irv Bishko.
Question from Bob (1968):
Has anyone on the list ever change the turn signal switch on a '68 imperial with the tilt and telescope steering wheel. Mine is bad and I can't figure out how to pull the tube off of the column I do not have the special tool can I make one and how would you make one.
This is a General Motors part assembly - they made millions of them. Break-Apart photos and instructions are available in many repair manuals and, I think, if I remember correctly, that the directional stuff is the first assembly to see when the cover is removed.
Getting the tube off is even harder than finding the switch! If you are lucky you can use a piece of hardwood dowel or a nylon drift (available at gun shops) and a hammer to tap on the edge of the hole for either the tilt lock or the signal switch lever. If you get it back far enough to get a screwdriver between the bottom of the tube and the shoulder on the column, you can then coax it up. Mine was so tight that I literally had to mangle the rolled edge at the top and attach a couple of vise grips on which I hammered to get the thing off! To undo my butchery, I wrapped the top edge of the tube with masking tape and used a pair of distortion free snips to remove the 3/8 inch mangled edge. The tape prevented any damage to the paint and the part looks like it was never messed with if you don't have an original to compare it to! The added benefit is that the switch can be removed in the future without removing the tube, nonetheless I didn't go crazy beating it all the way back down either. By the way, there is no gap visible when the wheel is pulled all the way up, so someone would have to remove the wheel to see!
Question from Dave (1968):
I'm hoping someone can share either the MoPar or NaPa parts number for the turn signal switch that fits the 1968 Imperial non-tilt steering column.
Reply from Bob:
The part number that you need for the turn signal switch is: non tilt - 2880829 With tilt - 2925506.
Question from Larry (1968):
This is a request for some help with turn signals on my '68 Crown...I've determined that either the switch or the wires between the switch and the plug-in, is at fault. My question is: How do I get the switch out of this tilt steering column? I have removed the 3 screws that hold the switch, and it is loose but will not come out of the upper end of the tube. The opening in the top of the tube is just too small for the switch to pass through. What am I missing??
I have taken my turn signal switch out of my '68 with tilt-o-scope, but it was not fun. You have to remove the individual wires from the connector on the steering column under the dash, and fish them all the way out the top. You need a special tool to get the steering column back together because you have to loosen the tilt-o-scope assembly to get the stuff through and out. If you possibly can, try to repair the switch in place, without removing it. If you disconnect it electrically, you should be able to pull it up far enough to work on the contacts. What are your symptoms?
I have replaced my own turn signal switch (in my '67) and it was not easy. First, find a new switch. My local C-P dealer (Prince in Inglewood, CA) had one in stock (it looked like it had been on the shelf since 1973). *Before doing ANY electrical work on any car, always disconnect the battery! * Second, put the steering wheel in a straight-ahead position (so you can reinstall it correctly later) and remove it. You need to remove the horn switch assembly (the chrome crossbars and center ring) and the tilt-a-scope adjuster (careful! There's a big coil spring back there!). It's all pretty obvious up to this point. You'll need a steering wheel puller to remove the actual wheel once you loosen and remove the central nut. Pullers cost about $10 at any Napa store or similar. Worth having...
Once the steering wheel is off, you'll see the plastic switch (actually it's about all you'll see in there). Remove the turn signal lever (there's a screw holding it on, I believe), then the screws holding in the switch, and then get out your flashlight and look at the lower end of the steering column. You'll see the wiring harness coming out the other end (you can match colors from the top of the column to identify it), and it won't look small enough to fit up through the steering column, but it does with a trick: Tie a small but long wire or string around the wires and above the connector (you'll be using it to guide the new wiring back down, so make sure the bottom end of the string doesn't come up with the wiring).
Then, reset the tilting column so it's parallel the whole way. This will leave as much room as possible. Go back up to the switch and work it out the top of the column. (It will seem not to fit out the rolled edge of the column sleeve, but it does.) You'll have to work the wiring up through the column and you'll be tempted to cut off the connector but it will come out. Make sure the string stays in the column! When it's out, take a much needed rest stop, wipe off your brow, and untie the wire or string. Tie it to the new harness in the same place, then feed the wiring into the column until the switch is almost in place. Go underneath and use the string to pull the harness down, and then work the new switch and wiring into position. Plug it all in, reattach the horn and steering wheel, reconnect the battery and signal away!
