# 1988 Plymouth Voyager turn signals not flashing.

D

#### David Farber

Jan 1, 1970
0
This 1988 Plymouth Voyager has a flashing turn signal issue. When either the
left or right turn signal switch is engaged, the turn signals light but do
not flash. The hazard lights flash just fine. Here is the wiring diagram:

http://webpages.charter.net/mrfixiter/Repair/Voyager-signal-wiring1.jpg

At first one side of the turn signal lights were blinking but not the other.
Then, the working side went out too.The flasher was then replaced (eBay) but
that didn't help.

My question is what's the deal with the turn signal switch diagram in the
above linked picture? There are two, angled, thick black lines located in
the switch assembly (on the steering column). Which part of the switch
actually moves and which contacts get connected?

According to the continuity chart in the service manual, two sets of
terminals get connected when the left signal is activated. The first set
connects terminals 4,7, and 8. The second set connects terminals 9 and 10.
For the right signal, the first set connects terminals 5,7, and 9. The
second set connects terminals 8 and 10.

In the neutral position, 8,9, and 10 are connected.

I checked continuity on all these terminals and they checked out ok. By the
way, not shown in the picture are where the wires, D7, D6, D5, D8 and D4
terminate. Respectively, they terminate at the right rear turn and stop
signal lamp, D6 and D5 both go to the front end lighting, and D8 goes to the
left rear turn and stop signal lamp. D4 goes to a fuse.

Finally, approximately how much of a load does the flasher need to see
before it will open the circuit and begin flashing?

N

#### Nightcrawler®

Jan 1, 1970
0
Forgive me if this is an old post. My reader shows the date as 11/22/2013.

To answer the question, those lines on the switch mean that those contacts
are jumpered together.

To fix the problem, replace the turn signal flasher.

D

#### David Farber

Jan 1, 1970
0
Nightcrawler® said:
Forgive me if this is an old post. My reader shows the date as
11/22/2013.
To answer the question, those lines on the switch mean that those
contacts are jumpered together.

To fix the problem, replace the turn signal flasher.

Thanks for the information abut the switch.

The flasher was replaced. It did not correct the problem.

M

#### [email protected]

Jan 1, 1970
0
David Farber said:
This 1988 Plymouth Voyager has a flashing turn signal issue. [...]
The flasher was then replaced (eBay) but that didn't help.

