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Old 11-24-2020, 09:51 PM   #1
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Please help! My Blinkers stopped working 1987 Thomas Built Transit liner

I have a 1987 Thomas Transit Liner bus conversion.
IMG_9180.jpg


A few weeks ago while driving my bus I noticed the blinkers weren't blinking properly. When I turned the blinkers on my battery guage flickered as well. Over the next few days they went from barely blinking to not blinking at all.

I took the bus to a mechanic and he couldn't figured it out because "there's so much extra wiring that's been done to the bus." Referring to the conversion.

I will say that I did not do the conversion myself. I purchased it already completed. Been driving it almost 2 years without a problem until now.

Going back to the mechanic, he showed me the wiring/fuse panel under the drivers side window and pointed out that a lot of things were rusty. He said getting that cleaned up just to start to narrow it down would be about 12 hours labor. He did say that he replaced the flasher and it didn't work. There are 2 of them so I assume one is the flashers and one is the turn signal?

So I took the bus home and cleaned up the panel myself. I learned how to replace the circuit breakers and had a neighbor help me with a voltage meter to see if anything wasn't getting the proper voltage.

It went from this
IMG_9279.jpg IMG_9280.jpg

To this
IMG_9328.jpg

After doing this work my blinkers are still not working.

Next I went and replaced the flasher and blinker cylinders on the wiring panel with new 552 parts from autozone. The flashers and blinkers both worked for about 15 seconds and then stopped. I also smelled a burning smell coming from the dash panel.
IMG_9329.jpg

The next day I took apart the front dashboard panel to see if anything was loose and I couldn't find anything.

Also, during this time I've noticed a click coming from the gauges. The click happens about every 5 seconds. I narrowed the click down to the TACH guage. When I removed the power wire from it the clicking stopped. When I replace the wire the clicking starts again. Any help with how I can stop the clicking or what it might mean? Also, I noticed the clicking when I got the bus back from the mechanic and before I cleaned up the wiring panel so I'm sure it wasn't something I did while cleaning up the wire panel.

IMG_9333.jpg IMG_9334.jpg

I noticed that the left blinker was grounded to one of the screws on the TACH guage. When I tested removing it and trying another ground area it didn't solve the clicking or the blinker issue.

IMG_9323.jpg

So after doing many hours of work trying to solve the issue i'm stuck. Is there anyone with knowledge in the area that may be able to help me?

Another thing to note is that I have LED blinkers in the back and incandescent bulbs in the front of the bus.

Sorry I noticed most pics are sideways and I don't know how to fix that.


-Brion
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:58 PM   #2
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First guess would be bad grounds. Second guess would be bad flasher(s) some vehicles have two.
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Old 11-24-2020, 10:00 PM   #3
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First guess would be bad grounds. Second guess would be bad flasher(s) some vehicles have two.
I replaced both flashers and it worked for a few seconds and went out again. Where would I check for bad grounds?
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Old 11-24-2020, 10:06 PM   #4
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The wiring for each bulb socket should have a ground. Usually the darker of the two wires. Trace it back, at some point it may terminate to the body / chassis. Also check your negative battery cable, it should have smaller ground wires terminating to the body / chassis as well. The flashers will likely have their own grounds as well.

If rewiring becomes necessary, don't be too intimidated -- Summit Racing sells a few rewiring kits including fuse blocks and color coded harnesses, most for under $400-$500.
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Old 11-25-2020, 08:45 AM   #5
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The wiring for each bulb socket should have a ground. Usually the darker of the two wires. Trace it back, at some point it may terminate to the body / chassis. Also check your negative battery cable, it should have smaller ground wires terminating to the body / chassis as well. The flashers will likely have their own grounds as well.

If rewiring becomes necessary, don't be too intimidated -- Summit Racing sells a few rewiring kits including fuse blocks and color coded harnesses, most for under $400-$500.
yes those things have been checked and done. On a FB group today someone asked a similar question and everyone was telling them to buy an LED Flasher Relay with an additional ground. Have you heard of this? I think I may try a different type of Flasher Relay next. I have both LED and regular bulbs for my flashers/blinkers.
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Old 11-25-2020, 11:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
TheUngerYears = I also smelled a burning smell coming from the dash panel.
I myself would go back to where the smoke was coming from. You need to identify where and then work towards finding out why.

