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turn signal wiring question. Help !

Hey Guys,

I'm stumped by my front turn signal wiring and need some help. I can't get them to work correctly. They did before I "fixed" them but now it's getting confusing.

Here's the story. It's an 84' and they worked fine and then the drivers side front signal started to work intermittently. i pulled the lens off and discover that the tabs on the back of the bulb holder assembly had cracked and fallen off and the contact plate the bulb base rests on and spring were falling out the back. I got a used one and swapped it out. It worked and the signals worked marginally but not great as they are very dim. If I turn on the headlights the increase in power is noticed but still only one filiment lights on the turn signal bulb, second filment doesn't light. I checked grounds on the assembly, bulbs, contacts etc. and no change. I swapped wire positions on the assembly thinking I had them reversed, no change.

Now the front passenger side started failing and after checking discover the same problem with the broken retainer tabs.
Fixed that assembly but now that one works sort of. The turn signal bulb is very bright bulb, but the side marker light doesn't light or won't blink with the signal. Both bulbs light when the headlight is turned on but then the parking light filiment is so bright you can't see the turn signal flashing on the signal bulb and the side marker light doesn't blink. I've checked grounds and contact etc on that one and swapped wiring without success.

So here's my questions: Can someone tell me the right wiring positions on the front turn signal bulb assembly by position? Black/white on top connector and grey/red on bottom? I know the ground goes on the middle assemble body lug. I want to make sure those are right if nothing else. Are the side marker lights suppose to flash with the turn signals?

Any ideas of where to check next on the wiring for bad groundsor other possible problems? Could it be the relay? I've checked the wiring connectors on the back of the housing that run to the side marker lights and they seem ok. same with the connections in the side marker assembly. I've checked fuses and connections at the fuse panel. All other lights in the back work fine. I'm really stumped and very frustrated. Any constructive suggestions and help would be appreciated. Any non constructive suggestions will be judged based on the humor factor so at least make them funny as I need some cheering up.

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Dan O
84' 3.2 Targa
Old 05-31-2006, 05:54 AM
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Can you take a pic of the assembly? I haven't done my fronts, but I can tell you that grounding is often the culprit. I can also tell you that blk/wht is the turn signal and gry/red is the running light. W/o seeing the stuff I can't tell you 4 sure which way it goes together. Make sure you have a brown wire going to the housing-that's the ground. Critical! Check to make sure that brown has good contact to the chassis. Use a digital meter (set to DC of course) to check voltage at the red/gry and blk/wht.

Last edited by SLO-BOB; 05-31-2006 at 07:03 AM..
Old 05-31-2006, 07:01 AM
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Okay guys I know we can do better than this, only 1 response and not any ribbing or jokes at my expense, help your brother out here, I'm floundering
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Dan O
84' 3.2 Targa

Last edited by Dan Owens; 05-31-2006 at 06:39 PM..
Old 05-31-2006, 12:06 PM
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I'm giving myself a bump as I really do need some help here.
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Dan O
84' 3.2 Targa
Old 06-01-2006, 07:43 AM
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Dan O,
I can't really help except to chime in that I have much the same problem.

After undergoing a full paint job and related disassembly my driver's front signal will not work. Searching, I came scross your thread and I can tell your description is right on.....AND.... a bunch of gibberish to those reading unless they have had the turn signal assy apart and in their hands....as I did for a couple of hours yesterday!

As you, I have checked the bulb by swapping with the right side and it works. I too thought I had the wiring connections mixed up and thought if I just experimented I wil get the right combo - NOT! Also as you my driver's front bulb retainer assy (for lack of a better name) comes apart. Those little tabs to retain the bulb plate, spring and that little hexagonal washer that holds the spring are minimal at best for holding that thing together. I can get it to hold but when swapping the bulbs out by using MINIMAL pressure pushing the bulb in.

I've curently got mine as you describe, black/white wire on top tab, grey/red wire on bottom, brown wire on the tab on the reflector. Oh by the way, on the right that IS working, the side marker WILL flash if the move the signal bulb around by hand losing the connection - flashing side marker. Once I move the signal bulb around again re-establishing the proper connection, the signal bulb flashes and the side marker does not! S I still don't know if it is SUPPOSED to flash with the signal or not?