New, good, working flashers for that van are $6 + tax at the local auto parts store. Counterfeit, used, and broken flashers have to cost more than that on eBay with shipping. This car probably takes a 552 flasher. For testing, the turn signal flasher can be replaced with a short piece of 18 gauge wire (or thicker, like 16 or 14 gauge) with 1/4" male terminals crimped on the ends. This should make the turn signals on the appropriate side light up steadily when the turn signal switch is flicked that way. If this doesn't happen, the problem is not in the flasher. My question is what's the deal with the turn signal switch diagram in the above linked picture? The "arrows" actually move. The tail of the arrow stays attached to its dot and the head of the arrow moves around. The switch is shown in the neutral/off position. As shown, D9 (brake light switch) connects to D7 (right rear stop/turn) and D8 (left rear stop/turn). D2 (turn signal flasher) isn't connected to anything. When you turn right, the little arrows all move up in parallel (as shown by the dashed line). D9 (brake) is no longer connected to D7 (right rear stop/turn). D9 (brake) is still connected to D8 (left rear stop/turn). D2 (turn) is connected to D7 (right rear stop/turn), so the right rear light flashes. D2 is also connected to D5 (right front turn), so the right front light flashes. When you turn left, the little arrows all move down in parallel (as shown by the dashed line). D9 (brake) is no longer connected to D8 (left rear stop/turn). D9 (brake) is still connected to D7 (right rear stop/turn). D2 (turn) is connected to D8 (left rear stop/turn), so the left rear light flashes. D2 is also connected to D6 (left front turn), so the left front light flashes. Finally, approximately how much of a load does the flasher need to see before it will open the circuit and begin flashing? Usually, one turn signal lamp, which is about 2 amps. One amp may or may not do it, or it may take a *long* time to start flashing. Less than one amp usually won't make it flash. Matt Roberds D #### David Farber Jan 1, 1970 0 Jon said: Have you changed any bulbs lately? The combined parking light/turn-brake signal bulbs are polarized. The bayonet pegs on the side are not directly across from each other. When the lamp holders are worn a bit, you can put the bulbs in backwards, exchanging the parking filament for the brake light filament. The parking filament runs way less current, and isn't enough for the flasher to work reliably (or at all). Also, check if the flasher works some of the time, related to whether the headlights are on/off. If it only flashes when the headlights are OFF, then the ground to the rear lights has gone open. The turn/brake circuit then has to complete through both sets of filaments, again lowering current that the flasher sees. Some cars of that period also had some wonky wiring so that the side marker lights would flash for turns and light steady while headlights were on. Some later cars have computer-controlled turn signals so you get a fast flash for lane change indication, but that wouldn't be on an '88. Jon Hi Jon, After the flasher replacement didn't work, all the bulbs that are in the turn signal circuit were replaced, I think. There were other people working on the car at the time. All the correct lights come on brightly when the turn signal is activated. But you're absolutely correct that the lamp sockets aren't in great shape and it is possible the dual filament bulbs could be reversed. One of the front bulbs has a very poor looking socket and won't illuminate all the time. However, I just tested the flasher on my bench. It's a Wagner 323. The print on the cover says, "3 lamp 12 Volt," whatever that means. (How about a current rating?) I hooked a 4 ohm load and cranked the voltage up to 12, the switch didn't open. Even going up to 16 volts which produced 4 amps of current didn't activate the flasher. There was even a second flasher that came in the package, it didn't work on my bench either. Thanks for your reply. D #### David Farber Jan 1, 1970 0 David Farber said: This 1988 Plymouth Voyager has a flashing turn signal issue. [...] The flasher was then replaced (eBay) but that didn't help. New, good, working flashers for that van are$6 + tax at the local
auto parts store. Counterfeit, used, and broken flashers have to
cost more than that on eBay with shipping. This car probably takes a
552 flasher.

For testing, the turn signal flasher can be replaced with a short
piece of 18 gauge wire (or thicker, like 16 or 14 gauge) with 1/4"
male terminals crimped on the ends. This should make the turn
signals on the appropriate side light up steadily when the turn
signal switch is flicked that way. If this doesn't happen, the
problem is not in the flasher.
My question is what's the deal with the turn signal switch diagram in

The "arrows" actually move. The tail of the arrow stays attached to
its dot and the head of the arrow moves around. The switch is shown
in the neutral/off position.

As shown, D9 (brake light switch) connects to D7 (right rear
stop/turn) and D8 (left rear stop/turn). D2 (turn signal flasher)
isn't connected to anything.

When you turn right, the little arrows all move up in parallel (as
shown by the dashed line). D9 (brake) is no longer connected to D7
(right rear stop/turn). D9 (brake) is still connected to D8 (left
rear stop/turn). D2 (turn) is connected to D7 (right rear
stop/turn), so the right rear light flashes. D2 is also connected to
D5 (right front turn), so the right front light flashes.

When you turn left, the little arrows all move down in parallel (as
shown by the dashed line). D9 (brake) is no longer connected to D8
(left rear stop/turn). D9 (brake) is still connected to D7 (right
rear stop/turn). D2 (turn) is connected to D8 (left rear stop/turn),
so the left rear light flashes. D2 is also connected to D6 (left
front
turn), so the left front light flashes.
Finally, approximately how much of a load does the flasher need to
see before it will open the circuit and begin flashing?

Usually, one turn signal lamp, which is about 2 amps. One amp may or
may not do it, or it may take a *long* time to start flashing. Less
than one amp usually won't make it flash.

Matt Roberds

Hi Matt,

I should have included in my initial summary that the flasher replacement is
a Wagoner 323, 3 lamp, 12 volt device. I hooked it up on my bench,
increasing the voltage to as high as 16 volts to produce 4 amps of current.
It still did not open the circuit. Very curious or very bad right out of the
box.

