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TR2/3/3A TR3 right turn signal not working

Jim Lee

Jedi Trainee
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I am really disappointed in myself because I cannot track down the problem with my TR3's right turn signals not working. Here are as many of the facts as I know them.

The right signal DID in fact work just the other night and I know because I did a victory dance.

The left signal works like a charm. I have switched bulbs from left to right. I have switched flashers though I switched to one that did not work at all so that might be a non starter.

When I pull just one stop on the light pole for the parking lights, the separate lights that the turn signals use, both front ones work but neither one of the rear ones work. Is that normal? It makes me think that the wire going to the front right at least is good. The back right is the only light I have not seen working. I just replaced my my trafficator switch with a single pole double throw toggle but it was not working before I replaced that. I think that I have a pretty good understanding of the schematic. The green/white wires are the ones that I am concentrating on. I see only one wire going to each of the rear signal lights.

My turn signal indicator, the yellow light on the right hand of the dash, is not working even when the left turn signal is. It has always worked before. Is it possible that this light not lighting means something important? Is it possible or probable that a flasher unit would stop working just on the right side? Is there a continuity test I can make on the flasher without having to get a new one? Is it possible to get a generic flasher at my local auto parts place?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks very much,
Jim Lee

1959 TR3a
 

Andrew Mace

Moderator
Staff member
Country flag
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Jim, when the front side (parking) lamp filaments are lit, the taillamp filaments should light as well, but the separate rear flasher lamps should NOT. You are correct that green w/white is the RH flasher wire (green w/red being LH). Maybe there's a grounding problem somewhere in the RH flasher circuit?

I'll let Randall or someone else jump in on testing a flasher unit and other suggestions. Yes, you can use a generic flasher, but you will sacrifice the "feature" whereby one circuit will cease to actually flash when a filament goes out.
 

TR3driver

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
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Jim, one of the most important things is to be sure you have the right schematic for your car. Many of the manuals show only an earlier schematic, and give the impression that it's the right one. This one should be right (unless your car has the later rheostat for the dash lamps)
(Click on the thumbnail for the full-size image)

Likely you know this, but just for clarity: On a 59, there should be a total of 5 lamps across the back. The two outermost lamps have dual-filament bulbs; the dimmer filament is for tail lights (and comes on with the first pull of the headlight switch, same as the front lamps). The brighter filament on the outermost lamps is for brakes, should come on only with the brake pedal depressed firmly (and the key on).

The two "bee hive" lamps in the rear are for turn signals (and only turn signals).

The center lamp is the license plate lamp, it should come on at the same time as the dim filament in the outermost lamps.

Since your left turn signals work, I think we can rule out the flasher and it's wiring as a suspect in the RH signal not working. The flasher could be the reason the dash lamp does not work, but it could also be the bulb is burnt out or not making contact in it's holder (a common problem for me). In any case it's only a reminder, not needed for the other lamps to work properly.

My suggestion for next test would be to locate the 4-way bullet sleeve where the three GW wires meet, near the LH horn. Use a jumper wire (or clip lead to supply battery power directly into the empty hole. This should cause both RH beehive lamps (front and rear) to light brightly. If not, I would next test at the bulb holders to see if the power is getting there. If power is getting to the bulb holders, then check the grounds.

If putting power into the 4-way sleeve does light the lamps, then you know the problem is somewhere between there and the turn signal switch.

BTW, the control head turn switch is only SPDT. The second pole of your substitute is not needed.
 

NutmegCT

Great Pumpkin
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Randall - could Jim's problem also be an incorrect flasher unit? I remember my original turn signal problems (no flash at all, no flash on one side, "stuck" flash, no panel indicator flash, etc.) when I had a NAPA generic flasher unit. When I installed the correct flasher, recommended by Don Elliott, the problems evaporated.

Tom
 

TR3driver

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
Offline
NutmegCT said:
Randall - could Jim's problem also be an incorrect flasher unit?
Well, I don't think so, at least not the problem with the left working and the right not working. The flasher unit has no way to 'know' which side is which, it should see the same electrical conditions either way.

But it's possible I'm overlooking something.