Did you ever get yours figured out and if so, what did you do?
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Dan in Pasadena
'76 911S Sahara Beige/Cork
Old 06-12-2006, 08:41 AM
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I'll try again. You need to get a meter and test what you have. Disconnect all of the leads to the light. Set meter for DC, attach the black lead from the meter to the brown wire and leave it there. That is the ground. Attach the red lead to each wire and test with the ignition on/off and with the turn signals on with the iginition on/off and finally with the lights on and the ignition on/off. Record the results and let me know what you have and we can go from there.


What we are trying to do is-

-Isolate what wire does what

-how much, if any, voltage is present


This will determine-

-if you have a bad ground

-short

-bad power wire

-bad light switch

-bad turn signal switch

-bad fuse

-etc
Old 06-12-2006, 09:23 AM
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Hi Bob,

Thanks for the input. When it comes to electrical I've got to admit its usually over my head. Hell, I don't even own a multimeter. I've got test lights for basic continuity testing! I should get one though. Any recommendations on a basic meter? How bad are the Harbor Freight ones or should I just bite the bullet and get a little better one? With my luck I'll have it improperly set and burn it out the first use.

I am pretty confident my problem is in the grounding that wasn't reconnected properly when my bumpers were removed for painting....but I really am only guessing. I'll take your advice and post back. I wonder if Dan O. ever fixed his problem?
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Dan in Pasadena
'76 911S Sahara Beige/Cork
Old 06-12-2006, 11:50 AM
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Hi Dan-My reply was meant for both of you. I'm guessing his problem hasn't been resolved.

On meters-skip HF. You can get a pretty decent Fluke for not too much I believe at Home Depot or Lowes, etc. Greenlee might be ok but I have no experience with them. Either way, you want something basic, but with auto-ranging.

My experience with this kind of stuff has been that in 99.9% of the times the problem is a bad ground. Trace the brown wire back to where it's connected to the chassis and make sure that's not broken and connected well with no body goo in between the crimped end and the sheetmetal. You can run a jumper from a known ground to the tab on the housing to isolate the ground also.
Old 06-12-2006, 12:42 PM
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Your issue is small. My dumbazz cut out all the wiring in the headlight bucket when I upgraded to H4's. I guess I didnt know that the turn signal wiring runs with the headlight wiring in the headlight bucket.

DUHHHH!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-12-2006, 12:48 PM
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Bill,
Thanks for the recommendation on the meters. I'll drop by and take a look. So, I want "Fluke" brand (what a name!) or possibly Greenlee. Auto ranging means...... it will magically overcome my stupidity and set itself on the proper range to keep be from BBQ'ing it the first time I use it? Autoranging means almost idiot-proof!

Yeah, I am kinda sure its a ground problem too as none of the wiring looks hacked...at least not there. My under dash is a whole other thing...so I'll undoubtedly need that meter soon.

Bill, Sorry to hear of your momentary (I hope) seizure that caused you to cut a bunch of wires. Been there/done that...but it was only stereo wiring (did I mention that under dash wiring issue I have?
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Old 06-12-2006, 02:42 PM
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Guys,

Somehow I got disconnected from my original post and wasn't seeing anyone else posting. No my problem hasn't been fixed. I would love for someone to tell where the ground wire attches to the chassis as I can't find a spot anywhere. The wiring goes into the front trunk and disappears from there.

I too am an idiot when it comes to electrical. I have a meter but don't have a clue at what I'm seeing when I use it.

Dan
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84' 3.2 Targa
Old 06-12-2006, 03:05 PM
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Dan,

If you can't trace the ground ( My car is older-I don't know where your's goes ) disconnect the ground on the light housing and try a jumper. Use some #14 or #16 wire and alligator clips to attach to your housing where the brown (ground) wire attached and the negative terminal of your battery. You can get alligator clips and wire at any Radio Shack or Autozone. Try all of the conditions I mentioned above and test. If you don't have a meter just observe whether or not the problem goes away by using the jumper. If it goes away, you need to trace that ground all the way back to where it's connected and fix the problem (unless you want to make your own connection to the chassis). If the problem does not go away, then it's time to break out the meter and we'll go from there.
Old 06-12-2006, 03:16 PM
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Thanks Bob
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Dan O
84' 3.2 Targa
Old 06-12-2006, 03:22 PM
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I just discovered this post. Dan, what state are you in now? I can take apart my front turn signal and send you some pics, but uploading pics is a very hit or miss proposition.