M

#### [email protected]

Jan 1, 1970
0
David Farber said:
I should have included in my initial summary that the flasher
replacement is a Wagoner 323, 3 lamp, 12 volt device.

This is a fixed load flasher for 3 lamps of 32 candlepower each (lamps
like 1156, 1157, 2057). Its rated current is 6.4 A. (I have an older
Wagner paper catalog.)

Depending on how many lamps it has to flash, a 224 (2 lamp, 4.4 A), 228
(2 lamp, 4.75 A), or 322 (3 lamp, 5.3 A) flasher may also be a good
replacement.

Some auto parts stores only stock variable load flashers. If so, a 536
(1 to 6 lamp), 552 (1 to 6 lamp), or 575 (1 to 8 lamp) may be a good
replacement, but the 536 may be too tall to fit.
I hooked it up on my bench, increasing the voltage to as high as 16
volts to produce 4 amps of current. It still did not open the
circuit.

The catalog I have implies that if one lamp fails, a fixed load flasher
will stop flashing. This implies that it should flash with a load from
6.4 down to about 4.3 A. If you can load it to 6 A and it still doesn't
flash, I think it's probably bad.

If it does start flashing, check the lamps and lamp sockets, as has been
suggested. If the sockets are really beat, some car parts stores carry
replacement sockets; look carefully at the part that twists into the
reflector to make sure it's the same. The Chrysler dealer may or may
not still have them. A junkyard will have them but theirs are likely to
be beat up as well; the man at the desk should have an interchange book
that says what years are the same - try to get one from the newest year
you can.

Matt Roberds

D

#### David Farber

Jan 1, 1970
0
This is a fixed load flasher for 3 lamps of 32 candlepower each (lamps
like 1156, 1157, 2057). Its rated current is 6.4 A. (I have an older
Wagner paper catalog.)

Depending on how many lamps it has to flash, a 224 (2 lamp, 4.4 A),
228 (2 lamp, 4.75 A), or 322 (3 lamp, 5.3 A) flasher may also be a
good replacement.

Some auto parts stores only stock variable load flashers. If so, a
536 (1 to 6 lamp), 552 (1 to 6 lamp), or 575 (1 to 8 lamp) may be a
good replacement, but the 536 may be too tall to fit.

The catalog I have implies that if one lamp fails, a fixed load
flasher will stop flashing. This implies that it should flash with a
6.4 down to about 4.3 A. If you can load it to 6 A and it still
doesn't flash, I think it's probably bad.

If it does start flashing, check the lamps and lamp sockets, as has
been suggested. If the sockets are really beat, some car parts
stores carry replacement sockets; look carefully at the part that
twists into the reflector to make sure it's the same. The Chrysler
dealer may or may not still have them. A junkyard will have them but
theirs are likely to be beat up as well; the man at the desk should
have an interchange book that says what years are the same - try to
get one from the newest year you can.

Matt Roberds

Hi Matt,

This time, I increased the load from 4 ohms to about 2 ohms. The flasher
came on at a "normal" speed when the voltage was increased and the current
came up to about 5.5 amps. So now I have to check the change in the car
battery current when activating the turn signal and see if it's close to
this magic number.

Thanks so much for your help.

D

#### David Farber

Jan 1, 1970
0
This is a fixed load flasher for 3 lamps of 32 candlepower each (lamps
like 1156, 1157, 2057). Its rated current is 6.4 A. (I have an older
Wagner paper catalog.)

Depending on how many lamps it has to flash, a 224 (2 lamp, 4.4 A),
228 (2 lamp, 4.75 A), or 322 (3 lamp, 5.3 A) flasher may also be a
good replacement.

Some auto parts stores only stock variable load flashers. If so, a
536 (1 to 6 lamp), 552 (1 to 6 lamp), or 575 (1 to 8 lamp) may be a
good replacement, but the 536 may be too tall to fit.

The catalog I have implies that if one lamp fails, a fixed load
flasher will stop flashing. This implies that it should flash with a
6.4 down to about 4.3 A. If you can load it to 6 A and it still
doesn't flash, I think it's probably bad.