It is quite obvious that "Smoke" is a result of an overheated wire or component.
Identify that first, it is a tell tale signal of where your problem is quite visible at.

If it is a wire / connector then follow it back both visually and with also a meter.

Check to see if that wire is a "HOT" wire and is shorting to ground somewhere.

Pull out the bulbs them selves, put your meter on DC volts and see if the circuit works fine without the bulbs. Could very well be the bulbs pulling too much current.

Rusty/dirty connections are called "High Resistive opens". This means that while yes there is a physical connection, the rust/dirt is causing poor contact and can very easily overheat a connector. So clean really well any and all questionable connections.
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Old 11-25-2020, 11:48 AM   #7
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I myself would go back to where the smoke was coming from. You need to identify where and then work towards finding out why.

It is quite obvious that "Smoke" is a result of an overheated wire or component.
Identify that first, it is a tell tale signal of where your problem is quite visible at.

If it is a wire / connector then follow it back both visually and with also a meter.

Check to see if that wire is a "HOT" wire and is shorting to ground somewhere.

Pull out the bulbs them selves, put your meter on DC volts and see if the circuit works fine without the bulbs. Could very well be the bulbs pulling too much current.

Rusty/dirty connections are called "High Resistive opens". This means that while yes there is a physical connection, the rust/dirt is causing poor contact and can very easily overheat a connector. So clean really well any and all questionable connections.
It wasn't exactly smoke. Just a burning smell. It happened when I changed the flasher relays out with 2 new ones. I took the dash apart and wasn't able to see anything there.

I did have a 12V meter checker and everything was looking ok.

Yesterday I took the bulbs out and checked them. One seemed loose but, I tightened the connection and also used sandpaper to clean off the connection spots.

On FB some people suggested getting relays that are meant for LED and Incandescent Bulbs. I've seen some with and without an extra ground connection on them.

Would you have any recommendation on that? I'm actually going to try this option I'm just coming up short on if I should get the one with or without the ground.

2 examples here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0031GYS6W...02_04_t_img_lh

https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/NF_E...hoCx4QQAvD_BwE
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Old 11-25-2020, 12:42 PM   #8
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HID / LED bulbs have been known to either not work at all or flicker / pulsate without what is known as a ballast resistor or decoder in some vehicles. That could be what they are referring to. Also possible the sockets are worn out or burned up on an older bus.
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Old 11-25-2020, 04:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewo1 View Post
I myself would go back to where the smoke was coming from. You need to identify where and then work towards finding out why.

It is quite obvious that "Smoke" is a result of an overheated wire or component.
Identify that first, it is a tell tale signal of where your problem is quite visible at.

If it is a wire / connector then follow it back both visually and with also a meter.

Check to see if that wire is a "HOT" wire and is shorting to ground somewhere.

Pull out the bulbs them selves, put your meter on DC volts and see if the circuit works fine without the bulbs. Could very well be the bulbs pulling too much current.

Rusty/dirty connections are called "High Resistive opens". This means that while yes there is a physical connection, the rust/dirt is causing poor contact and can very easily overheat a connector. So clean really well any and all questionable connections.
There was never "Smoke" only a burning smell. When i opened the the dash panel I saw no signs of anything burning or being loose or shorted.

I've pulled out the bulbs and sanded them with sandpaper to ensure the connection was being made.
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Old 11-25-2020, 04:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
HID / LED bulbs have been known to either not work at all or flicker / pulsate without what is known as a ballast resistor or decoder in some vehicles. That could be what they are referring to. Also possible the sockets are worn out or burned up on an older bus.
I will check the sockets. On another post someone mentioned these items in these links below.

https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/NF_E...hoCx4QQAvD_BwE

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0031GYS6W...02_04_t_img_lh


I think I will try these too. Thoughts? I'm not sure to get the one with the ground or without.
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Old 11-25-2020, 04:35 PM   #11
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I will check the sockets. On another post someone mentioned these items.



There's 2 options. One with a ground and one without.

https://www.amazon.com/XtremeAmazing...JQJZ2MRYBY0DFT


I think I will try these too. Thoughts? I'm not sure to get the one with the ground or without.
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