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Old 09-08-2016, 02:39 PM   #1
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1976 29' Ambassador
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 44
1976 Ambassador tail light questions

Hi guys, I'm renovating a 76 Ambassador that I'm going to call Bessie (or Dory... Kids will make the final call). Right now, though, name would be inappropriate since she's not much more than the shell. I got new wires run from the 7wire connection in the front to the back and now I have to connect the appropriate wires together. I got everything labeled and I have a general idea on where everything should go but details are stumping me.

I have 4 lights on each side. 1 small, rectangular light on the corner and 3 square lights, the center of the 3 being the backup light. I purchased the light "can" new and it has a bulb with 2 filaments and 2 wires each. I don't have the corner light installed yet. I'm trying to salvage the old ones and failing that, maybe 3D print the replacement because replacements are very expensive.

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The corner light: do I connect this to the running light wire? It would only come on when my tow vehicle light is on.

Leftmost of the 3 lights: this is the turn signal light so I can connect to the turn signal/stop wire. But do I connect dimmer of the two filament wire to running light wire so it'll have dim red glow at night? Or do I leave that alone?

Backup light is the only one I'm sure. Connect only to the backup light wire.

Rightmost of the 3 lights: Same deal as the leftmost light?

My vehicle's tail light glow at night so I'm assuming trailer's tail lights have to glow at night (but flash/glow brighter when turning or braking) so that's why I'm asking whether the running lights have to be connected to the tail lights...

This might be a simple question and to be honest, I was just going to muddle through it, but once it gets covered up, it's going to be hard to fix it so I wanted to make sure.
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Old 09-08-2016, 05:02 PM   #2
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1974 31' Sovereign
1979 23' Safari
Wayland , New York
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You're on the right track but without being able to physically look at the wires I can't say which to connect to which. Best way is to wire them temporarily twisted with a little tape to insulate. Then hook up to TV and cycle through light combinations to make sure they work. Fix any wrong connections, test until good, then crimp all the connections.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:27 PM   #3
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1976 29' Ambassador
Atlanta , Georgia
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Thanks, I think I got it mostly straightened out. I connected running light wire to the dimmer filaments of light can #1 and #3 (of the 3 square lights). I connected turn/stop light wires to the brighter filaments of light can #1 and #3. I connected backup light wire to both the filaments of #2.

So during the day when running light is not on, tail lights light up only when braking, turning, or backing up. But at night, #1 and #3 light up dimly to be visible from the rear. While braking, turning, or backing up, the respective light light up brightly.

Unless someone tells me this is grossly against code and it's going to blow up, I'm going to solder the wires tomorrow. I don't want this thing shaking loose.
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Old 09-08-2016, 09:07 PM   #4
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1974 31' Sovereign
1979 23' Safari
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Sounds good to me I only had 1that lit up with brake lights, 2?with running, plus reverse. More won't hurt. Plus having 2 gives you more visibility and redundancy. While you're working on them rub a little dielectric grease on the bulb base and socket to protect from corrosion.

Do you have the interior skins off behind the lights? What will be on the back side when put together? Bathroom? Bedroom?
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Old 09-09-2016, 04:32 PM   #5
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1976 29' Ambassador
Atlanta , Georgia
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Good idea on the dielectric grease. The ones I removed were all rusted stuck. Any attempt to dislodge the bulb separated the glass bulb from the base. Not that I was keeping the cans... All rusted.

Inner skin is off so accessing the wires is easy. It's side bathroom model so bedroom in the rear. I'll probably build it as a lounge area with a removable table top though.
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Old 09-09-2016, 04:46 PM   #6
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1974 31' Sovereign
1979 23' Safari
Wayland , New York
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If you think the areas right behind the lights will be hidden behind a cabinet or something you can bring the wires on the back to one spot and put in a small access panel on each side in case you have to get to them in the future, without having to remove skins. I used a hole saw to make a hole on each side then a double gang solid box cover to cover the holes.
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