If it does start flashing, check the lamps and lamp sockets, as has
been suggested. If the sockets are really beat, some car parts
stores carry replacement sockets; look carefully at the part that
twists into the reflector to make sure it's the same. The Chrysler
dealer may or may not still have them. A junkyard will have them but
theirs are likely to be beat up as well; the man at the desk should
have an interchange book that says what years are the same - try to
get one from the newest year you can.

Matt Roberds

Hi Matt,

A couple more questions, for this simple kind of bi-metallic flasher, what
design differences are there between a variable load flasher and a fixed

From my observations, there are three dual element bulbs in the flashing
circuit and each one of them will draw 2.1 amps on the larger filament. Then
there is a smaller corner bulb that draws only 0.27 amps. That adds up to
6.57 amps. Am I correct in saying that the larger, higher current filaments
are assigned to the flashing circuit?

M

#### [email protected]

Jan 1, 1970
0
David Farber said:
A couple more questions, for this simple kind of bi-metallic flasher,
what design differences are there between a variable load flasher and

A fixed load flasher starts out closed (on), and the bimetal heats
itself up from the current drawn by the lamps. Once enough current has
been drawn for long enough, the bimetal snaps open (off), cools down,
snaps closed again (on), and so forth. It depends on the lamps drawing
enough current to heat the bimetal enough to start flashing.

A variable load flasher starts out open (off), and has a heating
element in parallel with the bimetal. Any path to ground will run the
heating element, and the bimetal will eventually snap closed (on).
This shorts out the heater, the bimetal cools down, snaps open (off),
and so forth.

If one lamp fails with a fixed load flasher, the driver can tell that
there is a problem, because the remaining turn signal lamps will just
come on steady. Also, the lamps that do work will provide at least
some indication to other drivers.

The hazard (4-way) flasher is usually a variable load flasher, because
it should flash no matter what; if the car has just been in a wreck and
some of the turn signal lamps are smashed, it can still be useful to
flash the remaining turn signal lamps as a warning to other drivers.
Am I correct in saying that the larger, higher current filaments are
assigned to the flashing circuit?

Yep. The "bright" filament is always on the turn (or stop) circuit,
and the "dim" filament is always on the parking/running light circuit.

You're welcome!

Matt Roberds

D

#### David Farber

Jan 1, 1970
0
A fixed load flasher starts out closed (on), and the bimetal heats
itself up from the current drawn by the lamps. Once enough current
has been drawn for long enough, the bimetal snaps open (off), cools
down, snaps closed again (on), and so forth. It depends on the lamps
drawing enough current to heat the bimetal enough to start flashing.

A variable load flasher starts out open (off), and has a heating
element in parallel with the bimetal. Any path to ground will run the
heating element, and the bimetal will eventually snap closed (on).
This shorts out the heater, the bimetal cools down, snaps open (off),
and so forth.

If one lamp fails with a fixed load flasher, the driver can tell that
there is a problem, because the remaining turn signal lamps will just
come on steady. Also, the lamps that do work will provide at least
some indication to other drivers.

The hazard (4-way) flasher is usually a variable load flasher, because
it should flash no matter what; if the car has just been in a wreck
and some of the turn signal lamps are smashed, it can still be useful
to flash the remaining turn signal lamps as a warning to other
drivers.

Yep. The "bright" filament is always on the turn (or stop) circuit,
and the "dim" filament is always on the parking/running light circuit.

You're welcome!

Matt Roberds

Hi Matt,

I visited the car this afternoon and measured the current difference between
turn signals on and off. It was less than 4 amps difference. I started
pulling the lamps and looked into the sockets. Both front left sockets were
covered in a green chalky substance. I guess that would explain the problem
there. On the right side, one of the two signal lights glowed brighter than
the other. Also, the bulb numbers were different. I should have checked that
first time around. The voltage at the dim bulb socket with no load was 1
volt less (11v vs. 12v) than the battery voltage. Another bad socket?
Checking the rear lights I noticed that the smaller filaments were glowing
when the turn signals were activated. I checked the socket and bulb and it
didn't seem possible that the bulb could have been inserted so that the
terminals were reversed. I had another appointment to go to so I couldn't do
anymore investigating but the first thing on the to do list will be to
replace the corroded sockets.