However the dash lamp not working could certainly be a problem with the flasher. Most 3-terminal flashers seem to expect the indicator light to be grounded rather than wired to power as the TRs use. I actually rewired the dash light (a trivial "move one wire" change) on my TR3A, so I could use a generic 3-terminal flasher. But at least for me, the generic flasher caused the dash lamp to stay on when not flashing, rather than not work at all.
 

NutmegCT

Great Pumpkin
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Aha! just happened to think ... if any of the bulbs are of the wrong wattage (e.g. unequal "draw" on the flasher), might that explain why some flash and other don't?

Or perhaps, some corrosion in the sockets might be "changing" the draw?

Just a thought.
Tom
 

TR3driver

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
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NutmegCT said:
Aha! just happened to think ... if any of the bulbs are of the wrong wattage (e.g. unequal "draw" on the flasher), might that explain why some flash and other don't?

Or perhaps, some corrosion in the sockets might be "changing" the draw?
Sure. I've even heard of the wires inside the harness being corroded enough to cause a problem with one side and not the other. (Jonmac had that problem with Flossie as I recall.)

But generally in those cases you see at least some sort of light (glow but don't blink, blink once, blink too fast or too slow, etc.) rather than nothing at all. Which is why I suggested the sequence above.
 
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Jim Lee

Jedi Trainee
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Okay. I checked the grounds on both right signal lights. Still nothing. The red wire to the filament for the parking light in the front works as advertised. No problem. There is just nothing going to the Green/White wire from the harness.
I traced the actual wire as far as I could and it goes into a VERY discreet place in the firewall where I would have to pull out alot more wires than I ever want to to get at them.

I cannot think of anything else to do now other than continuity tests on any place I can get to those Green/White wires based on the schematic. I am also thinking of getting a generic flasher can at my local auto store. One thing that I did see on the flasher was that if you are looking at it and call the tabs left, middle and right....the left tab always has steady power. The middle tab NEVER has power. The right tab has power and blinks when using the left turn signal. Does the fact that I am never getting any juice to the middle tab mean something that I might want to know about?

As usual thanks to all for your help and interest.

Jim Lee
1959 TR3a
 

TR3driver

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
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Jim Lee said:
There is just nothing going to the Green/White wire from the harness.
Jim, I'm a little confused by this statement. Can you clarify, please?

Are you saying that when you supply power directly into the GW 4-way bullet sleeve, as I suggested above, that you don't find power at either the front or rear turn signal? If so, most likely the bullet sleeve itself is bad. The spring clip inside can fail so that only the vinyl grips the bullet (and of course vinyl doesn't conduct). The next step would be to pull the wires out of the sleeve and try powering them directly.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:]One thing that I did see on the flasher was that if you are looking at it and call the tabs left, middle and right....the left tab always has steady power. The middle tab NEVER has power. The right tab has power and blinks when using the left turn signal. Does the fact that I am never getting any juice to the middle tab mean something that I might want to know about? [/QUOTE]That suggests to me that your flasher is the reason that the dash lamp doesn't work. But it might also mean that the flasher isn't wired right. Can you check that the "left tab" is marked 'B'?
 
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J

Jim Lee

Jedi Trainee
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"There is just nothing going to the Green/White wire from the harness."

With the right turn signal on there is no voltage going to the green/white wire that goes to the front right turn signal. When I apply voltage using a jump directly from the battery to the two green/white wires that the switch wire goes to it does not light up the right signal lights. It did just the other day but it does not now. So I am thinking that excludes the switch from the suspect list.

"Are you saying that when you supply power directly into the GW 4-way bullet sleeve, as I suggested above, that you don't find power at either the front or rear turn signal?"

Yep.

"The spring clip inside can fail so that only the vinyl grips the bullet (and of course vinyl doesn't conduct). The next step would be to pull the wires out of the sleeve and try powering them directly."

So I would take a hot wire and touch it to the turn signal fixture after removing the green/white wire that is there now and is not powered. If that lights up then I need to look very closely at the connection of the green/white wire to the turn signal assembly?

"check that the "left tab" is marked 'B'? "

I do not see any letters or indications of any kind at any of those three tabs.

