I am trying to make my own version of the tail light/stop light electric adapter for my 1914 Touring. I used a combination tail light for a trailer and cannibalized it for the innards. It is a 12v system, which is fine since I am using a small 12v battery in the car, but it only has two wires running off the socket. I am no electrical wizard and this is probably a really dumb question but isn't there supposed to be a third wire for grounding? I bought one of the conversion kits from the suppliers a few years ago for my '16 T, and it has two black wires and one white ground. The suppliers are currently out of the kit and they are not sure if they will find a new manufacturer. How do I go about grounding this set up, or do I even need to? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
The shiny metal parts of the lamp holder, the bayonet bulb, the Ford side lamp should have ground to the chassis. Just make that happen. A wire soldered to the base can work, just run it to ground. (i.e. where the battery (-) terminal will go to.)
The bulb should be a double filament, stop/turn-tail lamp. The base will have two contacts. Wire the base for the larger filament (stop/turn) to one wire that goes to the brake switch. And the other to the tail light connection at a switch.
The typical bulb is 12v 1157. That will have a bright filament and a dimmer one, the bright is for stop/turn.
The base is grounded thru the metal body. If the base is not grounded (attached to wood) then you need to run a wire from the lamp housing to a good ground.
Thanks, Dan, I figured it needed to be grounded but wasn't sure. Just to be clear, you're saying solder a wire onto the metal that holds the socket and run that wire to a ground? I don't have a soldering gun, so could I just attach a wire to a hole in the metal instead of soldering?
Now's the time to buy a soldering gun.
The socket appears to be attached to a metal light assembly, if that is the case just attach the wire to a mounting bolt for the light. Be sure you get a good corrosion free connection.
It is hard to see but that looks like a single filament bulb and socket to me. You need a dual filament for brake and tail.
It's dual - the light was originally for a trailer brake/tail/turn combo.
Donald is correct, just get a ground path to the lamp, i.e. lamp base in any manner. Wiring to a bolt/nut can be ok, but the T's shake and wiggle so much, I like to solder wires and connections you don't want apart. Otherwise you can have blinking lights or none
Bill, if there's clean enough and tight enough connections, it should ground through the chassis. Otherwise, go get one of those "pen soldering guns" and some resin core electrical solder and solder up a ground wire to the socket side, then screw it to the frame somewhere. That should do it. I was able to screw a separate wire from my stoplight/taillight conversion I made on my '20 and ran it to the frame and it worked great.
Thanks for all the advice, fellas! Tim, where would you go to buy a pen soldering gun? And I presume I'd be using 16ga wire?
Radio Shack, Lowes, Home Depo, Harbor Freight.
pencil soldering iron
Bill, where did you get those sockets? I'm going to do the same thing with my '14. The one (original) light was electrified when I got the car. The socket in this one is too small for the hole where the original kerosene burner went.
I got another tail light for the other side and intend to make them both tail, stop and turn signal lights.
When I bought my '15 Touring, the previous owner had already wired up the cowl lamps as turn signals, but I wasn't comfortable with the lightweight, single-element wire he had chosen. _The thin stuff runs hotter than heavier gauge wire, of course, which may not be the best choice when running it through upholstered areas.
With the headlights switched on, your tail-light will be burning steadily, so you'll want to choose the heaviest-gauge, stranded, flexible wire within reason—in other words, heavy, but not so heavy that it looks conspicuous. _Ordinary household lamp cord is usually around 18-gauge and standard American house current is 120 volts x 60 amps and house bulbs usually run between 25 and 150 watts. _By comparison, automotive tail-light bulbs run at 12 volts and draw something like two or three amps, so it seems to me, the 16-gauge wire you plan to use should more than do the job.
Bill, sorry, didn't get a chance to get on here till late today. Looks like your question(s) are pretty well covered.
Marty, I got my "dual post" socket from Snyders, took very little adaptation to make it work for both a tail light and a stop light. I love it!
Sorry it took so long to answer your question, Marty, but I was at the Tigers game yesterday. I got my socket from Advance Auto Parts. I just bought the standard two filament tail light/stop light kit that you would use on a trailer. I think I paid $7 bucks or so for it. Then I took it apart and cannibalized it for the socket and wires. Pretty simple actually. I haven't gotten around to purchasing that soldering tool yet, but it sounds easy enough to use. I'll keep you all posted on the results. By the way, I don't plan on electrifying the gas headlamps or the cowl lamps - just the tail lamp.
Tim and Bill, thanks!
I'm with Erik on choice of tools. After years of frustration dealing with a succession of angrifying soldering guns I won't waste my time or money on another.
So far this has worked for me.