So here's the story, back around 2004 or 2005 I was at the end of my lucrative manual labor career and was getting ready to make a change. I had purchased this 71 ford Thunderbird Hardtop a few years previous and, after a few years of being unable to work on it, it had degraded till the point it wasn't fit to be used in my new career. so it was parked. Now, after a few years, I am able to pull it back outta the tree line and attempt to resurrect it. This blog will follow along with the progress from rust bucket hoopty to a (once again) nice ride.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Turn Signal Switch R&R

The turn signal switches in these early '70s Thunderbirds are prone to plastic fatigue. There are more readily available and cheaper alternatives on the market but I highly recommend that faced with the same need you choose to find a NOS complete turn signal as I have. This was found on Ebay (figure A)from a good parts seller there and was purchased for less than thirty dollars.

The first thing that needs to be done to switch out the switch is to remove the wire connectors from the pigtail, in my application it wasn't going to be necessary for me to plug them back into this block but you might need to. Please note the position on color coding of each wire.. maybe take a few good digital photographs of it. They will come in handy.

After you have removed the connectors and placed them in a safe location (if you will be reusing them) or tossed them in a box (as I did) bundle up the wires (figure C) and tape them all together. This will make it easy to thread them down inside of the column later.

Set switch aside.

Next we will get inside of the car, remove the steering wheel as you can see I swapped in a grant Steering wheel (figure D) back when I was driving it so I won't bore you with the removal of it since this will more than likely be different from your application.

Once the steering wheel has been removed you should be looking at something similar to figure E. Don't be intimidated by the mess of wiring, most of this will come out for us. Remove the turn signal lever. The actual switch is held in place by three screws, remove them and set them aside. Pull the switch up and away from the shaft and flop it towards you. Figure F. Cut the wires off of the switch being careful not to slice the other wires inside of the column, they go to the gear selector display and the ignition switch and are not included in the switch. Bundle the wires off the old switch together and secure them with tape. Take the wires from the new switch and tape them to the end of the wires off the old switch. Dive under the dash and determine which wires going up the column are going to the switch. Once you have determined which wires they are pull old wires down out of the column dragging the new wires along with. Positioning the switch over the the shaft as you do. Figure G. from this point on it is a simple process of replacing the wires back into the new connectors, removing the old wires, plugging everything back in and reassembling the steering wheel.

Wasn't quite that simple for me.

The wires that were attached to my switch were about 10 inches to short to make it to the wire harness so I had to splice the wires together. That meant that I needed to cut open the sheath the wire ends were in (Figure H) splice them together and tape up the sheath to protect the wires.

I got through it just fine though. Even brought the original steering wheel out of it's retirement in trunk. Figure I. I think it looks nice.


Anonymous said...

Does it work? Brake lights?Fancy turn signals?Dad

Admin said...

It does work. The snappiness of the new switch is something I have never experienced in the T-Bird.. You put it to the left "SNAP!" you put it to the right "SNAP!".. the steering wheel self cancels the turn signal now just like it should... I also have brake lights now.. The turn signals on the other hand need some looking after.. But the turn signals are picky about the amount of drawn to get the breaker to pop open.. so the bulbs out and such will cause them to not work right