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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I am troubleshooting why the headlights in my 67 mustang coupe don't turn on and why they cycle on and off in high beams. Through some research the problem seems to be a faulty headlight connector switch. Before I purchase would just like some feedback.

I am also troubleshooting why after many years of my turn signals/blinkers working perfectly fine, yesterday they stopped working and a little tiny bit of smoke came from the steering column. Through some research it seems like the solution is a new turn signal switch which runs about $130. Any advice on this repair before I make this purchase?

Thanks in advance, Calibadgirl :wavey
 

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The turn signal switch and headlight switch are notorious for failing on our cars. If you have not replaced either in a while, odds are good they are bad.

That said, some trouble shooting is needed here before you go and spend any money.

Your post states that your headlights don't turn on, but then you say the high beams cycle on and off. This seems contradictory to me, but perhaps I am just not understanding you.

Most electrical problems in our old cars can be traced to a bad ground. There are three grounds that may at least contribute to your problem (assuming the switches aren't bad). You have two grounds on the radiator support, and one behind the gauge cluster. Check all three of these for a good, clean connection.

Do you have any experience and or knowledge in tracing electrical problems?

Where did you find that $130 price? Seems a bit high to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The turn signal switch and headlight switch are notorious for failing on our cars. If you have not replaced either in a while, odds are good they are bad.

That said, some trouble shooting is needed here before you go and spend any money.

Your post states that your headlights don't turn on, but then you say the high beams cycle on and off. This seems contradictory to me, but perhaps I am just not understanding you.

Most electrical problems in our old cars can be traced to a bad ground. There are three grounds that may at least contribute to your problem (assuming the switches aren't bad). You have two grounds on the radiator support, and one behind the gauge cluster. Check all three of these for a good, clean connection.

Do you have any experience and or knowledge in tracing electrical problems?

Where did you find that $130 price? Seems a bit high to me.
Hi MustangBradley,

The low beams don't work but the high beams cycle on and off.

I have no knowledge on how to check the ground, but I am open to learning.

I just found another site with the turn signal switch for $79.99. Is that about right?

Thanks, Calibadgirl :hugalove
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would look at the dimmer switch if the high beams work but no low beam
Hi 64 Pony,

This is what I found on Mustang Monthly:

When headlights or taillights cycle off and on, the culprit is usually a faulty headlight switch. Because headlights are high-load electrical components, they draw a lot of power (amps) and switches can get warm. With new headlight switches, heat isn't an issue because the circuit breaker and switch contacts are clean with good continuity. When switches get older, corrosion takes its toll on connections (switch contacts) and things get toasty because of high resistance. Heat causes the circuit breaker to do what it's designed to do-cycle the headlights off and on. In fact, it cycles the same way your turn signal flasher does and for the same reason-heat and its effect on bimetallic contact points.

Read more: Ford Mustang Troubleshooting Headlight Switches - Mustang Monthly

This fix seems like the most likely and its cheap, so I will go with it and also check the grounding once I install. Thank you for your feedback. Now I still need to troubleshoot why the blinkers aren't working.

Calibadgirl :smoke:
 

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If you look at the top of the Classic Tech forum page, you'll see eight threads that are always there. The eighth one is a thread that has a link to the wiring diagrams for your car. Any Classic Mustang owner should become familiar with those diagrams because the wiring is nearing 50 years old and it is prone to fail.

That quote from Mustang Monthly is a nugget of knowledge that is completely true. Odds are you need two new switches, but resist the urge to spend money first. There are many people who just throw money at the problem without at least narrowing down the possible causes. As I mentioned before, grounds on old cars are often the cause of electrical issues.

Wiring is one of the more intimidating problems for owners. If you get it wrong, you can burn your car to the ground. Do you have a fire extinguisher in the car? If you have a Honda Accord and it burns down, you can just go buy a new one with the insurance check. With a Classic Mustang your options are not so clear cut. Invest the $30 in a fire extinguisher.

As for parts, I've had good luck with NPD (NPD - Restoring American History | Mustang Parts | Camaro Parts | Chevelle Parts | Ford Truck Parts | T-Bird Parts | Firebird Parts). They often sell more than one "quality level" so you can match the part to your budget.

Since you write you aren't selling your Mustang, you might as well buy the two switches. There are ways to make those switches last longer by isolating them with relays, but that might be a bit advanced for you at this time. I know I am contradicting myself about waiting to spend the money, but the symptoms you describe make the headlight switch the likely cause. The high beam switch merely directs current from the headlight switch to either the low or the high beam filaments. Since your low beams don't work, and the highs are tripping the circuit breaker, odds are it is the headlight switch.

