… In my opinion, one of the worst problems to have in a old car is an electrical one. With literally miles of wiring, problems can take hours and hours just to track down. Which is why I’ve always said if you take it to a repair shop you can expect to spend hundreds of dollars on labor just to have a 47 cent part replaced.
… The most worrisome problem I saw when I pickled up my $200 car #55 was in the turn signal system. The left signal worked perfect, but when you turned on the right signal, the left signal flashed also, although not as brightly. It was even worse when either the tail lights or the brake lights were on. Because of the crossover from one side to the other, I didn’t automatically assume that it had something to do with bad light bulbs, after all, they were all working.
… So I took apart the right tail light and started messing around with it. All the bulbs were working, but I finally did notice that one of the two bulbs for the tail/signal/brake lights always burned bright. The other one was bright whenever the signal was on, but was dimmer when it was just the tail light. (Older car tail lights have bulbs with two filaments in them, one dim one for the tail lights and one bright one for both the brakes and signals.) So, I pulled out the bulb and noticed that it was a 1 filament bulb, in a 2 filament socket. Not good. A single filament bulb has a single electrical connection in the center, the double filament has two connections, one for the dim system, one for the bright system. With the single connection in the center, put in the double socket, it was connecting the two systems together, which was what was making the whole thing skewompus.
… I put in a correct bulb and voila, everything worked right. Which is a big relief for me, since the cost of fixing electrical problems can be so unpredictable. Now, I at least have an good idea how much it’s going to cost me to get the new beast on the road. I know it’s going to need a new exhaust system, which is no big deal since I’ve always put dual exhaust on the old LTDs I buy. It will also need brakes and tires. It’ll cost around $1,000 altogether, but at least I now know I’m not going to have to buy a complete new electrical harness for the car.