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(1) 2 »

56 Caribbean Convertible Rejuvenation
#1
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CarFreak
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So my father's Caribbean is back at the house. The individual we had working on it unfortunately passed anyway due to illness... He had it for a bit and got some work done to it, but the car is not road worthy. The work that has been completed:

Engine rebuilt (by Ross) and installed.
The carbs we had on it rebuilt
Engine bay painted.
Radiator Recored.
Shift motor and harness rebuilt by John.
Leaky shift solenoid(?) replaced.
various wiring issues addressed
treedlevac rebuilt by Ross and installed.
new gas tank installed and I believe new sending unit


We were able to drive it on and off the trailer. So the brakes work, I got it up to operating temperature. I tightened the power steering belt so we have power steering now.

The car was running and driving before my dad took it off the road and before it went to get the above work done. It was street legal. So obviously time has taken its toll and somethings are preventing it from being enjoyed. After cleaning I found some mechanical and electrical issues that need addressed:

The stop lamps do not work (but the tail lights do)
The automatic leveling of the suspension does not work (but the manual over ride switch does get the suspension to work).
Turn signals do not work.
The air filters need new oil (or switched to paper elements).
passenger door does not operate dome lights (driver door does).
I dont think the dash lights work (but dont know for sure).
gas gauge works but not accurate.


I do know the parking lights work, the low and high beams work, and the radio works.

I am not to sure if the heaters work, the windows work, convertible top, or the antennas work. They all did before the car left.

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Posted on: 10/18 9:06
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Re: 56 Caribbean Convertible Rejuvenation
#2
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CarFreak
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So far the only thing that we do not have is the hood latch. They are going to look for it among the decease's stash of parts.

My biggest concerns are the brake lights and the suspension. I want to say the wiring to the brake lights was repaired and I dont know if they were ever checked. I will check the bulbs to see if both are blown, but I would need help to determine what to look for to get that issue resolved. And since the brake lights dont work I am making a big assumption that could play into the suspension not working? I did check the fuse block and the only fuse that didnt seem to work was the very small one, which I think is for the heaters?

The turn signals is another issue, but that could be an issue with the brake lights as well? or could be the flasher, which I am going to pick up another one when I am at the parts store.

The individual that was working on it was getting help from people on this forum so some may know the status of this car better than I.

Posted on: 10/18 9:13
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Re: 56 Caribbean Convertible Rejuvenation
#3
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Leeedy
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Quote:

CarFreak wrote:
So far the only thing that we do not have is the hood latch. They are going to look for it among the decease's stash of parts.

My biggest concerns are the brake lights and the suspension. I want to say the wiring to the brake lights was repaired and I dont know if they were ever checked. I will check the bulbs to see if both are blown, but I would need help to determine what to look for to get that issue resolved. And since the brake lights dont work I am making a big assumption that could play into the suspension not working? I did check the fuse block and the only fuse that didnt seem to work was the very small one, which I think is for the heaters?

The turn signals is another issue, but that could be an issue with the brake lights as well? or could be the flasher, which I am going to pick up another one when I am at the parts store.

The individual that was working on it was getting help from people on this forum so some may know the status of this car better than I.


With the brake lights not working and suspension not working automatically, rather than deep analysis, the very first thing I would look for is a bad stoplight switch. They often go bad merely from sitting unused. Install a known good one and see what happens.

The dash lights not working on a car that has been sitting unused for a long period usually just means the rheostat on the headlight switch has built up a later of oxidation on the coils. Pull the switch to ON position and rotate the knob back and forth a few times gently. Watch for the instrument panel lights to flicker on when the rheostat cleans up and good contact is made.

Turn signals inoperable can be a couple of causes. You didn't say if they illuminate at all or just refuse to flicker. But before getting into deep analysis, work your turn signal lever back & forth gently a few times with the vehicle running and then see what happens. Could just be dirty contacts again from sitting or disconnected wires.

Heaters? There should only be one heater on a 1956 Caribbean convertible.

The hood latch missing? The photo on the trailer shows the hood latch installed in the proper place on the radiator splasher (the silver colored thingie). Perhaps you mean the hood latch striker is missing?

By the way, what number is this one?