I could write and write about how to get started on circuit tracing and such, but you'd be better served by reading up on the subject yourself. I have learned by trial and error over the years, and some reading too. :winks

There are many people on this site who like helping out those new to the hobby, so don't be shy about asking specific questions as you read up on what you need to do next. Just be patient. Your car will wait until you have some knowledge. It is not going anywhere. :shiny:
 

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I had a 69 torino that had the blinking head light problem and replaced the headlight switch and it still did the same thing untill I replaced dimmer switch. as for your blinkers the turn signal switch is more than likly your problem I have already replaced both switches in my 64.5. there two switches for 67 with or without tilt wheel
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I had a 69 torino that had the blinking head light problem and replaced the headlight switch and it still did the same thing untill I replaced dimmer switch. as for your blinkers the turn signal switch is more than likly your problem I have already replaced both switches in my 64.5. there two switches for 67 with or without tilt wheel
Hi 64 Pony,

Are you saying replace the dimmer switch first or replace both switches at the same time? I will make the purchase tomorrow.

Thank you! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If you look at the top of the Classic Tech forum page, you'll see eight threads that are always there. The eighth one is a thread that has a link to the wiring diagrams for your car. Any Classic Mustang owner should become familiar with those diagrams because the wiring is nearing 50 years old and it is prone to fail.

That quote from Mustang Monthly is a nugget of knowledge that is completely true. Odds are you need two new switches, but resist the urge to spend money first. There are many people who just throw money at the problem without at least narrowing down the possible causes. As I mentioned before, grounds on old cars are often the cause of electrical issues.

Wiring is one of the more intimidating problems for owners. If you get it wrong, you can burn your car to the ground. Do you have a fire extinguisher in the car? If you have a Honda Accord and it burns down, you can just go buy a new one with the insurance check. With a Classic Mustang your options are not so clear cut. Invest the $30 in a fire extinguisher.

As for parts, I've had good luck with NPD (NPD - Restoring American History | Mustang Parts | Camaro Parts | Chevelle Parts | Ford Truck Parts | T-Bird Parts | Firebird Parts). They often sell more than one "quality level" so you can match the part to your budget.

Since you write you aren't selling your Mustang, you might as well buy the two switches. There are ways to make those switches last longer by isolating them with relays, but that might be a bit advanced for you at this time. I know I am contradicting myself about waiting to spend the money, but the symptoms you describe make the headlight switch the likely cause. The high beam switch merely directs current from the headlight switch to either the low or the high beam filaments. Since your low beams don't work, and the highs are tripping the circuit breaker, odds are it is the headlight switch.

I could write and write about how to get started on circuit tracing and such, but you'd be better served by reading up on the subject yourself. I have learned by trial and error over the years, and some reading too. :winks

There are many people on this site who like helping out those new to the hobby, so don't be shy about asking specific questions as you read up on what you need to do next. Just be patient. Your car will wait until you have some knowledge. It is not going anywhere. :shiny:
Hi MustangBradley,

You made a lot of terrific points. I will also add a fire extinguisher to my worksheet as my wiring did catch on fire one time a few years ago, thankfully I was able to put it out quick. So yea, that's a smart idea.

Is there any other fix besides buying an $80 turn signal switch that might restore my blinkers? I am also thinking that installing the turn signal switch myself might be too advance of a task for me to perform myself at this time, so thinking of some alternatives.

Thanks again! :yelpleased:
 

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for the price I would try the dimmer first easy to get at and only two bolts and you could maybe get at your local parts store and its as old as the rest of the switches. it may be why low beam does not work the high beam is a week breaker in headhight switch the high beams draw more amps
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, a mechanic friend of mine pointed out to me today that I have misdiagnosed the problem. It's been a couple years since I have driven the car so I got confused on something.

This is what's happening. When I pull the knob for the lights, the first stop is for the parking lights (which I first thought was for the low beams), the front parking lights are working. When I pull to the second stop, which is for the low beams (which I first thought was or the high beams), the low beams come on but cycle on and off. When I press the high beams/dimmer switch on the floor, there does not appear to be a change in the brightness of the lights.

So now that I can clarify which beams are working, do the headlight switch and dimmer switch fixes still apply?

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
for the price I would try the dimmer first easy to get at and only two bolts and you could maybe get at your local parts store and its as old as the rest of the switches. it may be why low beam does not work the high beam is a week breaker in headhight switch the high beams draw more amps
Thank you 64 Pony,

I have located both switches at a local parts store and will pick them up today.

Calibadgirl :bigthumbsup
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Also, do you know of any tutorials or can you suggest the easiest way to replace the dimmer switch and the headlight switch? Thank you in advance!
 

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I would remove the dimmer switch from the circuit to reduce the number of unknowns. This method of troubleshooting often leads to a quick solution. If you narrow down the list of things it could be to a minimum (ideally only one) then you have found the culprit.

If you reference the wiring diagrams I mentioned in an above post, you will see how the dimmer switch is wired. If you don't know how to read those diagrams, I would print one out and take it to your mechanic friend and ask for a quick tutorial. You should print out the Exterior Lights & Turn Signal diagram and have him point out where the dimmer switch is.

Looking at that diagram, wire 15 is the "input". It connects the headlight switch output to the dimmer switch. Think of the current flowing from the headlight switch to the dimmer switch.