Follow-up from Larry:
I do not have a service manual for the '68, so today I stopped by the parts department at the Chrysler Dealer and got a copy of the exploded view of the entire steering column. With this bit of added information, I determined that the switch MUST come through that small opening in the tube....with a little added effort I did manage to persuade the switch out. The red wire (current supply) is broken right close to the switch. The switch will not work even by hooking this red wire together. It may be possible to repair the switch, but I have not attempted that yet. All of the turn lights worked properly when I plugged a turn switch from a 69 Road Runner into the Imperial. No cornering lights of course, and the switch is completely different. I asked the Chrysler parts mgr. if a replacement switch was available from Chrysler, and his information tells him that it is. He told me the price was about $60. Napa tells me that it is also available from them for $180. I'm not out of the woods yet, but I think I'm headed in the right direction.
Question from Jim (1968 side marker lights):
I'm going through the annual humbug of trying to get my '68 LeBaron through a safety inspection. I spent an hour today trying to get the bulb out of the side marker built into the front bumper. They're obviously set up differently than the rear marker lights, which simply plug in and out. I crawled underneath and spotted threads on the metal plug and finally managed with a pliers to get it to turn ... but then it just turned and turned and turned. So then I figured it had to pull it straight out somehow, but it wouldn't pull and I didn't want to break it. I couldn't spot any clips or anything that would suggest how it's secured in there.
Reply from Kate:
I have had these out on my Imperial, as the grounds were not working - they ground to the body through the casting of the light housing and the spring steel clip that holds them in. Take a stiff brush and clean the heck out of the backside around the point of entry through the body, then get a good light and take a look. The cast (zinc?) light housing had a flat metal slip-on clip, much like those holding rubber brake lines into those star brackets on the frame on GM cars and trucks. You should be able to tap the clip off and then the light comes out from the outside. It's a real neck-strainer to see up in there, though!
Question from Jim (1968):
Does anyone know if the right brake light is connected to the turn signal switch? The bulbs were changed and lights work and so does the turn signal but brake lights do not. I have to hold down the lever for signal to work on right side only.
The brake lamps are indeed wired through the turn signal switch. This is so the active signal can override the brake lamps. When the signals are off, stepping on the brake sends current to both sides' brake lamps. Turning on either signal disconnects the brake lamps on that side and flashes the turn signal using the same filaments of the same bulbs.
What you're describing is a common problem, and it indicates a faulty turn signal switch that no longer makes proper contact on the right side, and cannot make contact at all on the left side. You'll need to find the switch (I don't have the part number handy but many Chrysler dealers still have their old parts books and can look it up... and many can still locate a switch for you, believe it or not), and then you'll need to check another page for advise on replacing this switch. You'll need a steering-wheel puller, some patience, and extra elbows in each arm.
One word of advice: Attach a long string or wire to the wiring harness of the old switch before you pull it up out the top of the steering column. The wire needs to be long enough to stay hanging out the bottom by the time to pull the wiring out the top. It will help you pull the wiring for the new switch back down the inside of the steering column.
If NEITHER of your stop lights work, I'd look at the stop light switch mounted under the dash under the brake pedal arm. Pull the wiring off the switch and jump them (with a paper clip or short piece of wire.) If the stop lights work, that's your problem. The turn signal switch is a lot of work to replace as Chris mentions.
Question from Carmine (1968 cornering lights):
I am in the process of troubleshooting the cornering lights (have already ruled out the T/S switch and bulb/sockets, since I can make them work by supplying power before the connection to the violet "feed" wire). Other items that are fed on the same circuit/splice as the cornering lights are the A/C clutch and Auto-Pilot. These are all operational.
Follow-up from Carmine:
On a 1968 Imperial, the cornering lights only come on when the headlamps/park lamps are on. Seems logical, after all, who needs them in daylight? Of course, the rest of the auto world doesn't do it this way, but this is an IMPERIAL! It never occurred to me to try them with the lights "on". I suppose that's why I couldn't track down the problem. There wasn't one.
There's no law on how cornering lights must activate, as cornering lights are not required on cars. Even today some work only with the headlamps on (Isuzu Trooper, for one), and some all the time (Oldsmobile Intrigue, for one). In the sixties, as with today, it was purely up to the manufacturer. Imperials, as far as I know, always required the parking lights to be on for the signals to activate the cornering light... just another example of thoughtful engineering (assuming you wouldn't need the illumination in the daytime). But even today, Cadillac's work all the time because GM cars with cornering lights do not use the side-marker bulbs in conjunction with the turn signals, a feature they have had since the mid-1970s (perhaps a more thoughtful approach than Mother Mopar). No current Mopar offers cornering lights, and Chrysler's use of the side-marker/signal tie-in seems sporadic at best (Jeeps have it, many Chryslers do not, and the Neon lost it in the new generation). And who among us doesn't miss fender-mounted turn signals?!
