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Odd issue with turn signal wiring/switch


eastcoastz

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Posted (edited)

Having a weird issue that I’m having trouble diagnose and hoping someone can give some help/insight. 
 

The turn signals are not working… hazards are working just fine. When the hazard switch is off, I get 12v at the green wire going into the flasher relay so that tells me (I believe) that the hazard switch is working.

 

If I plug a test light into the green wire (going into the relay) it lights up normally/bright. If I connect the test light to the white wire it lights up very faintly and sometimes I get a very quiet/light click on the relay. 
 

I cannot figure out why the light is so dim/faint on the white wire and subsequently why the turn signal switch is not working. 
 

When I use a multimeter between the green wire and one of the other points on the switch, the voltage drops down to almost nothing (when the switch is activated) which I’m assuming is why I’m seeing a dim/faint light (with the test light directly connected to the white wire). 

I have tried multiple relays and get the same result.  I’ve tried an LL552 and a EF32 relay.

Any ideas/suggestions are greatly appreciated!  Thanks in advance!

Edited by eastcoastz
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  • eastcoastz changed the title to Odd issue with turn signal wiring/switch

2 hours ago, eastcoastz said:

The turn signals are not working… hazards are working just fine. When the hazard switch is off, I get 12v at the green wire going into the flasher relay so that tells me (I believe) that the hazard switch is working.

I would agree with that assessment.

2 hours ago, eastcoastz said:

If I plug a test light into the green wire (going into the relay) it lights up normally/bright. If I connect the test light to the white wire it lights up very faintly and sometimes I get a very quiet/light click on the relay. 

I cannot figure out why the light is so dim/faint on the white wire and subsequently why the turn signal switch is not working. 

The test light is a high resistance, so you won't get much current flowing through the circuit.

2 hours ago, eastcoastz said:

When I use a multimeter between the green wire and one of the other points on the switch, the voltage drops down to almost nothing (when the switch is activated) which I’m assuming is why I’m seeing a dim/faint light (with the test light directly connected to the white wire). 

I have tried multiple relays and get the same result.  I’ve tried an LL552 and a EF32 relay.

Any ideas/suggestions are greatly appreciated!  Thanks in advance!

You don't say what points you are measuring at, so it's difficult to say.

Here's a description of the circuit for a 240Z. https://fiddlingwithzcars.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/hazard-switch-brake-light-turn-signal-circuit-analysis/ You didn't say what year car you have.

If you have corrosion at the switch or connectors, that could cause a voltage drop due to increased resistance. After the flasher, the switch is the last common point on the circuit.

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Thank you @SteveJ

The test light that I’m using to connect directly to the white wire is just one of the turn signal lights. Is it correct for this not to light up fully when connecting to the white wire?  I thought I should also get a “click” on the relay which I’m not getting (when connecting to the white wire). 
 

My car is a 71 240z (built in 9/71). I had one probe (from the multimeter) on the solid green wire and the other probe, I tried connecting to each of the other wires. I was not seeing any more than like .5 volts when the turn signal switch was pushed up or down. 
 

The turn signal switch is a rebuilt/refurbished one. The guy who rebuilt it sent me a video showing a light going on/off when it was moved up/down. 
 

Not really sure where to go to next. Should I try to connect a 12v line directly from the battery to the relay to see if that makes any difference?  I feel like since the test (turn signal) light works when plugged directly into the green wire than it’s something with the switch… but since the guy who rebuilt the switch says he sent proof that it’s working I’m stuck between a rock. 
 

Thanks so much!

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If you want to test the turn signal switch with the test light, unplug the 6 pin (5 wire) connector at the turn signal switch. Leave the wire from the flasher plugged in. With the key in the ON position, use your test light to touch the pins for the white/black and green/black wires when the turn signal is in the right turn position and the white/red and green/red wires when the turn signal is in the left turn position. With the current for the test light flowing through the flasher, you should be able to see the test light blink. (This is of course with the other end of the test light grounded.)

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@SteveJ - just so I understand, are you saying that the test light needs to touch both of those wires (either for left or right signal) at the same time?  Meaning I need to create a “Y” coming off the test light so it can touch both of those wires simultaneously?

 

If this test does not work then does this implicate the switch as being the issue here? 
 

Thank you!

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Posted (edited)

DISCLAIMER;

"The guy who rebuilt it sent me a video showing a light going on/off when it was moved up/down."

The above is an incomplete assessment of the service which was performed. This person also questioned me with the same line of questioning that he has posted here.

I am the guy who restored this turn signal switch.

Attaching the turn signal switch to a 12 v. source and a light harness is my second way of testing the switch.

Both brake lights and turn signal lights are hooked up to a custom harness on a car battery.

This tests "english" on the lever to see if it has any spring back or incomplete stroke.

