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Old 07-26-2017, 12:58 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Corvallis, OR
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.3L diesel
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Collins E350 rear brake and turn light wiring question

I'm confused about wiring for my 1991 E350 Collins short bus - specifically with turn and brake lights. I'm hoping for some clarity from those with a similar setup.

Specifically, the bus has had all the old bus lights removed, except for the rear 7" amber turn signal lights. Running lights work in rear, backup lights work, and turn signal works. But there are no brake lights.

Looking at the standard (non bus) E350 schematic from my Chilton's manual (picture below), it looks like both the turn signal ("marker light") and brake light ("rear stop light") share the same wire from the front. Meaning the same bulb is used for both. Specifically, the same filament on the 1157 dual filament bulb.

That leads me to believe that on the bus, since you don't want your amber turn lights coming on when you brake, there must be a second, dedicated, and bus-specific wire just for the brake lights going to the standard tail light assembly. So one light for turn signals, another for brake lights.

Does this make sense as a modification that would have been done by Collins when they built the bus? And specifically that I am missing this wire?

E350 rear light wiring by Tim Holt, on Flickr
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Old 07-26-2017, 07:11 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
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Year: 1998
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Chassis: ford e350
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke
We had the same problem in our 98 e350 collins the brake wires were hooked up to a spaghetti box above the driver. We ripped all of that out . in our bus the connectors going to the spaghetti box had wires that were labeled per wire. So it was fairly simple to identify. The wires from the brake switch also ended up in the spaghetti box. just made a straight connection.

In the harness to the rear several wires became obsolete. we left them in place and used them for fridge freezer television and interior heater fans.

There are some pictures of all this in the Elfie album / thread.

Good luck
later J
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Old 07-26-2017, 11:33 PM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2015
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OK thanks for that confirmation.

What's really confusing and what I didn't quite confess is, it's been this way for some time - like a year or two perhaps. Mabye.

Both myself and the other partner in this think we've surely checked in the past that we had brake lights before long trips, etc. but now there are none - and the second wire coming out of the 1157 socket (for the brake light) is snipped off. There are no spare wires sticking out that clearly came from where the "snip" was.

We basically can't quite believe we've been driving it about town for several years and for several long trips (Burning Man twice) with no brake lights.

But the wires don't lie.

Maybe I'm cutting wires in my sleep or something...
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Old 07-27-2017, 04:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puggy View Post
OK thanks for that confirmation.

What's really confusing and what I didn't quite confess is, it's been this way for some time - like a year or two perhaps. Mabye.

Both myself and the other partner in this think we've surely checked in the past that we had brake lights before long trips, etc. but now there are none - and the second wire coming out of the 1157 socket (for the brake light) is snipped off. There are no spare wires sticking out that clearly came from where the "snip" was.

We basically can't quite believe we've been driving it about town for several years and for several long trips (Burning Man twice) with no brake lights.

But the wires don't lie.

Maybe I'm cutting wires in my sleep or something...
shows you how much the cops actually check...
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Old 07-27-2017, 12:10 PM   #5
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OK, what I'm seeing in Diagram 25 is the wiring for combination S/T/T lights. (S/T/T meaning Stop, Tail, Turn), a fairly common all-in-one setup, using only 2 lights on the rear of the vehicle for all functions. Many smaller trailers are wired for lighting in this fashion.

Many buses have separate turn signals on the rear so they don't need (or use) the S/T/T circuitry. In your case, Ford probably uses the same switch for all E-series vehicles so the S/T/T portion of it might have been bypassed (you could use that if you wish to wire up for a trailer). For your bus, they could have simply used the wire straight from the Brake On/Off Switch directly to the brake lights (or through a relay). I'd be willing to bet there's only one wire coming from the front to the back for the brake lights (instead of the 2 shown on the diagram, since the lights may not be wired that way.)
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brake lights, collins, e350 ford, turn signal, wiring problems

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