I was unable to find a 'generic' flasher unit at my Advanced Auto store. There were about 7 of them but all encased in plastic with no grounding to the body. I always thought that flashers were generic? They did have three prongs and various wattages. On my original flasher, that does not work at all, it indicates 42 watts in the code "FL512v42w". I guess I need to get a flasher from one of the big three? Is there any way to test the flasher by measuring resistance?

Thanks very much,
Jim Lee
 

TR3driver

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
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Jim Lee said:
It did just the other day but it does not now. So I am thinking that excludes the switch from the suspect list.
I wouldn't say that; sounds to me like you have multiple problems happening at the same time.<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:]
So I would take a hot wire and touch it to the turn signal fixture after removing the green/white wire that is there now and is not powered. If that lights up then I need to look very closely at the connection of the green/white wire to the turn signal assembly?[/QUOTE]Actually, I was suggesting first powering the GW wires directly (without using the bullet sleeve) first. But your test would also be a valid one, to check that the fixture is working.
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:]There were about 7 of them but all encased in plastic with no grounding to the body.[/QUOTE]That's OK, even the original flasher does not need to be grounded. It was just in a metal can because that was cheap at the time. Now plastic is cheaper, so they use plastic.<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:]Is there any way to test the flasher by measuring resistance? [/QUOTE]Not really, you need to put current through it and see what it does. But for testing the rest of the system, you can simply jumper across it. With all 3 terminals jumpered together, the turn lamps should come on solid when selected, and the dash indicator should be on all whenever the key is on.

But since the LH signals work, it's not the flasher keeping the RH signals from working.
 
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Jim Lee

Jedi Trainee
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Thanks to all, especially Randall......
....got it working but I do not really know exactly how. One thing I did have to do was to connect a ground wire to the right rear turn signal to get it to light, which I do not think is normal. but on the side of the socket there is a metal 'lip' that is attached to the socket. That is inside the rubber for the turn signal so it was not touching any metal. I connected a wire to that and then to the body. I am wondering if that 'lip' thing is supposed to be touching metal on the body normally? In any case the turn signals still did not work after that. So the last thing that I fooled with before it started working was the switch. I tested the continuity to make sure the toggle switch I installed was working. It was. Hooked up the very same wires that I had before...and all of a sudden it starts working? I am thinking maybe there was a connection either coming or going to the switch that was bad?

All is well that ends well though my steering box still leaks as readily as ever which is what started this entire odyessy. I think I remember someone saying that putting grease in the box, since it is not holding the heaviest oil I can find, is not a good idea. Can someone remind me why? I think the best suggestion I heard if I give up on fixing the leak, which I undoubtedly have, was to get the special English steering box stuff from one of the big three that is not as thick as grease but not as thin as 90wt oil, I hope.

Thanks very much,
Jim Lee
TR3a 1959 Black Beauty
 

Geo Hahn

Yoda
Country flag
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Jim Lee said:
...I think the best suggestion I heard if I give up on fixing the leak, which I undoubtedly have, was to get the special English steering box stuff from one of the big three that is not as thick as grease but not as thin as 90wt oil, I hope...

It is really thick -- I'm thinking it is around 1000W but perhaps I exaggerate. Biggest challenge is getting it out of the bottle and into the box, especially if you are using that little fill hole on the steering column.

I jack up the front end, rig up a funnel into that hole, put some of the stuff in the funnel then work the steering left & right to keep the stuff moving & working down. Helps if it is about 115 degrees in the garage (which it is today).
 

bgbassplyr

Darth Vader
Offline
Put the bottle in a pan of boiling water to preheat the oil, make it flow faster. Preheating the steering column and box with a heat gun will kep the oil from cooling off too fast before it reaches it's final destination.
 

TR3driver

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
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Jim Lee said:
I think I remember someone saying that putting grease in the box, since it is not holding the heaviest oil I can find, is not a good idea. Can someone remind me why?
That was probably me. The downside of grease is just that it makes the steering even heavier than it is normally. Nothing too serious, if you don't mind looking like Popeye :laugh:
 
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