Maybe you can summarize what you've done, or post a picture?
Old 06-12-2006, 04:23 PM
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If it helps, Dan, I went through this a few years ago, and when my flashlight battery finally died out, I had to go inside and have a few beers.

When I felt better I got through it with logic and a multimeter. Often times if the bulb is not seated properly, it doesn't matter if you have the bulb wiring correct or not. It'll do a rapid flash or get really bright. I suggest disconnecting the sidemarker light, and try fixing the problem by focusing first on the turn signal. The side marker simply takes power from the turn signal.
Old 06-12-2006, 04:27 PM
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alrighty...I will try to post pics.

gry/red, top
wht, middle
blk/wht, bottom

Old 06-12-2006, 07:16 PM
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Thanks for the pics Rusnak. I've got mine wired the same way as you show in your pics. I've swapped the bulbs around with new ones but still have the same problem. The passenger side is way bright in the parking light mode to the point you can't see the turn signal filment flashing but it does. The side marker lights on that side but won't flash with the turn signal. The drivers side turn signal flashes when the signal is on but when you turn on the headlight the same filment lights up brighter. The second filiment in that turn signal bulb doesn't ever light up. The marker light on that side works fine though. Very baffling. Again thanks for the pics and the wiring positions!
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84' 3.2 Targa
Old 06-13-2006, 05:47 AM
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Funny. I am having similar problems in the rear left taillight. Step on the brake and the running light goes out. I have some corrosion inside the lens because the front lens screw had sheared off. Fixed that. Brake light bulb does not want to come out. Inside the taillight where the wires connect is very clean. I will try above methods to find a fix.
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John
Original owner '81 911SC blackmetallic coupe. Terbatrol, SSI, M+K Gen 4, SC+ cams, A/C delete, console delete, heater backdate, 7 & 8 x 16 Fuchs with polished rims, Turbo tie rods, tensioner update, Rennline engine mount bar, Mainely Custom sump plate, new top-end, corner balance.

Last edited by rs6er; 06-13-2006 at 06:23 AM..
Old 06-13-2006, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dan Owens
I've got mine wired the same way as you show in your pics. I've swapped the bulbs around with new ones but still have the same problem. The passenger side is way bright in the parking light mode to the point you can't see the turn signal filment flashing but it does. The side marker lights on that side but won't flash with the turn signal.

My suspicion is that when you replaced the socket, you installed as such so that the running light lead is actually powering the turn signal side of the socket. You must have the socket turned aroound or wired backwards as that is the only way that the condition you decribe can happen (I think). FYI-The voltage is always the same (12v or so) to the housing whether it's a running light, turn signal (interupted by a capacitor), or brake light in the case of the back lights. The difference in brightness is a result of the filiment size-just like a houshold bulb. A 100 watt bulb is brighter than a 60 watt bulb but they are both at 110 volts. What's happening is the bright filiment is always on with the running light. The turn signal is flashing the less bright filiment which is barly noticeable for obvious reasons. This would also explain why the side light is not flashing. Try reversing the leads and see what happens.


The drivers side turn signal flashes when the signal is on but when you turn on the headlight the same filment lights up brighter. The second filiment in that turn signal bulb doesn't ever light up. The marker light on that side works fine though. Very baffling. Again thanks for the pics and the wiring positions!

You must have somehow shorted the running light lead to the turn signal side of the socket. That would explain why the one side doesn't light up at all. It doesn't necessarily explain why the one gets even brighter because again-on a car-voltage is voltage. It won't add up and make it brighter. It may be duller due to a ground issue, however. What is probably happening is a constant voltage ( for the running light) is being applied to the brighter filiment. It should be flashing but can't because the constant voltage is over riding the intermittent voltage making it appear brighter. Disconnect the running light lead entirely and see if the turn signal operates as it should. If so, then you need to get the running light lead to the right part of the socket so that it operates only the running light.




Last edited by SLO-BOB; 06-13-2006 at 09:49 AM..
Old 06-13-2006, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rs6er
Funny. I am having similar problems in the rear left taillight. Step on the brake and the running light goes out. I have some corrosion inside the lens because the front lens screw had sheared off. Fixed that. Brake light bulb does not want to come out. Inside the taillight where the wires connect is very clean. I will try above methods to find a fix.
Your problem is almost certainly corrosion and a grounding issue. You need to clean off all the contacts and make sure you have a good ground.

I did a tail light fix thread. Maybe it will help.

tail light fix

Old 06-13-2006, 09:52 AM
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