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odd turn signal function

Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by Derek, Jun 22, 2015.

  1. Derek

    Derek Donation Time

    Hi, I am having a new issue, my right front turn indicator is flashing the running ( head lamp side) light instead of the flasher, the left works fine.

    I have checked the wiring diagram and it is wired correctly, of course I swapped them just to be sure. I have checked the switches and they seem to be fine.

    This leaves the flasher unit and the voltage regulator. Is it possible for the flasher unit to cause this ? the gauges work fine. I have not re wired the car and it worked fine last time I checked ( it has been sitting with little driving for the past 10 months, too much job not enough fun)

    Thanks for any insight

  2. RootesRacer

    RootesRacer Donation Time

    Check the grounds for the right headlight bucket.
  3. rixter

    rixter Gold Level Sponsor

    I can't see how a flasher would be at fault here. These light units can have grounding problems rather easily, but this doesn't seem like a ground issue. It seems more like a short between the feeds to the light assembly or the wires reversed where they connect along the top of the wheel well in the engine compartment. You said you checked the wiring for correctness. Do the running lights work as they should when the turn signals are not activated?
  4. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    Please clarify. I think you mean that the clear bulb rather than the amber side bulb (both in the sidelamp housing) is flashing and the headlight is not involved. right?

    That has nothing to do with the regulator and I cannot see how the flasher could be the issue. But you said:

    "I have checked the wiring diagram and it is wired correctly, of course I swapped them just to be sure". I don't know what you swapped. wires? bulbs? left right wiring ? And what did the swap show you that "made sure".

    What lights up when you turn the light switch to the "half way" position -" lights but no headlights" position?

  5. v13311

    v13311 Silver Level Sponsor

    If it is the clear that blinks, it's a grounding issue. Scrape some paint off of an area that is sure to touch bare metal on the running light / turn signal housing. It will now work. I had this same issue with mine and I eventually resorted to running a separate wire from the housing to the car body where clean metal was.

  6. 65beam

    65beam Donation Time


    this has happened to more than one of my beams over the years. it was always a ground problem. the lamp unit is grounded by the screws that hold the unit to the body. the J clip does tend to lose ground due to dirt and rust. I drill a hole in the lamp body and use a small machine screw to attach a wire with a terminal on it and then run the wire to the body and secure it. I usually use the flange where the front valance and fender come together. problem solved.
  7. Paul A

    Paul A Alpine Registry Curator Platinum Level Sponsor

    Good advice for a remedy to a very common problem. The importance of good grounds cannot be over emphasized.
  8. 65beam

    65beam Donation Time


    the same ground problem exists on the head lights with the use of the bullet connectors for the ground. I drop some solder on the front of the connector and the clip before bolting the clip to the body. I also have ground wires on the tail light units.
  9. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    The ground connections on these side lamps is indeed an issue. I remember having to clean up the ground connections when I restored my 67 SV. And I think I see how or why a bad ground would cause the wrong lamp to blink. With no (or poor) ground, the two bulbs would be in series and IF the side lamp were (somehow) grounded on the power feed side, current would flow thru both lamps and the lower power (5W) side lamp would get most of the power and would visibly blink. I assume that Derek has the Panel switch in the ON position. That would provide the return-to-ground path for the current.

    Derek. I'll bet if you turn the Panel light switch OFF neither light in the right side lamp housing will blink. That would confirm my thinking. But you can just fix the grounds like several have suggested, that'll work.

    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
  10. rixter

    rixter Gold Level Sponsor

    On further thought, I do believe Tom has the explanation of why the ground is a likely cause. I had reworked my light units to explicitly ground the side light and turn light assemblies to overcome the problematic grounding issue in this area.

  11. George Coleman

    George Coleman Gold Level Sponsor

    Start with your batt. and work your way out 99% of all electrical on these cars is GROUND! :eek:
  12. RootesRacer

    RootesRacer Donation Time

    If you perform a circuit analysis of what happens when you have a missing ground you will see a rather complex series circuit develops with the turn lamps current ultimately returning into the other sides headlamp through its (intact) ground.
  13. pcmenten

    pcmenten Donation Time

    Know what's funny? Jarrid made a brilliant call and summed it up in 8 words. Then the discussion ensues.

    Dude, you really know your stuff.
  14. Derek

    Derek Donation Time

    It was the grounds, cleaned up the clips and all is working now. So now I know that when a Sunbeam has any electrical issue start with the ground and go from there.

    Thanks all,
  15. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    I disagree with PC and Jarrid. It was clearly a grounding issue, but it's the ground in the side lamp assembly that was the problem, not the headlight bucket. I HAVE done a a circuit analysis and the most logical ground path is thru the other side lamp, both tail lights, the license plate lamps, Plus the panel lamps if the Panel switch is ON.

    If the sidelamp ground was not bad, there would be no blinker problem. The blinker lamp current would flow right thru the lamp and return to the ground. Nothing about the headlight ground would come into play. BUT with the sidelamp assembly not grounded, the blinker current will flow thru the grn/wht wire, thru the blinker lamp and then thru the side lamp and then thru the red wire to the lighting switch, where it is connected (regardless of switch setting) to another red wire that goes to the Panel switch, the other side lamp, both tail lamps, and the license lamps. If the panel light switch is ON, then some current also goes thru the panel lamps. Since most of the extra lamps (2 tail lamps, 2 license lamps, 1 side lamp, and maybe 5 panel lamps, with this erroneous current are in parallel, none would get enough current to be lit visibly, but the right side lamp would be in series and would get enough current to light and to blink.

    But indeed, grounds are a main problem with our Alpines.

  16. 65beam

    65beam Donation Time


    so what it amounts to is what one well known beamer on the east coast has always said. the switch completes the ground .
  17. RootesRacer

    RootesRacer Donation Time

    I am not sure how later alpines are wired, on my early SII, a single ground is presented to the bucket and signal lamp from inside the engine compartment.

    Now if that ground is missing, the signal lamp doesnt get a ground. It gets instead a path to the headlight via the shared but disconnected ground connection. Since that headlight connects to the other sides headlight, and assuming that that sides ground is intact, the current to the signal lamp then will pass through that signal lamp as well as the two headlight and ultimately into the ground wire.

    There is no telling which of the 3 lamps would indicate the flash, but theoretically all 3 may show some blinking, provided that the sum of the 3 series loads is sufficient to even run the flasher unit.

    In any case, lack of a ground causes odd and even unpredictable lighting results.
  18. hartmandm

    hartmandm Moderator Diamond Level Sponsor

    On the series V, the headlight has its own independent ground wire that goes into the engine compartment. The signal lamp is grounded by the long screw that mounts the lamp's housing.

  19. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    Jarrid, Thanks for clarifying. I would never have thought the SII side lamps were grounded that way. And Mike has correctly described the SV sidelamp grounding. It sure gets pretty confusing when grounds go bad!

    And note that when a small (low wattage) bulb is in series with a high wattage bulb, the small bulb gets almost all the voltage ( because of its higher resistance) and thus will light up, whereas the large bulb will almost surely not even glow faintly. I would expect the reduced current to affect the blink rate but the rear lamp helps. I've done lots of "experiments" on 12 v bulbs just demonstrating various power supplies and current sources in my job.


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