Question from Bob (1969):
I'm having a little electrical problem with my '69 and can't seem to locate the flasher for the hazard lights. Any ideas?
On the '69 with the sequential signals there is an override relay located on the steering column next to the turn signal system outage relay located right above the brake pedal bracket. It is this override relay that controls the hazard lights. On your '69 it should be the relay closest to the steering wheel. I think that only the '69 has this setup because of the sequential signals. Other models will have a flasher.
On both my '70 and my '71, it's located waaaaaay back under the dash directly above the steering column. But as you've already read, sometimes they're not where they're "supposed" to be.
There are 2 relays under the dash at about the location of the steering column. There are a couple more in the trunk, as well as the motor that runs the system. These are located on the drivers side of the trunk on the wheel well housing. If they have never been disturbed, they are covered with black padding & plastic inside. Depending on what the system is doing or not doing, one or more of the relays could be bad.
Question from Leo (1969):
Has anyone experienced the loss of directionals on one side of the car. When the lever is engaged to the left, you can hear the sequential flasher, when you move it to the right nothing....
Can you observe the dash indicator to be flashing rapidly with no flasher noise? That is likely a bulb out. Or, if there is no flash from the dash, the indicator bulb may be out. Have you turned on the signal and gotten out of the car to look at what the bulbs are doing?? If not, do so as it will give you a hint as to where to look next.. Or, if the car has been like this since you bought it, someone may have messed up the wiring to the rear lights in such a way as to cause this symptom. In any case, this should not be too difficult to track down. Get a FSM and look at the wiring diagram.
Sounds like a bind out on that side, no more.
First off, have someone check the bulbs on both the stop/turn signal and the front turn signal filament while you sit in the car and engage the turn signal lever (or have them turn on the switch while you are outside). Depending upon the year and make of car, when the brightest filament (stop/turn or front turn) burns out, it will either flash twice as fast or not at all on that side. It's usually not the switch unless the guts are completely wasted.
The grounding problem will be between the metal of the bulb receptacle and the housing it is mounted in. These were just crimped in place, and an insulating layer builds up in moist climates due to oxidation and crud. You can verify this by probing with a sharp point right onto the copper of the bulb base outer shell and running a clip lead from the sharp probe to the bumper. The bulb will light brightly, and the flasher will start to work as long as you hold the probe on the bulb base. Assuming this happens, you need to replace the bulb socket with a new one, after cleaning the bejabbers out of everything, or if you have a soldering iron, you can try to solder a ground contact from the bulb socket to the housing, using a lot of flux to clean the parts well enough to get solder to wet both parts.
Question from Tony (1972):
Tonight I took Genie (my '72 Imperial LeBaron out on the road for the first time since our little servo incident. Had to make sure we had lots of fuel for the big show tomorrow. Anyway when turning right the flasher works great but when I turn left the turn lights come on and do not flash. I thought I probably had a bad bulb but they look okay. I did notice that when I took the front light assembly out when the back of the socket from the upper light touched the bumper it flashed as normal but as soon as I put it back in it stops. Anybody have any ideas?
Genie has a bad ground on the turn signal socket. The socket should be connected to the car body on one side but the metal under the spade connector, or whatever it has, has to be clean. It sounds like you have found your problem anyhow but check the continuity of the ground wire as well since it might be broken internally.
This means your light socket is not being grounded by its mounting provision. Clean up all the metal parts so that there is definite metal to metal contact from the socket all the way to the frame of the car, and it should work again.
For some reason you have a bad ground. Check where the front lights ground (not sure on a '72).
Question from Frank (1972):
I am looking for the plastic signal parts inside the steering column, the signal switch will not lock. Any ideas where I can purchase these?
You might want to try Advance Auto Parts. You might ask about the turn signal switch inside the steering column, but they may not be of any help to you there. A better source will be a NAPA store, preferably one with some guys over the age of 30 working there.