This is after continuity is tested on all closed circuits; once before work, once after work, and once directly before shipping.

The video I sent shows the turn signal contacts hooked up to their power source and the lever moving in either direction and with no issue, the light comes on with full power.

Then I showed the brake lights tested this way, once connected to the turn signal power source again which shows full power light in either direction as well.

The brake lights are then connected to the brake light power source and the two element light bulb for both sides comes on with full power when the lever is not engaged.

When the lever is engaged the brake light filament will shut off on the side it is being engaged on and stay on for the opposite side.

 

The turn signal switch is completely functioning otherwise I would have not sent proof of it working or even sent it out.

I recognized the switch that this gentleman sent me as one I had previously worked on and when it tested before work as completely functioning I was a little confused.

The work was done three years ago so I asked the buyer point blank if he was having these issues before he sent the switch and he admitted he did.

But no issues after he bought the switch the first time because I would have been notified.

This customer is insinuating that the problem is with this turn signal switch and I am saying again;

It is not the switch.

 

 

 

Edited by dhp123166
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Posted (edited)

Yesterday this customer contact  me via text about testing wires etc.

I asked which wires he was testing and this is the response I got this morning;

 

"I know it's the top 2 wires for the right turn and the bottom 2 for the left but none of the wires show any voltage when the lever is up or down.

It also feels like something in the switch may be "gummed" up a little. I feel like it's a bit tougher than it should be to push the lever up and  down.

In fact when I pushed it up yesterday it caused the whole switch stack to rotate clockwise even though I thought I had screwed the two switches to one another pretty tight.

 

It felt/ easy/ good (to push up/ down) when I got it back from you but now it's gotten tougher for some reason. Do I need to lubricate it somewhere?

 

I was not speaking negatively of you in any way in my post. Just simply trying to get some other input/ ideas.

 

You say the switch was purchased from you 3 years ago. Like I said, I purchased the car 3 years ago and it's been at the shop ever since because the previous owners were very shady about the

condition of the engine. I finally got it back from the shop and noticed that the turn signals were not working.

Judging by how shady the previous owners were, they probably didn't even test the switch after purchasing it from you."

 

A point by point rebuttal:

 

"I know it's the top 2 wires for the right turn and the bottom 2 for the left but none of the wires show any voltage when the lever is up or down."

 

Top 2, bottom 2? When the switch is oriented how, sitting on the base with the lever pointed straight up? Laying on its' side? 

And what power wires are you using for which circuits?

 

"It also feels like something in the switch may be "gummed" up a little. I feel like it's a bit tougher than it should be to push the lever up and  down."

 

 Part of the restoration process is removing play from 3 areas on the switch because play in these areas are what cause a switch to go out of tune.

There may be a little more friction but this is also tested and your switch action was still snappy.

As I mentioned previously the switch you sent was one that Nissan actually got right from the get go: correct stroke, correct return spring rate.

Couple this with the fact that there was minimal wear on the internals and this switch was not hard to refresh.

Your feelings are not facts, what are you comparing the action to?  

 

"In fact when I pushed it up yesterday it caused the whole switch stack to rotate clockwise even though I thought I had screwed the two switches to one another pretty tight."

 

The two screws which hold the two halves of the combo switch together are not primarily to hold the combo switch to the steering column, if you look at the base of the turn signal switch you will see one or two small threaded holes which when a small screw ( I think M2 fine thread) is inserted this is what holds the combo switch to the steering column.

 

"It felt/ easy/ good (to push up/ down) when I got it back from you but now it's gotten tougher for some reason. Do I need to lubricate it somewhere ?"

 

So you stated that it worked fine when you got it ( thank you for being honest) but it has gotten tougher to move the lever.

Once again it worked fine when it left me, I do not know what the treatment of the turn signal switch has been in your possession.

If you need to relubricate it, then go for it. It will also " loosen  up " with use.

 

"I was not speaking negatively of you in any way in my post. Just simply trying to get some other input/ ideas."

 

Intended or not, you are casting doubt on my restoration process. My proof is the one response above where the writer states,

"If the test does not work, then it means you need to test the switch more thoroughly."

 

 

"You say the switch was purchased from you 3 years ago. Like I said, I purchased the car 3 years ago and it's been at the shop ever since because the previous owners were very shady about the

condition of the engine. I finally got it back from the shop and noticed that the turn signals were not working.

Judging by how shady the previous owners were, they probably didn't even test the switch after purchasing it from you."

 

The more this drags out, the more I find out about your vehicle and the condition it is in.

This is why I previously stated in a text message that no real mechanic would attempt to diagnose an issue without being next to the vehicle.

So you have admitted to buying a car which was not as described. If the " [ car has ] been at the shop ever since because the previous owners were very shady about the

condition of the engine" why was the electrical system not gone over then?