M

#### [email protected]

Jan 1, 1970
0
David Farber said:
Both front left sockets were covered in a green chalky substance. I
guess that would explain the problem there.

You might look around the lens and reflector for holes that can let
water in. Sometimes the seam between the lens and reflector starts to
open up, too. For small holes, a little bit of RTV silicone or even
tape will close them up. For big holes, either use dielectric grease
on the lamps (see below), or hit up the junkyard for replacements.

Sometimes it's that the socket doesn't seal well to the reflector, and
this is harder to fix. I had an '89 Chevy that would constantly fill
its front side marker lights with water. I learned to just shake the
water out of them at every oil change.

You can get "dielectric grease" to put on the lamp bases, which tends
to keep water out of the sockets. You put it all over everything; the
contacts will squish the grease out of the way in enough places to make
the connection. Car parts stores sell it either in little ketchup
packets, which will do one or two bulbs, or a tube of a few ounces,
On the right side, one of the two signal lights glowed brighter than
the other. Also, the bulb numbers were different.

There are a few different lamps that will fit in the hole but that have
different ratings.
http://www.candelacorp.com/products/lighting/pdf/catalog_min.pdf is a
good online reference for looking up the ratings.
The voltage at the dim bulb socket with no load was 1 volt less (11v
vs. 12v) than the battery voltage. Another bad socket?

In roughly this order: bad socket, bad ground wire (socket to body),
bad hot wire (turn signal switch to socket), bad turn signal switch.

For some reason, car lamps at most car parts stores are stupid prices
these days - $5 for a pack of two, as opposed to the$2 or $2.50 it was a few years ago. If you think you are going to replace several lamps on this van, and they are all the same lamp number, it might pay to ask at NAPA about the price of a 10-pack; they carried them that way the last time I looked. O'Reilly may have 10-packs as well. Checking the rear lights I noticed that the smaller filaments were glowing when the turn signals were activated. Loose or open ground wire from one or both rear light clusters to ground (body sheet metal). You can trace it out, or just add your own ground wire (14 or 16 gauge is fine) from the lamp cluster to ground. If the van lives (or used to live) in a place where it snows a lot, sometimes the rear-end wiring gets corroded from salt and moisture. If it has hauled a lot of cargo, that can also beat up the wiring. I checked the socket and bulb and it didn't seem possible that the bulb could have been inserted so that the terminals were reversed. In some sockets this is pretty hard to do, but in others it's not hard at all. It also depends on the lamp a little; some of them have slightly taller keying pegs on the side than others. Standard disclaimers apply: I don't get money or other consideration from any companies mentioned. Matt Roberds D #### David Farber Jan 1, 1970 0 You might look around the lens and reflector for holes that can let water in. Sometimes the seam between the lens and reflector starts to open up, too. For small holes, a little bit of RTV silicone or even tape will close them up. For big holes, either use dielectric grease on the lamps (see below), or hit up the junkyard for replacements. Sometimes it's that the socket doesn't seal well to the reflector, and this is harder to fix. I had an '89 Chevy that would constantly fill its front side marker lights with water. I learned to just shake the water out of them at every oil change. You can get "dielectric grease" to put on the lamp bases, which tends to keep water out of the sockets. You put it all over everything; the contacts will squish the grease out of the way in enough places to make the connection. Car parts stores sell it either in little ketchup packets, which will do one or two bulbs, or a tube of a few ounces, which is a lifetime supply. There are a few different lamps that will fit in the hole but that have different ratings. http://www.candelacorp.com/products/lighting/pdf/catalog_min.pdf is a good online reference for looking up the ratings. In roughly this order: bad socket, bad ground wire (socket to body), bad hot wire (turn signal switch to socket), bad turn signal switch. For some reason, car lamps at most car parts stores are stupid prices these days -$5 for a pack of two, as opposed to the $2 or$2.50 it
was a few years ago. If you think you are going to replace several
lamps on this van, and they are all the same lamp number, it might
pay to ask at NAPA about the price of a 10-pack; they carried them
that way the last time I looked. O'Reilly may have 10-packs as well.