NAPA also stocks a repair kit to replace the moveable part of the turn signal switch. Since your car has cornering lights, I recommend you buy a new switch, though, rather than trying to replace just the moveable part. I have done it both ways, but replacing the whole switch produces a much nicer result, it is exactly like new. This is a big job, by the way, and you definitely need the manual and a good set of tools, and the ability to make a tool to remove the plastic horn contact ring retaining c-washer, if you have tilt wheel. There are other special tools called for, but generally, you can devise some way around those. The others are a puller to remove the mast jacket (called the "actuator cover"), and a release tool for the electrical contacts, plus of course the steering wheel puller. The switches were still available at last report, I got one from a dealer for my 68, and I expect they would also stock yours, it may in fact be the same switch, or at least you may be able to use either switch (the 68 does not have the lane change feature).
Question from Dave (1973):
My '73 Imperial has developed a curious problem. The turn signals are lazy. When they light, they aren't very bright and the timing can be slow or erratic. However, when I use the hazard flashers, all the signal lights work brightly and quickly. What could be the problem?
Locate your fuse block, on it there should be at least 2 cylinders, one is for the four way emergency flashers the other is for your turn signal. Determine which is which and replace the one for the turn signals.
You might try getting a new flasher unit. This is the little unit that is under the dash that looks like a small silver top hat. It is round (about the size of a quarter) and about one inch long. There should be two prongs for a plug on one side. I don't know where it is on your Imperial but it should be under the dash by the steering column. They are 2 or 3 dollars at any parts store.
While the Hazard warning flashers use the same bulbs and wiring, they do use a separate flasher, and of course pass their current through a different set of contacts on the turn signal switch. If both directions of your turn signals are acting up, there is a fair chance that you have a bad flasher, or a poor contact in the flasher circuit. If you have a voltmeter, check to see that the voltage on the terminals of the flasher is at least 12 1/2 volts on one terminal, and pulsing from 0 to 12 volts on the other.. If not, and the non pulsing terminal is 12 1/2 volts but the pulsing terminal is jumping up to something significantly less than 12 volts, you have a bad flasher. They are cheap, I would just try replacing it anyway.
Regarding lazy turn signals, I have found that on occasion, if traveling 90+, the turn signals on our '66 Crown flash at a VERY fast rate. Almost a strobe! Other times when the engine speed is low (idle @ 500rpm) the flash rate is very very slow as well as the lights being dim until the engine turns up to @ 700 or 800 rpm.
From Dave B:
First, make sure that ALL of the bulbs are lighting when you hit the directional (the emergency flasher doesn't care since it is a heavy duty unit and is self actuating which means that if NO bulbs were lit it would sit there and merrily make and break the circuit and click away with no lights at all on the outside). If they are all there, then get a new flasher unit. The heavy duty units are nice for two reasons:
1. They will continue to blink when 1 bulb of a multi-bulb light fixture burns out, so you don't get a ticket for no directional (provided you have at least one good bulb at each corner of the car), and;
2. They are usually a little louder than the nearly silent stock units that Chrysler seemed to love from the mid-fifties through the early seventies, which is nice as a reminder if your last turn wasn't sharp enough to cancel the signals (or as in my case where the right signal will only half cancel unless the return to center is very slow, leaving the signal blinking with no dash indicator...guess it's time to dive into the column, huh?) The downside is the condition mentioned for the emergency flasher above, you lose the self diagnostic quality of no-blink when a front or rear bulb goes out. The dash indicator will blink away with no outside lights at all!
Does your car use separate flasher units for the hazards and the turn signals? If so, replace the turn signal flasher (try swapping it out anyway). After that, check the following:
1.) Do all the outside turn signals light dimly, front and rear? If so, it's probably not related to the individual bulbs or sockets unless all of them are dirty. It's not a bad idea to remove the lenses and clean the insides of the lamps, re-painting the silver parts and cleaning the backs of the lenses. Careful not to paint the sockets! Also, why not install fresh bulbs while you're in there... they do have a shelf-life.
2.) Do the brake lamps light brightly, too? Since the brake light circuit goes through the turn signal switch on the steering column, it might be that the switch isn't making good contact. Ditto for the cornering lights (of course, the headlamps must be on for them to work, but they too come through the column switch).
3.) Finally, does your car have an adjustable turn signal relay mounted under the hood (my 67 does, I think). It could need replacing or adjusting. Please let us know the outcome! My 67's signals are slower at idle than on the highway but bright all the time (how could tail lamps that big NOT be bright?). Now I have a question for anyone who has a 68: Someone told me that on the 68s, only the outer two bulbs in each tail lamp came on when you signaled (my 67 uses all three, flashing half the car when you signal!). Is this true, or are the 68s the same as the 67s in this regard? Just wondering...
