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1960 Oldsmobile Forum • View topic - Adding Emergency Flashers
Page 1 of 1

Adding Emergency Flashers

PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:48 pm
by still 19
My 60 Oldsmobile didn’t have EF, back in the day we carried flares and reflectors. EF are a feature I never thought much about even when I could have used them. Several times I have run out gas, (yes Waldo I am admitting it to the world), never trust a gage in an old car. Generally when I have had a problem we have been able to get off the road onto a paved shoulder. This all changed last summer. Traveling home from a Friday cruise night about 10 PM the car became not drivable on a 2 lane dark country road that was heavily traveled. The shoulder was dirt and I did not trust it to allow pulling totally off the driving lane. So there I am, dressed in dark clothes, looking in the trunk for my reflectors while cars are traveling at us about 50 to 60 mph. This not a situation anyone should be in, much less without EF. I promised myself that adding EF would be a winter project.
Factory EF use the 2nd filament in the front parking light bulb and the 2nd filament in the tail light bulb, that filament also is used for the brake lights.
The key to adding EF is to add “new” 12 volt power supply circuit thru a new switch, a new “flasher’ & 4 “diodes” to all 4 of the wires coming off the directional switch (DS) located under the dash on the steering column. On the DS, 2 of the wires are for the front directional bulb filaments; tapped off the same terminal are the wires for the dash indicator bulbs. Also on the DS are 2 more wires for the rear directional/brake filament. The last 2 wires in the DS are, 1st is a wire that supplies 12 volt power all the time to operate the brake bulb even if ignition switch is off. The last wire supplies 12 volt power, thru a flasher for the directional signals.
Adding EF to my 60 Olds was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I believe the following info apply to most cars from the 50s & 60s that have factory directional signals. I will try to be brief and still be detailed enough so the average owner can add EF to their cars.
From the positive battery terminal I added a 12 gage wire with a 10 A inline fuse thru the firewall to a new switch mounted under the dash near the parking brake pedal. You could use a simple toggle switch adding a new flasher into the circuit before the toggle switch. I found a push-pull type switch with a knob that said “FLASHER” on E-Bay, it has a built in socket for a flasher. This switch was for older Cushman golf carts and commercial vehicle. You can add an indicator light wire lead after the switch. I plan on adding a small indicator lamp to the dash. Run a 12 gage wire from the added switch to the steering column area near the existing DS. Onto this new 12 gage wire add 4 new 16 gage wires. I solder all my connections when possible and use shrink tubing to insulate. Now onto the ends of the 4 new wires add a “Diode”. A diode is a electronic device used only in D.C. direct current systems that allows the current to flow in only one direction. The diodes are marked as to direction or you can test them with a testor. I bought my diodes on E-Bay, they are 10A, more than enough for 1 filament. I bought a lot of 25 for under $15.00 with shipping. They are available at Radio Shack at a reasonable cost. I bought 25 as I have two cars to add the EF too, and I wanted some spares, and maybe a friend will want to add to their car.
Now the hardest part, working under the dash. This old body does not flex so well anymore. I suggest removing the multi-wire connector from the directional switch to give more area of wires to work with. Locate which are the 4 wires on the DS that go to each of the 4 separate bulbs and connect 1 of the new diode wires to each of the bulb wires. Again solder & electric tape or quick crimp connects. Put the connector back on the DS, tie up all the new wire under dash with wire ties and the job is done.
Check that your directional signals work properly on both directions. They should only work with the ignition switch in the run position. On some cars the directional signals may also work in the accessory position of the ignition switch. The new added switch, either a simple toggle or push-pull type should activate all 4 directional bulbs and the indicator lamp if added. They will flash without the ignition switch being on.
Be careful to install the diodes in the correct direction, otherwise the existing direction signal circuits will “back feed” thru the reversed diode and mess everything up. Spend a few minutes testing each of 4 new wires with the diode. The end of the new wire after the diode should light a test light.
This is an easy afternoon installation.

Re: Adding Emergency Flashers

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:21 pm
by OldsD88
Thanks for the informative post. I have a signal flasher switch I also bought off of ebay, precisely for this purpose. I also have 3 cars which will benefit from installation of a warning flasher circuit. Again, thanks for the how to info.

Re: Adding Emergency Flashers

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 7:56 pm
by toolbox
Yes, thanks! Great info!