Wires 12 & 13 are the outputs. They attach to the high beam and low beam respectively. The way to bypass that dimmer switch is to remove the 15 & 12 wire from the switch and connect them together. Then when you turn on the lights, the current will flow directly from the headlight switch to the high beam filaments. Ideally they should immediately turn on. You can then remove the 13 wire and attach the 15 to it, (after setting the 12 wire aside) which will turn the low beams on.

If, for example, you attach the 15 to the 13 and the low beams don't come on, you need to shift your focus farther down the wire toward the headlights themselves. You could have a broken 13 wire anywhere between the dimmer switch and the headlights.

You may want to do what I described above before spending any money. If you simply have a broken 13 wire, the dimmer switch is probably fine, and you just need to repair/replace that 13 wire.

Since the circuit breaker is tripping, I do believe you'll want the headlight switch though.

Don't know of any online tutorials for the headlight switch, but if I remember correctly, Mustang Monthly had a nice article about it last year.
 

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Hello. :) The dimmer switch is easy to replace. Just pull the carpet back and you will see that it is held to the floor with one screw. Remove that screw, unplug the three-wire connector, install the new one just like the old one was. To replace the headlight switch, disconnect the battery first. Then pull the knob out, as if turning on the headlights. Reach behind the dash and locate the headlight switch with your hand. There will be a little release button on the side of the switch. Push that button while pulling on the knob, the knob and shaft will come out. In the middle of the bezel that you pulled the knob/shaft thingy out of, you will notice slots, as if for a really big phillips head screwdriver. A fairly large flat bladed screwdriver actually works better. Unscrew that, remove the bezel, and then pull the switch down from behind the dash, unplug the big connector from the switch, then install the new switch in the same way you just removed the old one. Nothing to it. This should help. :)The Care and Feeding of Ponies: Mustang headlight switch replacement 1965 and 1966 This is how to do it with a 65/66, but, the switch is basically the same, and this has pictures of stuff so that you can see things like where the release button is. On yours, you don't have to remove the instrument cluster. :)

As a side note, this won't fix all of the problems, but, it should fix some of them. It's always best to fix the things that you know are busted before looking for some mysterious 'other cause'. This will probably fix the high beams going on and off, but will almost certainly not fix the low beams. But, let's get this done and see where we are after that. Based on what you've said, it seems likely that you also need a new turn signal switch. :)

Also, how long have you had this car? Did you just recently step into someone else's headaches, or is this something that it just started doing after you've had the car for a while? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi,

I bought JUST the headlight switch from a local parts store, installed it today, and it solved the problem of my low beams cycling on and off! The headlight switch I took off was in pretty bad shape and very old. Problem solved!

Thank you for all the help and tips!:worship

XOXO Calibadgirl
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hello. :) The dimmer switch is easy to replace. Just pull the carpet back and you will see that it is held to the floor with one screw. Remove that screw, unplug the three-wire connector, install the new one just like the old one was. To replace the headlight switch, disconnect the battery first. Then pull the knob out, as if turning on the headlights. Reach behind the dash and locate the headlight switch with your hand. There will be a little release button on the side of the switch. Push that button while pulling on the knob, the knob and shaft will come out. In the middle of the bezel that you pulled the knob/shaft thingy out of, you will notice slots, as if for a really big phillips head screwdriver. A fairly large flat bladed screwdriver actually works better. Unscrew that, remove the bezel, and then pull the switch down from behind the dash, unplug the big connector from the switch, then install the new switch in the same way you just removed the old one. Nothing to it. This should help. :)The Care and Feeding of Ponies: Mustang headlight switch replacement 1965 and 1966 This is how to do it with a 65/66, but, the switch is basically the same, and this has pictures of stuff so that you can see things like where the release button is. On yours, you don't have to remove the instrument cluster. :)

As a side note, this won't fix all of the problems, but, it should fix some of them. It's always best to fix the things that you know are busted before looking for some mysterious 'other cause'. This will probably fix the high beams going on and off, but will almost certainly not fix the low beams. But, let's get this done and see where we are after that. Based on what you've said, it seems likely that you also need a new turn signal switch. :)

Also, how long have you had this car? Did you just recently step into someone else's headaches, or is this something that it just started doing after you've had the car for a while? :)
Hi Veronica!! :wavey Thank you for the information your provided on replacing the headlight switch. The directions worked perfectly for my 67 Coupe! Also, I only replaced the headlight switch and now the low beams and high beams work perfectly and they are also much brighter. :yelpleased:

I have owned this car a long long time, but it has been sitting for a couple years. I assume since the car is reaching the 50 year mark, now even things that were working properly have been bested by age. So, I am sure this is the time I will be making a lot of new repairs.

Thank you for your help! Calibadgirl
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Today I checked the blinkers again and they worked for about 10 seconds. I also put on the hazards and they worked perfectly until I turned them off. Is a new turn signal switch the solution to this? Or might there be another simple solution?

Thank you in advance! Calibadgirl :)
 

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The switches are often the cause. Glad you got them to work.

My 65 does not have emergency flashers, so I don't know how they are wired. Don't forget to look at those diagrams I mentioned.

Do your turn signals work, but not the emergency flashers? Or is everything dead?
 
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