If the engine was faulty because the " previous owners were shady " , what else could they have been shady about, the vehicle electrical system perhaps ?"

 

My first clue about the condition of your vehicle should have been the headlight switch you sent in for restoration; it looked like it was put in a low oven for a couple of weeks:

The two internal plastic switch actuators were broken or deteriorated to the point that warranted complete replacement, in fact the one plastic actuator which was not broken was deteriorated to a point I have never seen before. 

The Nissan plastic formulation for these was a good one, the plastic is tough and the only usual wear to these is when the one or more of four plastic "nubs" on these actuators break off. Your four plastic "nubs"  were slowly deteriorating to a point where the oven analogy made earlier would appear to be fact and not made in jest.

The cracked "paddle" section on the switch also necessitated complete replacement, if this switch was not beaten with a hammer, some pretty extreme heat was necessary to break it like it was.

The final clue was the completely faded red wires in the harness, this switch ( if not car) has been sitting in the sun unprotected for a very long time.

 

Again, I have offered my knowledge because you asked and you are my customer but again I am adamantly stating that the problem is not the turn signal switch.

 

Thank you for your business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by dhp123166
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5 hours ago, dhp123166 said:

I purchased the car 3 years ago and it's been at the shop ever since because the previous owners were very shady about the

condition of the engine. I finally got it back from the shop and noticed that the turn signals were not working.

A shady PO or shop could also have swapped out a nicely restored turn signal switch and replaced it with one from box of used parts.

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6 hours ago, grannyknot said:

A shady PO or shop could also have swapped out a nicely restored turn signal switch and replaced it with one from box of used parts.

Sorry, if I was unclear. A nice switch in great condition was what was sent to me ( and it most definitely did not have the need for any "jiggling" of the lever to engage the switch like I was told it had) and after I recognized it as one which was previously serviced by myself, I tested it before any work was done and it tested perfectly functional but the additional steps I take on turn signal switches now to increase longevity were done to it to "retro restore it".

Also, before this whole rigamarole was brought out in public, this customer stated that the switch worked fine, it is just that he was having problems getting his front turn signals to flash on each side individually. Some how this got transmogrified into his seeming suggestion that the whole switch is defective.

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I have never suggested that the whole switch is defective.  Please do not put words in my mouth.  Not once have I ever said anything about the other functions (like hi/low beam) not working.  And again, I have never spoken negatively about you.  Why don't you tell everyone how I have repeatedly thanked you for your assistance and work on my switches.  I simply came to this community/forum to ask for other suggestions.  I never once mentioned who rebuilt the switches, so you can see that I never had an intention to single you out... you came out yourself to display that you were the one to rebuild them. 

 

When I am saying that the top 2 and bottom 2 wires are not showing any voltage, it does not matter the orientation of the switch... there will always be a top 2 wires and a bottom 2 wires and I was simply saying that I tested all 4 wires (when the lever is up or down) and none of them have voltage.  That being said, when I made that comment, I was referring to the orientation showed in the following picture:

Blinker_Detail_1.jpg

 

You say my feeling are not facts, but I have owned 4 others 240z's and I'm just basing it off of how I remember the turn lever "feeling" in my past cars.

Thank you for the information about the 2 small screws... I did not remember about those.

 

I am not saying that your restoration process did not work.  I am simply trying to get suggestions for how to resolve this issue and to find out ways to properly test the switch.    I'm just trying to cover all of my bases.

 

The car spent most of its life in Nevada so I'm not surprised by the cracking and fading that you spoke of.

 

All that being said, I have not had the time to do any additional testing.  As soon as I do, I will reply here with an update.

 

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THE PICTURE IS NOT THE SWITCH I SENT THIS CUSTOMER.

 

 

Thank you for the information.

You have shown why you are not getting proper results with the switch.

Your switch testing methodology is half right.

 

Maybe someone on this page can set you straight.

If not the internet is a wonderful source of information in every subject.

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He didn't say it was his switch. He pulled the photo from the site of someone who documented a restoration of a Z. He used that photo because the site creator documented what wire goes where.

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Thank you @SteveJ

 

Once again @dhp123166 is putting words in my mouth. If you took a second to look at the picture you would see the caption from the WoodWorkerB site in the bottom left. Not to mention the fact that I never said this was my switch. 
 

How is my methodology half right?  You’re not making any sense. I’m telling you that when the switch is either in the up or down position. Neither of the left or right blinker solder points are showing any voltage.  I have tested all 4 points when the switch is up or down. 

 

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53 minutes ago, SteveJ said:

He didn't say it was his switch. He pulled the photo from the site of someone who documented a restoration of a Z. He used that photo because the site creator documented what wire goes where.

In my opinion, a person looking at that picture without reading the fine print might assume that that is the switch which is being addressed in this post. 