Posted on: 10/18 10:37
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Re: 56 Caribbean Convertible Rejuvenation
#4
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HH56
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Brake switch could be the issue with the lights and the suspension but it could be as simple as a fuse. In 56, on the left innner fender to cowl space located near the solenoids will be two inline fuses. The larger 30 amp is for the suspension motor and overall TL system but the smaller 7 1/2 amp is fed from the larger fuse and goes to the brake switch for the brake lights and suspension control switch.

If the fuses are OK and it still has the original 3 terminal or even one of the aftermarket 3 terminal replacement switches those are a known failure item. Options in that case are to find another 3 terminal switch, convert to a mechanical switch, or build or buy the 2 terminal switch and relay conversion package. The conversion to mechanical or the 2 terminal switch package will give the longest service and if the brake switch does fail again, it is easily found at almost any parts store.

On the turn signals, grounds could also be an issue. The original thermal flashers are very sensitive to changes in resistance in the circuit either from burned out bulbs or poor grounds. You might go to each light housing and remove the nuts or screws to sheetmetal fastenings and clean any rust or corrosion that might have formed between the fastening and sheetmetal. Corrosion can also build up between the crimps where socket shells and the potmetal housings are joined and also destroy a good ground.

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Posted on: 10/18 10:38
Howard
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Re: 56 Caribbean Convertible Rejuvenation
#5
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CarFreak
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all good suggestions thank you!!

I do not know what type of switch is in there currently. What is a good source & part number for the mechanical switch? I take it to test to see if it is good is place an ohm meter across the terminals and see if there is a change between brakes being applied and released? is the switch closed or open when the brakes are not applied?

The 30A fuse was blown and nothing worked. I looked underneath and nothing appeared to be bent or broken so I replaced the fuse and thats how I got the suspension to work with the over ride switch. The fuse for the 7.5 amp appeared to look okay. However I did not put an ohm meter across that.

I will look into those grounds for the turn signals. What I meant when the turn signals didnt work is I hit the switch and I did not see any lights illuminating, or flashing. But when the parking lights are turned on (first position out on the head light switch) both the parking lights and tail lights illuminate.

You are correct. It is the striker that I am missing.

This is number 1036. I believe you and I have sent some PM's about this vehicle in the past couple months.

Posted on: 10/18 16:40
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Re: 56 Caribbean Convertible Rejuvenation
#6
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HH56
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Parking and turn signals use the same bulb but different filaments in the bulb. They have completely different circuits and fuses. The tail and brake/turnsignal lights have the same arrangement. There is a fuse for the turn signals which could have blown and it is also possible the flasher is missing or an incorrect flasher was installed. The fuse is in the fuse block under the dash and it might be a good idea to disconnect the battery then get a small piece of emery cloth and clean the fuse ends and the spring clip holders in the block. The clips have been known to oxidize resulting in poor connections.

The switch contacts could be oxidized and not making contact but since 55-6 use a different switch than the older models that has not seemed to be as big an issue on 55-6 models. There is a round plug near the front dash edge coming from the steering column. That is the turn signals and brake wires so make sure it was not accidentally disconnected.

Here is a bit of an extraction showing only the turnsignal and brake light circuit thru the turnsignal switch. While the circuit is electrically the same, the 55-6 switch is physically different from the one shown on the diagram. Also, here is information on the mechanical switch setup. The switch can be bought at Napa but you will need to make your own bracket. The switch is normally closed but when installed it is adjusted so the plunger is pressed in when resting against the brake pedal arm. When the pedal is pushed, the plunger moves back out and energizes the lights and at the same time de-energize the TL control switch. Also info on a 2 terminal switch and relay conversion which functions to do the same thing.

If you want a prepackaged mechanical brake switch Dwight Heinmuller sells them. https://www.packardparts.org/products/parts/ I don't know if he still carries the already made 2 terminal switch and relay conversion package since it is not currently listed. If he no longer sells them then not sure where to get those anymore since NW Packards also seems to have discontinued them.

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jpg  Mech Brake Switch.jpg (162.39 KB)
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Posted on: 10/18 17:36
Howard
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Re: 56 Caribbean Convertible Rejuvenation
#7
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Leeedy
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Quote:

CarFreak wrote:
all good suggestions thank you!!

I do not know what type of switch is in there currently. What is a good source & part number for the mechanical switch? I take it to test to see if it is good is place an ohm meter across the terminals and see if there is a change between brakes being applied and released? is the switch closed or open when the brakes are not applied?