Loose or open ground wire from one or both rear light clusters to
ground (body sheet metal). You can trace it out, or just add your own
ground wire (14 or 16 gauge is fine) from the lamp cluster to ground.
If the van lives (or used to live) in a place where it snows a lot,
sometimes the rear-end wiring gets corroded from salt and moisture.
If it has hauled a lot of cargo, that can also beat up the wiring.

In some sockets this is pretty hard to do, but in others it's not hard
at all. It also depends on the lamp a little; some of them have
slightly taller keying pegs on the side than others.

Standard disclaimers apply: I don't get money or other consideration
from any companies mentioned.

Matt Roberds

Hi Matt,

The cutouts in the reflectors that the lamp sockets twist into are cracked
in some areas. So that's probably not a very tight seal.

I found this website http://mgaguru.com/mgtech/electric/et107a.htm which
explains that the smaller (the one that's closer to the base) filament is
the higher wattage filament. If that is correct, then the proper filament is
illuminating when the turn signal is activated.

That Sunray lamp chart,
http://www.candelacorp.com/products/lighting/pdf/catalog_min.pdf was quite

At this point, checking voltages and continuity will be the next order of
business if the new sockets don't correct the problem. (I'll be sure to put
some dielectric grease in the sockets as well.)

Regarding the $5 per package light bulb prices, you're paying for the convenience when you just buy a couple of lamps in a hurry. Also, if you happen to misread the number on the bulb, it's easier to return. Thanks for your reply. D #### David Farber Jan 1, 1970 0 Greetings David, As others have posted here you may have bad grounds. I have experienced this myself. To reiterate, on some cars if the ground connection is either missing or the resistance is very high the current for the turn signal and brake filament will instead go to ground through the tail light filament circuit. You have probably seen cars with the taillights on and then when the car brakes one brake light will be lit while on the other side the brake light and the tail light are both unlit. Then when the brakes are released the one working brake light goes out and both tail lights will be lit. A good way to check this is to run a wire from a known good ground to the brass base of the bulb, making sure the wire is making good contact with the brass base. If the bulb starts flashing then you know the ground is the problem and you can search for the exact place where it is making a poor connection. The last time this happened to me the bad ground was where the ground wire was connected to the tail lamp assembly. There was an eye on the end of the ground wire and this eye had a screw going through it. When I removed the screw there was corrosion under the screw head and on both sides of the eye. I cleaned off the corrosion, coated the eye with dielctric grease, reassembled everything and put a little more grease over the eye, and now the lights work. Eric Hi Eric, Agreed, weird things happen when grounds open up and other circuit paths get involved. If I had more time, I'd trace each lamp circuit individually which is probably what I'll have to do anyway. Thanks for your reply. D #### David Farber Jan 1, 1970 0 David said: Hi Matt, The cutouts in the reflectors that the lamp sockets twist into are cracked in some areas. So that's probably not a very tight seal. I found this website http://mgaguru.com/mgtech/electric/et107a.htm which explains that the smaller (the one that's closer to the base) filament is the higher wattage filament. If that is correct, then the proper filament is illuminating when the turn signal is activated. That Sunray lamp chart, http://www.candelacorp.com/products/lighting/pdf/catalog_min.pdf was quite helpful. Thanks for that. At this point, checking voltages and continuity will be the next order of business if the new sockets don't correct the problem. (I'll be sure to put some dielectric grease in the sockets as well.) Regarding the$5 per package light bulb prices, you're paying for the
convenience when you just buy a couple of lamps in a hurry. Also, if
you happen to misread the number on the bulb, it's easier to return.

After replacing three of the four front turn signal sockets today, all is
well again.

Thanks for all the replies.

M

#### [email protected]

Jan 1, 1970
0
David Farber said:
After replacing three of the four front turn signal sockets today,
all is well again.

Thanks for posting back with what fixed it!

Matt Roberds

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