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Old 12-27-2004, 02:55 PM
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57 Chevy Taillights

We put a new wiring harness in our 57 chevy custom awhile back. We cant get the brake lights or taillights to work. The turn signals work great. The headlights work great. I was told the Dash lights, brake lights, and taillights are off the same circuit, and is probably not grounded. Well, I have traced everything I can think of, and am just getting more frustrated which just makes it worse. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Mrlees

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Old 12-27-2004, 03:05 PM
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Could be a ground problem............

The dash lights and taillights are on the same circuit.

The signals and the brake lights are on another circuit.

Do your dash klights work. If not, check for a bad fuse.

For the brake lights, you need to check your brake light switch, by the brake pedal.
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Old 12-28-2004, 08:49 AM
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Not for certain but I think the dash lights are separate from the brake / taillights. Double check your fuses. Then check for a broken wire. To test the ground just run a jumper from the socket to a bare piece of metal that is close. Also if you have front parking lights, those should be on the same circuit as the taillights. If the front parking lights are working and the rear taillights are not, then I would concentrate on the hot wire from the fuse block to where it connects to the taillights. Also are you sure that you have the right lamps in? It could be that you have the wwrong lamp and are running a single filament instead of the dual filament. I believe it is supposed to be 1156 for front and 1157 for the rear. Another thing to consider to save time is that if the turn signals are working then the ground should be OK. If the ground was not there then the rear bulb would not work at all. Just a thought. If you don't have a Volt/Ohm meter then I would suggest investing it at least a cheap one. You can pick them up at WallyWorld for around $10 and is almost essential when dealing with any type of electrical circuit. Good Luck.

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Old 12-29-2004, 06:41 AM

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If you wired the car, you should have noticed only two wires going into the tail light cans. One wire is for the brake light AND turn signal. The other is for the parking/driving light position. Since the turn signals work, the cans are grounded so as Kevin said, you probably do not need to check the ground. No brake lights thus can be traced backwards and most likely is in the brake light switch. Next, I would check for voltage at the pins in the bulb receptacle. With the turn signals on, you can identify the brake/turn signal pin and thus check the other for voltage with the parking or head lights on. If there is voltage, make sure you have a correct and good bulb. If there is no voltage present, then go backwards to the switch, checking for voltage at ever junction as you go. It is very possible that you have a bad switch or a loose connection on the switch.


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Old 12-29-2004, 08:28 PM
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How should one ground the cans? To the frame I'm guessing? Just use any old screw laying around or what?
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Old 12-29-2004, 11:25 PM
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Since the turn signals work I would check the turn signal switch. It is to "cancel" the brake light voltage to allow the turn signal voltage to run through the flasher and then to the front and rear bulbs. So in the rear, the brake light bulb is also the turn signal bulb or element. Check the switch in the steering wheel.

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