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Old 08-14-2013, 01:12 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 46
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: P30
Engine: Chev 350 gas-replacement
Brake lights don't work!

My 1986 mini bird had fully working lights when I bought it last summer. A few weeks later, I painted the bus, removing a lot of lights, lenses, etc. Now I'm trying to get everything put back together and running into some roadblocks.

On the back of the bus, the turn signals both work. However the brake lights don't. I thought I needed dual filament lamps, and picked up a set of #1157 lamps, but the socket is for a single pin base, not dual pin. Putting a 1156 lamp in the brake light base doesn't work.

Does anyone know what lamp number I should get for the brake lights? Any suggestions on how to figure out why the brake lights aren't working? I need to get this resolved soon, as we are planning it's first trip and obviously can't go anywhere without working brake lights.

A note on the brake lights--I bent the grounding strip when I was prepping for paint, and as the strips were rusty, I thought the ground was no longer working on the lights, so I screwed a piece of wire to the end of the grounding strip, with the other end screwed into the grounding strip very close to the socket. This fix was enough to get the tail lights working, but not the brake lights.

Thanks in advance,

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Old 08-14-2013, 07:08 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Upstate NY (Mohawk Valley)
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Re: Brake lights don't work!

Always work systematically. Is there a fuse blown? Do you have power to ground on one side of the pedal switch when the pedal is not pressed? Do you have power to ground on both sides of the switch when the pedal is pressed? Do you have power to ground at the wire going to the bulbs when a friend steps on the pedal? Do you have to have the key on for the brake lights to work (not recommended) on this bus?

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Old 08-14-2013, 09:33 AM   #3
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Year: 1991
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Re: Brake lights don't work!

Here's a bulb base chart. You probably have "E" 1156

Since the lights worked before you painted, and you say you did something to the sockets, that would be the place to start looking. If you don't have a 12v test light get one you will need it. After looking at the fuse, have someone step on brakes, hold alligator clip to outer part of socket,touch probe onto contact in the bottom of the socket. If that don't work, test wire going to socket. If it's not there, next place to look would be the brake light switch.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:03 AM   #4
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Re: Brake lights don't work!

ALSO a lot of those lights will ground the bases through the screws that hold lights onto bus,so if the old holes have paint in them, there may not be a ground connection
single pin would be for just one use of the light ie; clearance or "parking lights"

dual filament would be for say a park light/brake light/turn signal were it's on kinda dull and when brakes or turn signal is activated it gets brighter because of other filament

hope that helps
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:41 PM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 46
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: P30
Engine: Chev 350 gas-replacement
Re: Brake lights don't work!

Thanks for the input. I'll buy a 12V tester tonight.

I didn't do anything to the sockets when I painted, just removed the lenses, taped over the sockets, and bent the ground strips upward so I wouldn't get them gunky with paint. They are pretty rusty, and I thought that would affect the grounding, so I added a grounding wire.

The added grounding wire fixed the non-working turn signal but hasn't had any affect on the brake lights. I'll doublecheck the grounding screws closest to the socket--it may be that I need to drill a deeper hole to get a good ground.

Just thought of something--I removed the back door buzzer assembly--I wonder if that could be on the same circuit as the brakes?
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