The 30A fuse was blown and nothing worked. I looked underneath and nothing appeared to be bent or broken so I replaced the fuse and thats how I got the suspension to work with the over ride switch. The fuse for the 7.5 amp appeared to look okay. However I did not put an ohm meter across that.

I will look into those grounds for the turn signals. What I meant when the turn signals didnt work is I hit the switch and I did not see any lights illuminating, or flashing. But when the parking lights are turned on (first position out on the head light switch) both the parking lights and tail lights illuminate.

You are correct. It is the striker that I am missing.

This is number 1036. I believe you and I have sent some PM's about this vehicle in the past couple months.


Hmmm. Okay. But the last photos I have of this car showed a different top. Huh?

And the front fenders were off. Also, when I look at the picx I have of the open engine bay, surprise. Instead of the proper 3-prong brake light switch, I see a 2-prong brake light switch... as I suspected. Suspension will either be whacky or inoperable like this. Find a good switch, check the wiring, THEN things should work.

Also wise to flush the front brake lines since old Treadle-Vac master cylinders from cars left sitting long periods are often clogged with crystalized dried brake fluid. Even a new or re-built BTV will merely push the dried crystals farther downstream if the line has not been flushed. And the dried junk goes right into the brake light switch... effectively ruining it too. Yes, I have seen it happen.

Posted on: 10/19 2:11
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Re: 56 Caribbean Convertible Rejuvenation
#8
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CarFreak
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Thank you for the suggestions!!

it looks like I should bleed the brakes and then play with the wiring for the brake lights. By pass the switch by connecting the pink wire to the light green to see if the lights turn on, then pink to dark green to see if the suspension leveling works! If that happens than the switch is bad and it looks like I got a couple options to go with. fantastic thank you!

Looks like I will have to play with the turn signal switch and the head light switch to see if I can get those lights to function. The circular connector was connected when I inspected the underside of the dash. You mentioned the flasher could be incorrect, what would be the correct on? any part store one?

I did see the clips for the fuses were corroded so Ill have to address that as well.

as for the pictures you have Leeedy. Yes the fenders were off for painting. If you want current ones you will have to wait until I can get the car clean... Sitting for a couple years does create a lot of dirt. The top was not changed at all in the past 20 years (maybe more) or so. So if your pictures are within that time frame it is the same top

Posted on: 10/19 16:37
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Re: 56 Caribbean Convertible Rejuvenation
#9
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HH56
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Quote:
. By pass the switch by connecting the pink wire to the light green to see if the lights turn on, then pink to dark green to see if the suspension leveling works!

Just the reverse of that. Light green for the suspension and dark green for the brake lights.

I believe the original 55-6 flasher should be a Tung-Sol 273D. That would be the correct thermal type. Very reliable but are current specific and need the correct resistance in the circuit to function properly.

I would avoid the so called universal replacements offered by Napa and others as there seems to be issues with working the indicator lights with some of them. There are modern electronic flashers that work on a different principle and are not resistance sensitive. Those will work regardless of bulbs being burned out. Not sure if they are polarity sensitive though so if you decide to go that route check if the vendor offers different units for negative or positive ground. Don't have a part number offhand but several of the LED bulb companies carry them.

Posted on: 10/19 17:08
Howard
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Re: 56 Caribbean Convertible Rejuvenation
#10
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Marty or Marston
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I chased an issue with my '55 with the brake or turn signal not working the right side. However, the the tail light would work. On the left side everything worked perfect.

Since the tail light worked on the on the right I figured that ground wasn't an issue. After several hours of hair pulling I revisited the ground as a possible issue. This did indeed turn out to be the cause. The current draw for the tail light was much less then brake or turn. Once it was well grounded everything work.

The cause was self inflicted. I had removed both tail lights in order to get the little "V's" gold plated. The inside of the trunk had been completely painted during the restore. Just out of pure luck, when reinstalling them the one of the bolts must have made good contact on the left side. However, on the right side the ground contact was very weak and allowed the tail light to shine bright, but not the brake/signal on the right.

I would recommend verifying the bulbs are good. With the bulb fixture out of the tail light, ground the socket and try the brakes, turn signal, and tail light. As mentioned above, the 1157 bulb has two filaments

Posted on: 10/21 17:30
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