And then there were electrical problems...

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Oct 11, 2002
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Well, over the course of the last few months, I have ran into a series of little hurdles in getting "Tony" (78 FJ40) rolling along well enough to deem it trail-worthy.  Now, just before I was going to graduate it from the occassional daily commute duties, the turn signals & wipers have crapped out.

The hazards work...just the turn signals are out.  Anyone know if it is possible for part of the flasher unit to malfunction, or is this sounding more like a problem with the turn signal arm assembly and/or its wiring?

As for the wipers, I am at a loss for now.  I'm going to be busting out the multimeter one of these weekends & will just start at the switch & work my way towards the motor.  But, I would like to know if there is any co-relation between the two. (Yes, I have wiring diagrams. No, I haven't traced all the wires out on them yet. Sometimes it is just easier to ask someone!  :p)
 
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The reason the hazards work is that they are on a permanently live circuit, whereas the indicators get their power from the ignition. If I recall, (may be wrong), but the wiper & indicators are on the same circuit. The wire runs from the fuse box. I would also check the earth wires, as often one faulty earth connection will cause havoc with the electrics.
 
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Indianapolis, Indiana
 
 
 
There are seperate flashers, swap them to troubleshoot the flasher. Dig under the column and check for 12vdc switched at the inoput of the signal switch. Verify all fuses, and mostly make sure your vehicle is grounded. Faulty, crusty grounds are the leading Cruiser electrical problem.
 
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When your down there at your fuses..be carefull they can be tricky little bastages. Everything can look fine but sometimes the connection isn't made. Had similar issues on some of my crap. The way I found it on mine is I had the non working circuits turned on and then slide each of the fuses back and forth in their little connector clips.....and poof on come the wipers. I disconnected the battery and used some triple O steel wool on my dremel to clean up the fuse block contact points and all is happy now.
 

woody

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earth = ground...and yes, that solves 90% of problems

flasher is a shared part I thought....I only have one, mine is changed to accept the 2-prong/cheaper GM-type flasher.

Turn on your running lights...if the turn-signal lights on the dash light up, then it's definitely a ground (just cured that on mine)
 
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First thing I did was go through the fuses (probably should have said that in my original post ::)). Obviously, I had no luck there. I will probably bust out the Dremel & clean up all the contacts on the fuse box this weekend...just to be sure.

Guess I'll go dig out the manuals & start tracking wires as well. Who knows, may just find something. :)

Woody: Signal indicators on dash do not light up...well, they operate normally when hazards are on, but that is all.
 
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I had a similar problem with my 75, but the problem would come and go. I waited 'till it was a problem, unscrewed the fuse block and unplugged the harnesses from the back. then I put it all back together. I seem to remember removing the speedo cluster for the exploratory surgery as well. The problem has not come back, but as I didn't really fix anything I feel it is just a matter of time. :dunno:
 
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First thing I did was go through the fuses (probably should have said that in my original post  ::)).  
By "go through" fuses did you just check and replace as needed or replace all? I find that these old school tube fuses have a way of going bad without showing it. After you clean up the contacts you may want to just replace them all regardless of supposed condition, unless this has been done recently.
When you flick the turn signal switch, is there any click whatsoever? I found when wiring trailer lights, that even when no turn signals were wired properly, the lights on the dash would flicker once and then stay on solid, with one click from the turn signal controller. If you do not have any click whatsoever from the turn signal deal, I'm thinkin something has gone awry on the turn signal flicker lever side of the turn signal controller.
 
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I pulled every fuse out of the block, and gave them a pretty thorough going-over. I ended up replacing one that had a loose end cap, and another just didn't look right (had some glue or something inside the glass). And, when re-installing them, I slide them all side-to-side a few times as just a simple means of verifying that they were making contact.

As for the turn signal indicators, the only time they come on at all is when I have the hazards on, and they work normally then. Nothing can be seen or heard when flipping the turn signal arm....indicators don't come on & stay on, no audible click can be heard from the flasher unit, etc.

tastyweasel: I was going to do much the same with my 78 this weekend. I figure I can yank the fusebox out to clean up all the contacts with my Dremel, and then I'll move over to the steering column to determine whether or not the turn signal arm is getting power, and if it is channeling this power when the arm is moved into either of the "turn" positions. As for the wipers, I think I'll just pull the switch, and work my way towards the wiper motor...verifying continuity & power as I go along. Should be good times!! :p
 
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Heres my diagnosis (for all its worth :ugh: ).  I am nearly positive its something turn signal switch (ie flipper deal) related.  I have a feeling your signal controller deals are fine, and that something is wrong on the other end of the setup.  Check out that switch flipper thingamabob.
 
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Well, figured I'd throw an update out...

Weekend before last I went out with multimeter to work out these problems, and swap in my new turn signal assemblies, as a couple of the stock ones were trashed.

I ended up putting a wire wheel on my dremel & cleaning up all the contacts in the fuse box, and swapping out one fuse (looked good, but there was no continuity through it).  This resolved my turn signal issue.

As for the wipers, I'm not sure.  The switch tested good for continuity. The wiring itself tested good for continuity. But somewhere between pulling the wiper motor out & replacing it, the wipers started working again.  I'm not sure what the hell to make of that. Could have been the motor itself...could have been a connection... ???

At any rate, I wrapped things up by swapping out all the turn signals, and thought I'd throw out the forewarning that the Cool Cruisers rear turn signals have a different style plug than the stock wiring harness has.  So, I ended up cutting the plugs off of both the new & the old rear turn signals, soldering the wires together, and shrink tubing the splice.  Surprisingly enough, everything worked, and correctly, when I got them all hooked up.

Last thing I'll mention is that old front turn signals are a )*%#@#_(@! to get off!!  I ended up completely demolishing one of them (guess it won't be reserved as a spare) in order to get it off.  I basically had to completely destroy the bottom of the housing to get to the stud. Thankfully, there was a square neck on the stud...which I locked onto with vice-grips. I ended up twisting the stud in half before the nut moved....and that was after soaking the damned thing in about 3 types of different penetrating oil. *sigh*  Oh well.
 

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