Follow-up from Dave:
In checking the '73's brake lights, I shattered one bulb while removing it. Little pieces of glass showered down inside the taillight lens assembly, which, incidentally, doubles as a Chinese puzzle box. Of course, the service manual's solution as to how to remove and open the taillight assembly is wrong. Not wanting to risk breaking the rare piece, I decided to vacuum out the debris using a miniature hose and a hand held vacuum. I should warn other '73 Imperial owners. Before you even begin to remove taillight bulbs, you should first remove the panel which hides the jack. Then remove the panel which covers the rear wall and lock assembly. This second panel hides the lower bulb in the driver's side taillight. The service manual doesn't mention this, and uses the obstruction-free passenger side taillight assembly for its example. I had quite a time getting the socket of the shattered bulb out of the housing. It crumpled and shattered many times over. Fortunately, AutoZone had racks full of replacement bulbs and I was able to buy nearly every bulb needed for the car's exterior. There are 18 in all, I believe. I also bought a new flasher unit, but when I got it home I noticed that the package says the unit is only good for systems with up to 3 turn signal lights. The Imperial has 5, the fifth being the big road lamp which lights the way during a turn. I suspect this dime store flasher can't handle the job. It's a "standard duty turn signal or hazard warning flasher" by Tridon. Part number 536/552-C. Like a fool, I believed the in store catalog. So, for an afternoon's labor, I have four new taillight bulbs installed and the lights are still so dim they can barely be seen. Tomorrow, I'll go to Napa and try to get a better flasher. Hopefully, this will solve my problem.
Reply from Dick:
The cornering light does not draw its electric current through the flasher, thus you do not need to count it in figuring your flasher load. Putting in a heavy duty flasher will make the flasher insensitive to how many bulbs are connected, which is needed if you are going to pull a trailer for example, but doing so will defeat the warning you get when a bulb burns out, (the indicators will go on undaunted, and you won't know about it until you get a ticket). I am not familiar with '73's, so I do not know if you need a heavy duty flasher or not, but I would go with the owner's manual recommendation as to flasher application.
Reply from Chris:
Dave, did you even try this flasher/ (It's an easy plug-in installation). Because the cornering lamps (the bright white ones on the sides) do not flash, they shouldn't be wired through this flasher relay. The turn signal switch should send juice directly to the lamp via the headlamp switch (note that they only come in when the headlamp is on). What you really need is a shop manual for this car with a schematic. I'd try the regular relay. Your car, I believe, only uses 3 exterior bulbs for the signal: 1 in the front lamp, 2 in the tail lamps. Then there are the two low-wattage indicator bulbs (dashboard and fender-top), which use less than 3 watts (compared to 21 watts each for the exteriors). My 67 uses a standard flasher and it not only uses 3 bulbs in the back but BOTH filaments of bulb the front lamp in the bumper (my parking lamps are in the fender, the bumper bulb is only for turning). Sure, you could use a heavy-duty flasher but it would let you know when a bulb is burned out by refusing to flash.
Question from Kerry (1973):
Where the heck is the flasher on a 73? What does it look like? The manual says it is under the dash to the left of the steering column but I can't see anything that looks like any flasher I've ever seen. My turn signal lamps will come on but no longer flash. I do not have the side lights hooked up but I would expect them to work anyway???
You'll have to get under the dash and feel for the flasher. It is plastic, yellow (I think the original was yellow!), round, and mounted to a brace near the steering column by a small, tab at the top of the flasher body. You have to twist the flasher to free the tab from the brace and likewise twist to fasten it. As I recall, this isn't easy. You'll need a flasher with the same type tab at top - the metal kinds with no tab just flap around. NAPA has a plastic style that works. There is also a gray plastic version that I have wondered if it has a better "click" sound. Keep looking, you'll find it!
Dave has already given you specific instructions for finding the flasher, and hopefully you will find it, however, in the event you do not, look way up under the dash to the right of the glove box, that is where it is on a 67, even though the FSM states it is by the ignition switch! The original 67 flasher is a tiny 1" by 3/4" by 3/8" rectangular Signal-Stat brand, held with a metal clip. Good luck, it took me an hour a day for a week to finally find mine!
You may want to remove the connecting a/c duct work to the left side spot cooler its only held on with one screw.
As someone else stated, you pretty much have to remove the air duct from under the steering column. If you cannot find a replacement flasher with the little tabs to hold it in place you can simple slide the an ordinary metal can flasher into the old housing. You do have to pop out the old flasher guts but a small, flat blade screwdriver works well.
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