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, eastcoastz said:

Thank you @SteveJ

 

Once again @dhp123166 is putting words in my mouth. If you took a second to look at the picture you would see the caption from the WoodWorkerB site in the bottom left. Not to mention the fact that I never said this was my switch. 
 

How is my methodology half right?  You’re not making any sense. I’m telling you that when the switch is either in the up or down position. Neither of the left or right blinker solder points are showing any voltage.  I have tested all 4 points when the switch is up or down. 

 

Instead of using that picture go find the diagram which shows continuity on the turn signal and brake circuits when they are closed and open.

Edited by dhp123166
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15 minutes ago, dhp123166 said:

In my opinion, a person looking at that picture without reading the fine print might assume that that is the switch which is being addressed in this post. 

In my opinion, you're being a little too defensive.

Also, in my opinion this thread probably needs to be locked down before it gets any more heated. @Mike @bpilati Do either of you agree?

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, SteveJ said:

In my opinion, you're being a little too defensive.

Also, in my opinion this thread probably needs to be locked down before it gets any more heated. @Mike @bpilati Do either of you agree?

In my opinion I am being proactive in protecting my reputation and quality of work.  Heated? You call this heated? I don't see any heavy duty personal insults or profanity being thrown around.

That's right though, close it...cancel it. 

Et tu Brute?

Edited by dhp123166
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This thread isn't about a switch restoration process.  So let's assume it was in good working order after the restoration. The important question to answer is "Are we making progress resolving the problem?"

eastcoastz?

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I have not had a chance to do any further testing yet. Hopefully today or tomorrow and I will write back soon. Thank you for not locking this thread. I would appreciate being able to write my findings here to get additional help/suggestions. 

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6 hours ago, eastcoastz said:

I have not had a chance to do any further testing yet. Hopefully today or tomorrow and I will write back soon. Thank you for not locking this thread. I would appreciate being able to write my findings here to get additional help/suggestions. 

You may want to start a new thread. It's hard to tell what diagnostics you have done with all of the non-helpful complaints from another person mixed in.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, bpilati said:

This thread isn't about a switch restoration process.  So let's assume it was in good working order after the restoration. The important question to answer is "Are we making progress resolving the problem?"

eastcoastz?

True. 

 

12 hours ago, eastcoastz said:

I have not had a chance to do any further testing yet. Hopefully today or tomorrow and I will write back soon. Thank you for not locking this thread. I would appreciate being able to write my findings here to get additional help/suggestions. 

 

 I could not find that rectangular circuit continuity diagram anywhere online. I only made a cursory Google search.

 

The circuits are what they are because Nissan design allows the brake lights to engage when the brakes are powered and also to individually flash along with whatever side turn signal is engaged.

Consequently, the functioning of the switch is not as simple as one wire controls one light.

The front and rear turn signals are controlled by the green striped wires on the circuit board sides and the green power wire on the center middle of the circuit board.

The rear brakes are controlled by the white striped wires on the circuit board sides and the green/ yellow power wire on the top middle of the circuit board.

The brake lights are also controlled by the green power wire when they are in flash mode.

 

Here is something I sketched up previously and forgot I had;

NOTE; The numbers on the diagram are arbitrary, they are there to show that there is continuity.

Where it states "NONE" means there is no continuity, my multimeter shows a blank when there is none. One multimeter used to have showed a "1" so either reading is correct for no continuity.

 

20211005_120750.jpg

Edited by dhp123166
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Thank you for the diagram @dhp123166

I only had a few minutes to do some testing today.  I pulled the 5 pin connector and connected the test light directly to the pins on the connector.  Here is a picture showing what I got:

 

IMG_5749.jpg

 

That being said the dash light did not blink/light when I connected the test light to these pins... not sure if it was supposed to or not.  I connected the turn signals back into the connectors in the front of the car, plugged the switch connector back into the harness, but unfortunately I'm still not getting turn signals.  Hazards are still working and I swapped the (brand new) relays from the turn signal to the hazards to ensure that I had a working relay on both. 

 

When I move the turn signal switch in either direction, I don't hear a click of the relay, however I do hear a click of the relay when I return the lever to the center which I thought was a little odd.

 

The turn signal lights that I'm using for testing is just a single filament two wire light.  Does anyone happen to know if the turn signals have to be a dual filament 3-wire light in order to work?  or should the existing (2-wire) ones suffice?

 

Any other suggestions/ideas for what to check?  @dhp123166sent a new "female" end for the connector, so I'm going to try to replace the original one to see if that helps at all.

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Posted (edited)

No problem eastcoastz.

Front turn signal light bulbs have 2 filaments and 2 wires.

Rear turn signal bulbs and reverse light bulbs have one filament and if I remember correctly both brake light bulbs have 2 filaments.

Edited by dhp123166
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